Crew Lead: Ecological & Vegetation Monitoring in Las Cruces
Las Cruces, NM
Type of Job
Apr 5, 2021
About the job
Vegetation & Ecological Monitoring
the Bureau of Land Management
Southwest Conservation Corps
Position Title: Crew Leader
Position Type: Full-time, temporary
Number of Positions: 3
Las Cruces BLM District Office in New Mexico
1 position: July 5, 2021 to July 1, 2022 (52 weeks)
2 positions: July 5, 2021 to February 18, 2022 (33 weeks)
Benefits: Paid training; camping food allowance ($13/day via company credit card); health benefits package
Hiring Benefits: Public Land Corps hiring authority: eligible to use, for two years upon completion of term, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions for a federal agency.
Southwest Conservation Corps’s Mission
It is the mission of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment.
Bureau of Land Management’s Mission
The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Crews will conduct vegetation monitoring using the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Terrestrial Assessment, Inventory, & Monitoring (AIM) methodology. More information on the BLM’s AIM strategy can be found on the AIM website: http://aim.landscapetoolbox.org/.
Crews will consist of three individuals: two crew members and one crew lead. Together, they will monitor land health on BLM lands including National Monument lands, vegetation treatments, rangeland allotments, or reference areas using AIM methodology.
Within all plots, the crew will identify vegetation to species, gather species cover and composition data using line-point intercept and gap measurements, measure soil stability, and describe the site and soil pits. All data will be georeferenced using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase. Data are entered into a database on site with ruggedized tablets and are further analyzed and, at the end of the season, synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. The crew may also have the opportunity to assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, and forestry.
Fieldwork is often in remote areas. Crews are often required to drive to several different areas of the Field or District Office throughout a four- to eight-day work week (colloquially, “hitch”), camp overnight, share camp meals and chores, hike several miles per day carrying equipment, and return to the office for equipment and data management.
*We have developed and successfully implemented protocols in precaution against COVID-19 transmission between crew personnel. Protocols address mask-wearing, cleaning, sanitation, on-the-job health reports, and isolation if necessary. Crews will ride in the same vehicle, go grocery shopping, and share camping and sampling equipment. Some remote accommodations for the periodic days of office work are available.*
Crew Lead’s Responsibilities
The Crew Lead supports and manages the field crew’s safety, wellbeing, and development. Consistently exercises discretion and judgment. Coordinates and delegates field logistics, hitch plans, food budget scheduling, crew tasks, debriefs, and management of the crew’s equipment. Provides/asks for feedback to/from crew members regarding performance.
The Crew Lead is the primary contact between the crew and the SCC supervisor/BLM staff. Completes necessary administrative paperwork. Holds and documents spending of a company credit card. Before, during, and after field data collection, the lead is responsible for the organization and quality control of all AIM data collected in Collector for ArcGIS.
At the end of the season, the Crew Lead will analyze, interpret, or make deductions for varying data, and will be required report data to various BLM offices and stakeholders. Written reports will be completed and involve the presentation of scientific data and pre/post treatment analysis.
The crew lead should be passionate about sound science principles, be an advocate for the AIM program in the field office, and have a willingness to learn about how AIM data could be used in range, forestry, fire and wildlife programs within the BLM. The crew lead should be passionate about facilitating the crew members’ experience similarly.
- College Graduate (Bachelor’s, at minimum) with coursework in ecology, botany, range science, soil science, wildlife biology, natural resource management, conservation biology, or a related field
- Aged at least 21 years upon hire
- Able to produce identification as stipulated by I-9upon hire
- Valid US driver's license and insurable driving record
- Able to pass Conservation Legacy’s and the Department of Interior’s background checks
- Experience with (digital, preferred) data collection and Microsoft Suite software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), or similar
- Excellent communication (including in-person, email, and phone), organizational, and planning skills
- Experience working as part of a team and able to work well with others
- Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period, with excellent discernment of when to ask for help. The applicant must be able to maneuver and operate in both the office and field.
- Willing to empower crew members to improve in performing their duties and all associated skills
- Physically capable of standing and walking (at a minimum 6 miles/day on rough, uneven terrain), bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time, and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100 degree (F) heat while maintaining a cheery to neutral attitude.
- Experience and willingness to spend multiple days (1-8 days at a time) making day trips and car-camping in remote areas; willing to learn, teach, and adhere to best practices for field safety, comfort, and low-impact principles
- Willing to spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating, and driving an agency four-wheel drive pick-up truck on- and off-highway, sometimes over/around tricky or unexpected obstacles
- If little prior off-road driving experience, then willing to learn
- Willing to constantly demonstrate and enforce best driving practices
- Sound and fair physical and emotional risk assessment
- Able to work in and respond to adverse weather conditions including extreme heat, monsoonal rains, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions, biting/stinging insects, horses)
- Current (or able to obtain) CPR, Wilderness First Aid (reimbursed if personally obtained or re-certified after May 2020), and Defensive Driver Training certificates
- At least 1 cumulative year of experience identifying plants to species in the field, from photos, taxonomic keys, and/or pressed specimens
- At least 6 months’ experience in vegetation monitoring and leading a crew of 2 or more people
- Previous standardized ecological monitoring or Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health experience
- Previous leadership experience
- Familiarity with New Mexico flora and its associated taxonomic keys, or nearby
- Experience hand texturing, characterizing soil pits, and identifying soil series or ecological sites based on observational and quantitative data
- Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads.
- Experience with handheld GPS units and External GNSS GPS antennae and basic troubleshooting
- Experience with mobile data collection using Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 apps
- Experience with ArcMap, ArcCatalog and ArcGIS Online interface
- Knowledge of creating maps, performing basic analysis, and organizing data
- Field safety and risk management training
- Experience working or recreating in desert or rangeland ecosystems
Public Land Corps:
The Public Land Corps (PLC) program provides the opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years to work on conservation projects on public lands. Participants must successfully complete 640 hours that include at least 120 hours on federal lands through the PLC. PLC members are not federal government employees, but those who successfully complete the PLC requirements are then eligible to use, for two years, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions. https://www.blm.gov/careers/students-and-grads/public-lands-corps
To apply, go to position announcement here and click "New Application" at bottom.
Or, go to: https://sccorps.org/small-teams, and follow the link to the above.
Application involves cover letter, resume/CV, at least two academic or professional (non-peer) references, and screening questions. Incomplete applications are given less weight.
SCC offers several Ecological Monitoring crew positions across Colorado and New Mexico, mostly performing the terrestrial AIM methodology. If interested in multiple locations, please clearly rank interest. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
We anticipate beginning the interview process in April. Apply now for advance consideration.
Feel free to reach out to Ecological Monitoring Manager Cassandra Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.