Crew Member: 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 Member
Position Type: Full-time, temporary, 23 weeks
Number of Positions: 6
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Living Stipend: $520/week
Benefits: Paid training; camping food allowance ($13/day via company credit card); AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,907.50 upon satisfactory completion of term
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. See below. Must be under age 31 upon issue of certificate.
Program Dates: July 12 – December 17, 2021
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. For more information, visit www.sccorps.org.
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.
Participants will manage all aspects of vegetation monitoring using the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 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 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.
Within all plots, the crew identifies vegetation to species, gathers species cover and composition data using line-point intercept, measures soil surface stability, and describes soil pits. Data are 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 synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. The crew may also assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, and forestry.
Crews maintain and track botanical specimens of known and unknown species throughout the field season and keep records updated as needed. The crew member will continuously learn the local flora and build botanical knowledge. The crew member should be passionate about both the soils, botanical, and other natural systems and have a willingness to grow and share that passion and knowledge with the crew lead and fellow crew member(s).
Fieldwork is often in remote areas. Using a government or company vehicle, 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, and return to the office for equipment and data management. Unconventional work hours, including 10 (sometimes 11) hour days, are expected.
*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. Crews may be asked to be flexible and accommodating in using their personal space when the physical BLM office is less available for any reason.*
Crew Member’s Responsibilities
Assists in all aspects of data collection, management, and quality control. Assists in hitch preparation, transportation of crew in the work vehicle, and equipment maintenance. Continues to learn the local flora and soils from the crew lead and local resources and builds botanical, soils, and landscape knowledge. Takes an active role in their personal and professional development goals throughout the season.
Consistently exercises discretion and judgment. Completes mid-term and end-of-term written evaluations for self and crew lead. Maintains adequate and professional communication and systems of feedback between fellow crew folk. The crew member should be passionate about sound science principles and have curiosity as to how the AIM data might be utilized.
- College coursework (2 years, at minimum) in ecology, botany, plant ecology, plant biology, plant systematics, soils science, geology, horticulture, natural resource management, environmental science, or a related field;OR previous college- or professional-level experience in the above fields, plus familiarity with data collection and sound science principles
- Largely available by the start date and through the end date
- Eligible to accept a 900-hour service term with AmericorpsAged between 21 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years upon hire
- U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence and associated identification, including an image of a signed social security card AND another acceptable primary form of documentation
- Able to produce identification as stipulated by I-9 upon 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 Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or other data-collection software
- Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period. The applicant must be able to operate in both the office and the field.
- Physically capable of standing and walking (at a maximum 6 miles/day, plus walking on plot, 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 professional demeanor.
- Experience and willingness to spending multiple days (1-6 days at a time) car-camping in remote areas; familiarity or willingness to learn and adhere to best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles
- Willing to spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating, and driving a company truck on- and off-highway.
- 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 ability to obtain: CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Defensive Driver Training certificates
- At least 1 to 2 years of experience using taxonomic keys to identify plants to species in the field, from photos, and from pressed specimens.
- Familiarity with New Mexico or Colorado flora in general and Ackerfield’s Flora of Colorado, Flora Neomexicana, or other relevant keys is preferred.
- Experience with floras from adjacent states to Colorado
- Experience working in regions with high floristic diversity
- Experience or interest in large scale, spatially-balanced monitoring designs
- Experience or education using taxonomic soil keys or equivalent mechanism to identify ecological sites
- Familiarity with the Colorado or New Mexico soils
- Experience hand texturing various types of soils
- Experience digging quality soil pits to characterize and document all horizons
- Experience using soil series descriptions, web soil survey, or equivalent soil datasets
- Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with othersExcellent communication, organizational, and planning skills
- Experience with handheld GPS units and External GNSS GPS antennae and basic troubleshooting
- Experience with ArcGIS Online interfaceKnowledge of downloading, using, and syncing ArcGIS Online Maps
- Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads, and driving for extended periods (2-3 hours at a time).
- Experience working or recreating in rangeland or desert systems
Public Land Corps:
The Public Land Corps program provides the opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 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 mention and rank locations of interest. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
We anticipate beginning the interview process in mid-April. Apply now for advance consideration. Reach out to Ecological Monitoring Coordinator Talavi Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.