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Crew Leads: Ecological and Botanical Survey in Roswell and Carlsbad (mostly day trips, some camping) with Southwest Conservation Corps in Roswell or Carlsbad, New Mexico

Type of position Temporary/Seasonal for 1 year
Employer Southwest Conservation Corps
Description of Employer 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.

Location Roswell or Carlsbad, New Mexico
Salary $840 to 880+/week depending on experience
Benefits Benefits:

Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder Recertification (or reimbursement if course was paid personally and taken after March 2022)
$16/day food allowance while camping in the field with crew collecting data
Health benefits package that comes into effect on the 1st of the calendar month after the first 60 days
Paid days of personal leave and sick leave
Uniform shirts
Other supplemental development funds (amount TBD)
+$60/week cost of living adjustment for Carlsbad

Closing date of competition March 15
Date position available March 21, 2023 – April 19, 2024
Description of duties

Position Overview: 

Crews 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/” target=”_blank”>http://aim.landscapetoolbox.org/.  Crews typically consist of three individuals: two crew members and one crew lead.  Together, they monitor land health (i.e., soil and vegetation) on BLM lands including National Monument lands, vegetation treatments, burn scars, rangeland allotments, or reference areas using AIM methodology. 

Crews undergo extensive technical training and orientation to SCC culture for the first 4+ weeks in the Field Office and at sites on the CO western slope.  The rest of the term is typically routine, with the goal to sample a target number of plots using the AIM methodology. 

Within all plots, the crew 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 (50%).  All data are georeferenced and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase.  Data are entered into a database on site with ruggedized tablets to be later synthesized into various reports for future land management planning.  The crew may also assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, recreation, rare plant monitoring, or forestry (5%), contingent on sampling productivity and BLM staff availability.   

Crews maintain and track botanical specimens of known and unknown species throughout the field season and keep records updated as needed.  The crew lead will continuously learn the local flora and build botanical knowledge. The crew lead should be curious about the soils, botanical, and other natural systems and have a passion to grow and share that curiosity and knowledge with fellow crew member(s). 

Crews are based out of BLM Field Office buildings, and will be under the direct mentorship and technical guidance of BLM staff personnel.? This position uniquely provides the opportunity to develop relationships within and become familiar with the workings of the agency. 

Fieldwork is in remote areas.  Crews are required to drive a company or government vehicle to several different areas of the Field Office and hike several miles per day, off trail, carrying equipment (25%) throughout a “hitch”. Hitches are typically 10 hour days, either 8 days on/6 days off or 4 days on/3 days off, depending on crew preference.  Trips to the field are mostly day trips, returning to town each night, though a couple of camping hitches are necessary.  An unconventional schedule and a level of flexibility are necessary to be successful. 

Crews return to the office for equipment and data management, unknown plant identification, and field work planning (20%). 

Housing is not provided, but we are glad to talk through your options with you in the interview and onward.  Certain BLM FOs have limited partially subsidized housing or domicile parking available.  For those lacking personal camping gear, we may be able to loan you gear. ? 

As we are a partnership with a federal agency, we are subject to halting work and pay in the case of a government shutdown, and backpay is not typical. 

Crew Lead’s Responsibilities 

The Crew Lead takes ownership of, supports, and manages the field crew’s risk management, schedule, scientific integrity, efficiency, and professional development.  Plans accordingly to reach sampling volume target by end of field season. 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 and asks for feedback to and from crew members regarding performance. 

 The Crew Lead is the primary contact between the crew and the SCC supervisor and the crew and BLM staff.  Completes administrative tasks.  Holds a company credit card and documents spending. Before, during, and after field data collection, the Lead is responsible for the organization and quality control of all AIM data collected in Field Maps for ArcGIS.  

 At the end of the season, the Crew Lead may analyze, interpret, or make deductions for varying data, and will report data to various BLM offices and stakeholders.  Especially in the longer contracts, written reports are completed and involve the presentation of scientific data and pre/post treatment analysis.  The Crew Lead should be passionate about sound science principles and plant identification, 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. 

Qualifications sought

Minimal Qualifications: 

  • College graduate (Bachelor’s, at minimum) with coursework in ecology, botany, range science, soil science, wildlife biology, natural resource management, conservation biology, environmental studies, or a related field 
  • Aged at least 21 years upon hire 
  • Able to produce identification as stipulated by?https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents” target=”_blank”>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 
  • Proof of full vaccination against SARS-COV-2 by start date 
  • Physically capable of standing, 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 attention to detail and overall positive attitude 
  • Experience navigating and hiking steep, challenging, off-trail terrain using a handheld GPS or maps and compass for route-finding 
  • Able to rapidly learn and organize the names of dozens of plants per week, especially in the beginning of the season 
  • Experience with (digital, preferred) data collection and Microsoft Suite software, or similar 
  • Basic statistics knowledge 
  • Excellent communication (including in-person, email, and phone), organizational, and planning skills 
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period, with excellent discernment of when to ask for help 
  • Willing to empower crew members to improve in performing their duties and developing personally and professionally 
  • Experience spending multiple days (up to 8) making day trips and car-camping in remote areas 
  • Willing to learn, teach, and adhere to best practices for field safety, comfort, and Leave No Trace principles 
  • Can spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating with, and driving a four-wheel drive pick-up truck on- and off-highway, sometimes over/around tricky or unexpected obstacles 
  • Excellent judgment in assessing physical, mental, and emotional risk 
  • Able to safely and effectively work in and around adverse conditions including extreme heat, monsoonal rains, wildfire smoke, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions, biting/stinging insects, cattle, and horses) 
  • With self-awareness, desire for a positive crew culture, and excitement at the chance to have a close experience with the land 

Preferred Qualifications:? 

  • Experience in leadership, facilitation, teaching, or conflict management  
  • Experience in vegetation or rangeland health assessments, botanical inventory, or standardized ecological monitoring 
  • Familiarity with local flora or identifying plants to species in the field, from photos, taxonomic keys, and/or pressed specimens
  • Experience texturing soil by hand, 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 navigating with handheld GPS units 
  • Experience with mobile data collection using Field Maps for ArcGIS and Survey123 apps 
  • Experience with ArcMap, ArcCatalog, and ArcGIS Online interface 
  • Proficient knowledge of statistical principles and programs, especially R 
  • Knowledge of creating maps, performing basic analysis, and organizing data 
  • Field safety and risk management training or experience 
  • Experience working or recreating in desert or rangeland ecosystems 
Contact for additional information Cassandra Owen, [email protected]
Michaela Grubb, [email protected] 970-238-0210
Application procedure  
Submit what resume and cover letter
Submit to apply on company website

feel free to email resumes and cover letters to
[email protected]