Conservation Technician

Hiring Organization: Washtenaw Conservation District
Employment type: Full-Time
Job Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Application Deadline: August 21, 2020

RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:

The WCCD and NRCS-Ann Arbor field office provide technical and financial assistance for producers and landowners that want to implement conservation activities on their land. The Conservation Technician will assist the landowners of Washtenaw County and help them to better understand, plan, manage, protect, and utilize their natural resources. The goal of this position is to provide information and technical assistance to private landowners in order to implement conservation practices funded through the Farm Bill. The Technician will work directly with the WCCD staff as well as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to complete this work from remote work and two office locations in Ann Arbor, MI.
 
Delivery of these programs will be through multiple phases, including farm or property site visits, development of conservation plans, providing guidance with federal program signups and contracting as well as providing technical assistance to landowners and producers implementing conservation practices. The Technician’s work may include practice implementation activities such as inventory and evaluation, survey, design, lay-out, construction inspection among others. The work may also include contract administration activities such as document collection and compilation, contract correspondence preparation. Common conservation practices promoted to landowners include agricultural nutrient management, erosion control, cover crops, field borders, filter strips, high tunnels, brush management, conservation cover, forest management activities and streambank restoration.
 
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

 

  1. Provide, as a public service, on-site technical assistance to private landowners under contract with USDA for the implementation of conservation practices. Work closely and maintain a good working relationship with other resource management professionals, both public and private, in support of a holistic approach to the management of natural resources.
  2. Assist landowners with understanding the USDA eligibility and application process.
  3. Assist clients with applying for financial assistance through USDA Farm Bill Programs including application processing, contract development, application ranking and document preparation for program selections.
  4. Conduct targeted outreach to landowners eligible for the CSP program.
  5. Prepare and conduct presentations on the CSP program in particular as well as other NRCS, local and state programs.
  6. Stay up to date with program rules and regulations concerning administration of applications and contracting procedures for each Farm Bill program under NRCS responsibility.
  7. Communicate important deadlines and program updates to WCCD staff.
  8. Maintain accurate and organized records of customer interactions.
  9. Maintain client confidentiality.
  10.  Serve as an inter-organizational representative between the WCCD and NRCS by communicating landowner interest and progress and relevant updates on a weekly basis.
  11. Assist contract holders with technical guidance regarding implementation of their practices.
  12. Assist the District Conservationist (DC) with monitoring progress of contract implementation, reviews, processing contract modifications and payments, and general correspondence as needed.

 
OTHER FUNCTIONS:

  1. Assists with WCCD programs such as participating in the annual meeting, providing content for the monthly newsletter, participating in month board meetings, addressing resident inquires related to technical assistance, and other duties as assigned by the WCCD District Manager or Board of Directors.
  2. Develops a weekly work plan in consultation with the WCCD District Manager and NRCS District Conservationist.
  3. Maintains a willingness to update or obtain conservation certifications through NRCS such as “certified conservation planner”, “certified pest management plan writing”, “nutrient plan writing”

 
QUALIFICATIONS:

  1. A Bachelor of Science Degree in agriculture, forestry or natural resources related field
  2. A minimum of two years of experience in natural resources, agriculture, forestry or other conservation fieldwork.
  3. Preferred candidates will have NRCS working experience and/or have current NRCS credentials
  4. Preferred candidates will have knowledge of and experience working with agricultural producers and practices OR watershed management/restoration

4. Preferred candidates will have familiarity with agricultural or construction equipment
 
ABILITIES:

  1. Excellent computer skills are required. Computer workstation will be provided, including a standard PC, on a shared network with Windows-based software, modelling software and GIS.
  2. Excellent organizational, time management, written and verbal communication skills.
  3. Exhibit strong social and interpersonal skills.
  4. Work cooperatively with district personnel and other agencies.
  5. Able to work efficiently outdoors in varying conditions and rough terrain; able to lift 50 pounds.
  6. Must maintain a valid driver’s license
  7. Regular travel to farm locations around the county is required
  8. Must be able to pass a Federal Background Security Check, preferably already has Security Clearance through USDA

 

SALARY, BENEFITS, WORK HOURS, LOCATION
This position will be based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This location is in Southeast Michigan where there is a diverse variety of agriculture for the region, including row crops, diversified vegetable production, dairy, and livestock. Wildlife habitat and forest management are also a large component of workload in the area. Work time will be generally split between the main WCCD office, NRCS field office, remote (home) office and field work. The Washtenaw County Conservation District office is located at the Washtenaw County Service Building at 705 N. Zeeb Rd, #201, Ann Arbor 48103.  The NRCS field office is located at 7203 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor 48103.  
 
This is a salary position including some benefits (paid federal holidays, vacation and sick leave). Pay is commensurate with experience and ranges from $48,000-$55,000 starting salary with fridge benefits.
 
Typical work hours will be Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm. Some evening and weekend work will be required. This grant-based position is funded by National Association of Conservation Districts through 9/30/21 with potential for continuation, dependent on a on available funding. Preferred position starting date: September 2020.

SALARY, BENEFITS, WORK HOURS, LOCATION
This position will be based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This location is in Southeast Michigan where there is a diverse variety of agriculture for the region, including row crops, diversified vegetable production, dairy, and livestock. Wildlife habitat and forest management are also a large component of workload in the area. Work time will be generally split between the main WCCD office, NRCS field office, remote (home) office and field work. The Washtenaw County Conservation District office is located at the Washtenaw County Service Building at 705 N. Zeeb Rd, #201, Ann Arbor 48103.  The NRCS field office is located at 7203 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor 48103.  
 
This is a salary position including some benefits (paid federal holidays, vacation and sick leave). Pay is commensurate with experience and ranges from $48,000-$55,000 starting salary with fringe benefits.
 
Typical work hours will be Monday-Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm. Some evening and weekend work will be required. This grant-based position is funded by National Association of Conservation Districts through 9/30/21 with potential for continuation, dependent on available funding. Preferred position starting date: September 2020.
 
TO APPLY
 Please submit a cover letter, resume, two professional references and college transcripts (unofficial acceptable) by email to District Manager Megan DeLeeuw at megan.deleeuw@macd.org by midnight on Friday, August 21st.  Please combine all application materials into one PDF file for review and state “Application – Conservation Technician” in the email subject line. Contact Megan DeLeeuw at the above email address with any questions related to the position. To obtain further information about the Washtenaw County Conservation District visit our website at www.washtenaw cd.org.
 
Washtenaw County Conservation District is an equal opportunity employer and provider