Ecological Monitoring Crew Leads in Las Cruces
(Botanical & Soil Survey)
Southwest Conservation Corps
in partnership with
the Bureau of Land Management
Position Tile: Crew Lead (up to 52 week terms)
Las Cruces BLM District Office
6/27/2022 or asap - 2/24/2023, ~35 weeks (1 position)
6/27/2022 or asap - 6/24/2023, ~52 weeks (1 position)
HIGHLY PREFERRED THAT INCUMBENT STARTS BY JULY 5. WE WILL ACCEPT APPLICATIONS THROUGH AUGUST 1.
Salary: $725-$805/week DOE
Paid attendance to training including Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder Recertification (or reimbursement if course was paid personally and taken after April 2021);
$15/day food allowance if camping;
Health benefits package that comes into effect on the 1st of a calendar month after the first 60 days
Paid days of personal leave
Professional Benefits (both Leads and Members):
- Direct site supervision and mentorship in-house at BLM Field Office under BLM agency staff.
- Hiring benefit under the Public Land Corps (PLC) 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.
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.
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 two crew members and one crew lead. Together, following a training period, they will 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.
Within all plots, the crew will identify vegetation to species, gather species density data using line-point intercept and gap measurements, measure soil stability, and describe the site and soil pits (50%). All data will be georeferenced using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase. Data are entered into a database on site with tablets, later synthesized into various reports for future land management planning. The crew may have the opportunity to assist with other public land management projects involving wildlife, range, recreation, rare plant monitoring, or forestry (5%), contingent on availability.
Crews will 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 curious about the natural systems they encounter and have a passion to grow and share that curiosity and knowledge with fellow crew personnel.
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 will be in remote areas across a diversity of ecotypes. Crews will be required to drive a company or government vehicle to several different areas of the Field or District Office and hike several miles per day carrying equipment (25%) throughout a “four on, three off" or “eight on, six off" structure of a work week (colloquially, a “hitch”). They will usually camp multiple nights sharing camp meals and chores. They will return to the office for equipment and data management, unknown plant identification, hitch debrief and further field work planning (20%). Camping is expected whenever, as safety allows, it is more efficient to do so. Certain crews camp out more than others, due to varying risk factors and the layouts of the sampling areas. An unconventional schedule, a level of flexibility, and long hours are necessary.
Housing is not provided, but SCC and the BLM are glad to talk through housing strategies and opportunities with you in the interview and onward. For those lacking in camping gear, we may be able to loan you gear.
We require proof of full vaccination against SARS-COV-2. We have also developed and successfully implemented protocols in precaution against COVID-19 transmission between crew personnel.
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 for that time off is not typical.
Abstract of Crew Lead Qualifications (full list here):
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Capable of standing and walking off-trail (minimum 6 miles/day on rough uneven terrain using a handheld GPS for navigation), bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time while taking precise, repetitive measurements, and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100° F heat while maintaining attention to detail and overall good morale
- Willing to spend multiple days (4 or 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/driving, navigating, four-wheel drive truck on- and off-highway, sometimes over/around tricky or unexpected obstacles
- If little prior off-road driving experience, then willing to learn
- 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, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. biting/stinging insects/reptiles, livestock)
- Willing to cultivate self-awareness and a positive crew culture, as well as excitement at the chance to have a close experience with the land
Overall Preferred Qualifications:
- Intentional education/experience with a formal or folk system to identify plants to species, especially in the field, from photos, pressed specimens, field guides, taxonomic keys, or other means
- Experience with plant identification, preferably with the use of a taxonomic key and/or 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
- Experience identifying soil horizons and hand texturing various types of soils
- Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with others
- Experience with Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or other data-collection software, and with data collection in general
- Experience with ArcGIS Online interface
- 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
Select the "APPLY" button on this page to be taken to the application for this role.
Application involves 1) cover letter, 2) resume/CV, 3) at least two academic or professional, non-peer references, and 4) screening questions. No letter of recommendation is needed.
Incomplete applications are given less weight. Please apply with full legal name, your preferred name, and pronouns. Please indicate whether you are applying to Crew Lead, Crew Member, or both.
SCC offers several Ecological Monitoring crew positions across Colorado and New Mexico, mostly performing the terrestrial AIM methodology. If interested in multiple locations, rank location preferences in both the application questionnaire and cover letter. In the cover letter, express how your prior experiences demonstrate that you are a fit for the job, even if the connection is not immediately apparent. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
We are accepting applications and offering interviews now. Feel free to reach out to Ecological Monitoring Program Coordinator Rylee Hostrawser (she/her) at email@example.com with questions.
This position is located in Las Cruces, NM. View the Google Map in full screen.