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Lower Colorado River Invasive Aquatic Animal Outreach Intern



Category

Individual Placement/Internships

Job Location

66600 Cibola Lake Road, Cibola, Arizona

Tracking Code

5339-984

Position Type

Full-Time/Regular

Title: Lower Colorado River Invasive Aquatic Animal Outreach Intern (1 opening)

Start/End Dates: August 12, 2024 – December 13, 2024 (anticipated dates)

Stipend$600 per week living stipend + Education Award.

Term: 18 weeks, Full-Time (40 hours per week)

Reports To: Marina McCampbell (USFWS Wildlife Biologist)

LocationCibola National Wildlife Refuge (66600 Cibola Lake Road, Cibola, AZ 85328)

Status: 675-hour AmeriCorps Service Term

Benefits: AmeriCorps Education Award $2,626.27; Public Lands Corps Certificate*; both with successful completion of the internship. On-site housing is available.

 

*To be eligible for a Public Lands Corps certificate, interns must be between the ages of 18-30, inclusive, at the time the individual begins the term of service and must complete 640 service hours or more to qualify.

 

Summary:

Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC):

Arizona Conservation Corps, a program of Conservation Legacy, aims to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's. AZCC is focused on connecting youth, young adults, and recent era military veterans with conservation service work projects on public lands. AZCC operates programs across Arizona that engage individuals and strengthen communities through service and conservation. AZCC has program offices in Flagstaff and Tucson. 

 

United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with others, is responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people through Federal programs relating to migratory birds, endangered species, interjurisdictional fish and marine mammals, and inland sport fisheries. As part of its mission, the USFWS is charged with enforcing Federal Wildlife Laws and Protecting Endangered Species.

 

The Lower Colorado River National Wildlife Refuges provide critical habitat for federally listed species, such as the federally endangered Yuma Ridgway’s rail (Rallus obsoletus yumanensis), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), and bonytail chub (Gila elegans). The refuges also provide access to the Lower Colorado River and offer robust outdoor opportunities for fishing, hunting, birding, biking, hiking, boating, and wildlife viewing. A suite of invasive predatory reptiles and fish (Common Snapping turtles/Chelydra serpentina, Banded watersnake/Nerodia fasciata, American eels/Anguilla rostrata) have been infrequently and sporadically reported within this waterway. These species can negatively impact sensitive species such as fish, birds, and amphibians through direct and indirect effects. This is a concern for management, but the species’ current status in the Lower Colorado River Valley is unknown. There remains a need for improved detection techniques, including public education and reporting. The intern’s time and capacity will be dedicated to developing a robust outreach program and associated materials, assisting with public meetings and outreach, and building awareness within agencies and the public about these high priority invasive species. This will help refuge staff create a local communication and reporting network that is currently lacking and creating a barrier to understanding where these species are potentially distributed.

 

Position Summary:

The Invasive Aquatic Animal Outreach Intern will develop and implement a public outreach plan that includes species ecology summaries and reporting information, identification of target audiences, time of year to start publicizing materials, and what types of materials (presentations, social media, signs, pamphlets) are needed and where they will be distributed or occur. The intern will interact with local anglers, outdoor recreational organizations, the general public, federal and state collaborators, and law enforcement to develop the outreach materials and program.

 

The intern will work with multiple agencies, including the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and collaborate with fisheries and wildlife biologists, law enforcement officers, public outreach professionals, and other collaborators who will present networking and mentoring opportunities. The intern will be encouraged to participate in other fieldwork related projects that will provide shadowing opportunities and additional exposure to science‐related topics.

 

Refuge staff will train the intern in non‐motorized watercraft operation, Microsoft suite or other software, defensive driving training, procedures for engaging with the public, and facilitation of meetings and connections for the intern with partner agencies (U.S. Geological Survey, Arizona Department of Game and Fish). Refuge staff will advise on safety and messaging, and coordinate to find opportunities to engage with the public. Housing is available for the intern during their term.

 

Essential Responsibilities and Functions:

  • Create an outreach plan; educate staff and recreationists on invasive species ecology and impacts.
  • Engage with anglers and other recreationists on the river using a kayak or canoe to access waterways.
  • Research species ecology and create talking points for these encounters.
  • Create summary document for staff and collaborators, including law enforcement and other public‐facing professionals who interact with the public daily.
  • Promote invasive species reporting through outreach events.
  • Find and enlist in opportunities to engage with local recreationist groups.
  • Participate in community events and interact with the public on the Lower Colorado River.
  • Promote invasive species reporting through creation of outreach materials.
  • Develop handouts for direct engagement and events.
  • Determine the best platform for reporting sightings.
  • Develop signage that will be strategically placed to educate recreationists on high priority invasive species.
  • Assist with development of sampling and trapping methodologies.
  • Survey waterways for invasives.
  • Assist with trials of eDNA sampling in backwaters and trapping in areas of detections, if applicable. 

Required Skills

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Willing and able to represent the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Arizona Conservation Corps in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • Applicants must pass a criminal history background check and possess a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to speak to the public.
  • Willingness to operate a 4WD vehicle and work using kayaks and boats.
  • Experience in reptile and fish identification.
  • Effective oral and written communication skills with all ages and diverse audiences.
  • Able and willing to perform duties outdoors in varying weather conditions, especially hot outdoor conditions.
  • Ability to operate independently and in remote areas, including kayaking/canoeing in backwaters.
  • Competent in Microsoft Office.

 

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Willingness to learn and be a self‐starter, and work with minimal supervision in hot and buggy conditions.
  • Enrollment in a natural resource‐related college degree program or have recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a natural resource‐related field.
  • Possessing a desire to work with the public and conduct public outreach while conversing with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Previous experience handling animals and reptiles.
  • Possessing an interest in angling and/or hunting.
  • Experience and/or knowledge with GPS equipment and ArcGIS/ESRI products such as Field Maps.
  • Possessing a personal smartphone for field communication and for data collection is preferred.

 

Physical Requirements:

  • To successfully perform essential functions, the individual is required to sit, stand, walk, speak, hear, etc. May be required to stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl for significant periods of time.
  • Capable of participating in sustained physical labor including ability to frequently push, pull, and lift 40 lbs., operate independently and in remote areas, and ability to operate kayaks/canoes.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made for qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 

 

Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements:

Participation and Expedition Behavior:

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences. 
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason.
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable. 
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff. 
  • Appropriately represent AmeriCorps, Arizona Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at all times.

 

Safety and Judgment: 

  • Potential environmental/human risk involved includes uneven terrain, slippery/wet conditions, biting insects, intense heat (>110 degrees F), picking up/lifting kayaks and small water‐related equipment, traveling via an airboat or outboard motorboat, driving at night and off‐road, interacting with wildlife and aquatic species during surveys.
  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury or need for assistance. Must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise such as darkness or high winds.
  • Effectively perceive, understand, and follow direction by others so that you will be able to successfully execute techniques to manage hazards. 
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling and working in varied weather conditions. 
  • Respond appropriately to stress or crisis.
  • If taking prescriptions medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from others.

 

Environmental Ethics:

  • Learn and practice 'Leave no Trace' techniques.

 

Substance Free:

  • In accordance with a drug free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.  

 

Background Check:

A DOI background clearance may be required prior to reporting for duty and a PIV card obtained after the candidate reports to duty. The USFWS will provide instructions for completion of the clearance after an intern has been selected and will notify them when they have been cleared to start the internship. This process will determine the internship’s exact start date.

 

Interns will have access to government facilities and systems, and will be supplied with access to gov’t vehicles, equipment, and materials needed to work on the projects and activities as outlined above. Interns must adhere to all government regulations and policies for operating equipment, vehicles, security awareness, and safety.

 

To Apply:  Please submit a resume and cover letter along with filling out the online application, by clicking the APPLY button below. If you have questions, contact AZCC’s Individual Placement Coordinator Preston Sands at psands@conservationlegacy.org

 

For more information on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, please visit their website at https://www.fws.gov/. Information on the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge can be found at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/cibola.

 

For more information about Arizona Conservation Corps, please visit https://azcorps.org/. Arizona Conservation Corps is a program of Conservation Legacy.

This position is located at 66600 Cibola Lake Road, Cibola, AZ. View the Google Map in full screen.



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