Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Conservationist (Resource Conservationist) in United States
Summary The incumbent provides technical expertise to field and area staff in conservation planning and application, quality assurance, contracting, performance reporting, and geographic information system (i.e., ArcGIS), etc.; and the implementation of associated technology tools. The incumbent identifies solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations, and resolves matters involving conservation plans. Responsibilities Provides leadership, technical guidance, interpretations, and recommendations to assigned technical staff, Field Offices, Area Offices, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations in the development and application of conservation plans. Provides support to field office staff in implementing National and State Conservation planning policies, procedures, and requirements of the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG). Ensures all planning and environmental compliance functions are reviewed in program appraisals; confirms subsequent ecological practice spot-checking processes are carried out on an annual basis. Acts as an area NRCS representative in establishing and maintaining positive working relations with other federal, state, local agencies and organizations on problems of mutual interest regarding the soil and water conservation program. Represents the Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations at conferences and committee meetings, as assigned. Subsequently advises and makes recommendations based on results of conference and committee deliberations. Requirements Conditions of Employment Qualifications Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience and/or education, as defined below. Time in grade: Applicants must have one year of specialized experience at the next lower grade to be considered for the next higher grade (e.g. one year at the GS-11 grade level for consideration for the GS-12 grade level). Basic Education Requirement: Degree: soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. The study must have included 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science; OR Combination of Education and Experience: At least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education comparable to a 4 year degree. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science. Evaluation of Education: Education that provided specialized knowledge and skills in soil and water conservation is more valuable than education that imparted broad but general knowledge and skills. Courses in soil fertility, soil chemistry, soil genesis, plant physiology, plant science, and field crops are examples of specialized courses that contribute towards meeting the required 12 semester hours as described above. Courses in the physical sciences or engineering such as geology, civil engineering, and hydrology also meet the soils, crops, or plant science course requirements where such courses included a complete introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils. Evaluation of Experience: Experience that included the application of techniques, principles, and methods from a variety of agricultural and natural resource fields is appropriate, given the interdisciplinary character of the soil conservation occupation. For example, experience gained in a specialized field such as soil science, forestry, or agronomy is as fully acceptable as experience directly obtained in soil conservation work. In addition to meeting one of the Basic Requirements listed above, applicants must meet the following Minimum Qualifications Requirement in order to be considered: Specialized Experience Requirement for the GS-12: To qualify for the GS-12 grade level, you must possess at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GS-11 level or higher in the Federal service, or comparable experience not gained through federal service. For this position, specialized experience is defined as providing technical guidance, assistance and training in all phases and steps of the conservation planning process for a wide geographic region. Examples of this experience include: Providing technical guidance and assistance in the inventory and evaluation, design and certification phases of complex ecological science conservation practices. Providing recommendations and solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agency conservation activities. Providing guidance and oversight to others on conservation planning and implementation. Note: There is no education substitution for the GS-12 level. For more information on the qualifications for this position, click here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=GS-PROF Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience. Education You must submit a copy of your college transcripts or a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grades received to verify all education requirements (i.e. substitution of education and/or basic education requirement). If a relevant course is not clearly qualifying (e.g. special topic, seminar, research, thesis, obscure or misleading course title, etc.), please submit an official course syllabi and/or detailed course description from the university/college for that particular course to ensure you are properly evaluated. Please note that qualifications determinations are based solely on the information submitted for each particular vacancy announcement. You must document all requirements on every vacancy; we cannot use previous determinations as a basis for rating. All required information must be received by the closing date of this announcement, and non-submission of all required documents/documentation will result in non-consideration. Unofficial transcripts will be accepted. This information must be received by the closing date of this announcement. Non-submission of these documents will result in non-consideration. Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Applicants must, therefore, only report attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Applicants can verify accreditation via this link. All education claimed by applicants will be verified accordingly. Important: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education. Click on this link for more information. Additional Information Locality Pay: The salary for each location may vary depending on locality. Locality tables my be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/. Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP) or Reemployment Priority List (RPL): Visit the OPM website for information on how to apply as a CTAP or RPL eligible. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100. Physical Demands: The conservation work requires regular and recurring physical exertion, prolonged walking on rough terrain, crossing ditches and furrows, and/or climbing steep banks. Work Environment: The work requires regular and recurring exposure to operating agricultural equipment requiring safety precautions; protective gear and clothing are necessary at such times. There may be exposure to inclement weather, poisonous insects and animals, and irritating plants. PLEASE NOTE: In the interest of filling these positions as efficiently as possible, we are requiring the following: If called for an interview, applicants must be available to interview within 3 business days of being contacted. If a tentative job offer is extended, selectee will have 2 business days in which to accept or decline. This position is eligible for telework within the local commuting area of the position and other flexible work arrangements. Current USDA policy includes telework for an 8 hour work day, 4 days per week; other flexibilities are possible dependent upon availability and/or the position and its associated duties. Employee participation is at the discretion of the supervisor. Recruitment and/or relocation incentives may be authorized.