Conservation Specialist Position
Post Date: 11/28/23
WNRCD seeks an innovator and community-connector with a strong understanding of water quality to manage our clean water education, outreach, and project implementation initiatives. This position will be based out of an office in Williston or Berlin, Vermont and will be responsible for District programs such as Rethink Runoff Stream Team, Storm Smart, and Trees For Streams.
About Winooski NRCD
The Winooski NRCD was established in 1940, after Vermont passed the Soil Conservation Act, with an original purpose to drive locally-led voluntary conservation through contacts with farmers. In 1968, the Vermont State Legislature amended the Soil Conservation Act broadening our scope to conserve all natural resources. Since 1940, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District has promoted the wise use, sustainable development, and conservation of our District’s natural resources. We connect residents with education and technical assistance to implement on-the-ground projects to improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat. We serve residents and communities of Chittenden and Washington County Vermont as well as three towns in Orange County (Orange, Williamstown & Washington), making the Winooski NRCD the largest NRCD in the state by area and population. Find out more at our website: www.winooskinrcd.org
A qualified candidate for the Conservation Specialist position should be able to assist on multiple projects simultaneously, communicate effectively with other staff and project partners, and work within established budgets and timelines as outlined in project work plans. The ideal applicant should have a working understanding of watershed health and the natural resources and ecosystems of Vermont. We are seeking a candidate who has knowledge in some capacity of the following natural resources domains: forestry, wetlands, river/stream health, soil health, riparian buffers, and water quality. The Conservation specialist will be expected to communicate information to the public on Vermont’s natural resources and have experience hosting events. Additionally, much of the conservation districts work is grant funded, therefore a qualified candidate will be expected to work on grant-funded programs and assist with writing grants. Education and outreach is a primary task of the Conservation Specialist. The Conservation Specialist will work to coordinate and implement effective conservation and restoration programs and projects in the Winooski District with partner agencies, towns, not-for-profit groups, and individuals. This will include coordination of:
- Rethink Runoff Stream Team: is an ongoing awareness and public outreach effort to reduce dirt and pollutants in stormwater runoff in the Lake Champlain Basin. Upcoming initiatives include coordinating the Adopt-a-Drain program, LaRosa volunteer stream monitoring project, and organizing a rain barrel workshop.
- Storm Smart: is a FREE program that provides education and technical assistance to homes to promote green stormwater infrastructure and other stormwater solutions for our watershed and wildlife.
- Trees For Streams: is a program designed to improve and protect water quality by establishing woody vegetation to provide benefits such as:
- Minimizing bank erosion by holding soil in place.
- Trapping, storing and filtering nutrients from runoff and overland flow especially during high flow events.
- Regulating water temperatures by shading surface waters.
Other responsibilities include:
- Administration of current grants and agreements including timely communication, reporting, and invoicing.
- The development of new grant funded projects and programs based on local needs in coordination with the District Manager, Board of Supervisors, statewide technical staff and watershed partners.
- Provide outreach and technical support to the community by developing outreach materials; coordinating and hosting educational workshops on topics like stormwater runoff on wildlife habitat improvement.
- Assisting with conservation practice installations and water quality monitoring efforts.
- Manage and grow WNRCD volunteer program
- Assist with promotion of the Vermont Envirothon program
- Technical & Programmatic
- Coordinate and implement effective conservation programs and projects in the Winooski District with partner agencies, towns, not-profit groups, and other individuals. This will include coordination of the Rethink Runoff Stream Team, Storm Smart, and Trees for Streams programs.
- Develop new projects and programs based on local needs in coordination with the District Manager, statewide technical staff, Board of Supervisors, and partners.
- Provide outreach and technical support to the community by developing outreach materials, coordinating and hosting educational events, publicizing Districts activities and programs, and assisting with practice installations.
- Assist with Annual Tree Sale fundraiser which may include coordinating with wholesale nursery suppliers, setting up an ecommerce platform, editing the brochure, packing orders and assisting with tree distribution day.
- Planning, designing and on-the-ground implementation of conservation initiatives for individual landowners, schools, municipalities, and other groups identified. Examples of projects include designing and installing rain gardens, completing stormwater site assessments for residents and creating riparian planting plans & recruiting volunteers for installation days.
- Administration & Communication
- Research, develop, and assist in the administration of funding (grants, foundation support, partner match, invoicing for services) for conservation projects.
- Collaborating with partner agencies, towns, non-profit groups, and other individuals and managing multi-organization grants
- Assisting with a range of WNRCD communications efforts both online and in print.
- Writing grants for the long-term continuation of the position.
- Assist with development and management of District fundraising activities and help build District capacity.
- Assist the District Manager as needed with newsletter, annual meetings, website updates, intern and volunteer management, annual work plan, and other organizational tasks.
- Develop an understanding of the Winooski NRCD’s annual and long term priorities and explore new program possibilities in order to help the District meet the local natural resources needs.
- Submit bi-weekly timesheets and monthly expense reports to the District Manager and Finance Manager.
- Prepare monthly progress reports for the District Board of Supervisors.
The Conservation Specialist will be an employee of the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District. Direct supervision will be by the District Manager, who is responsible to the District’s Board of Supervisors. Guidance and workload prioritization will be provided by the District Manager. Changes in duties and program direction must be approved by the District Manager and be in line with natural resource needs and concerns of the District residents and partners.
2 to 4 years of practical experience in natural resource management and/or administration. BA or BS in natural resources or related fields preferred.
Candidates must be able to receive a security clearance to work on the USDA NRCS computer system and have access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
Desired Skills and Experiences
- Knowledge of Vermont natural resources issues related to the federal Clean Water Act and Vermont’s Act 76.
- Knowledge of stormwater Best Management Practices and on-the-ground project installations.
- Knowledge of and/or experience with water quality testing and non-point source pollution.
- Experience with grant management including task & budget tracking, reporting and invoicing. Preferred experience working with partners from multiple organizations in an administrative capacity.
- Experience with community outreach both written and in-person
- Recruiting and managing community volunteers.
- Detail-oriented in data collection.
- Self-organizing and strong time management skills.
- Comfortable with completing field work, independently, in a variety of weather conditions and in urban, suburban and rural settings.
- Willingness to travel throughout the District.
- Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Map development, interpretation and experience with, and knowledge of, GIS.
Job Type: Full-time, hourly (40 hrs/week)
Location: Office space is co-located with NRCS offices in Williston or Berlin, VT. Position may alternate between office and home-based work but should expect extensive travel across Winooski NRCD service area and must have access to reliable transportation and valid driver’s license. Mileage reimbursement included.
Target Start Date: January 2023
Compensation Benefits: Compensation is based upon qualification and experience
Paid holidays, annual leave, and personal/sick leave. $6000/year health stipend. Retirement contribution to Simple IRA account.
Please e-mail email@example.com a cover letter, resume (PDF or Word format), and 3 professional references with “Conservation Specialist Application” in the subject line. Deadline to submit is Friday, December 22, 2023. Direct any questions to this email address. No phone calls, please.
Winooski NRCD is an equal opportunity employer. Review of interested candidates shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or gender identity or expression. Protected classes strongly encouraged to apply. Thank you for your interest!