Partners Add New SGI Field Position in Montana | Job Announcement

June 12, 2015

Download a PDF of the job vacancy announcement in Montana.

Lisa Coverdale, NRCS state conservationist for Montana, and Elena Evans, executive director for the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Inc., sign an agreement to add another SGI Strategic Watershed Action Team position in Ekalaka, Montana.

Lisa Coverdale, NRCS state conservationist for Montana, and Elena Evans, executive director for the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Inc., sign an agreement to add another SGI Strategic Watershed Action Team position in Ekalaka, Montana.

The Sage Grouse Initiative’s Strategic Watershed Action Team (SWAT) is hiring a Range and Wildlife Conservationist to fill a newly created position in Montana. The SWAT was established in 2011 to build field capacity and strengthen the science guiding the NRCS-led Sage Grouse Initiative. Since 2011, the Montana Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Inc., the Montana Association of Conservation Districts and a number of other organizations have employed three SGI range conservationists in Forsyth, Glasgow, and Malta.

Over the last three years, our range conservationists have: accomplished range inventories on more than 40 private lands; provided outreach to interested landowners, conservation districts, and the public about sage grouse conservation programs; and put in place conservation projects on over a dozen properties. Examples of conservation projects include: working with landowners on implementing grazing management plans; improving water infrastructure; fence marking; and integrating habitat improvement work across private and public lands.


Position: Range and Wildlife Conservationist
Application Deadline: June 25, 2015 by 5 pm MST
Location: Forsyth, Montana
Anticipated Start Date: July 2015

Overview: This position is part of a collaborative effort among Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Inc. (SWCDMI), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) and local partners to further the delivery of the NRCS Sage-Grouse Initiative. This position provides rangeland technical assistance for the Sage-Grouse Initiative and associated Farm Bill conservation programs to agriculture producers and landowners. The incumbent will be an employee of SWCDMI with daily instruction and leadership provided by the local NRCS District Conservationist.

– Provide technical assistance (range conservation and biology focus) and guidance to landowners, government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) and others. Training will be provided by NRCS, IWJV, SWCDMI, and the local Conservation District.
– Coordinate the implementation and application of range biological sciences within the conservation programs in cooperation with the local NRCS District Conservationist, BLM, and others.
– Complete contracts, applications and other required documentation for Farm Bill conservation programs (i.e. EQIP, ACEP, and CRP) requiring rangeland and biological science expertise in cooperation with the partners.
– Communicate program requirements, complete site visits to determine eligibility, and develop contracts/plans for applicants enrolling in USDA conservation programs or other state and local rangeland conservation programs for the protection, restoration and enhancement of sage-grouse habitat.
– Coordinate and participate in field work activities for sage-grouse habitat project implementation and work with agricultural producers.
– Perform other related duties as assigned, including public education and outreach regarding SGI.

Required Knowledge Skills and Abilities:
– Ability to communicate clearly and effectively with landowners and partner agencies.
– Ability to work independently with little supervision and with diverse clientele.
– Experience with range inventory procedures.
– Knowledge of range science and wildlife ecology, including the ability to develop prescribed grazing plans that include range management objectives.
– Able to obtain USDA Security Clearance and NRCS Conservation Planning certification.
– Excellent verbal/written communication and organizational skills.
– Valid driver’s license.
– A general qualification guideline for this position is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rangeland Science or Wildlife Biology/Management from an accredited university with an emphasis on developing prescribed grazing systems and course work and/or experience on integrating wildlife management principles into range management systems.
– Knowledge of computer skills is required and applicant should be familiar with Word and Excel.
– Ability to use ArcMap and Toolkit would be beneficial.
– Physical ability to; stand and walk for extended periods of time over rough terrain; lift and move material weighing up to 50 pounds; work in all types of weather conditions.

Training and Experience Guideline: Any combination of training and/or experience that will enable the applicant to possess the required knowledge, skills and abilities.

Salary: $37,000 – 42,000 per year based on experience + Health and Retirement Benefits.

To Apply: Send a resume, three references with contact information, and responses to the following:
1. Describe your experience working with landowners.
2. What is your philosophy on sage-grouse conservation?
3. How do you self-motivate your work activities when working alone?
4. Where do you see your career in five years?

Email application materials to SWCDMI at