The Conservation Field Assistant advances the shared conservation goals of the Shenandoah Valley Conservation Collaborative by assisting the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and soil and water conservation districts (SWCD’s) on-the-ground work with landowners who choose to implement best management practices on their farm or forest land. The Conservation Field Assistant will be an employee of Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley but work out of the NRCS Harrisonburg field office. This is a new three-year position, funded by a grant award from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Areas of Responsibility
The Conservation Field Assistant reports directly to the SVCC Project Manager in consultation with the NRCS district conservationists who direct field activities.
Implement conservation practices that restore clean water (70%)
- Support district conservationists in Harrisonburg, Strasburg and Verona field offices working with landowners to implement Farm Bill programs, such as EQIP, CSP and easement programs.
- Under guidance of the district conservationists:
- support conservation practice implementation in Shenandoah Valley NRCS Service Centers;
- provide technical support to Soil and Water Conservation District partners in Harrisonburg (Shenandoah Valley District), Strasburg (Lord Fairfax District), and Verona (Headwaters District) for implementing the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share Program;
- Duties will include, but not be limited to:
- Utilizing NRCS software systems to create maps, conservation plans, conduct planning assessments using CART and Conservation Desktop;
- Follow up with producers who are behind schedule on their contracts and provide technical assistance needed to get back on schedule;
- Learn basic engineering design to plan and design conservation practices such as watering systems;
- Complete job sheets;
- Other duties as assigned.
Assist District Conservationists (15%)
- Carries out any assigned duties, including administrative, that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of soil conservation and water quality operations conducted by the field office.
Support collaborative efforts of the SVCC (15%)
- Coordinate with SVCC partners and SVCC Project Manager (who will be housed in Alliance’s office in New Market)
- Participate in SVCC meetings
- Support SVCC Project Manager in nutrient reduction tracking and other outputs associated with administration of NFWF grant
- Cross-training with SVCC agency and nonprofit partners on conservation easements, state and federal agricultural cost share programs
Dynamic work environment, working with people who are committed to making a difference.
Salary range for most candidates is $35,000- 45,000 depending on experience
Generous benefits package and paid holidays and leave.
Requirements of the Position
- Passion for protecting the extraordinary landscape and natural and cultural resources of the Shenandoah Valley
- Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal skills
- Proficient computer skills including Microsoft Word and Excel
- Bachelor’s degree in natural resources/ agriculture or a combination of education and equivalent field experience
- Knowledge of standard soil and water conservation methods, techniques, measures and practices.
- Ability to work in multiple locations and adaptability in working with multiple teams
- Valid driver’s license; Ability to work outdoors in all conditions
- Experience using aerial imagery and topographic maps to collect field data, use of soil survey data, and various survey instruments;
- Knowledge of basic engineering practices needed to prepare designs, ability to complete basic surveying and drafting tasks, and knowledge of construction and excavation;
- Knowledge of land protection tools and practices including conservation easements;
- Familiarity with Shenandoah Valley agriculture, land use, and communities.