Soil Conservationist (Tribal District Conservationist)
Department Of Agriculture - Toppenish, WA

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Washington State NRCS is advertising two Tribal District Conservationist positions. The first position is located in Toppenish, Washington (see http://www.toppenish.net/ for more information) and will service the Yakama Indian Nation and surrounding areas. The second position is located in Nespelem, Washington (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nespelem,_Washington for more information) and will service the Confederated Tribes of Colville and surrounding areas.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

Must be a U.S. Citizen or National

Valid Motor Vehicle Operators License

Specialized education and experience required

Travel required

Posiition requires field and office work

Must file annual OGE-450 Financial Disclosure Form

DUTIES:
This position provides the services of a Tribal District Conservationist. The incumbent provides direction and management in administering all phases of a comprehensive natural resource program within the DC’s work unit boundaries. For the position in Toppenish that work unit encompasses the internal boundary of the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama Reservation (Yakama and Klickitat counties) and any of the Tribe’s allotment/trust lands outside the Reservation; for the position in Nespelem that work unit encompasses the internal boundary of the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation (Okanagan and Ferry counties) and any of the Tribe’s allotment/trust lands outside the Reservation. In each location the incumbents will:

  • Direct conservation planning, application and maintenance activities involving all NRCS programs within the work unit.
  • Provide leadership in establishing and maintaining good working relations with the Tribal Conservation District and with tribal staff members that have resource conservation responsibilities.
  • Conduct information and education activities that promote the programs and services available from the NRCS.
  • Provide guidance and implementation of compliance provision of FSA/FACTA.
  • Supervise NRCS employees within the work unit.
  • Analyze property and equipment needs, as well as other administrative and budgetary matters pertinent to the conduct of business within the assigned locations.
  • Represent NRCS at Tribal and/or conservation district meetings and other related work unit functions.
QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:
QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED: All applicants must meet Office of Personnel Management (OPM) qualification requirements for the GS-0457 Soil Conservationist series at the GS-11 level as listed below. Applicants who fail to meet and document all requirements will be found ineligible for consideration. This position has both a positive education requirement and a specialized experience requirement. ALL applicants must meet both sets of requirements, and must submit a legible copy of their college transcripts (photocopies OK) in order to be considered. Applicants will be rated solely on the information provided in their original application. No additional information will be requested or accepted.

Basic Education Requirement:
Method A: An applicant must have a bachelor or higher degree that included a major field of study (including 300 and 400 level courses) in soil conservation or a related agricultural or natural resource discipline. 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 which 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science. Partial credit for courses cannot be given.

OR

Method B. A combination of education and experience equivalent to a 4-year degree. Applicant must have met the basic educational requirements equivalent to the above paragraph prior to consideration of their experience. Qualifying education must include the completion of a major field of study for a bachelor degree determined by the university attended (including 300 and 400 level courses) in soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline. 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 which 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science. Partial credit for courses cannot be given.

AND

Specialized Experience Requirement:
To qualify for this position at the GS-11 level applicants must have (and document) at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the federal GS-09 level. Specialized experience is defined as experience that has equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. Examples of qualifying specialized experience that would be creditable for this position at the GS-11 level include providing technical assistance to urban and rural land users in the development, revision, implementation, and maintenance of complete resource conservation plans; furnishing technical assistance to others in the area of resource conservation planning; collecting data and summarizing observations and field studies to develop job sheets and other aids to resource conservation planning; and writing technical articles and news releases concerning resource conservation activities. GS-09 Soil Conservationists/Resource Conservationists perform a full range of resource conservation tasks consisting of relatively simple complete projects or total phases of larger projects, and must be able to act independently in carrying out recurring conventional conservation projects based on available technical criteria and practices.

Educational Substitution: 3 years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in soil conservation or a related agricultural or natural resource discipline directly related to this position may be substituted for the specialized experience requirement. Equivalent combinations of education and experience are also allowed; see the OPM Qualifications Standards Handbook at http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/group-stds/gs-prof.asp, or contact the agency contact listed for this vacancy for details and/or more information if needed.

Documenting education and experience:
  • Education: It is mandatory to submit college transcripts to document your education. Photocopies are acceptable. Failure to submit transcripts will result in removal from further consideration. Please submit course catalog descriptions for those courses that may not clearly be identified as qualifying, especially courses in soils, crops or plant science. If a determination cannot be made without additional information as to whether a course is creditable or not, then we will NOT credit it for the soil conservation series.
  • Experience: Credit will be given for appropriate qualifying unpaid experience or volunteer work such as community, cultural, social service, and professional association activities on the same basis as for paid experience. To receive proper credit for your paid or unpaid experience or volunteer work, fully describe your responsibilities and show the actual time, dates, and hours per week spent in such activities (example 3/1/2002 through 5/9/2006, 40 hours per week).
Applicants must meet qualifications requirements, federal time-in-grade or time after competitive appointment requirements (if applicable), and all other requirements by the closing date of the announcement. If you are not sure you meet these requirements ask for clarification. It is up to the applicant to clearly document that they meet all qualification requirements.

Foreign Education: If you are using education completed in foreign colleges or universities to meet the qualification requirements, you must show that the education credentials have been evaluated by a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign education programs and such education has been deemed equivalent to that gained in an accredited U.S. education program; or full credit has been given for the courses at a U.S. accredited college or university. For further information, visit http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-visitus-forrecog.html . T he processing of this vacancy announcement will not be held/delayed pending your evaluation of foreign education. You must adequately document that you meet all qualification requirements by the closing date of this announcement.

Conditions of Employment and Other Requirements:
  • Travel required: Requires day travel to field sites and outlying areas, and occasional overnight travel (estimated at 1-5 days per month) both in-state and out of state to perform work and attend meetings, conferences, and training. Incumbent may be required to obtain, maintain, and use a government-issued charge card for any official travel.
  • Driver's License: To perform the duties of this position, the incumbent must serve as an incidental motor vehicle operator. This will require the operation of a motor vehicle on both public and private roads during daylight hours and occasionally after dark. A valid state driver's license is required.
  • Field work : The work is performed in both the office and the field requiring common sense precautions typical of these settings. A significant amount of physical exertion such as regular and recurring periods of walking over rough or uneven terrain is required when doing field work, and the incumbent may be exposed to discomfort from such extremes as heat, cold, rain, snow and other inclement weather. Protective equipment is necessary on construction sites, and encounters with wild animals are not uncommon.
  • Financial Disclosure : If selected for this position, you will be required to file, prior to final appointment processing, a Confidential Financial Disclosure Report, OGE-450 and subsequently file one on an annual basis.
  • A background investigation will be required for all new appointments . Your continued employment will be subject to your successful completion of a background security investigation and favorable adjudication. Failure to successfully meet these requirements will be grounds for termination.
  • A 12-month Probationary Period is required if this is your first appointment within the federal government or if a Federal Employee but this is a new line of work. During the Probationary Period you may be released due to performance, budget or other reasons.
  • Citizenship : You must be a U.S. citizen or national to receive consideration under this announcement.
  • E-Verify: This employer will provide the Social Security Administration and, if necessary, the Department of Homeland Security with information of each new employee's Form I-9 to confirm work authorization.
  • Reference Checks: The agency reserves the right to check your references, either in advance of an interview or after an interview. Applying for this announcement gives consent to these reference checks
  • Mandatory Training: All NRCS employees in GS-0400 and GS-0800 series are required to attend Conservation Boot Camp training (3 weeks) during their first year of employment. This in-depth training session is usually in another state, and therefore requires extensive travel and time away from home. Other mandatory training may be required as well.
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:
HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED: As part of the application process you will be asked to submit an on-line questionnaire used to evaluate your Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities as outlined below:

  • Technical knowledge of a wide variety of natural resources disciplines, principles, practices and application procedures, along with the rules, regulations, policies, programs and procedures related to those activities.
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of tribal governments, customs, and cultures
  • Ability to work well with others in a cooperative team environment
  • Ability to communicate well with others (i.e., orally and in writing, tdd, lip reading, sign language, etc.)
  • Ability to manage a field office (or equivalent )
Applicants must choose the best answer that is fully supported by their resume, transcripts, and other application materials. Your resume must reflect both the specialized experience required for this position, and the answers you select in the on-line questionnaire. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU PREVIEW THE QUESTIONNAIRE BEFORE COMPLETING IT, AND CROSS-REFERENCE AS NEEEDED TO ENSURE YOUR RESUME SUPPORTS THE ANSWERS YOU SELECT IN THE ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE. Please provide enough detail in your application materials for us to clearly determine your levels of experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. If materials are not received by the closing date your application will be evaluated solely on the information available and you may not receive full consideration. All the information you provide is subject to verification either by review of your application, by checking references, or through other means such as the interview process. Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempts to conceal information may be grounds for lowering your rating, not hiring you, or removal after employment begins

Once the application process is complete we will review your resume and supporting documentation to ensure you meet the basic job requirements. If found basically eligible we will further evaluate your application package and questionnaire results, and using Category Rating and Selection Procedures your application will be placed in one of three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans, and only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

To preview questions please View Assessment Questions .

BENEFITS:
Working for NRCS offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System, FlexiWork, Telework, Transportation Subsidies and a family friendly work environment. To find out more click here http://www.usajobs.gov/EI/benefits.asp

OTHER INFORMATION:
Travel and relocation expenses will NOT be paid by the government. If selected under this announcement any travel, transportation and relocations expenses associated with reporting for duty to this position will be the responsibility of the selected employee.

Veterans' Preference (Category Rating): If you are a veteran who is eligible under law for veteran's preference we encourage you to document your preference in your application materials. Under Category Rating Procedures veterans who meet (and document) preference criteria are listed above non-preference eligibles within the same quality category (best qualified, well qualified, etc.) in which they are assigned based on job-related assessment tools. Not all veterans are eligible for preference. To learn more and find out if you qualify for preference visit the Feds Hire Vets website at http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/veterans.aspx . You must provide acceptable documentation of your preference when you apply to this announcement or you will not be awarded preference. This includes a Member 4 copy of your DD214 showing character of service (honorable etc.), and, if claiming 10 point preference, Standard Form SF-15 'Application for 10-point Veterans' Preference' with all applicable supporting information attached. See the 'Veterans Information' link on the last page of this announcement for more information. Information on the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) and Agency Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP). ICTAP and the CTAP provide eligible surplus or displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. If you have been separated from you agency and are eligible for CTAP, or your agency has notified you in writing that you are a displaced employee eligible for ICTAP consideration, you may receive selection priority if: 1) this vacancy is within your CTAP/ICTAP eligibility, 2) you apply under the instructions in this announcement, and 3) you are found well-qualified for this vacancy. (To be found well-qualified your application must rate at or above 85.) You must annotate your application to reflect that you are applying as a CTAP or ICTAP eligible and provide proof of eligibility with your application to receive selection priority. Information about CTAP/ICTAP eligibility and required documentation can be found on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at http://www.opm.gov/ctap/index.asp .

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