The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD) is accepting applications from qualified candidates for the position of Fish and Wildlife Scientist III. The position will include statewide reptile and amphibian conservation and district responsibilities such as state lands management. The VFWD adheres to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and is responsible for the stewardship of both game and nongame species, and the habitats and natural communities that support them. It is our hope that the person we hire will possess the interest and skills to undertake significant management and supervisory roles in the future.
The professional biologist we hire will be part of the Wildlife Diversity Program of the VFWD and will design and implement conservation and recovery plans for our native reptiles and amphibians with an emphasis on state listed species. The biologist implements inventory, monitoring, disease surveillance, and management programs to conserve endangered, threatened and other Species of Greatest Conservation Need species, compiles and analyzes data on the distribution of the state’s herpetofauna and provides needed expertise in the environmental/regulatory review arena. This position requires strong interpersonal, communication, organization, and leadership skills to work with our VFWD and other Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) staff, and a variety of partners. Environmental review and management of reptiles, amphibians, other game and nongame species, and their habitats is expected. The incumbent will be assigned state land management duties within the Rutland Regional District and assist with other wildlife projects such as staffing deer biological check stations. Our Wildlife Diversity Program Manager will serve as the official supervisor of this position and provide general guidance, with the expectation that the incumbent will exercise significant independent judgement.
Specific duties include:
1. Work with the Reptile and Amphibian Scientific Advisory Group and the Endangered Species Committee on status assessments of reptiles and amphibians, including endangered or threatened status, Srank assignments, and inclusion on the list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
2. Develop, implement, and coordinate habitat and population management programs for reptiles and amphibians, draft species recovery plans, work with partners to identify, manage, and protect important habitat areas, and review and help develop Long Range Management Plans for state lands that benefit multiple taxa. When appropriate, propose designation of critical habitats.
3. Plan, supervise, and/or conduct field surveys, biological investigations, and management of reptile and amphibian populations; oversee and administer short-term reptile and amphibian projects to be contracted-out; hire and supervise seasonal staff to assist in biological surveys, monitoring, and management as needed; analyze conservation research and inventory results and prepare studies, technical reports and scientific papers.
4. Develop and maintain professional relationships with land managers, the environmental and scientific communities; implement conservation partnerships to advance reptile and amphibian conservation; interact professionally with biologists at the state, regional, and national level; collaborate with the Reptile and Amphibian Scientific Advisory Group members; coordinate efforts with the VFWD and other Agency of Natural Resources staff as well as partners.
5. Provide expert advice on importation, research, commercial collection, educational display, pet trade, and rehabilitation of reptiles and amphibians
6. Contribute to habitat management efforts on Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), other public lands, and advise on private lands management when appropriate; participate as a member of District Stewardship Team and assist the development of Long Range Management Plans.
Existing projects and include:
1. Management of the state-endangered Timber Rattlesnake including monitoring for Snake Fungal Disease and participation in a regional genetics study. An approved recovery plan exists.
2. Management of large communal nesting areas for the state-threatened Spiny Softshell Turtle along with Map, Painted, and Snapping turtles. An approved recovery plan exists.
3. Developing a proposal for legal designation of Softshell nesting areas as Critical Habitat.
4. Developing a recovery plan for the state-endangered Spotted Turtle.
5. Pool-breeding amphibian guidelines have been developed and technical assistance is ongoing.
6. Efforts to enhance habitat for state-threatened North American Racer.
7. Rutland Office staff are responsible for the management of 28 Wildlife Management Areas.
Regional projects and concerns include:
RCN Wood Turtle project
Spotted Turtle CSWG project
NRCS Working Lands For Wildlife with a focus on Wood and Spotted turtles
Regional collaboration on Timber Rattlesnake (CSWG project completed)
Surveillance for Bsal (salamander chytrid fungus)
Minimum Qualifications from Job Specifications:
Considerable knowledge of the principles and concepts of fish/wildlife biology and management.
Considerable knowledge of conservation philosophy, concepts, and practices.
Considerable knowledge of vertebrate physiology, parasitology, and ecology.
Considerable knowledge of fish/wildlife pathology.
Working knowledge of sampling techniques and statistical procedures.
Working knowledge of personal computer systems, electronic mail, and complex word processing and data management software.
Knowledge of budget process, Federal and State grant reporting requirements.
Ability to plan and conduct complex research, evaluate findings, and prepare analytical reports.
Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
Ability to operate field and laboratory equipment related to species and habitat sampling.
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships.
1. Considerable knowledge of the biology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.
2. Excellent skills in effective communication, technical writing, and collaboration with the ability to work effectively with a variety of partners.
3. Considerable knowledge of information management, Global Position Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
4. Considerable knowledge of sampling techniques and statistical procedures.
5. Good understanding of population genetics and disease detection and prevention
6. Good understanding of the concepts and conservation applications of population viability, landscape ecology and connectivity, and wildlife habitat management.
7. Ability to develop budgets, track expenditures, and write and implement effective grants.
8. Knowledge of habitat management techniques and the ability to effectively communicate stewardship needs with state foresters helping to implement WMA management projects; working knowledge of silvicultural concepts and applications and familiarity with Northern Hardwood Forest and other natural communities.
9. Ability to effectively engage with partners and the public to raise awareness and support for conservation.
10. Management experience, including supervision.
Education and Experience:
Master's degree or higher in a natural resources field AND two (2) years or more of experience in a natural resources field.
Bachelor's degree or higher in natural resources field or biology AND four (4) years or more of experience in a natural resources field.
Benefits include 80% state paid medical insurance premium
No cost dental plan
Defined benefit pension and 457(b) deferred compensation plan for retirement savings
Holidays and vacation