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Land Conservation Specialist -10 Positions (Locations TBD)

NGRREC-Environmental Sustainability
Job Field:
Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Water and Soil Resources
Community Forestry & Arboriculture
Job Type:
Full Time
Job Description:

The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC) is seeking a Land Conservation Specialist to actively provide agricultural conservation assistance to USDA-NRCS in a multi-county region (click link for more details). The primary purposes of the position will be to provide conservation planning, outreach, and mid-contract management assistance to agricultural producers in order to leverage Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) opportunities to achieve wildlife and water quality goals.

Key Measurable Expectations:

The Land Conservation Specialist will be expected to provide conservation assistance to agricultural and private landowners. This specialist will be a technical expert on all aspects of the Conservation Reserve Program, filling key needs to secure and improve conservation acres on the ground. Primary focuses will include data collection and consultation with agricultural producers about conservation plans for new CRP establishments, compiling CRP conservation options for prospective landowners, and providing technical information to landowners about mid-contract management practices necessary to maintain high quality restorations throughout the duration of their CRP contracts. Land conservation specialists may also assist with annual Wetland Reserve Program/Wetland Reserve Easement (WRP/WRE) monitoring and administration as needed.

This position is one of several positions of the private lands conservation hub coordinated by the National Great Rivers Research & Education Center. Additional professional development through field training, professional conferences and workshops, and online courses, is a priority for this position.


  • Working with NRCS staff to develop conservation plans consistent with the landowner’s objectives on new CRP establishments.
  • Actively new targeting CRP conservation with landowner outreach and one-on-one consultation.
  • Providing information and outreach to agricultural producers about CRP mid-contract management practices, such as prescribed fire, strip disking, strip spraying, interseeding, and timber stand improvement.
  • Writing wildlife and burn plans for CRP contracts.
  • Facilitating positive working relationships with local agency staff, agricultural producers, and other stakeholder groups.
  • Understanding and providing information to landowners about the suite of state and federal conservation programs for the purposes of implementing conservation practices and BMPs for watershed, soil, and wildlife goals.
  • Developing field specific project plans and cost estimates.
  • Assisting NRCS with administrative, outreach, and CRP/WRE monitoring needs.



Minimum Qualifications:

The following are duties that are normal for this position. These are not to be construed as exclusive or all-inclusive.  Other duties may be required or assigned. 

Minimum Training and Experience Required to Perform Essential Job Functions


  • Requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a natural resources field, with a concentration in forestry, wildlife biology, ecology, botany or related field. Strong interest in and knowledge of biology, ecology and management of wildlife and their habitat requirements and habitat management techniques are essential. 
  • Requires familiarity with wildlife management and forest management practices for habitat restoration. 
  • Requires familiarity with a variety of computer software applications including Microsoft Office Suite and ArcGIS Suite.
  • Requires effective organizational, written, and verbal skills. 
  • Requires the ability to work efficiently and effectively with others (i.e. NRCS, FSA, IDNR, NGOs, SWCDs, etc.), as well as independently, and be able to prioritize a heavy and varied workload. 
  • Requires possession of valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and vehicle insurance coverage meeting state minimum requirements at all times.
  • A background in agriculture and/or working knowledge of agriculture is desirable.
  • Working knowledge of the Conservation Reserve Program and/or other Farm Bill conservation programs is desirable.
  • Field work may be taxing. Land Conservation Specialists will need to be strong hikers and comfortable working in adverse environmental conditions to gain access to sites and complete field work efficiently.

Work Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Open Date: 10/22/2021
Open Until Filled: Yes



$39,907 - $59,861/Commensurate with experience


How to Apply:


The Land Conservation Specialists’ primary duty station at a to-be-determined USDA Service Center in Illinois. The Land Conservation Specialist will work within a multi-county region surrounding their home office/duty-station. NRCS vehicle use to conduct field work and site visits is allowable and personal vehicle mileage is reimbursed at the IRS standard mileage rate if NRCS vehicles are unavailable.

Work hours are 37.5 hours per week, M-F. Job includes both office and field work. Mandatory drug test and background check will be required of the selected applicant. This position will be a term position with existing funding through October 2022, which may be extended if funding is available.