Ecological Site Inventory Specialist (Interdisciplinary)

SALARY RANGE:

$91,082.00 to $118,407.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 to Tuesday, April 08, 2014

SERIES & GRADE:

GS-0454/0457/0460/0471-13

POSITION INFORMATION:

Full Time - Permanent

PROMOTION POTENTIAL:

13

DUTY LOCATIONS:

1 vacancy in the following location:
Amherst, MA View Map

WHO MAY APPLY:

Status Candidates (Merit Promotion and VEOA Eligibles)

SECURITY CLEARANCE:

Not Applicable

SUPERVISORY STATUS:

No

JOB SUMMARY:

About the Agency

 

This position is on staff of the Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) Soil Survey Regional Office (SSRO), located at Amherst, Massachusetts.  The incumbent will work as a member of the SSRO to improve the utility of Ecological Site Descriptions within the region.   The person will work with other relevant NRCS specialists and outside the agency with people from universities, other agencies and interest groups to develop protocols and methodologies for the systematic inventory and classification of plant communities within the framework of Ecological Sites.  The person in this position provides regional leadership for quality assurance of data collection, handling and analysis for the development, maintenance and use of Ecological Sites and provides coordination and support, including training and oversight, to Field Staff.

 

TRAVEL REQUIRED

  • Occasional Travel
  • 1-5 nights per month.

RELOCATION AUTHORIZED

  • Yes
  • Relocation expenses are authorized for this position.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

  • U.S. Citizenship Required
  • Positive Education Required
  • Valid driver's license
  • Background Investigation
  • Travel is required for this position
  • Males born after December 31, 1959 must be registered for Selective Service

DUTIES:

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Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Provide regional or multi-regional leadership for quality assurance in the development and application of the Ecological Site Description Inventory principles for plant communities across a variety of land uses (rangeland, forest land, pasture land, and cropland).  
  • Serves as primary lead for correlation by Soil Survey Region (SSR) of ecological sites developed by others and ensures agency policy and standards are followed.
  • Work with other specialists in the Soil Survey and Ecological Sciences Divisions to develop and provide support and training in data collection, analysis and interpretation related to the inventory and classification of Ecological Sites within the framework of the National Cooperative Soil Survey and the National Soil Information System (NASIS) and Ecological Site Information System (ESIS) databases.
  • Interpret new findings and synthesize information into formats usable by NRCS specialists and field personnel. Assist the National Ecological Site Inventory Team in developing procedures, manuals, technical standards, handbooks, and guidelines in coordination with existing discipline handbooks and manuals.
  • Provide leadership in the assimilation, adaptation, integration, and transfer of new inventory and classification techniques from research to MLRA, State, Area and District Office staffs.
  • EEO/CR/Safety: Performs duties in a manner supportive of civil rights policy without regard to political affiliation, race, color, religion, sex, marital status, age, handicap, or national origin. Supports and participates in the broad spectrum of safety and health program activities.

 

 


QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

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Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by the closing date of the announcement  including time-in-grade restrictions, specialized experience as defined below, etc.

Time in grade: Applicants must meet one year at the next lower grade to be considered for the next higher grade.  (e.g. one year at the GS-12 grade level for consideration for the GS-13 grade level.)

BASIC REQUIREMENT:  

Rangeland Management GS- 0454:

A. Degree: range management; or a related discipline that included at least 42 semester hours in a combination of the plant, animal, and soil sciences, and natural resources management, as follows:

  • Range Management -- At least 18 semester hours of course work in range management, including courses in such areas as basic principles of range management, range plants, range ecology, range inventories and studies, range improvements, and ranch or rangeland planning.
  • Directly Related Plant, Animal, and Soil Sciences -- At least 15 semester hours of directly related courses in the plant, animal, and soil sciences, including at least one course in each of these three scientific areas, i.e., plant, animal, and soil sciences. Courses in such areas as plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant ecology, animal nutrition, livestock production, and soil morphology or soil classification are acceptable.
  • Related Resource Management Studies -- At least 9 semester hours of course work in related resource management subjects, including courses in such areas as wildlife management, watershed management, natural resource or agricultural economics, forestry, agronomy, forages, and outdoor recreation management

OR

B. Combination of education and experience : at least 42 semester hours of course work in the combination of plant, animal, and soil sciences and natural resources management shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. (For more information on the qualifications for this series, click here:  http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0400/rangeland-management-series-0454/

Forester GS-460:

 A. Degree: forestry; or a related subject-matter field that included a total of at least 30 semester hours in any combination of biological, physical, or mathematical sciences or engineering, of which at least 24 semester hours of course work were in forestry. The curriculum must have been sufficiently diversified to include courses in each of the following areas:

  • Management of Renewable Resources -- study of the science and art of managing renewable resources to attain desired results. Examples of creditable courses in this area include silviculture, forest management operations, timber management, wildland fire science or fire management, utilization of forest resources, forest regulation, recreational land management, watershed management, and wildlife or range habitat management.
  • Forest Biology -- study of the classification, distribution, characteristics, and identification of forest vegetation, and the interrelationships of living organisms to the forest environment. Examples of creditable courses in this area include dendrology, forest ecology, silvics, forest genetics, wood structure and properties, forest soils, forest entomology, and forest pathology.
  • Forest Resource Measurements and Inventory -- sampling, inventory, measurement, and analysis techniques as applied to a variety of forest resources. Examples of creditable courses include forest biometrics, forest mensuration, forest valuation, statistical analysis of forest resource data, renewable natural resources inventories and analysis, and photogrammetry or remote sensing.

OR

B. Combination of education and experience: courses equivalent to a major in forestry, or at least 30 semester hours in any combination of biological, physical, or mathematical sciences or engineering, of which at least 24 semester hours were in forestry. The requirements for diversification of the 24 semester hours in forestry are the same as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.(For more information on the qualifications for this series, click here:http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0400/forestry-series-0460/

Soil Conservationist GS- 0457:

 A. Degree: soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. 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 the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

OR 

B. Combination of education and experience: at least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown in A above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.(For more information on the qualifications for this series, click here:http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0400/soil-conservation-series-0457/

Agronomist GS- 0471: 

A. Degree: agronomy; or related discipline of science that included at least 30 semester hours of course work in the basic plant sciences, including at least 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, such as those dealing with plant breeding, crop production, and soil and crop management.

OR

B. Combination of education and experience: at least 30 semester hours in the basic plant sciences, including a minimum of 15 semester hours in agronomic subjects, as shown above, plus appropriate experience or additional education. (For more information on the qualifications for this series, click here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/0400/agronomy-series-0471/

For more information on the qualifications for this occupational group, click here: http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/classification-qualifications/general-schedule-qualification-standards/#url=Group-Standards

For the GS-13 level: Applicant must have one year of specialized experience (equivalent to the GS-12 level) that may have been obtained in the private or public (local, county, state, Federal) sectors which demonstrates:

  • Technical expertise to provide quality assurance in the development and application of the Ecological Site Description (ESD) principles for plant communities across a variety of land uses, i.e. forest land, grassland, pasture land, and wetland.

Specialized experience is defined as experience that equipped the applicant with the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position, and that is typically in or related to the work of the position to be filled. To be creditable, specialized experience must have been equivalent to at least the next lower grade level in the normal line of progression for the occupation in the organization.

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 unpaid experience; experience will be applied to grade eligibility only.  To receive proper credit for unpaid experience or volunteer work, fully describe your responsibilities and show the actual time (years, months, and hours per week) spent in such activities. 

Education can not be waived; if you do not meet the educational requirement you will not be given consideration beyond initial review.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to justify and prove the qualification standard is met.

Foreign Education: Education completed outside the United States must have been evaluated by a private U.S. organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials, commonly called a credential evaluation service or education that is recognized by the Secretary of Education from an accredited body.

 

Transcripts: You must submit a copy of your transcripts (official or unofficial photocopy) to document your educational accomplishments.  Failure to submit this documentation by the closing date will result in disqualification from further consideration.   Official transcripts will be required if you are selected to fill the position.  College transcripts are still required if you currently occupy or previously occupied the series for which you are applying.

 

 

Special Conditions: This is an interdisciplinary position and may be filled in any of the job series/position titles listed. In addition to the specialized experience requirements, applicants must submit proof that they meet the educational requirements for at least one of the series described in the announcement. Applicants may only be appointed to job series/position titles for which they meet all experience and educational requirements.

HOW YOU WILL BE EVALUATED:

 

Applications and required documentation (see below) will be reviewed to determine if applicants meet eligibility and job requirements. Qualified applicants will then be rated on the quality of experience, education, and training they possess relevant to the duties of the position and the extent applicants possess the following knowledge, skills and abilities (or competencies):
1. Knowledge of ecological and management principles in developing ecological site descriptions (ESD)
2. Ability to provide quality assurance of ecological site descriptions (ESD)
3. Knowledge of applying principles of state and transition models in ecological site descriptions (ESD)
4. Skill in using computer-based tools and programs to organize and synthesize information.
5. Ability to organize workload, set priorities, manage projects, and provide multi-regional leadership.
6. Ability to communicate orally and in writing

The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job, and will be used to identify the best qualified applicants to be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interviews. Your ratings in this Assessment Questionnaire are subject to evaluation and verification based on the documents and references you submit.The rating is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the knowledge, skills and abilities required of this position. If, after reviewing your resume and or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and/or experience your rating can and will be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. To preview questions please click here:   TAG:Link to Full Questionnaire 


BENEFITS:

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Benefits:The Federal service offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the benefits offered to most Federal employees at https://help.usajobs.gov/index.php/Pay_and_Benefits

OTHER INFORMATION:

-Veteran's who are preference eligible or who has been separated from the armed forces under honorable conditions after three years or more of continuous active service are eligible for consideration under the Veteran's Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA). See: http://www.opm.gov/staffingportal/vetguide.asp#VeteransEmploymentAct1998
-Special Hiring Authorities Information: Individuals under the Veteran's Recruitment Act (VRA) or 30 percent disabled veterans, may be considered under special hiring authorities. Click here for more information. https://help.usajobs.gov/index.php/Special_Hiring_Options
-Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP eligible see http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workfordce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. To be well-qualified and exercise selection priority for this vacancy, displaced Federal employee must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
-Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Employees: Permanent County employees without prior Federal tenure who are selected for a Civil Service position under Public Law 105-277 will be given a career-conditional appointment and must serve a 1-year probationary period.
-Direct Deposit: Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
-E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form I-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS 'E-VERIFY' system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
-Vehicle Operation: A valid state driver's license is required. Selected candidate may serve as an incidental motor vehicle operator on public and private roads during daylight and after dark, as needed, to perform the duties of the position.
-This position is eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements.
-This announcement may be used to fill multiple vacancies.
-Relocation expenses are authorized as allowable by law.
-Your pay grade and step will be determined by Federal Pay Regulations.
-Full performance level of this position is GS-13

HOW TO APPLY:

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You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this job announcement. We are available to assist you during normal business hours. Applying online is highly encouraged. If applying online poses a hardship, please contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hard copy application packages must be submitted no later than noon on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing. This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on an as-needed basis. Please contact us if you require this for any part of the application and hiring process.
To begin, click the "Apply Online" button and follow the prompts to register, answer the required questions, create a resume, and submit all necessary documents. To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at http://www.usajobs.gov/
and click on “Application Status.” Click on the position title, and then select “Apply Online.”

 

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS:

  • Resume clearly describing your experience related to this position as described in the “Major Duties,” “Qualifications,” and “How you will be evaluated” sections of this announcement.
  • Responses to the on-line Occupational Questionnaire
  • For current or former Federal employees: 1) Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) showing career status, and highest grade and step held on a permanent basis. 2) A copy of your most recent completed annual performance appraisal, dated within the last 18 months that includes the final rating. If not available, provide statement advising why the performance appraisal is not available.
  • If you are using education to qualify (or if there is a positive education requirement.) you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. You must submit with your application evidence that any education completed in a foreign institution was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. For additional information, refer to the U.S. Department of Education web site at http://www.ed.gov. You may submit an unofficial copy of the transcripts; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty.
  • If you are a veteran and you are claiming veteran’s preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. For competitive service positions, active duty, service members expecting to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions within 120 days: you may be granted tentative preference by submitting a “certification” document in lieu of a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214.  This “certification” is any written document from the Forces armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date of the submission of the certification. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
  • If you are claiming 10-point veteran’s preference based on service-connected disability, in addition to the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), you must also submit an SF-15, “Application for 10-point Veterans’ Preference, plus the proof of entitlement of this preference which is normally an official statement, dated 1991 or later, from the Department of Veterans Affairs certifying to the present existence of the service-connected disability and indicating the percentage of your disability.For more information on veterans’ preference see http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/
  • Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application. 
  • Supporting documentation as described for any special hiring authority(ies) for which you wish consideration.

NRCS provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact Adam Linnell at (413) 253-4564, or by e-mail at adam.linnell@ma.usda.gov . If you are hearing impaired or need alternate communication assistance for other reasons, please go to http://www.gsa.gov/fedrelay for assistance in contacting the person listed above. The decision in granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

AGENCY CONTACT INFO:

Adam Linnell
Phone: (413)253-4564
Email: ADAM.LINNELL@MA.USDA.GOV
Agency Information:
MA NRCS Soils Office
451 West Street
Amherst, MA
01002
USA

WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT:

You may track progress of your application package via your USAJOBS account. The questionnaire will assess your qualifications for the job, and will be used to identify the best qualified applicants to be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration, possible interview and selection. We will notify you, via your USAJOBS account, of the outcome after each of these steps has been completed. Log in to your USAJOBS account at https://my.usajobs.gov/Account/Login  We expect to make a final job offer within 40 days after the deadline for applications.

 

EEO Policy Statement: http://www.usajobs.gov/eeo
Reasonable Accommodation Policy Statement: http://www.usajobs.gov/raps
Veterans Information: http://www.usajobs.gov/vi
Legal and Regulatory Guidance:http://www.usajobs.gov/lrg

Amherst,, Massachusetts
2014-04-08
Ecological Site Inventory Specialist (Interdisciplinary)
Adam Linnell
ADAM.LINNELL@MA.USDA.GOV
(413)253-4564
451 West Street
Amherst, MA
01002
USA
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