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Conservation Planning Member- San Diego/Pacific Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuges

American Conservation Experience in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife
Job Field:
Job Type:
Seasonal, Temporary, Internship
Location Detail:
Chula Vista
Job Description:

Conservation Planning Member- San Diego/Pacific Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuges


ACE EPIC placements provide young adults with focused, hands-on opportunities to work alongside and under the guidance of agency mentors as they apply their knowledge of resource management on their path to becoming the next generation of resource and land managers.


Funding for ACE positions is provided by a federal program designed specifically for the employment of youth and young adults.


For more information about ACE, please visit:


Summary: American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 1 Conservation Planning Member to contribute to planning projects alongside San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex and Pacific Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuge Staff. During this term, the ACE member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of conservation planning (landscape-level, Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCP), step down plans) and meeting additional compliance and planning requirements as needed.


Start Date: Winter 22'/23'


End Date: Spring 23'


**17-week commitment required with potential for extension after end date


Location(s): San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, CA


The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex encompasses four National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) within Southern California: Seal Beach NWR in Orange County, and San Diego Bay NWR, Tijuana Slough NWR, and San Diego NWR in San Diego County. Refuges are not just places for wildlife, but provide a Refuge for the millions of city-dwelling neighbors who surround them. These four Refuges conserve nearly 17,000 acres of native habitats including open bays and estuaries, coastal salt marsh, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian and vernal pools. Three of the San Diego area Refuges contribute to the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP), a landscape-wide habitat conservation plan to preserve habitat and species while allowing appropriate development. The Seal Beach NWR lies completely within the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and contributes to the success of the US Navy's Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan.


For more information about the four Refuges in the San Diego NWR Complex, please visit:;;;


Pacific Southwest Region National Wildlife Refuges, Region 8, CA


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 8 is headquartered in Sacramento, California, and has federal fish and wildlife management responsibilities in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon. The Region includes one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the United States, ranging from the arid sand dunes in the Mojave Desert to the snow-capped crags in the high Sierras; from rich farmland in the Central Valley to rain-soaked redwood forests along the Pacific coast. This highly diverse geography provides habitats for a vast array of wildlife. More than 42 million people live within the Region, and expanding population centers such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Reno, San Diego, and Las Vegas are increasing demands on natural resources, presenting unique challenges to the Region's conservation mission.


The Service is responsible for managing the National Wildlife Refuge System, operating fish hatcheries and fishery resource offices, enforcing federal wildlife laws, managing migratory bird populations, conserving and restoring habitats, and overseeing a federal aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars to state, fish and wildlife agencies.


For more information about the Pacific Southwest Regional National Wildlife Refuges, please visit:


Work Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out Mon - Fri. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.


Position Description:


This individual placement is meant to facilitate personal growth and professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with agency professionals. This could include gaining experience in a variety of conservation fields and/or shadowing different work groups.


The member will provide support and assistance under the guidance and direction of FWS staff in the accomplishment of:


Management Planning and Environmental Impact Assessments:


-Develops and reviews Comprehensive Conservation Plans, Habitat Management Plans, Inventory and Monitoring Plans, NEPA documents, and other agency compliance and planning documents. In carrying out this work, coordinates closely with Refuge field and Regional staff to schedule the development of documents and to ensure products comply with FWS policy and will benefit Refuge resources. This requires the ability to develop, coordinate, or review plans that may encompass any and all programs that affect fish, wildlife and their habitat including, but not limited to, wetland and upland management, water quantity/quality, invasive species,and/or habitat enhancement or restoration.

-Plans projects of moderate complexity or portions of larger projects to identify habitat characteristics, the presence of species and other resources of concern, and/or visitor opportunities, and determine the impact of various Refuge programs and projects upon fish and wildlife resources. Ensures that NEPA, other legal compliance requirements, and Service policy are met to benefit Refuge resources.

-Reviews and comments on reports or environmental documents prepared by other Federal or State agencies or environmental consultants to ensure that impacts to Refuge wildlife and habitat resources are identified; makes recommendations to protect Refuge resources and minimize and offset impacts.

-Ensures completion of Refuge program objectives and associated documentation on a continuing basis in accordance with established program directives in collaboration with Refuge staff. Conducts on-going analysis of programs and analyzes results of special studies or investigations. Gathers, organizes, and interprets biological, ecological, physical science, socioeconomic, public use or other pertinent information to ensure management plans are current.

-Assists Refuge staff in implementation of management plans, studies and investigations required for resource protection, ecological factors, public information, and other aspects of natural resource management.


Permitting and Environmental Compliance


-Following established procedures and instructions, independently develops, reviews, and processes a variety of permits and other compliance documents for Refuges in coordination with Refuge and Regional office staff, Federal, Tribal, and state agencies; and with other parties as required. Examples include Refuge appropriateness findings and compatibility determinations; ESA Section 7 compliance; Coastal Zone Management -Act consistency determinations; and Refuge wilderness reviews. In addition to working on routine permits and compliance forms, the employee works under the direction of senior level staff to develop, review, and process more complex permits and documentation related to the fields listed above.

-Ensures that due dates are met and policies are followed. Reviews and edits permits and compliance documents of a more complex nature. Submits recommendations to the supervisor on technical and policy matters regarding application of the Refuge management issues. Ensures that documents have appropriate reviews and follow Service regulations, policy, guidance, and procedures.




-As part of the process of Refuge planning, develops clear and complete written documents, understandable by the general public, and effective for Refuge manager and staff implementation. Written materials may include briefing materials, reports, maps, graphics, tables, and other visual aids.

-Organizes and arranges workshops and meetings with Refuge staff and outside experts to develop Refuge planning documents, including the development of agendas, invitations, logistical arrangements, and meeting notes. Carries out pre- and post-meeting activities to ensure planning documents and products are reviewed and completed in a timely manner.

-Responds to written, telephone and in-person inquiries from Refuge staff and the public and the news media, obtaining and providing requested information within established guidelines of the office and in conformance with agency and Departmental policy.

-Attends public meetings and hearings on proposed or existing programs or projects.

-Works with the Regional External Affairs Office to prepare public notices, correspondence, and assist with public meetings.

-Prepares and presents findings based on data analysis. Prepares or guides the preparation of correspondence pertaining to technical aspects of work.


Physical Requirements: This position is primarily sedentary in nature but may require occasional physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.


Environmental Conditions/Hazards: The work will be carried out in a modern office environment but will include occasional travel to Refuge study areas and meeting sites, typically with comfortable facilities. During periodic trips to Refuges, the Conservation Planning Member may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources.


Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.






-Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.

-Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.

-U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.

-A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).

-Willing to undergo criminal history checks.

-Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

-Please see further ACE EPIC eligibility requirements at the following link:

-Competitive applicants for this position must meet the following requirement(s) to be considered:

-Holding a 4-year degree in biological sciences,, natural resource management, environmental policy, environmental planning, or related disciplines. A graduate degree is preferred but not required.



-Professional knowledge and experience in fish and/or wildlife biology and a working familiarity with related disciplines in order to understand the effects of wetland, forest, grassland, and water management and restoration on the fish and/or wildlife resources of an area.

-Knowledge of the laws, policies and procedures governing environmental management and planning, including but not limited to, NEPA and other Federal laws relation to the protection and management of wildlife and natural resources.

-Knowledge of federal and state environmental laws, regulations, processes, and policies applicable to National Wildlife Refuges.

-Skill in planning and originating sound plans, procedures, and schedules.

-Ability to use computer technology to maintain and retrieve information from automated data systems, develop spreadsheets, and use word processing software programs in order to develop routine reports and make presentations.

-Ability to work effectively with management officials, scientific researchers, regulatory agencies and peers.

-Skill in verbal and written communications including skill in presenting data and its analysis, and to write objective reports requiring a minimum of review and editing.

-Ability to communicate with the general public, state and federal local officials, and private landowners regarding controversial conservation issues.


Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute approximately ___ hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $980/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.


Housing: Although Housing is the responsibility of the member and not provided by ACE or the Refuge, a $200/week housing allowance will be provided for the duration of the term to help offset costs of living.


Public Land Corps (PLC) Non-competitive Hiring Authority: Members serving on this project may be eligible to receive a Department of the Interior (DOI) PLC non-competitive hiring authority certificate upon completion of their term of service. Eligible members must meet standard requirements of completing at least 640 hours (16 weeks at 40 hours/week) and utilize their certificate when applying for qualifying federal positions within 2 years of receipt. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility.

How to Apply:

To Apply: Please submit your resume, unofficial academic transcripts, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: ***Academic transcripts are required for verification of related coursework and professional development purposes, as opposed to evaluating prior academic performance.


NOTE: Early consideration will be given as applications are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Member Manager, Nich Jackosky,, (928) 699-6041.


Vaccination Requirement: ACE Members must verify that they are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 or have requested and been granted a medical or religious exemption to vaccination by the time they start their term.


EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.


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