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  • Black Rail/Irrigation Biologist

    Christy Hand
    • Employer: South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources
      Location: Coastal South Carolina
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 12/07/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    HOURLY BLACK RAIL/HYDROLOGIC/IRRIGATION BIOLOGIST – Location: Coastal South Carolina. Job type: Full time, seasonal. Duration of position: February through September 2021. Application deadline: December 7, 2020. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and the position may be filled prior to the deadline. Salary: $15 per hour pre-tax, shared housing may be available at no charge.

    DESCRIPTION: The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) plans to hire a biologist to assist with the SCDNR Black Rail Project. The SCDNR Black Rail Project is working to increase the limited knowledge about a rare and fascinating marsh bird that was recently listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (Eastern subspecies). Data from this project played an important role in the USFWS Species Status Assessment that formed the basis for the proposed listing decision, and the objective of the current research efforts is to inform current and future conservation efforts. During 2021, monitoring hydrologic conditions, measuring soil attributes, and developing irrigation strategies will be top priorities for the project.

    Primary responsibilities will include deploying and maintaining water level and quality monitoring equipment, maintaining camera traps and acoustic data recorders, conducting call-response surveys for marsh birds, surveying vegetation and other habitat attributes, designing and building irrigation systems, and processing data in the office (camera trap and hydrologic data). On average, we expect at least 50% of the job tasks will involve working in an office environment. The biologist may also have opportunities to assist with handling wood stork chicks for a banding project, and aerial surveys from a small plane (optional).

    We are looking for a highly motivated person who is willing to work a flexible schedule that often varies from day to day. Frequent travel (including overnight travel) between our two study sites in coastal South Carolina will be required during portions of the field season. Excellent problem solving skills – particularly when working with unfamiliar equipment – are essential. In addition to following existing protocols, this position will involve independently researching and implementing new project components.

    Early morning, night and occasional weekend work will be required. The climate of coastal South Carolina during the summer can be extremely hot and humid, and many of the components of these projects include carrying equipment in difficult terrain. Spiders, snakes, alligators, mosquitoes, and other biting insects are abundant in the study areas.

    The SCDNR office and many of the survey sites are located in the ACE Basin of South Carolina, a spectacular undeveloped area that offers a variety of excellent outdoor recreational activities. The office where the position will be based is located in Green Pond, SC (Donnelley Wildlife Management Area). Shared dormitory-style housing at a remote Wildlife Management Area approximately 30 minutes from the office is expected to be available (pending the completion of renovations).  A personal vehicle will be required to commute to and from the office since there is no public transportation to Green Pond, but we plan to provide vehicles for work duties.




    *Previous avian research experience is not required.*

    - Applicants should have a strong interest in wildlife research and conservation, and a positive attitude about working outdoors in buggy conditions as well as indoors completing repetitive tasks.

    - Experience developing research/management projects and protocols and experience training and/or supervising coworkers.

    - Two or more seasons (totaling 6+ months) of previous field work experience on environmental research/monitoring project(s). Ability and willingness to work outdoors in very challenging conditions (full sun, high heat and humidity, biting and stinging insects, venomous snakes, alligators, adverse weather conditions, long days/variable schedule) and to carry equipment (15-20 pounds) in salt marsh conditions.

    - Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail. Ability to work independently and manage time effectively in the field and in the office.

    - Ability to maintain concentration and accuracy while completing tasks using a computer. Proficiency using Microsoft Office programs including Excel, Access, and Word.

    - Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and professionalism when interacting with people from different backgrounds.

    - Knowledge of principles and practices of research and of data management best practices.

    - Valid US driver’s license, good driving record, experience operating 4-wheel drive trucks, and ability to independently change tires and jump start vehicles.

    - Must be a United States citizen or be legally authorized to work in the United States without sponsorship.



    B.S., B.A. or M.S. in wildlife biology/management, environmental science, or related field.

    Prior experience managing large datasets, operating water level monitoring equipment (Onset and In Situ), working with irrigation systems, and problem-solving involving building things. Experience working with threatened and endangered species.

    TO APPLY: Please send a SINGLE email attachment containing a cover letter describing prior experience relevant to this specific position, a resume/CV, and contact information for three references to Christy Hand (handc@dnr.sc.gov). Include your name and “Biologist” in the file name. Applications will be reviewed as they are received with the goal of filling the position as quickly as possible. The position is scheduled to start in February.


    Information about Project:


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