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    Temporary Research Assistant, Avian Agriculture & River Health


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    • Employer: National Audubon Society
      Location: Remote - COLORADO
      Country: United States
      Last Date to Apply: 08/21/2020
      Open Until Filled: Yes

    Overview:

    Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

    Position Summary:

    In Colorado, millions of birds depend on natural riparian and wetland habitat as well as habitats supported by irrigated agriculture. In Colorado, irrigated agriculture uses over 80% of Colorado’s water and has shaped freshwater-dependent habitats and bird species we see on-farm and off, statewide, and in the Colorado River Basin. As climate warming continues to diminish the Colorado River water supply, all water users are increasingly subject to shortages. While irrigators in most cases have senior water rights, recent history suggests that farming and ranching will use less water over time, reducing today’s acreage and reducing water use on acres that remain in production.

    Federal farm policy has already begun to shift to address these changes, and will continue to evolve to help farmers and ranchers adapt to climate change. State policies increasingly support increased flexibility in water use, including Alternative Transfer Mechanisms. As these policies and practices evolve, there is a critical need to understand how water policies and practices developed to adapt to drought and climate change might avoid harm to birds while supporting irrigated agriculture and river flows.

    The Research Assistant is responsible for generating a comprehensive public facing portfolio of on-the-ground agricultural practices for: bird conservation, river health, and water conservation and efficiency. In addition, to portfolio creation this position will assist staff in soliciting stakeholder review from avian, agricultural and water experts such as Audubon Conservation Ranching partners, water conservancy districts, irrigated agriculture associations, state and federal agencies, and conservation organizations. Assist and coordinate with staff/manager on portfolio outreach, communications and event planning.

    Essential Functions:

    Portfolio Drafting:  

    • Research, review, inventory, summarize and cite credible sources and information regarding regional agricultural:
    • avian freshwater habitat, river health, and water conservation (on-farm and off) best management practices.
    • Compile contacts, relevant media resources, and supportive case studies of successful agriculture-bird-water management practices.
    • Create and maintain an index of credible information sources, quotes and contacts.
    • Draft portfolio agricultural best management practice chapters with citations for: avian freshwater habitat; river health; and, water conservation and efficiency practices on-farm and off.
    • Submit weekly progress reports.

    Portfolio Review:

    • In coordination with program staff/manager, assist with portfolio stakeholder review presentation, point of contact and event planning.
    • Respond to phone and email inquiries from staff/manager and stakeholders within one business day.
    • Assist with documentation and incorporation of feedback and edits from stakeholder review process.

    Public Facing Documents:

    • Work with staff/manager to draft portfolio executive summary.
    • Compile portfolio acknowledgements section.
    • Work with communications staff on formatting and review of final portfolio.
    • Provide support to program management staff.

    Community Outreach:

    • Assist staff/manager with portfolio outreach.
    • Maintain contacts list with mailing, email, phone information.
    • Assist with outreach event planning and coordination.

    Qualifications and Experience:

    • Bachelor’s Degree or higher, or equivalent experience required.
    • Experience in agriculture, bird conservation, freshwater habitats, western water issues and/or non-profit setting.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of ranching operations, bird conservation, freshwater habitats.
    • Must be self-motivated, dedicated to accomplishing the task, able to take initiative, solve problems, and work remotely. 
    • Must be people oriented, able to work well with other staff and professionally represent Audubon to the public.
    • Must have proficient knowledge of computers, including experience with Microsoft Suite and database applications, desktop publishing and editing.
    • Must possess a valid driver’s license.
    • Must have good telephone rapport.
    • Must be available for potential weekend or evening events.
    • Able to transport up to 50 lbs. and stand/walk for long periods.
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