Job Announcement: Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist and NRCS Partner Biologist

JOB TITLE: Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist and NRCS Partner Biologist


This position will be co-located in an USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) area or zone office in central Texas, central Oklahoma, or south-central Kansas. The exact location is to be determined based upon applicant pool and discussions with the NRCS.

START DATE:September 2016


Under the direction of the Xerces Society Senior Pollinator Conservation Specialist (Midwest Region), and in collaboration with NRCS Range Conservationists and Biologists, the Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist will provide conservation planning, technical support and training to NRCS field/area/state office staff and ranchers on management of grasslands for pollinators, monarch butterflies, and other wildlife in the southern Great Plains. During the first several months, this position will focus on supporting conservation planning on grasslands in nearby field offices. Over time, the incumbent will provide support to range conservation planners throughout central Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. This position is in collaboration with the NRCS Central National Technology Support Center (CNTSC).


The Xerces Society is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Invertebrates are essential to the reproduction of most flowering plants, including the production of many fruits, vegetables, and nuts; and they are food for birds, fish, and other wildlife.

Established in 1971, and named after the extinct Xerces blue butterfly, the Xerces Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection, harnessing the knowledge of scientists, partnerships with diverse stakeholders, and the enthusiasm of local citizens to implement conservation and education programs. Xerces Society staff have produced ground-breaking publications on insect conservation, and trained tens of thousands of farmers, land managers, and agency staff to conserve and manage habitat for beneficial insects and those in decline. With headquarters in Portland, Oregon and regional offices in California, Washington, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, Xerces currently has 40 employees and multiple contractors, and an annual budget over $3,500,000.

This position is a partnership with the NRCS Central National Technology Support Center, located in Fort Worth, Texas. This center includes a diverse team of specialists who support the technical work of the NRCS. The CNTSC also includes three national technology teams responsible for acquiring and developing science-based conservation technology on grazing lands, wetlands, and wildlife. The NRCS has a strong interest in supporting pollinator conservation efforts nationwide, and the CNTSC will work with the host state to support this position.


Working as a team with local NRCS field/area offices, Xerces Society Pollinator Program staff, NRCS biologists and rangeland conservation specialists, and technical experts with the USDA-NRCS, the Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist will:

  • Assist NRCS conservation planners in the development of conservation plans that improve pollinator habitat and range health, using brush management, prescribed grazing, prescribed fire, range planting, and other conservation practices.
  • Assist in the implementation of monarch butterfly conservation efforts, including habitat evaluation and conservation planning.
  • Provide technical oversight and advice on wildlife and pollinator habitat restoration projects to conservation professionals and agricultural producers.
  • Coordinate and conduct trainings on pollinator, monarch butterfly, and beneficial insect conservation in grazing lands of the southern plains.
  • Work with Xerces Society and NRCS specialists to develop or refine technical documents that support establishment or enhancement of pollinator, monarch butterfly, and wildlife habitat. Technical documents include habitat evaluation guides, conservation practice specifications, plant lists, seed mixes, and habitat restoration guidelines.
  • Prepare and disseminate fact sheets and outreach materials.
  • Spend at least 20% of time on work in each of the 3 target states.


  • Strong knowledge and experience in grassland and wildlife management unique to the southern Great Plains. This includes experience with prescribed grazing, prescribed fire, brush management, invasive species control, native plant restoration, and range planting to benefit both biodiversity and range health.
  • Exceptional presentation, public speaking, and verbal communication skills for diverse audiences that include ranchers, range managers, conservation agency staff, and other stakeholders.
  • Excellent written communication skills, including the ability to develop technical documents for diverse audiences.
  • A Bachelors degree (graduate degree strongly preferred) in range management, natural resource management, ecology, conservation biology, wildlife biology, entomology, or more than 4 years of experience in range conservation, conservation planning, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Knowledge of wildlife (especially invertebrate) habitat management, plants, natural communities, ecosystems, and ecological processes of the southern Great Plains.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Working knowledge of common software applications (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
  • Ability to travel occasionally for multiple days to support conservation planning in other states.

Additional desirable qualifications

  • Experience working in an USDA NRCS field office, implementing the NRCS conservation planning process and using NRCS conservation planning tools.
  • Understanding of USDA Farm Bill conservation programs and the work of the NRCS.
  • An understanding of the ecology of pollinators, including the biology of monarch butterflies and the role of native bees and managed bees in agro-ecosystems.


  • Lift and move supplies, materials, equipment weighing up to 30 lbs.
  • Work in the field under potentially adverse weather conditions.


This is a full time position and we are an at will employer. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. The Xerces Society is an equal opportunity employer committed to workforce diversity.

Note that for the right candidate (for example, recent NRCS retirees), who has significant experience working with NRCS conservation planning in grasslands and who can immediately provide technical support to field offices, the terms of this position can be flexible and negotiated.


$39,000 to $47,000 commensurate with experience. Candidates requiring higher starting compensation may be considered, and should indicate that required pay rate in their cover letter.


This position includes a generous benefits package: eleven paid holidays, generous paid time off, paid health and disability insurance, option to participate in a pre-tax flexible spending account for medical and dependent care expenses, participation in a retirement program upon eligibility, and a flexible work environment.


For more information on the Xerces Society and our programs, please see our website:

APPLICATION: Individuals interested in this position should e-mail a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three references as a single attachment in MS Word or Adobe PDF. Address the subject line of your email to “Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist – Search”, and send to:



  • Unfortunately, due to the volume of communications we are unable to respond to individual applicants inquiries.
  • We ask that applicants do not contact our office via phone or email about their application.
  • You will be contacted if selected for an interview.
  • All applicants will receive email notification once position is filled.

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