Wetland/Rangeland Ecologist – Texas

Over the past 45 years, The International Crane Foundation (ICF) has grown from the dream of two college students to a world-renowned conservation effort to save the world’s cranes and the flyways and habitats they frequent. The successful candidate will be a conservation minded individual who will bring their ecological experience to the mission of ICF. If you are not currently a crane enthusiast, do not worry, you will become one fast, in this mission-based organization.

What is it like to work at ICF? Prepare to be surrounded by people who are passionate for our mission, dedicated to the organization, and engaged with their fellow staff and associates. You will find dedication in all levels of the organization from staff and volunteers to our devoted Board Members. You will play a critical role in research and landowner and partner engagement to accomplish on the ground conservation work. The salary range is $42,000 to $62,000, plus a nice benefit package. The position is located in Rockport, Texas.

Position Summary:

The Wetland/Rangeland Ecologist supports the mission of the International Crane Foundation (ICF) by conducting crane habitat use, habitat management, and wetland research. With the Director of the Gulf Coast Programs, the incumbent will promote land conservation and implement best management practices for water conservation, wetland restoration, and climate change adaptation on the current and potential wintering grounds for Whooping Cranes. The incumbent will work collaboratively with many partners, including private landowners, coastal communities and businesses, government agencies, universities, and other conservation organizations, to advocate for land use policies and practices that jointly benefit people and wildlife, namely cranes. This work, will advance our goal of achieving a resilient ecosystem and sustainable future for Whooping Cranes, other biodiversity, and all who depend on a healthy Texas coast environment today and in the future.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Expand the research and monitoring program in Texas:

  • Design, develop, and conduct research on Whooping Crane habitat use, changes in the vegetation community over time, and habitat management.
  •  Communicate the results of research to partners, landowners, donors through various outlets.

Protect and manage coastal land to ensure a growing, sustainable population of Whooping Cranes:

  • Develop personal relationships with coastal landowners and guide them through a myriad of options to protect, maintain, and/or restore their land and water resources in accordance with their economic needs and vision for land conservation.
  • Assist partners and landowners with habitat management work such as prescribed fire implementation, well installation, brush management.
  • Support identification of current and planned locations of commercial and industrial sites within the Whooping Crane wintering range; support proactive steps early in the planning process to recommend alternative siting of development projects or mitigation of development impacts at suitable alternative wintering areas.
  • Serve as an active liaison among partners involved in land and water conservation projects in the wintering range of Whooping Cranes, updating partners periodically on progress (extent of land conserved, ecological benefits, new projects).
  • Maintain regular contact with federal and state agency leads to set priorities for Whooping Crane habitat conservation.
  • Guide conservation partners through acquisition, conservation easements, and management of coastal lands that ensure future habitat for Whooping Cranes as sea levels rise.

Ensure that adequate freshwater is available in the coastal bays and estuaries and on the landscape to sustain cranes, other wildlife, and livelihoods:

  • Advocate for an incentives program through which farmers are paid to flood rice fields for current and potential wintering Whooping Crane freshwater habitat and support those farmers in maintaining their priority to receive water on their lands through their state water permits, particularly during drought periods.
  • Work with landowners and partners to obtain funds and implement wetland restoration projects.
  • Work with landowners and partners to obtain funds and implement prairie restoration projects.

Additional Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Work with the Whooping Crane Biologist to collect behavioral data.
  • Work with the Grants Officer and Development staff to raise funds for the Gulf Coast Programs.
  • Help maintain our GIS Database on habitat work across the Coastal Bend of Texas.

Core Competencies:

  • Exceptional communication skills—verbal, written and interpersonal.
  • Strong collaborator committed to working cooperatively across departments and programs, making valuable contributions to shared projects and assisting with outputs of others.
  • Strong communicator with excellent verbal and written communication skills, including demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with lay-audiences, professional peers, and organizational leadership.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office 365 Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point) and Adobe Acrobat; good understanding of ArcPro GIS project development and reporting organization. Experience with statistical software programs (R, STATA, SAS, SPSS, Python) is appreciated but not necessary.
  • Strong track record in writing successful grants to fund species and conservation projects.
  • Experience with prescribed fire a plus.

Qualifications Required:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Degree strongly preferred) in Wetland Ecology, Rangeland Management, or related field with 3 plus years’ experience in the Natural Resources profession (experience in habitat management preferred).
  • Strong vascular plant identification skills.
  • Strong knowledge of wetland and/or rangeland ecosystems and their management.
  • Experience conducting research and supporting study design and publication efforts.
  • Experience with vegetation sampling.
  • Valid state driver’s license and acceptable driving record.
  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply.

Physical Abilities and Work Environment:

The physical abilities and work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be available to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Ability to handle all-terrain vehicles over rough terrain in remote locations.
  • Ability to driving a motorized boat and ability to safely navigate the Texas coastal bays and estuaries.
  • Ability to use hands and fingers to type.
  • Ability to communicate with fellow staff donors and stakeholders. Communication will include both one to one communication and small and large group communication.
  • Ability to travel throughout the Texas coast, and occasionally out of state, including to International Crane Foundation headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
  • Ability to reach, balance, crouch and kneel.
  • Ability to sit, stand for long periods of time.
  • Ability to occasionally lift 50 pounds.
  • Ability to work in the remote field locations (with abundant mosquitos, venomous snakes, and in hot humid conditions).

To apply send resume and cover letter to ICFjobs@savingcranes.org by December 31, 2022.

Please put Wetland/Rangeland Ecologist – Texas in the subject line.

“ICF is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We hire great people regardless of background. “

ICF is an equal opportunity employer.