This Position Is No Longer Available
  1. Overview
  2. Duties
  3. Qualifications & Evaluations
  4. Benefits & Other Info
  5. How to Apply

Job Title:Soil Conservationist, GS-0457-07/09

Department:Department Of Agriculture

Agency:Natural Resources Conservation Service

Job Announcement Number:CA-DEU-918769-13-JN

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.


$43,208.00 to $68,702.00 / Per Year


Tuesday, July 09, 2013 to Thursday, July 18, 2013




Full Time - Permanent




1 vacancy in the following location:
Blythe, CA United StatesView Map


United States Citizens


Be Remarkable, Make a Difference! Join the Natural Resources Conservation Service team and help us conserve our nation's Natural Resources!!  Visit our web site ( to learn more.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is known worldwide for its accomplishments and innovations in conservation.  The employees of NRCS are recognized for their talent, dedication, and ingenuity in making the agency's programs work   as they take necessary steps to reduce erosion, protect wildlife, promote good land use, and other measures to preserve the Nation's natural resources for future generations.   Join us in protecting and conserving natural resources on America's private lands!  ( 


This announcement is open to all US Citizens.  If you are a current or former federal employee with status, you may also apply to the merit vacancy announcement posted on USAJobs. 


More than one selection may be made from this announcement.  Relocation expenses will NOT be paid.



  • U.S. Citizen
  • Suitable for Federal Employment, determined by Background Investigation
  • NRCS Utilizes E-Verify to identify and determine employment eligibility
  • Positive Education required with specialized experience-see Qualifications
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • Valid Motor Vehicle Operators License


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This position is located in the USDA, NRCS Service Center in Blythe, California.  The incumbent assists the District Conservationist (DC), both technically and administratively, in carrying out a coordinated natural resource conservation program.  This position is nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.




Assists the District Conservationist (DC) both technically and administratively in managing a soil, water, and resource conservation program.  Contacts landowners and operators and develops comprehensive conservation plans that provide for effective land use and water management in relation to the conservation needs of the land and the on-going agricultural enterprise.  Assists in obtaining crop history and physical data; e.g., field size and layout; and preparing planning maps.


Works with DC and/or other staff in conducting on-site inspections of land to determine the need and feasibility of conservation measures.  Assists in making surveys for design and layout of practices; and participates in the inspection of construction to determine adherence to specifications.


Assists the DC in the implementation of all phases of the conservation programs. 


Assists with accelerated planning and application of upland treatment of structural measures involved in watershed protection or group facility projects in the work unit area.  Assists with construction surveys and inspection of work in progress.


As directed, attends Resource Conservation District governing body meetings.  Assists in assembling information for meetings and as assigned, presents brief factual reports.


Contributes effectively to the development of a balanced information and education program designed to keep the people informed of the need for progress in natural resource conservation.  Prepares drafts of news stories, assists in developing visual aids such as charts, graphs, photographs or slides in order to advance the program in the serviced area.


Planners are required to maintain their knowledge, skills and abilities in order to stay certified.  It is expected that certified conservation planners will obtain periodic training to stay up-to-date in technical subjects, laws and regulations, and the NRCS conservation planning process.


Participates in the administrative functions of the field office and becomes familiar with the General Manual, NRCS policies, the management records system, files, etc.


To perform these duties the incumbent must serve as an incidental motor vehicle operator.  This may require the operation of a motor vehicle on both public and private roads during daylight hours and occasionally after dark.  A valid state driver’s license  is required.




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You must meet the basic educational qualifications outlined in the announcement and:

At the GS-7 level-To qualify for this position based upon specialized experience: one or more years of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-5 level.  Experience at the GS-5 level is demonstrated practical experience in assisting higher level employees in developing PORTIONS of conservation plans of a routine nature; or experience in assisting in the gathering of land use data, and other resource information and applying this information to standard conservation planning practices.


At the GS-7 level-meet the basic education qualifications and possess some progressively higher graduate education leading to a Masters degree from an accredited college or university in soils, agriculture or natural resources or related discipline that provided the knowledge, skill and abilities to perform the work of a soil conservationist. Qualifying me for consideration at the GS-7 level.


At the GS-7 level- possess a percentage of specialized experience and possess some progressively higher graduate education leading to a Masters degree from an accredited college or university with coursework in a related discipline that provided the knowledge, skill and abilities to perform the work of a soil conservationist which when combined equal at least 100% to qualify for consideration at the GS-7 level based upon the group qualification standard for professional and scientific positions (see link available in the announcement). Your resume must reflect the number of hours, weeks or months you spent performing the duties listed in the specialized experience.


At the GS-7 level- Superior Academic Achievement (SAA): APPLICABLE FOR CONSIDERATION AT GS-7 LEVEL ONLY!! DOES NOT APPLY FOR GS-9 LEVEL. This provision is applicable to persons who have completed all the requirements for a bachelor's degree in natural resources or related field and meet the educational requirements listed above. To qualify for the GS-7 based on SAA you must meet one of the following: 3.0 average (on a scale of 4.0) based on the average of all completed college courses at the time of application or courses completed during the final 2 years of undergraduate curriculum, OR 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 based on the average of all completed courses in major field of study at the time of application or of all such courses completed the final 2 years of the undergraduate curriculum, OR Class standing: applicant must be in the upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the College of Liberal Arts or the School of Business Administration, based on completed courses, OR Election to membership in the national scholastic honor society

To Qualify at the GS-9 Level-one or more years of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-7 level. Experience at the GS-7 level is demonstrated with showing experience in developing portions of conservation plans, independently or with limited review of a routine nature, experience in assisting in the gathering of crop history, soil erosion data, drainage characteristics, land use data, and other resource information and planning map preparation; or assisting in the evaluation of onsite urban, rural, or wetland conservation needs and applying land treatment measures including the installation of erosion and water control practices.


At the GS-9 Level-some specialized experience required for the 9 level listed above and possess some progressively higher graduate education leading to a Masters degree from an accredited college or university with coursework in a related discipline that provided the knowledge, skill and abilities to perform the work of a soil conservationist, which when combined equal at least 100% to qualify for this position based upon the qualification standard available in the announcement. Your resume must reflect the number of hours, weeks or months you spent performing the duties listed in the specialized experience.


At the GS-9 Level-Possess at least 2 years (or 36 semester hours) of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or master's degree or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited college or university in a related discipline that provided the knowledge, skill and abilities to perform the work of a soil conservationist

For more information related to qualifying for this position please visit

Credit will be given for appropriate qualifying unpaid experience or volunteer work. To receive proper credit for unpaid experience or volunteer work, fully describe your responsibilities and show the actual time (years, months, and hours per week) spent in such activities.

Use these individual occupational requirements in conjunction with the 'Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Professional and Scientific Positions."


Basic requirement for GS-0457 Soil Conservationist: 

1.  Degree: soil conservation or related agricultural or natural resource discipline such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, agricultural education, or agricultural engineering. The study must have included 30 semester hours in a natural resource or agricultural field, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.


2.  Combination of education and experience -- at least 30 semester hours in one or more of the disciplines as shown in A above, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science, plus appropriate experience or additional education. Of the 12 semester hours, a minimum of 3 semester hours must have been in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.

It is mandatory for applicants to submit a copy of their college transcripts for all occupations with a positive education requirement.  Individuals who are currently in or have been in an occupation where there is a positive education requirement MUST still submit legible copies of college transcripts.  Failure to do so will result in non-consideration for the vacancy.  If the titles of the course work you believe is relevant towards meeting the minimum educational requirements do not obviously reflect the nature of the class work you must submit course descriptions from your college catalogue or college professors with your application. 

You can receive credit for education received outside the United States if you provide evidence that it is comparable to an accredited educational institution in the United States when you apply.

Experience cannot be substituted for the basic educational requirements.

NOTE:  For institutions on a QUARTER HOUR schedule: one QUARTER hour is equivalent to .67 of a SEMESTER UNIT/HOUR as described above.


Additional Information:

  • You may need to work outdoors, often under adverse weather conditions and with exposure to wildlife.

    You will need to successfully complete a background security investigation before you can be appointed into this position.

    Travel 1-5 nights per month.

    You must have a valid state driver's license to qualify for this position.



Your application will be evaluated and rated under the Category Rating and Selection Procedures.  Your resume must support your responses to the occupational questionnaire. We will review your resume and supporting documentation and compare this information to your responses on the occupational questionnaire to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for this position.    If you are basically qualified for this position, we will evaluate your application package, using a panel of subject-matter experts or HR Specialist to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities for the position.  We will then place you in one of the following categories and only those in the Best Qualified category will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration.

Best Qualified:  Applicants possess all of the job related competencies identifies as important for successful job performance.

Well -Qualified:  Applicants possesses a majority (i.e., more than half) of the job related competencies needed for successful job performance.

Qualified:  Applicants meets the basic eligibility and minimum qualification requirements, but does not meet the definition of Well-Qualified or Best Qualified describe above.

Veterans’ preference is applied after applicants are assessed.  Veterans’ preference eligibles who meet the qualification requirements are place in the appropriate category and are listed ahead of non-preference eligibles.  Veteran preference eligibles that have a compensable service-connected disability of at least 10 percent are listed in the highest quality category, except in the case of scientific or professional positions at the GS-9 level or higher.

Your Assessment questionnaire will be scored based on your responses.  The score is a measure of the degree to which your background matches the following knowledges, skills and abilities (found in the assessment questionnaire) for this position:

Knowledge of Soil, Water, Plant relationships

Ability to collect, analyze and interpret natural resources data

Ability to develop, communicate, and implement conservation plans for various program objectives and initiatives.


Once your Occupational Questionnaire and resume have been received, you will receive an acknowledgement email that your submission was successful.  All information provided may be verified by a careful review of your resume, questionnaire responses, reference check, background check, and/or verification of education.  After a qualification review of your complete application package, you will be notified of the status of your application.  If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted.  Any exaggeration of your experience, false statements, or attempt to conceal information may disqualify you for consideration.  A job offer is typically made within 45 days after the deadline for applications.  You can track the progress of your application package in Application Manager at .

To preview questions please: View Occupational Questionnaire


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Working for NRCS offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes, in part, paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, life insurance, health benefits, and participation in the Federal Employees Retirement System.  Additionally NRCS offers FlexiWork, Telework, Transportation Subsidies and a family friendly work environment.  The following Web address is provided for your reference to explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees.   To find out more click here


Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP).   The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) provides eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies.  If your agency has notified you in writing that you are a displaced employee eligible for ICTAP consideration, you may receive selection priority if:  1) this vacancy is within your ICTAP eligibility, 2) you apply under the instructions in this announcement, and 3) you are found well-qualified for this vacancy.  To be found well-qualified your application must rate at or above 85.   You must provide proof of eligibility with your application to receive selection priority.  Such proof may include a copy of your written notification of ICTAP eligibility or a copy of your separation personnel action form.  Information about ICTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at

Selective Service:  If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959 , you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law.   See

Promotion Potential:  When promotion potential is shown,and if selected at the lower grade the agency is not obligated or committed to promoting you to the higher grade. Promotions depend on your ability to perform the duties, require a minimum of 12-months time in grade and provided you are found otherwise eligible you'll need to be recommended through the supervisory chain. Promotions are not automatic.

Veterans' Preference: If you are entitled to veterans' preference, you should indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming on your résumé and submit documents to support your claim.  Your veterans' preference entitlement will be verified by the employing agency.

·         For 5-point veterans' preference, please provide your DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), official statement of service from your command if you are currently on active duty, or other official documentation (e.g., documentation of receipt of a campaign badge or expeditionary medal) that proves your military service was performed under honorable conditions.

·         For 10-point veterans' preference, please submit a Standard Form (SF) 15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference and the required documentation.

NRCS provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities.  If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact Jodi Nielsen in the servicing personnel office at (530) 792-5614, or by e-mail   If you are hearing impaired, or need alternate communication assistance for other reasons please go to for assistance in contacting the person listed above.  The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).  To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer."


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To apply for this position, you must provide a complete Application Package which includes:

1. Your Résumé
2. A complete Occupational Questionnaire
3. Additional Required Documents (see Required Documents section below)

The complete Application Package must be submitted by 11:59 PM (EST) on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

To begin the process, click the Apply Online button to create an account or log in to your existing USAJOBS account.  Follow the prompts to complete the occupational questionnaire. Please ensure you click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.
Note: To verify your application is complete log into your USAJOBS account,, select the Application status link and then select the more information link for this position. The Details page will display the status of your application, the documentation received and processed, and any correspondence the agency has sent related to this application.  Your uploaded documents may take several hours to clear the virus scan process.

To return to an incomplete application log into your USAJOBS account and click Update Application in the vacancy announcement.  You must re-select your resume and/or other documents from your USAJOBS account or your application will be incomplete. 

To fax supporting documents you are unable to upload, complete this cover page using the following Vacancy ID 918769.  Fax your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

If you cannot apply online:

1. Click the following link to view and print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire,
2. Print this 1203FX form to provide your response to the occupational questionnaire, and
3. Fax the completed 1203FX form along with any supporting documents to 1-478-757-3144. Your 1203FX will serve as a cover page for your fax transmission.


The following documents are required:

  • Résumé
  • College Transcripts to support Education requirements
  • Responses to the questionnaire
  • Veterans Preference documentation (DD-214 or equivalent, SF-15 and VA Letter, as appropriate)


Jodi Nielsen
Phone: (530)792-5614
Agency Information:
430 G Street
Davis, CA


After all application packages have been received, we will review your resume and transcripts to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements.  We will evaluate each applicant who meets the basic qualifications on the information provided in the Supplemental Questionnaire and may interview the best-qualified applicants.  After making a tentative job offer, we will conduct a suitability and/or security background investigation.  A final job offer for this position is typically made within 45 days after the deadline for applications.

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