Job Overview


If you would like to work for a premier agency in the area of conservation and natural resources; the Forest Service is the agency for you. The Forest Service has the responsibility for managing 191 million acres of National Forest System lands across the United States. To learn more about our agency, exciting mission, vision, and guiding principles, please visit (

This position is SES, Career Reserve. Positions in the SES are not graded. The salary range is $119,554 - $179,700 per year. SES employees are also eligible for bonuses and awards based on performance. Veteran's preference is not applicable to the SES. Selectee is subject to a one-year probationary period, unless currently serving under an SES appointment. Visit for additional information regarding SES employees.


The Director, Watershed, Wildlife, Fish, Air, and Rare Plants Staff, serves as program leader and technical director of Forest Services programs involving conservation, development, and manipulation of wildlife and fish habitats, and in this capacity:

  1. Formulates, interprets and implements polices, standards, and methods for conservation, development, and management of wildlife and fish habitat on lands administered by the Forest Service. This ranges from protection and recovery of endangered species habitat to prescriptions for timber harvest, livestock management, road construction, recreation facilities, and watershed projects that will fully consider the needs of watershed, fish, wildlife, air, and rare plants.
  2. Serves as consultant to the Chief and Staff of the Forest Service, Staff Directors, Regional Foresters, and State, Federal, and private organization cooperators on the development, conservation, maintenance, improvement, and protection of the watershed, wildlife, fish, air and plants environment in Forest Service programs. Advises top staff of the Forest Service on critical and sensitive problems related to habitat changes resulting from programs involving the Forest Service. This includes all resources activities carried out by the interest that will affect habitat in National Forests. This includes all resources activities carried out by the interests that will affect habitat in National Forests. This also includes the impact of one wildlife species on another and the impact on certain species on other National Forest programs.
  3. Provides overall leadership and direction to the watershed, fish, wildlife, air and rare plant programs. This includes planning, organization developing, and administering the agency’s broad national programs through a decentralized administrative organization organized, oriented, and authorized to settle local problems under Services-wide and Regional direction in accordance with local conditions. This involves consideration and prescription of solutions for highly significant and complex problems in the functional areas of:
  • Planning – This includes providing direction in establishment of the watershed, wildlife, fishery, air, and rare plant mission of the Forest Services and in setting goals and objectives for their attainment within and overall broad agency policy and funding. The National Forest Management Act calls for the watershed, air, fish, and wildlife resources to be an integral part of Forest Management Plans. This includes providing direction in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and use of data regarding species associated with various habitats and how they will be affected by planning alternatives. Direction on determination of what is a viable population of all vertebrate species in relation to each alternative is required. In addition, the direction must include how to integrate cooperative Comprehensive State wildlife and Fish Management Plans call for in the Endangered Species Act with Forest land management plans. Such cooperation is essential in the wildlife and fish resources area where jurisdiction areas overlap.
  • Watershed, Wildlife, and Fish Management in Administration – This involves technical guidance in working with Regions and State wildlife and natural resources agencies to determine population levels of watershed, wildlife and fish that are commensurate with, their habitat supply, carrying out management reviews of wildlife and fish habitat use to insure conformity with planning goals and objectives; reviews of how other resources programs of the Forest Service are helping to meet watershed, wildlife and fish goals through coordination,; and monitoring of complete wildlife and fish habitat projects to see if expected outputs are being realized. Although it is difficult to economically measure most output from wildlife programs, the anadromous fisheries products on from National Forest waters is an exception. The incumbent administers and anadroumous fisheries program that produces an average of 150 million pounds of salmon a year for an estimated value of $250 million based on selling these fish at dockside to a commercial packer in addition, subsistence use amounts to 1.4 million pounds valued at 6.8 million – Subsistence use of fish and wildlife is administered by the Forest Service in Alaska providing this position with a complex, volatile issue.
  • Wildlife and Fish Habitat Improvement– This involves the planning, design, and construction of watershed, wildlife, air, and fish habitat projects such as stream improvement structures, waterfowl nesting structures, protection fencing, grass axed for seeding, prescribed burning, etc.; the maintenance and rehabilitation of improvements; proper interspersion of vegetation types; and the creation of any required habitat that is not present in sufficient quantity and quality to meet the wildlife and fish goals and objectives.
  • Multiple Use Management This involves the coordination of wildlife and fish habitat needs with other uses of the land, including timber, livestock, watersheds, recreation users,  andengineering projects. The complex challenge is to provide and protect fish and wildlife habitat and other sustainable resource conditions while providing multiple uses from a managed forest environment.

Incumbent accomplishes wildlife and fish goals and objectives by working with other resources staffs to gain commitment to achieving wildlife and fish management goals and objectives through coordination with their programs.

  • State and Private Forestry– This involves providing technical leadership and guidance to State and Private Forestry to insure that cooperative programs are in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and are responsive to the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978. Disseminates wildlife and fish habitat information that can be helpful in providing interest Forest land owners with recommendations on how to treat private stands of timber to meet the owner’s wildlife and fish objectives.
  • Cooperation – Achieving wildlife and fish objectives and goals on National Forest System lands is dependent upon cooperative programs with other Federal agencies and the States. Intensive and close cooperation is particularly needed with the States with whom wildlife and fish management responsibilities on National Forest System lands are shared, the Fish and Wildlife Services and the Bureau of Land Management of the Department of the Interior, and the National Marine Fisheries Service of the Department of Commerce.

    Although many Forest Services wildlife and fish habitat programs and activities are done in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the most intensive and complicated activities involve animal damage control and implementation of Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Both of these programs are not only technically complicated, but evoke intensive public emotion. Therefore, considerable skill is needed not only in jointly working out technical problems in effective public communication.

    Strong and understanding leadership and direction are required in the cooperative programs with respective States. This cooperative effort is carried out with the 44 States that contain National Forest system lands. As the Forest Service shares the watershed, Fish, wildlife, Air, and Rare Plants management responsibilities with the States on National Forest System lands, it’s vital that good cooperative relations be maintained.

    Leadership is also need in cooperative efforts with other Federal Agencies such the Bureau of Land Management. Of extreme importance is the ability to cooperate and work with the man public conservation agencies who are not only interested in Forest Service wildlife and fish habitat programs but participate actively in either supporting or opposing such programs. The support of the majority of such groups is essential in achieving wildlife and fish objectives.

    The Director is responsible for establish and maintain partnerships with national watershed, fish, wildlife, air a, and plants organizations. Over 25 such partnerships have been established providing a strong coalition of support for forest service management activities. This includes furthering the Challenge Cost share program, which leverages about 2 private dollars for each federal dollar. In 2990 there were 1,700 Challenge Cost projects.
  • Threatened and Endangered Animal & Rare Plant Species– Provides overall supervision for the formulation and recommendation of policy, plans, programs, and standards of national scope to encourage the effective protection, development, coordination, and management of the threatened and endangered-plant and animal program. The T&E species program is especially complex since the Endangered Species Act requires that every Forest service action must be evaluated for its effect on T&E species. A mandatory consultation process with the Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce is required for all actions that may affect a listed species. The Forest Service may have over 10 thousand actions per year subject to the Endangered Species Act.

    These legal requirements necessitate very close coordination with other functional areas within the Forest Service to assure that actions initiated by them are legally evaluated and consulted upon.

    The incumbent bears overall responsibility for coordinating endangered species programs between all USDA, agencies by co-chairing the Fish and Wildlife Working Group for the Secretary’s Natural Resources and Environmental Committee.

A.    Determine adherence to established standards through fields visits, reviews and inspections. Determines standards for such inspections; develops criteria and approaches to assure attainment of functional objectives in line with national program goals and objectives; and determines the technical adequacy and, soundness of recommendations based on review findings.

B.     Considers and recommends appropriate action on complaints and appeals resulting from Forest Service wildlife and fish management policies and practices, such as appeals connected with conflicts between elk cover needs and timber sale volumes, wildlife snag requirements, and fuel wood policy, livestock use in riparian habitat and threatened and endangered species conflicts.

C.     Reviews and evaluates research programs to determine application to current wildlife and fish management program nerds; the recommendations of research studies directed toward the solution of newly, recognized of increasingly important problems; and implementation of research results for the purpose of achieving improved wildlife an fish management on Forest Service lands and demonstrating the value of changing practices and managing non-Federal lands for wildlife.

D.    Coordinates conservation, development, and utilization of wildlife and fish habitat with multiple-use sustained yield programs fox National Forest system lands and water; and coordinates assigned functional programs with those of other government agencies and privately-owned forests and I rangelands.

As Staff Director, is responsible for national level administrative activities including considering and support budgetary requirements for program accomplishment, development of a financial plan and allotment base, determine expected and actual program effectiveness, advising on forest and related rangeland research needs as they involve wildlife and fish habitat, and the issuance of directives and guidelines.
Provides leadership and coordinates the operations of subordinate Group Leaders, largely through conferences, policy decisions, and individual discussions. Personally takes action to resolve strategic operations problems, resolves complains, completes performance ratings, and selects employees for promotion or reassignment and determines broad program priorities. Reviews and evaluates group program actions from the standpoint of effective integration with Service-wide policies and objectives.