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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  Research Rangeland Management Specialist/Research Ecologist
Department:  Department Of Agriculture
Agency:  Agricultural Research Service
Job Announcement Number:  ARS-D14W-0019

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

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$68,809.00 to $125,695.00 / Per Year
Monday, January 06, 2014 to Friday, February 14, 2014
Full Time - Permanent
1 vacancy in the following location:
Reno, NV View Map
United States Citizens


Find Solutions to Agricultural Problems that Affect Americans Every Day, From Field to Table

This position is with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Pacific West Area in the Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit located in Reno, NV.  The Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit’s mission is the development of management guidelines, technologies, and practices for conserving and restoring Great Basin rangelands and development of tools and techniques to assess the effectiveness of these management actions across a range of temporal and spatial scales.  The incumbent of this position is responsible for conducting independent research related to developing techniques for natural resource management aimed at rehabilitating degraded Great Basin Rangelands.


Background Investigation & Type: Pre-employment fingerprints; NACI background investigation required.


This position requires the selectee to undergo a pre-employment check and a full background investigation.  Any offer made is considered a tentative job offer pending the outcome of the pre-employment check.  Retention in the position is based upon a favorable adjudication of the background investigation.  The incumbent will be subject to periodic reinvestigations.


Status Candidates, VEOA eligibles, and those eligible under noncompetitive or special appointing authorities may apply to Merit Promotion Vacancy Announcement Number ARS-A14W-0020.


Telework is available/authorized for this position


This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.


  • 25% or Greater
  • Up to 10 days/month


  • Yes
  • Relocation cost of employee


  • You must be a U.S. Citizen to apply for this position
  • Suitable for Federal employment, determined by a background investigation
  • Males born after 12/31/59 must be registered with Selective Service
  • A valid driver's license is required.


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The incumbent serves as a Research Rangeland Management Specialist or Research Ecologist for the Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit, Reno, NV.  Responsibilities include developing a research program to facilitate science-based rehabilitation and re-vegetation of sagebrush steppe and pinyon and juniper woodlands that have been impacted by wildfire and invasive annual grasses (e.g., cheatgrass and medusahead); conducting fundamental and applied research in range management, landscape ecology, and watershed management, with an emphasis on assessing and predicting impacts of management actions (e.g., cheatgrass control and grazing management) on rangeland ecosystem processes; and developing a cooperative research program within the Great Basin Rangelands Research Unit and between ARS locations in the intermountain West.



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Basic Requirements:

This position may be filled in either of the below series (A-B).  Each series requires applicants to meet Basic Requirements in addition to at least one year of specialized experience in order to be found minimally qualified.  You MUST meet one of the following basic requirements:


A.   Ecology Series (0440)

Degree: biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences. 


B. Rangeland Management Series (0454)

Degree: range management; or a related discipline that included at least 42 semester hours in a combination of the plant, animal, and soil sciences, and natural resources management, as follows:

  • Range Management -- At least 18 semester hours of course work in range management, including courses in such areas as basic principles of range management, range plants, range ecology, range inventories and studies, range improvements, and ranch or rangeland planning.
  • Directly Related Plant, Animal, and Soil Sciences -- At least 15 semester hours of directly related courses in the plant, animal, and soil sciences, including at least one course in each of these three scientific areas, i.e., plant, animal, and soil sciences. Courses in such areas as plant taxonomy, plant physiology, plant ecology, animal nutrition, livestock production, and soil morphology or soil classification are acceptable.
  • Related Resource Management Studies -- At least 9 semester hours of course work in related resource management subjects, including courses in such areas as wildlife management, watershed management, natural resource or agricultural economics, forestry, agronomy, forages, and outdoor recreation management.


Combination of education and experience: at least 42 semester hours of course work in the combination of plant, animal, and soil sciences and natural resources management shown in A above, plus appropriate experience or additional education.


Additional Qualifications:

In addition to meeting the basic requirements described above, applicants must also meet additional qualifications as stated below.


GS-12: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-11 level in the Federal Government or possess a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree or possess an equivalent combination of graduate level education and experience.  Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped applicants with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.


Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  The specialized experience requirements for the GS-12 level of this position are:


1. Knowledge of applied research in range management, landscape ecology, and watershed management, with an emphasis on assessing and predicting impacts of natural events (such as wildfire or drought) and management interactions on rangeland ecosystem processes.

2. Skill in developing a comprehensive research program that facilitates use of livestock in landscape/watershed scale Great Basin rangeland rehabilitation projects impacted by fire and invasive plants.

3. Skill in conducting research on the rehabilitation of rangelands impacted by invasive plants (e.g., exotic annual grasses, pinyon pine and juniper) and wildfire in order to assess the economic, environmental, and ecological benefits of conservation/management actions
4. Ability to conceive, plan, conduct and report original independent research in peer reviewed journals and make presentations at scientific meetings on rangeland rehabilitation and re-vegetation topics.


GS-13: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-12 level in the Federal Government. 

Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  In addition to the specialized experience requirements outlined above for the GS-12 level, the specialized experience requirements for the GS-13 level of this position also includes: 

5. Ability to develop revegetation methodologies to prevent the invasion of annual grasses (such as cheatgrass, medusahead rye, or red brome) following destructive events (e.g., fire) in Great Basin rangeland ecosystems.

GS-14: Applicants must demonstrate at least one full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the GS-13 level in the Federal Government. 


Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled.  In addition to the specialized experience requirements outlined above for the GS-12/13 levels, the specialized experience requirements for the GS-14 level of this position also includes:


6. Skill in developing a comprehensive watershed assessment research program that quantifies wildfire and invasive weeds impact on hydrologic processes (e.g., runoff, ground water recharge, soil erosion, and salinity transport) at the landscape/watershed scale for Great Basin rangeland rehabilitation projects.


Applicants must address the specialized experience requirements in their resume (or application documents).  Applications that do not reflect the specialized experience requirements will not be deemed qualified.


To be considered for a research scientist position, you must submit a one-page abstract of your MS thesis and/or Ph.D. dissertation.  Also, submit a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons familiar with your stature, contributions, recognition; any honors or awards received; memberships in professional or honor societies; invitations to make presentations at scientific/technical meetings; scientific society office and committee assignments; presentations (other than invitation); and publications.


Vacant research positions may be filled at one of several grade levels depending upon the scientific impact of the person selected.  A peer review may be required to determine the appropriate grade level of the position and supplemental materials may be required from the selectee.


Research scientists have open-ended promotion potential.  Research accomplishments and their impact on the duties and responsibilities of positions are evaluated periodically.  The grade level is limited only by the individual's demonstrated ability to perform research of recognized importance to science and technology.  *Final grade level may be determined by a peer review panel.

This position has a positive education requirement.  You must submit a copy of your academic transcripts OR a list of college courses with credit hours, dates completed, and grade point average or class ranking to verify education when applying for this position.  If this information is not provided, your education may not be appropriately evaluated and you may lose consideration for this position.  If you are selected for this position, you will have to provide an official copy of your transcripts prior to entering on duty.


Graduate education must be directly related to the work of the position and must have equipped you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do the work.


Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. education programs to be acceptable for Federal employment.  It is your responsibility to provide such evidence when applying.  Please visit the Office of Personnel Management's website for additional information on this topic.


Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of this vacancy announcement.

Applicants must be available to report for duty at the time a selection is made.  Selections are typically made within 30 days of the closing date of the announcement.



You will be evaluated to determine if you meet the basic and any additional requirements.  The Agricultural Research Service uses a category rating process.  Based on evaluation of all written materials submitted in your application for the position, you will be determined to be Ineligible if you do not meet eligibility and/or minimum qualifications criteria; Eligible if you meet all eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria; OR Quality if you meet quality criteria in addition to eligibility and minimum qualifications criteria. 


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The Federal government offers a number of exceptional benefits to its employees.  The following link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered to Federal employees:



Displaced/Surplus Employees:  Individuals eligible under the USDA Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or the Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) must be well qualified for the position to receive consideration for special priority selection.  CTAP and ICTAP eligibles within the local commuting area will be considered well qualified if they meet basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors, and are rated in the Quality Category as described in the How You Will Be Evaluated section.  Employees seeking CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of the agency notice, a copy of their most recent performance rating and a copy of their most recent SF-50 noting current position, grade level and duty location.  Click here for additional information on CTAP and ICTAP.

If you are a veteran with preference eligibility and you are claiming 5-point veterans' preference, you must submit Member 4 copy of your DD-214 or other proof of eligibility.  If you are claiming 10-point veterans' preference, you must submit an SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veterans' Preference plus the proof required by that form.

Financial Disclosure Requirement:  Federal employees are subject to prohibitions against officially dealing with outside organizations in which they have a financial interest.  If hired for this position, you may be required to submit a financial disclosure report within 30 days of the effective date of your appointment and annually thereafter.

Reasonable Accommodation:  If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, or have questions regarding reasonable accommodation and/or accessibility for any part of the application and hiring process, please contact the Disability Program Manager on 202-720-6161 or through the DC Relay Service on 202-855-1234 (TDD).

False Statements:  If you make a false statement in any part of your application, you may not be hired; may be fired after beginning work; or may be fined or jailed.


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Your application package must be complete by 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, February 14, 2014.  You must apply online or by fax (see below for details).  Applications sent by mail (including e-mail) or hand-delivered will not be accepted.  Certain individuals are entitled to file a late application and must contact the Agency Contact listed below for details and application instructions.

Choose either Option A or Option B to apply for this position:

Option A:  Online Application

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 and upload (or reuse) supporting documents.  You must click the Submit My Answers button at the end of the process.

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 that you are unable to upload:
1. Click here to print a fax cover page.
2. Complete all blocks on the cover page using Vacancy ID 1002907.  Documents will not be processed if information is missing.
3. Fax the completed cover page and your documents to 1-478-757-3144.

Option B:  Fax
If you cannot apply online, follow these steps to fax your complete application package.

1. Click the following link to print the occupational questionnaire View Occupational Questionnaire;
2. Print the 1203FX form, which you will use to provide your responses to the occupational questionnaire; and  
3. Fax the completed 1203FX (all 6 pages), your resume, and supporting documents (including those specified in the Required Documents section below) to 1-478-757-3144.  The 1203FX will serve as the cover page for your fax transmission and must be placed on top of all other documents.   


To ensure your application fully outlines your qualifications and eligibility for this position, please review the application package checklist at:

If your application package does not contain all required documents, you may lose consideration for the position.


Please do not include your Social Security Number (SSN) on your resume or supporting documents.



Kathy Sciannella
Phone: (301)504-1568
Fax: (478)757-3144
Agency Information:
Agricultural Research Service
5601 Sunnyside Avenue
Beltsville, MD
20705 Fax: (478)757-3144


Once the online questionnaire is received you will receive an acknowledgement email.  After a review of your complete application is made you will be notified of your rating and or referral to the hiring official.  If further evaluation or interviews are required you will be contacted.

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