This research position is with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Northwest Watershed Research Center (NWRC), located in Boise, Idaho.Learn more about this agency
This is a term, time-limited appointment with an initial duration no less than 13 months and can be extended up to a total of 4 years.
The mission of the NWRC is to provide knowledge and technology for management of semi-arid rangeland watersheds; to quantitatively describe the hydrologic processes and interactive influences of climate, soils, vegetation, topography, and management on rangeland watershed systems; to develop information, simulation models, and tools that can be used by action agencies and producers in determining optimum management strategies; and to maintain long-term databases for scientific applications.
The incumbent of this position serves as a support scientist in the field of rangeland management research providing expertise on ecological and geospatial data collection, processing, and analysis for a Research Rangeland Management Specialist.
Major Duties may include, but are not limited to:
- Managing the preparation, execution, and day-to-day operations of extensive field research projects.
- Compiling data and develops and conducts quality-control procedures to detect and remove error and ensure data products meet expected standards.
- Conducting initial statistical analyses on compiled data, including the development and application of custom programming.
- Conducting GIS, remote sensing, and other spatial analyses using ArcGIS, ENVI, or other similar GIS and remote-sensing analysis systems.
- Preparing results and findings from experiments conducted, including initial interpretation of significance to the overall project, for inclusion in peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, progress reports, and research presentations.
Occasional travel - Occasional travel required.
Job family (Series)
Conditions of Employment
- You must be a US Citizen or US National.
- Satisfactory background investigation and/or fingerprint check
- Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
Subject to satisfactory completion of a one year trial period.
Entrance on duty is contingent upon completion of a pre-employment security investigation. The position may require a Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret security clearance or be subject to a Public Trust background investigation at the time of appointment, and may be subject to reinvestigation every five years thereafter. A favorable adjudication of the clearance or background investigation at the time of appointment and on reinvestigations is a condition of employment.
Work will require standing, sitting, bending, kneeling, walking, and lifting. Field working includes lifting, carrying, and positioning sampling equipment as well as traversing rough terrain and moderately steep inclines. Computer and laboratory work is relatively sedentary for extended periods (with appropriate ergonomics and breaks).
Work will be performed in the office, field, and laboratory. Office work will be primarily spent independently at a computer or with others developing and learning programming and algorithms for data analyses. Field work is seasonal at remote rangeland sites, may require camping out for multiple nights, and coping with cold or hot weather. Laboratory work primary involves preparation and analysis of vegetation samples and may be done in-house or with collaborators.
Applicants must meet all qualifications and eligibility requirements by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the closing date of the announcement including the following specialized experience and/or education, as identified by grade level.
Basic Education Requirements:
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.
Specialized Experience: Specialized experience is experience directly related to the position to be filled. Specialized experience must be described for each grade level advertised. The specialized experience requirements for this position are:
At the GS-09 level:
Qualifying experience for GS-09 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-07 which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. For this position, specialized experience is experience contributing to managing the preparation, execution, and day-to-day operations of extensive field research projects. Reviewing and modifying field and/or lab research methods or designing new methods needed to obtain desired data and information. Selecting and implementing quality-assurance procedures to ensure data are collected according to prescribed protocols and standards. Compiling data and conducting quality-control procedures to detect and remove error and ensure data products meet expected standards. Conducting initial statistical analyses and preparing summaries for compiled data, including development and application of custom statistical programming. Conducting GIS, remote sensing, and other spatial analyses using ArcGIS, ENVI, or other similar GIS and remote-sensing analysis systems. Preparing results and findings from experiments for inclusion in peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, progress reports, and research presentations.
Education: Two academic years of graduate education or a master’s degree if directly related to the position.
A combination of education and experience as described above.
At the GS-11 level:
Qualifying experience for GS-11 includes one year of specialized experience comparable to GS-9 which is directly related to the work of this position and which has equipped the applicant with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform successfully the duties of the position. For this position, specialized experience is experience managing the preparation, execution, and day-to-day operations of extensive and complex field research projects. Reviewing available methods and if necessarily, modifying these methods or designing new methods needed to obtain desired data and information. Designing and implementing quality assurance procedures to ensure data are collected according to prescribed protocols and standards. Compiling data and developing and conducting quality control procedures to detect and remove error and ensure data products meet expected standards. Conducting complex statistical analyses and preparing publication-ready summaries for compiled data, including development and application of custom statistical programming. Conducting complex GIS, remote sensing, and other spatial analyses using ArcGIS, ENVI, or other similar GIS and remote sensing analysis systems. Preparing results and findings from experiments for inclusion in peer-reviewed journal manuscripts, progress reports, and research presentations.
Education: Three years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral i f directly related to the position.
A combination of education and experience as described above.
Selective Placement Factor: Experience in managing complex field research projects (e.g., projects involving multiple research sites, teams of technical staff, and dynamic timelines and deadlines dependent on changing external factors and inputs) Effective communication and leadership skills are critical for this position. Demonstrated ability to see a project through from planning, to implementation, and finally to successful closure and impact assessment is necessary for this position.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
More than one selection may be made if another vacancy occurs within 90 days of the issuance of the certification of eligibles.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc) should contact: USDAs TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
Direct Deposit – Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of your choosing.
E-Verify: Federal law requires agencies to use the E-Verify system to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. If you are selected as a newly hired employee, the documentation you present for purposes of completing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Form 1-9 on your entry-on-duty date will be verified through the DHS E-VERIFY system. Under the system, the new hire is required to resolve any identified discrepancies as a condition of continued employment.
BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION AND FINGERPRINT CHECK: Selection and retention in this position is contingent on a successfully adjudicated FBI National Criminal History Check (fingerprint check) and a background investigation.
It is the policy of the Government not to deny employment simply because an individual has been unemployed or has had financial difficulties that have arisen through no fault of the individual. See more information at: http://www.chcoc.gov/transmittals/TransmittalDetails.aspx?TransmittalID=6465
Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): For information on how to apply as a CTAP, RPL or ICTAP eligibility see http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/workforce-restructuring/employee-guide-to-career-transition/. To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP candidates must be rated and determined to be well qualified (or above) based on an evaluation of the competencies listed in the How You Will Be Evaluated section. When assessed through a score-based category rating method, CTAP/ICTAP applicants must receive a rating of at least 85 out of a possible 100.
This position is eligible for telework and other flexible work arrangements.
Relocation expenses are not authorized.
If you are selected for a position with further promotion potential, you will be placed under a career development plan, and may be non-competitively promoted if you successfully complete the requirements and if recommended by management. However, promotion is neither implied nor guaranteed.
How You Will Be Evaluated
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Applications will be evaluated in accordance with Office of Personnel Managements (OPM) Delegated Examining Procedures using category rating. Applicants who meet basic minimum qualifications will be placed in one of two or three categories: Best Qualified, Well Qualified, or Qualified. Within these categories, applicants eligible for veteran's preference will receive selection priority over non-veterans. Category placement will be determined based on applicants quality of experience and the extent they possess the following knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) or competencies:
- Technology Application
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Project Management
- Rangeland Management
Your application, including the online Assessment Questionnaire, will be reviewed to determine if you meet (a) minimum qualification requirements and (b) the resume supports the answers provided to the job-specific questions. Your resume must clearly support your responses to all the questions addressing experience and education relevant to this position. Those determined to be in the best qualified category will be referred to the selecting official for consideration.
Note : If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your rating may be lowered to more accurately reflect the submitted documentation. Please follow all instructions carefully. Errors or omissions may affect your rating. Providing inaccurate information on Federal documents could be grounds for non-selection or disciplinary action up to including removal from the Federal service.
Clicking the link below will present a preview of the application form; i.e. the online questionnaire. The application form link below will only provide a preview and does not initiate the application process. To initiate the online application process, click the "Apply Online" button to the right.
To view the application form, visit: https://ars.usda.ntis.gov/cp/?event=jobs.previewApplication&jobid=007EAB2C-4B8F-4B7B-9014-A96C00BDCFBB
Background checks and security clearance
Drug test required
The following documents are required for your applicant package to be complete. Our office cannot be responsible for incompatible software, illegible fax transmissions, delays in the mail service, your system failure, etc. Encrypted documents will not be accepted. Failure to submit required, legible documents may result in loss of consideration.
- Resume that includes: 1) personal information such as name, address, contact information; 2) education; 3) detailed work experience related to this position as described in the major duties including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) supervisors phone number and whether or not the supervisor may be contacted for a reference check; 5) other qualifications.
- If education is required or you are using education to qualify, you must submit a copy of your college transcripts. An unofficial copy is sufficient with the application; however, if you are selected, you will be required to submit official transcripts prior to entering on duty. Education must have been successfully obtained from an accredited school, college or university. If any education was completed at a foreign institute, you must submit with your application evidence that the institute was appropriately accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as equivalent to U.S. education standards. There are private organizations that specialize in this evaluation and a fee is normally associated with this service. For a list of private organizations that evaluate education, visit http://www.naces.org/members.htm. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.
- If claiming veterans preference, you must submit a DD214, Certificate of Release from Active Duty, which shows dates of service and discharge under honorable conditions. If currently on active duty you must submit a certification of expected discharge or release from active duty service under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is submitted. Veterans preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veterans preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.
- If claiming 10-point veterans preference you must provide the DD214 or certification requirements (see above bullet), plus the proof of entitlement of this preference as listed on the SF-15 Application for 10-point Veterans Preference. The SF-15 should be included but is not required. Failure to submit these documents could result in the determination that there is insufficient documentation to support your claim for 10-point preference. For more information on veterans' preference see http://www.fedshirevets.gov/job/vetpref/
- Surplus or displaced employees eligible for CTAP, RPL, or ICTAP priority must provide: proof of eligibility (RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a transfer of function or directed reassignment to another commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination), SF-50 documenting separation (as applicable), and your most recent SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with your application per 5 CFR 330.
If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:
Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.
A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits.
The Federal Government offers a comprehensive benefits package. Explore the major benefits offered to most Federal employees at:
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
How to Apply
Please read the entire announcement and all instructions before you begin. You must complete this application process and submit all required documents electronically by 11:59p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the closing date of this announcement.
Applying online is highly encouraged. We are available to assist you during business hours (normally 8:00a.m. - 4:00p.m., Monday - Friday). If applying online poses a hardship, contact the Agency Contact listed below well before the closing date for an alternate method. All hardship application packages must be complete and submitted no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order to be entered into the system prior to its closing.
This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; contact the Agency Contact to request this.
To begin, click "Apply Online" and follow the instructions to complete the Assessment Questionnaire and attach your resume and all required documents.
NOTE: You must verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBS transfer into the Agency's staffing system. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g., all SF-50s) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 3MB. Grouping like documents into files will simplify the application process. Documents must be in one of the following formats: GIF, JPEG, JPG, PDF, PNG, RTF, or Word (DOC or DOCX). Uploaded documents may not require a password, digital signature, or other encryption to open.
Agency contact information
5601 Sunnyside Ave
Beltsville, MD, 20705
Your application will be reviewed to verify that you meet the eligibility and qualification requirements for the position prior to issuing referral lists to the selecting official. If further evaluation or interviews are required, you will be contacted. Log in to your USAJOBS account at https://my.usajobs.gov/Account/Login to check your application status. We expect to make a final job offer approximately 40 days after the deadline for applications.
Fair & Transparent
The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.
Equal Employment Opportunity Policy
The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.
Reasonable Accommodation Policy
Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process should follow the instructions in the job opportunity announcement. For any part of the remaining hiring process, applicants should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.
A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.
Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when:
- An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.
- An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.
You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Legal and regulatory guidance
This job originated on www.usajobs.gov. For the full announcement and to apply, visit www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/513610700. Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at www.usajobs.gov will be considered.