Firewise Community/CREP Coordinator

Union Soil & Water Conservation District

La Grande, Oregon

Job Type: Full-Time

Salary: $46,000 to $56,000 DOE

Start / End Dates: Start date 2024-05-01

ORGANIZATION SUMMARY
The position will be housed at the Union Soil and Water Conservation District in collaboration with nonprofit partner, Wallowa Resources. The Union Soil and Water Conservation District (USWCD) has assisted private landowners with conservation planning and project implementation in the Grande Ronde Basin for over 70 years, forming in 1946. The USWCD is a political subdivision of state government, considered a municipal corporation, and follows many of the same laws that govern state agencies. As a partner with Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) and with guidance from Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), the USWCD acts as a local leader to coordinate efforts of conservation agencies and tie their programs to local conditions and priorities. In short, the USWCD is the local advocate for landowners and managers to assist with development, protection, and conservation of natural resources. https://unionswcd.org/

Wallowa Resources (WR) is a community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, established in 1996 with leadership from Wallowa County Commissioners. Since then, WR has worked to bring people together to empower rural communities to create strong economies and healthy landscapes through land stewardship, education, and job creation. Headquartered in Wallowa County, we strive to assist communities throughout Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington balance rural economic well-being with the stewardship and conservation of its resources, preserving each rural area’s heritage of making a living from the land. https://www.wallowaresources.org/

JOB SUMMARY
The Firewise Community / CREP Coordinator assists groups of Union County landowners living on working lands and within the wildland urban interface by connecting people with information and resources to become active stewards of their forests, rangelands, and farms by boosting regional landscape health and resiliency. The Coordinator plays two primary yet complementary roles.

The primary role of the Coordinator will be to work alongside community partners to help support a cohesive Firewise Community program in Union County. They will act as a central point of contact among natural resource partners for private landowners to ensure they are able to get access to the resources they need to steward their land. The Coordinator will work with Firewise Communities or groups of landowners in Union County to connect them with the knowledge, skills, assistance and partners they need to live in a fire adapted ecosystem and be active stewards of their forests, rangelands and farms. Where applicable, the Coordinator will assist landowners to
coordinate with cross boundary projects on adjoining public, private and Tribal lands, as part of the Northern Blues “All Lands” Restoration Partnership. The Coordinator will also engage with regional Firewise Coordinators in surrounding counties to help support a regional Northeast Oregon Firewise Community peer network and annual workshop/tour.

Where applicable, Coordinator will also be trained to help promote the Union County Soil and Water Conservation District’s mission and its associated programs with landowners both within and outside Firewise Communities. For interested landowners, the position will collaborate with other conservation partners, agencies, and funding organizations to provide education, knowledge, technical assistance and financial support, to develop conservation plans and implement conservation actions and management strategies on their lands. The Coordinator will be expected to complete training to become a certified Conservation Planner and promote the Conservation Reserve and Enhancement Program (CREP technician).

ESSENTIAL JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Coordinate a Cohesive Firewise Community program in Union County

  • Work with a diverse group of partners (county, state, federal, tribal) to perform outreach to private landowners in strategic areas to develop new Firewise Communities. This includes introductory community meetings, presentations in collaboration with local partners to explain wildfire risk, and assist in the creation, delivery and submission of the community’s Firewise Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Assessment, Action Plan and Application.
  • Once established – connect Firewise Communities with local partners and educational (workshops, tours, handouts), technical (structural assessments, forest management plans, range management plans, conservation plans, etc.) and financial resources (ODF, NRCS, FSA, OWEB, OSFM, CREP, etc.) to assess and treat their properties for wildfire risk, forest health, water quality, soil health, noxious weeds, fish and wildlife habitat, etc.
  • Participate and assist in organization of Firewise Community workdays/trainings, community events, funding opportunities and grants, and plans for ongoing maintenance.
  • Engage with local natural resource contractors and local youth/adult conservation crews to assist in implementation of collective projects on private landowner properties within Firewise Communities. Where relevant, coordinate with Wallowa Resources Monitoring Crew to monitor outcomes of the projects.
  • Where applicable, assist landowners to coordinate with landscape-scale, cross boundary projects on adjoining public, private and tribal lands, as part of the Northern Blues “All Lands” Restoration Partnership.
  • Regularly attend partner meetings including the Union County Community Wildfire Protection Plan Committee, NRCS Local Work Group, Northern Blues Restoration Partnership, etc. to provide updates and apprise partners of current fire, forest, watershed, etc. related activities.
  • Seek guidance and regularly engage with city and county officials and land management organizations (including NRCS, ODF, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Grande Ronde Model Watershed, Emergency Manager, etc.).
  • Engage with regional Firewise Coordinators, partners, and existing Firewise Communities to help participate in and support a regional Northeast Oregon Firewise Community peer network and annual workshop/tour. Work with Wallowa Resources Forest Communications Coordinator and relevant partners to update Northeast Oregon Firewise Community Website, develop/adapt program materials, and engage with media. Outreach and technical support to landowners with an interest in developing water quality and soil health conservation actions.
  • Promote the Union County Soil and Water Conservation District mission and its associated programs with landowners within Firewise Communities and across Union County, to improve water quality, soil health, and resilience to wildfire.
  • Assist with public displays and preparation of annual reports, news articles, and website information.
  • For interested landowners, provide technical support and landowner assistance to implement CREP contracts and OWEB grants, assistance in conservation planning, and monitoring important aspects of projects as needed.
  • Meet regularly with regional NRCS staff to support activities for improved water quality and soil health with emphasis on CREP implementation and riparian plant community restoration. As needed, coordinate with partners of the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Implementation Team on watershed restoration projects.

 

Outreach and technical support to landowners with an interest in developing water quality and soil health conservation actions

  • Promote the Union County Soil and Water Conservation District mission and its associated programs with landowners within Firewise Communities and across Union County, to improve water quality, soil health, and resilience to wildfire.
  • Assist with public displays and preparation of annual reports, news articles, and website information.
  • For interested landowners, provide technical support and landowner assistance to implement CREP contracts and OWEB grants, assistance in conservation planning, and monitoring important aspects of projects as needed.
  • Meet regularly with regional NRCS staff to support activities for improved water quality and soil health with emphasis on CREP implementation and riparian plant community restoration. As needed, coordinate with partners of the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Implementation Team on watershed restoration projects.

Benefits include health insurance, option for matching deferred compensation investment, annual and sick leave.

Qualifications / Experience Level Required:

Experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities required:
(The following are the minimum levels required to successfully perform the Essential Job Duties and Responsibilities)
  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Community organizing, volunteer coordination, conflict resolution, project management, and experience managing and prioritizing tasks from multiple sources
  • Ability to independently work and set goals/priorities
  • Strong written, speaking, and presentation skills in formal and informal settings
  • Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Suite, Adobe Acrobat, Zoom, Google Drive, and basic design/report making
  • Willing to learn, have an adaptive and flexible work style and be an active listener
  • Interest in natural resources conservation and wildfire mitigation and preparedness
  • Consistently demonstrate teamwork and positive day-to-day work relationships and interactions with staff, board members, members of the public, and community partners
  • Reliable automobile transportation with a valid driver’s license and proper insurance


Preferred
  • Bachelor of Science/Arts in forestry, natural resources, fish or wildlife biology, agricultural or range, or wildfire-related degree or Associate’s degree with 2 years of comparable experience
  • Familiarity with Northeast Oregon agriculture, forests and wildfire, communities, and natural resource/wildfire partners
  • Experience working with rural agricultural landowners of diverse backgrounds
  • ArcGIS/mapping skills
  • Familiar with grant programs available for small and large landowners
  • Familiarity with the natural resource sector and issues in Northeast Oregon


WORKING CONDITIONS
Environment and Physical Requirements: The Firewise Community / Private Lands Stewardship Coordinator works primarily in an office or work-from-home environment; however, the position visits field locations including forests, private landowner properties, and wood product business sites. Those locations are subject to a variety of extreme weather conditions including rain, snow, wind, and dust. The position frequently requires travel by car to attend meetings and occasional overnight travel. The incumbent interacts constantly with staff, visitors, government agencies, and others. The position sits, stands, walks, bends, lifts, and moves intermittently during working hours. The incumbent must be able to lift, push, pull and move files and equipment in excess of 10 pounds.

Hours: Typical office hours are full time from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, but are flexible and will include evening and weekend tours/meetings with landowners.

Other Duties and Responsibilities: This job description is a summary of the essential duties and responsibilities for this job, and it does not necessarily represent an all-inclusive list of duties, responsibilities, tasks or procedures. Employees are required to follow any other job-related instructions and to perform any other job-related duties requested by any person authorized to give instruction or assignments. Nothing in this description restricts Union SWCD’s right to assign or reassign duties at any time.

Accommodation Statement: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Union Soil and Water Conservation District will make reasonable accommodations during any and all phases of the selection process for individuals with a disability. Please contact the District office at (541) 963-1313, by the deadline date of this announcement to request accommodations.

APPLICATION PROCESS
Submit your application to:
Jim Webster, Union SWCD
Email: jwebster@unionswcd.org or
Mail/Delivery:
10507 N. McAlister Rd, Rm #7
La Grande, OR 97850

Include:
  • Cover letter
  • Application Form (PD200): Form – contact SWCD at 541-963-1313
  • 3 professional references
  • Resume

Housing: Yes

Contact:

Jim Webster

541-963-1313

Apply for This Position: jwebster@unionswcd.org

Application Closes: 04/05/2024

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