Harney SWCD SONEC Biologist

Harney Soil and Water Conservation District

Hines, Oregon

Job Type: Full-Time

Salary: $56,804.88-$60,264.24 DOE

Start / End Dates: 05-13-24

The Harney Soil and Water Conservation District (HSWCD) helps landowners and managers plan and apply conservation practices that conserve water, maintain soil health and productivity, enhance wildlife habitat, and improve watershed function.

More about our location:
Harney SWCD is located in Hines, Oregon, which is a small rural town in the high desert of Harney County in eastern Oregon, home to Steens Mountain, and covers 10,226 square miles in southeastern Oregon. Far from the wet coastline and forested mountains that characterize the state’s western region, this high-desert country is full of volcanic craters, craggy mountain peaks, back roads, and abundant wildlife. This area is full of local recreation opportunities, which include hunting, backpacking, hiking, soaking in hot springs, ATV riding, bird-watching, wildflower photography and more. Area residents come from farming and ranching families that have worked the land here for generations. Head to Oregon’s high desert to discover a land of wild beauty and Old West welcome. To learn more about this great area, visit Harney County at http://www.co.harney.or.us/

What you’ll be doing:
The person in this position’s main focus will be to provide technical assistance to landowners within the Southern Oregon Northeastern California (SONEC) water bird priority areas. The successful candidate will work to develop long-term funding strategies for implementation of projects. The Biologist will focus on providing conservation program delivery and support to ensure the maximum number of landowners are enrolled and are actively engaged in conservation efforts as outlined within their plan development. You will work with District staff, partner agencies, and private landowners on conservation strategies and measures for identifying additional resource investment areas.

Geographic Focus Area:
All lands within Harney County with program emphasis on private land—SONEC within Harney SWCD jurisdiction.

Specific tasks and responsibilities:

Provide delivery & technical support for habitat conservation projects.

  • Reach out to private landowners through in-person meetings, telephone, or other mechanisms to identify opportunities for conservation projects for SONEC wildlife.
  • Conduct site visits with the landowner and field office (FO) to provide technical guidance on developing conservation plans that address ecological and wildlife resource concerns.
  • Develop voluntary conservation agreements to improve or maintain habitat conditions on private lands (Baseline inventory, screening and ranking, ARCGIS mapping).
  • Conduct annual monitoring and provide written reporting to US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Ducks Unlimited, High Desert Partnership, and others as necessary.
  • Identify potential grant opportunities through private foundations and state and federal government, and match grant opportunities with needs within the District.
  • Write grant proposals for private, state and federal funds with emphasis placed on sustaining capacity.
  • Year-round responsibilities breaks down to around 60% office work 40% field work.


Identify, develop and provide formal trainings, workshops, and products for information and outreach.

  • Collaborate with local, state, federal, NGO, tribal, and other stakeholders to formulate program level SONEC and maintaining working landscapes for wildlife.
  • Identify and secure funding to enhance efficiencies for outreach, development, implementation, and monitoring activities associated with the SONEC program.
  • Provide partners and landowners with on-ground training (as needed or requested.)
  • Wildlife education and outreach for the general public (landowners, youth groups, community organizations, etc.).
  • Write wildlife and rangeland management related articles for the district website and other publications.
  • Develop and implement communications strategies and tools, provide for adequate recruiting and facilitate community capacity building and interest in the CCAA (to include, but not limited to) media releases, social media, web presence and participation in community meetings.


Develop technical proficiency.

  • Attend trainings as needed for professional development.
  • Become proficient with records management as it pertains to privacy requirements of Oregon law.

Qualifications / Experience Level Required:

Your success will be driven by your demonstration of our Mission, Vision, and Core values. More specifically related to this position, the successful candidate possesses the following:
  • Bachelor of Science in a field that emphasizes the principles exhibited within this job announcement (such as agriculture or natural resource) or a minimum of 3 years work experience involving these principles may be substituted;
  • Exhibit knowledge in natural resource conservation project development which includes plant identification, wildlife life history, understanding of riparian restoration, and upland restoration;
  • Experience with Microsoft software, be capable of creating complex documents in Microsoft Word and possess good English writing and proofreading skills;
  • Experience with ARCGIS mapping software and tablet interface;
  • Organized, detail oriented and comfortable working in and maintaining different types of databases and Excel spreadsheets;
  • Have the ability to manage diverse tasks daily and understand and implement instructions from multiple contributors;
  • Perseverance and good human relations skills;
  • Comfortable working in muti-disciplinary teams and be able to maintain deadlines;
  • A demonstrated ability to lead and execute projects;

Required skills include:
  • demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and positively with private landowners;
  • develop, encourage and maintain strong respectful relationships with coworkers, collaborators and partners;
  • accept supervision and work independently;
  • tolerate difficult and sometimes tedious work conditions;
  • abide by all applicable organizational policies.

How to apply:
Submit the following materials to:
Attn: District Manager at Harney Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Position Application
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • Three references

Email: kesling@harneyswcd.net
Mail: PO Box 848, Hines, OR 97738

Housing: No


Jason Kesling


Apply for This Position: kesling@harneyswcd.net

Application Closes: Open until filled

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