U.S. nationals: Research Ecologist

U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

Flagstaff, AZ, USA 🇺🇸

Duties

Summary

This scientist supports the Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), Air, Water, and Aquatic Environments (AWAE) Program, located in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The mission of the AWAE Program is to conduct basic and applied research on the effects of natural processes and human activities on watershed resources including interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

For additional information about the duties of this position, please contact Frank McCormick at [email protected]Learn more about this agency

Responsibilities

  • Conduct scientific investigations of ecological issues in aquatic ecosystems (primarily streams).
  • Quantify the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on hydrologic and riparian function and connectivity.
  • Use plot and reach-scale studies as surrogates for larger-scale processes and develop novel approaches to extrapolate measurements to the ecosystem or watershed level.
  • Make resource management recommendations to mitigate the environmental effects of drought, fire, land management activities and climate change on aquatic ecosystems.
  • Communicate, explain, and present complex scientific data to a wide variety of audiences.
  • Develop analytical, conceptual, and physical models for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with partners including university researchers, tribal groups, federal/state organizations, local and/or nongovernmental organizations.

Travel Required

25% or less – Post-COVID: Overnight travel 7-8 times per year for field work and to visit Sierra Ancha Experimental Forest and attend other professional meetings.

Supervisory status: No

Promotion Potential: 13

Requirements

Conditions of Employment

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or National.
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered for Selective Service or exempt.
  • Subject to satisfactory adjudication of background investigation and/or fingerprint check.
  • Completion of a 3-year probationary period required in accordance with the USDA Demonstration Project Authority. During this time, employee?s conduct and performance will be monitored to determine if employee will be retained.
  • Per Public Law 104-134 all Federal employees are required to have federal payments made by direct deposit to their financial institution.
  • Successfully pass the E-Verify employment verification check. To learn more about E-Verify, including your rights and responsibilities, visit E-Verify.
  • The work is a combination of sedentary office or laboratory work and physical work during field operations.
  • Laboratory work may require standing for long periods.
  • Field work may involve wading in streams, lakes or ponds, hiking walking over steep, rough or rocky terrain while carrying research equipment which may weigh in excess of 25 lbs.
  • Occasionally, exposure to discomfort and/or risk of encountering extreme heat or cold or hazardous work situations.

Qualifications

This is a research scientist position and is classified under the scientist career plan. 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 will be determined by a peer review panel. The purpose of the initial review panel is to determine the grade level upon entry into a position.

Candidates being considered for this research position should provide a list of publications for which you have been an author, co-author, or contributor. If providing curriculum vitae, please incorporate all resume requirements identified in the REQUIRED DOCUMENTS section of this announcement, or submit a supplemental resume which includes all information required in addition to the curriculum vitae.

To qualify, you must meet the eligibility and qualifications requirements as defined below by the closing date of the announcement. For more information on the qualifications for this position, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s General Schedule Qualification Standards.

Your application and resume must clearly show that you possess the experience requirements. Transcripts must be provided for qualifications based on education. Provide university course descriptions to clarify course content as necessary.

Work Experience: Your resume must clearly document the following for each block of work experience: the beginning day, month and year the work assignment started and ended; the hours worked per week; position title, and series and grade if applicable; and description of duties performed. This information must be provided for each permanent, temporary or seasonal appointment/work assignment or volunteer work and should be clearly documented as a separate block of time. Incomplete, inaccurate or conflicting work history may not be credited for qualifications purposes. This can result in an applicant not being considered for the position.

Basic Education Requirement for Ecology Series (0408):
Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in biology or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours or the equivalent in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours or the equivalent in ecology, and 12 semester hours or the equivalent in physical and mathematical sciences.

In addition to meeting the basic education requirement, you must also possess experience and/or directly related education in the amounts listed below.

Minimum Qualifications for GS-12 Grade Level:
One year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-11). Specialized experience at this level is defined as all of the following:

  • Conducting the full cycle of scientific research (including identifying research topics, defining study objectives, organizing and conducting the research, interpreting the results, and presenting the findings in the form of manuscripts for publication, reports, presentations at meetings, demonstrations, and other appropriate technology transfer activities) from in one or more of the following areas: basic and applied research on the effects of natural processes and human activities on watershed resources including interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; developing core knowledge, methods, and technologies that enable effective watershed management in forests and grasslands, sustain biodiversity, and maintain healthy watershed conditions; research on the responses of watershed processes to natural and anthropogenic disturbance and how watersheds can be better managed and restored to provide ecosystem services (water quality and quantity) and sustain aquatic biodiversity, AND
  • Using field-based sampling, in combination with simulation modeling, remote sensing, and advanced analysis tools such as geographic information systems and spatial statistics.

–OR–
Conferred Ph.D. degree that included scientific research in areas related to the work of the position which is conducting basic and applied research on the effects of natural processes and human activities on watershed resources including interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and/or includes coursework in areas such as atmospheric sciences, soils, forest engineering, biogeochemistry, hydrology, terrestrial and riparian plant physiology and aquatic ecology and limnology, conservation biology and fisheries.Minimum Qualifications for GS-13 Grade Level:
GS-13: One year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-12). Specialized experience at this level is defined as all of the following:

  • Conducting a diversity or body of research in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems as a Principal Investigator or project member on multiple studies that include the full cycle of scientific research (i.e. identifying research topics, defining study objectives, organizing and conducting the research, interpreting the results, and presenting the findings in the form of presenting the findings in the form of manuscripts (for publication ), reports, presentations at meetings, demonstrations, manuscripts, and other appropriate technology transfer activities) as it pertains to: basic and applied research on the effects of natural processes and human activities on watershed resources including interactions between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; developing core knowledge, methods, and technologies that enable effective watershed management in forests and grasslands, sustain biodiversity, and maintain healthy watershed conditions; research on the responses of watershed processes to natural and anthropogenic disturbance and how watersheds can be better managed and restored to provide ecosystem services (water quality and quantity) and sustain aquatic biodiversity.
  • Conducting ecological and statistical analyses and modeling to explain the impact of changing conditions and climate in forest and rangeland watersheds on aquatic resources and ecosystem services at local, regional, and national scales.
  • Developing and disseminating research findings in collaboration with resource managers and planners for presentation at conferences or scientific meetings and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals.

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.

Education

Graduate level education alone is not qualifying for the GS-13 grade level. To qualify at this grade, you must possess the specialized experience listed above.

Additional information

Career Transition Assistance Plan (CTAP), Reemployment Priority List (RPL), or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP): To exercise selection priority for this vacancy, CTAP/RPL/ICTAP candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements and all selective factors. CTAP/ICTAP eligibles must meet the agency’s definition for a quality candidate as provided in the How You Will Be Evaluated section of this announcement to be considered.

The USDA Forest Service has legislative authority to recruit and fill Permanent (Career/Career-Conditional), Temporary, and Term Appointments under the USDA Demonstration Project. Under this authority, any U.S. citizen may apply.

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 not guaranteed.

This is a bargaining unit designated position.

Forest Service daycare facilities are not available.

Government Housing is not available

Daycare facilities are not available
This position may be eligible to telework up to four days per week, based upon the duties of the position. This position may also be eligible for flexible work arrangements as determined by agency policy and any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

The Forest Service may use certain incentives and hiring flexibilities, currently offered by the Federal government, to attract highly qualified candidates. Additional information is available at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/pay-and-leave-flexibilities-for-recruitment-and-retention/

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications.

You will be evaluated in accordance with the category rating procedure as defined in the USDA Demonstration Project Plan. Applicants who meet the basic minimum qualification requirements established for the position will be placed in the Eligible category. You will be further evaluated against criteria for placement in the Quality category. This evaluation is based on the level of your experience, education, and/or training as determined by your responses to the Assessment Questionnaire. Individuals with veterans’ preference are listed ahead of applicants who do not have veterans’ preference within each category.

Note: If, after reviewing your resume and/or supporting documentation, a determination is made that you have inflated your qualifications and or experience, your score may be adjusted to more accurately reflect your abilities, or you may be found ineligible. 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.

To view the application form, visit: https://apply.usastaffing.gov/ViewQuestionnaire/11196570

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance: Not Required

Drug test required: No

Position sensitivity and risk: Non-sensitive (NS)/Low Risk

Trust determination process: CredentialingSuitability/Fitness

Required Documents

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 responsibilities section including work schedule, hours worked per week, dates of employment; title, series, grade (if applicable); 4) supervisor’s 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. All transcripts must be in English or include an English translation.

If claiming veteran’s 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. Veteran’s preference must be verified prior to appointment. Without this documentation, you will not receive veteran’s preference and your application will be evaluated based on the material(s) submitted.

If claiming 10-point veteran’s 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 visit FEDSHIREVETS.

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.

Benefits

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. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.

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 view Tips for Applicants – a guide to the Forest Service application process.

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 (8:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. (MST), 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 returned to Human Resources no later than noon ET on the closing date of the announcement in order for it to be entered into the system prior to the closing date.

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. Contact the Agency Contact to request this.

To begin, in USAJOBS click “Apply” and follow the instructions to attach your resume and required documents, complete the assessment questionnaire, and submit your application.

NOTE: If a document is resubmitted, it replaces the previous submission, which means the previous document is no longer available to the Human Resources Office. If you are adding to, rather than replacing a previous submission, you must upload both the old document and the new document. You must verify that uploaded documents from USAJOBs transfer into the Agency’s staffing system as there is a limitation to the number of documents that can be transferred. However, once in the Agency’s staffing system, you will have the opportunity to upload additional documents. Applicants may combine all like required documents (e.g. SF-50s or veteran docs) into one or more files and scan for uploading into the application. Each file must not exceed 5MB. 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

 HRM Contact Center

Phone: 1-877-372-7248 X2

Email: [email protected]

Address

USDA Forest Service HRM Contact Center
DO NOT MAIL IN APPLICATIONS, SEE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE ANNOUNCEMENT.
Albuquerque, NM 87109
US

Learn more about this agency

Next steps

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 to check your application status.

Multiple positions may be filled from this announcement.


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EXPERIENCE-LEVEL