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Blackfoot Area Wildlife Biologist

State of Montana
Bonner, MT
Closing date
Feb 14, 2024

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Please remember to attach the required documents listed in this announcement:
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter

Applications missing the requested documents will be considered incomplete and may not progress further in the process. Documents not requested will not be considered in the recruitment process. The State Application is not a substitute for a Resume. This position closes at 11:59 PM Mountain Time on March 7, 2024. You must apply through the State of Montana Career site.

This duty station for this position are Seeley Lake, Potomac, or Ovando. Alternative duty stations within each biologist's area of responsibility may be considered on an individual basis.

Identity of applicants who become finalists may be released to the public if the Department deems it necessary.Employees who exceed 1,040 hours in a calendar year are also provided health, dental and life insurance. Other benefits include retirement, paid vacation, sick and holidays.This position may be covered by a VEBA (Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association).

A successful applicant will be subject to a background investigation.

Women and minorities are under-represented in this job category and are encouraged to apply.

Job Duties:

The Wildlife Biologist is responsible for the implementation of the Department's wildlife management program, including the State Wildlife Action Plan, in their assigned work area in Region 2. This includes developing and implementing adaptive wildlife and habitat management strategies; preparing wildlife management recommendations including hunting season regulations; working with various private landowners, various government agencies, other organizations and stakeholders to increase public enjoyment of natural resources; represent the Department on wildlife, habitat and access management matters; and maintain proficiency of a professional wildlife scientist.

This is accomplished by: Designing and conducting ground and aerial field investigations and surveys; recording and analyzing survey data, species information statistical models and data from Department databases; formulating management strategies and plans that benefit wildlife populations and habitats; obtaining public support for proposals and submitting proposals through a public process which are often highly visible and controversial, involving the entire spectrum of interests and stakeholders in wildlife conservation issues; identify habitat conservation and access needs; utilize population models to predict adaptive harvest and changing environmental factors influencing wildlife conservation; establish hunter check stations and collect pertinent biological data to assist in evaluating population trends and status; respond to wildlife damage complaints following legal statutes and department policies; collaborate with Department staff to design, implement and interpret findings of wildlife and wildlife habitat related studies to further understanding and management of specific species; oversee and conduct habitat maintenance and improvement projects on department Wildlife Management areas; work with land management agency staff to identify and improve habitat management plans and actions on public lands; demonstrate the ability to safely capture, restrain and immobilize a variety of wildlife species; provide data and information to mitigate habitat development on private and public lands, maintain professional status through literature review and trainings, present findings and information to public and scientific audiences at various setting; and develop and maintain working relationships with Department staff, other agency staff, and the public to foster communication, cooperation and collaboration on projects.

This position requires a creative and energetic person who is a life-long-learner, and capable of pioneering new approaches to wildlife conservation that address issues of the day, and issues of the future. A demonstrated interest in - and working knowledge of - the natural history of a broad array of wildlife species is important. The position also requires proven "people skills" (interpersonal relationships, communications, networking, team building, coaching, facilitation), an ability to maintain good working relationships with the breadth of stakeholders in wildlife issues (agricultural interests, conservation community, industry, state and federal agencies, and Tribes) and skills in conflict management and collaborative problem solving. Patience and persistence are necessary traits. Leadership, and collaborative skills and ability to pioneer data management systems are just as important to this position as an aptitude and ability to conduct fieldwork. Good organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple projects concurrently are important.

Special Information:

Blackfoot (Seeley Lake)

The Blackfoot biologist's responsibility area includes all of the Blackfoot watershed in Region 2 to include the communities of Seeley Lake, Potomac, Ovando, and Lincoln and deer/elk hunting districts 280, 281, 282, 284, 28 5,290,292,293, and 298; an area encompassing over 2,500 sq miles. The responsibility area includes a diverse mix of private and public lands, including numerous working cattle ranches, as well as portions of the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat wilderness areas.

The biologist is expected to develop strong working relationships with landowners, stakeholder groups, city governments, local conservation non-government organizations ( e.g., Blackfoot Challenge, Clearwater Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy), industry, and government agencies (e.g., BLM, DNRC, USFS, and USFWS). Building and fostering these relationships will be critical to the responsibilities of managing a diverse suite of wildlife-related issues: game damage issues on private property, grazing leases on FWP property, serving as FWP's representative for the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area (BCCA) and the Blackfoot Prescribed Fire Working Group, representing FWP on collaborative habitat projects with partner land management agencies, and monitoring a large number of FWP conservation easements throughout the watershed.

The biologist serves as the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) manager on more than 50,000 acres of FWP lands on four WMAs: the Blackfoot-Clearwater, Aunt Molly, Marshall Creek, and Nevada Lake. Management of WMAs includes serving as the lead on habitat improvement projects (e.g., forestry, prescribed fire, noxious weed management), infrastructure maintenance and improvement (e.g., roads, buildings, irrigation, etc.), hunting and trapping seasons, and public access issues. Teamwork is important to this position, as effective WMA management involves close collaborative work with enforcement, maintenance, forestry, habitat, fisheries, and parks and outdoor recreation staff.

Annual wildlife surveys include but are not limited to: aerial elk surveys in the winter and spring; aerial mule deer surveys in the (post-season and spring), spring green-up white-tail deer ground surveys, and spring mountain grouse surveys. The biologist is responsible for running a game check station at Bonner for 6 weekends during the general rifle hunting season every year and overseeing student volunteers at the check station. The biologist works closely with the non-game and furbearer biologists and contributes to the annual monitoring efforts for the furbearer and non-game programs. Inspection and sealing of harvested species including wolves, mountain lions, black bears, and numerous furbearer species occurs during open seasons annually.


Physical and Environmental Demands:

Survey, capture, and handling methods frequently involve stressful and dangerous situations. Surveys require use of low-level fixed wing and helicopter flights in mountain valley, foothill and high mountain habitats at low altitudes in hazardous flying conditions and sitting in confined spaces with exposure to high noise levels. Capturing and handling big game animals involves the use of controlled substances and potentially lethal immobilization chemicals and handling big game animals such as deer, elk, bears, lions, moose, and sheep.

Work schedules are variable including weekend and nights when necessary, requiring the wildlife biologist to exhibit flexibility in daily, weekly and annual work schedules. Self-motivation is an important part of this position. Heavy lifting, up to 40lbs, and the ability to work in remote and difficult terrain is necessary under varying and occasionally extreme weather conditions. Travel via 4-wheel drive, ATV and snow machines is a necessary aspect of this position.

Minimum Qualifications:

The knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the duties of this position are usually acquired through a Master's Degree in Fish and Wildlife Biology, Range Management, Zoology, or Fish and Wildlife Management, Biology or a closely related biological field including completion of a field research project presented in a successfully defended thesis.

Equivalent experience is defined as five (5) years of progressively responsible experience as a wildlife biologist or senior wildlife technician, in addition to successful completion of a research effort that includes:
1. Literature review and development of a problem statement and or hypothesis for a particular issue.
2. Development of a detailed study plan or sampling protocol for a field-oriented project based on the above-noted hypothesis.
3. Data collection and the effective management of data with an appropriate application.
4. Interpretation and analysis of data, including a quantitative assessment of that information.
5. Completion of a final report in a peer-reviewed publication or a publication comparable to a refereed journal.
6. If appropriate to the project, formulation of any recommended changes in management prescriptions or actions.
7. Oral presentation on results of investigation to agency staff and public audiences.

If you feel you meet the equivalent experience, please provide a supplemental document in your application that indicates your experience level relative to each point.

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