American Conservation Experience - EPIC
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Middle River, MN, USA
  • 750 per week
  • Individual Placement
  • EPIC


American Conservation Experience (ACE), a non-profit conservation corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 1 Ecology Support Member to support data collection, analysis, research, and summarization related to climate adaptation alongside Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge Staff.

For more information about ACE, please visit:

Start Date: May (flexible)

Estimated End Date: November (26 weeks after start date)

*a 26 week minimum commitment is required*

Location Details/Description: Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Middle River, MN.

Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 and consists of 61,500 acres of wetland and upland habitats in northwestern Minnesota. The refuge lies in the aspen parkland transition zone between the boreal forest to the north and east and the tallgrass prairie to the south and west. Twenty-six wetland impoundments that range in size from 30 to 9,000 acres provide a variety of habitats for both nesting and migrating birds. Two natural lakes lie within 4,000 acres of black spruce-tamarack bog that has been designated as Wilderness by the National Wilderness Preservation System. In addition to being a breeding ground for numerous waterfowl and other bird species, the refuge is also noted for two resident packs of gray wolves, nesting bald eagles, occasional moose and colonial nesting birds - specifically Franklin's gulls.

While Agassiz NWR is nestled in rural Minnesota, it is approximately 25 miles from Thief River Falls, Minnesota, 55 miles from Grand Forks, North Dakota, and 77 miles from Bemidji, Minnesota, all of which have necessary amenities, such as grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, etc.

For more information, please visit:

Position Overview:

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. This position will help FWS realize that mission at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. The member will primarily assist with data collection, analysis, research, and summarization related to climate adaptation. Members will also have the opportunity to participate in other activities on the refuge.

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Primary Duties include:

  • Collect and process bathymetry data on priority impoundments and transform into applicable management resources (e.g., flood storage capacity tables, inundation maps; critical data for water movement, management, and infrastructure design);
  • Assess and report on effective water depths of aerial herbicide treatment of cattail (a key factor in management and infrastructure design);
  • Research and summarize information required for climate adaptation infrastructure assessment workshops,
  • Collect, evaluate, and interpret water quality and quantity data as it relates to Refuge habitat and the local watershed,
  • Assist with water management responsibilities such as manipulating water control structures and monitoring water levels,
  • Create geospatial layers of potential adaptation strategies including conceptual designs for infrastructure improvement, and summarize the pros, cons and unknowns for each strategy as it relates to current and future climate scenarios;
  • Estimate costs and logistics for various adaptation alternatives.


Duties will primarily be carried out Monday-Friday. Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours. A flexible work schedule may be required, which could involve work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends and/or holidays. Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.

Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $750/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

Public Land Corps Hiring Authority: Members serving under this agreement may be eligible for a federal hiring authority upon completion of their term of service. PLC projects also include specific eligibility requirements such as age and citizenship. Please contact ACE staff with questions about eligibility, or view general information online:

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided FWS housing for a small fee for the duration of the term.

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. Specific training may include defensive driving, UTV, and boat safety.



  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner.
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required two-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation.
  • Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website:


  • Competitive applicants for this position can hold or be pursuing a 4 year college degree and/or have relevant experience in subject areas such as natural resources, biology, ecology, or a related field.
  • Able to walk and stand for long periods
  • Ensure quality of the data collected
  • Drive a vehicle and navigate to new destinations
  • Ability to work in a team and accept guidance from supervisor and other refuge staff
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to live communally in a clean and respectful manner
  • Willingness to participate in training
  • Proficiency with ArcGIS programs
  • Comfortable operating boats and UTVs or willing to learn
  • Knowledge of trailering or willing to learn
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Deep interest in ecology and natural resources related work.

Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions:

  • Physical Demands: This position requires physical exertion such as walking long distances over wet and rough surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs.; bending, crouching, stooping, lifting or reaching. Hand and finger dexterity and physical coordination may involve fine and precise procedures, delicate adjustments or exact measurements.
  • Environmental: The ACE member(s) may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. Hazards may also include mixing herbicides according to product labels, trailering a UTV or boat, loading and unloading the UTV or boat, and operating battery powered hand tools including saws, drills, etc. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. The member will be working in vegetated areas with a high potential for tick and mosquito exposure. Refuge staff will provide safety briefings and personal protective equipment in order to minimize exposure to vector-borne diseases.

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety: If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE. Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it. Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.

To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC USFWS Program Manager, Johannah McCollum,, 701-389-2152. EEO: American Conservation Experience provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Conservation Experience complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities.

American Conservation Experience - EPIC
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