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Natural Resource Manager

Posted 08/04/2020
County Des Moines
Location West Burlington, IA ,Iowa
Salary Annual wage: $38,260.33 - $47,825.42; Required six-month probationary period; Standard county leave


Position Description Summary:

Des Moines County Conservation is built on three pillars: Land stewardship, conservation education, and providing quality outdoor recreation opportunities. As the head of the Land Stewardship Division, the Natural Resource Manager (NRM) is responsible for developing, assessing, and implementing natural resource management strategies for the County’s 20 areas and 2,000+ acres of diverse habitat including prairie, wetlands, and woodlands. 

This is a very autonomous position. This person will very often work alone, often in very remote areas of the county. This person is currently the sole employee of the Land Stewardship Division and is expected to be highly knowledgeable, experienced, and capable of developing and carrying out sound management strategies consistent with department objectives with minimal oversight or assistance while staying in regular communication with department leadership and any applicable partners or landowners.

Some areas for which the NRM is responsible include multiple forest tracts with known populations of threatened and endangered species of bats, a forest management demonstration area, a state preserve, many native grass and pollinator plantings, and multiple recently-acquired properties in early stages of restoration, one of which has fields that are thought to have never been plowed. The Natural Resource Manager is also responsible for administering the Acres for Wildlife program which provides contracted habitat services on private land throughout the county. 

This person reports to the Executive Director and serves as the primary point of contact between department leadership, private landowners, and local partners to implement planned land management goals. 

Primary Job Responsibilities and Duties: 

  • Develop and assess short- and long-term natural resource management strategies for the county’s park system.
  • Provide technical assistance regarding natural resource management to landowners and organizations. 
  • Apply strategic natural resource management practices on both public and private lands and waters including, but not limited to:
    • Prescribed burning
    • Planting native grasses, food plots, trees and shrubs
    • Mowing, disking, harrowing, cultivating, applying chemicals
    • Edge feathering
    • Timber stand improvement
    • Invasive species control
  • Administer the department’s private land habitat program
  • Operate and perform regular maintenance on trucks, tractors and specialized equipment.
  • Supervise temporary work crews as needed. 
  • Develop and enhance working relationships with other public and private resource organizations.
  • Develop and provide public information and workshops related to habitat and wildlife species.
  • Attend relevant workshops and meetings related to natural resource management to stay informed of current trends and methods. 
  • Administer the department’s artificial nest box program.
  • Assist in development of promotional and educational material using both print and digital media.
  • Seek grant program opportunities and write grant applications.
  • Inspect, map, and certify land enrolled in Forest Reserve Program. 
  • Build, repair, clean and maintain park and conservation area facilities.
  • Report/repair safety hazards in the parks.
  • Provide assistance and information to the public and to park visitors.
  • Perform duties in rough terrain, remote locations, and in extreme weather conditions.
  • Work occasional weekends, holidays, irregular hours and night shifts as needed, especially between April and October. 
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Required Knowledge, Experience, Abilities, and Skills:

  • Innate passion for habitat and wildlife management.
  • Extensive knowledge of conservation principles and practices. 
  • Ability to identify trees and shrubs and an understanding of forest ecosystems and how to manage them.
  • Ability to identify grasses and forbs and an understanding of prairie/native grass ecosystems and how to manage them. 
  • Extensive working knowledge of, and experience with wildlife and habitat management, ecological principles, and species’ life histories and habitat needs. 
  • An understanding of Iowa’s unique agricultural landscape and various ag-related conservation practices
  • Experience with delivering/managing various conservation programs, especially CRP
  • Extensive experience with hand and power tools.
  • Ability to operate and maintain all kinds of trucks, tractors, loaders, and specialized construction and agricultural machinery including native grass drills.
  • Functional knowledge of, and experience with basic park and facility maintenance.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and concisely, both in writing and orally.
  • Ability and willingness to speak publicly, give presentations, and teach various courses.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of civic and sportsman’s groups, other agencies, department staff, and the general public.
  • Ability to interpret and effectively apply policy, procedure, rules and regulations relative to conservation practices.
  • Knowledge of, and willingness and ability to effectively use technology related to the position including personal computers, laptops, mobile devices and associated software.

Essential Physical Demands and Typical Working Conditions:

The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The majority of work is performed outdoors and requires significant physical activity including walking, standing, kneeling, bending, crouching, reaching, stooping and climbing. This person will also be required to maneuver rough terrain on foot, is subject to work in hot, cold, wet, dusty, dirty, noisy, and/or fumy conditions or atmospheres. This person will be in contact with dust, dirt, chemicals, noise and severe weather conditions (extreme hot, cold, snow, ice, wind, rain, and flood) and exposed to outdoor elements such as mosquitoes, ticks, various plants, pollens, and fungi. 

This person must have the ability to frequently push, pull, lift and/or carry equipment, supplies and other materials weighing up to 50 lbs., and to occasionally push, pull, lift and/or carry equipment, supplies and other materials weighing over 50 lbs. This person must also possess the hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity to use hands and arms to reach, handle, grasp and feel, and operate equipment that is used to perform the essential functions of this job.

Work requires extensive interaction with the general public and governmental agencies. It will at times be stressful, especially when meeting deadlines and making abrupt changes in priorities. While performing the duties of this job, the employee may work near moving mechanical parts. The noise level in the work environment may be loud. 

Although there is overlap between the Land Stewardship and Parks divisions, the vast majority of the NRM’s time is focused on natural resource management with minimal time devoted to traditional maintenance of the county’s developed parks.Typical workweek is 7:00AM – 3:30PM Monday through Friday though occasional overtime and/or weekend work is required, especially between April and October. 

To apply:

Send Cover Letter & Resume with references to:
Chris Lee, Executive Director
Des Moines County Conservation
13700 Washington Rd.
West Burlington, IA 52655

Applications will be reviewed as they are received and qualified applicants will be called for interviews on an ongoing basis until a selection is made. 

Des Moines County is an equal opportunity employer.  

Bachelor’s Degree in wildlife, forestry, agriculture or other applicable field and at least two (2) years of natural resource field experience.

To Apply
Send cover letter and resume with references to:
Chris Lee, Executive Director
Des Moines County Conservation
13700 Washington Rd.
West Burlington, IA 52655
or via email to:

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