Massachusetts Projects

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To apply for any position(s), please email the project title and your resume to ansep.web@gmail.com

Compiling Continental Insect Population and Composition Data (part of larger project on aerial insectivore bird declines) (Hadley)

Project Type: Field. This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership.

Location: Legacy Region 5, North Atlantic-Appalachian Region, USFWS Regional Office, Hadley, MA

Housing: Supported, up to $1500/month stipend available

Project Background: We are seeking a curious, self-motivated, organized, and hard-working undergraduate or graduate student with interests and experience in population ecology, entomology, physiology, biological conservation, and/or data science to join a team of researchers working on conservation efforts for aerial insectivore migratory bird species. This ecologically- and economically important guild including swallows, martins, swifts, flycatchers, and nightjars feed primarily on insects and have experienced some of the largest population declines among birds in North America. The overall goal of this project is to help determine linkages among changes in insect abundance and quality and observed macro-scale declines in aerial insectivores. This Directorate Fellows Program experience is designed to provide unique professional development opportunities over an 11-week period where Fellows will 1) engage with peers within their cohort and other student interns, 2) collaborate with USFWS scientists and partners (e.g., EPA, academic institutions) via regular meetings at the regional office in Hadley, MA and/or remotely via periodic project-related meetings, 3) present project findings and deliverables to USFWS staff, and 4) be involved as a key contributor and co-author on any forthcoming manuscripts, reports, or presentations related to the broader project that will provide important insight in to the long-term conservation of aerial insectivorous migratory birds.

Project Duties: The Directorate Fellow will contribute to this project by searching for, acquiring, curating, and managing disparate data sets containing information on insect abundance and population trend dynamics, and insect nutritional and energy composition. These data (and associated metadata) will be organized and standardized in preparation for inclusion in subsequent analyses to test hypotheses linking food availability and quality with population dynamics of aerial insectivore species. The Fellow will gain experience in data management, development of tools such as data dictionary, and data management plans, as well as have autonomy to develop data sharing agreements (where applicable). 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree such as Biological sciences; education and outreach; social sciences; geographic information sciences; communications/marketing;) or other closely related field. 

Working Conditions/Requirements: Demonstrable skills in data management and wrangling using open-source tools (i.e., R and Python) are preferred. We welcome candidates across disciplines with interests in data science and management to apply.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal Communication, Project Management Experience, Teamwork, Technical Writing, Experience using open-source tools such as R, R markdown, and R shiny are a plus!

Mapping the agricultural footprint in the salt marsh (Hadley)

Project Type: Field. This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership later.

Location: Legacy Region 5, North Atlantic Appalachian Regional Office; Hadley, MA

Housing: Supported, up to $1500/month stipend available

Project Background: This position offers a unique opportunity to advance conservation for the rapidly declining Saltmarsh Sparrow (SALS) – a high priority for the FWS and the only breeding bird species endemic to the Northeastern US. Based out of the Hadley, MA Regional Office, the Fellow will help to identify and map legacy agricultural ditches and berms in priority marsh systems. These historical relics are exacerbating the impacts of sea level rise and increasing the flooding of Saltmarsh Sparrow nests. Creating these maps will help to guide where and how to restore the resiliency of priority marshes from Maine to Virginia along with the birds that depend on them. This project will engage partners throughout the SALS range to identify and map at least 20 highest priority marsh patches that have the greatest potential to support growing populations of Saltmarsh Sparrows.  The completed maps will allow partners to quickly take advantage of funding opportunities and to direct conservation efforts to the highest priority management actions. 

Project Duties: The daily work of the project will involve prioritizing marshes for mapping in each state; using Google Earth, historical imagery, and topographic maps to identify and map ditches, berms, and other structures in the marsh; engaging with partners throughout the Northeast via phone and email; and organizing information in a clear and accessible way. The Fellow will also have many opportunities (COVID dependent) to visit several marshes in person, meet salt marsh restoration and species experts, and learn through direct on-the-ground observation how legacy infrastructure affects marsh processes along with proposed solutions to address these impacts. Other opportunities will also be available to participate in activities such as bird banding/surveying and/or restoration.   

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and

seniors who are pursuing a degree in (list degree areas desired such as Biological sciences, education and outreach; social sciences; geographic information sciences; communications/marketing;) or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid Driver’s License and an ability to drive federal vehicles.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication, Partnership building, Project Management experience, Teamwork

Recovery Permits Biological Opinion Development (Hadley)

Project Type: This is a telework only project. The Fellow will not report in-person to a duty station.

Location: Legacy Region 5, North Atlantic Appalachian Regional Office, Hadley, MA

Housing: Supported, up to $1500/month stipend available

Project Background: The position is in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Region 5 (Northeast) Regional Office in Hadley, MA and supervised by the Manager of the Division of Endangered Species.  The objective of the project is to complete a programmatic Biological Opinion to support issuance of Endangered Species Act Recovery Permits.  Recovery Permits authorize take of listed species resulting from implementation of priority Recovery actions identified in species Recovery Plans.  These actions include surveys and monitoring, research, propagation, and reintroductions.  Accomplishing the project will satisfy the Division’s statutory obligation under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to consult on issuance of Recovery Permits to ensure that permit issuance does not jeopardize listed endangered and threatened species or adversely modify their critical habitats.  By facilitating the issuance of Recovery Permits, the project will enable Service employees, states, NGOs, and other partners to implement recovery actions thus contributing to imperiled species conservation and supporting the priorities and the mission of the Service.

Project Duties: Under the guidance of the Regional Recovery Permits Coordinator and Regional Section Coordinator, the Fellow will: 1) lead a team comprising Field Office Species Leads to develop the project Background, 2) develop a framework for the Biological Opinion, 3) analyze the effects of the issuance of Recovery Permits on target and nontarget endangered and threatened species, 4) quantify take of listed species resulting from implementation of the recovery activities, and 4)develop and review minimization measures and monitoring and reporting requirements. The Fellow will write a draft Biological Opinion, solicit review, and comment, and prepare a final document for signature.

In addition to working with the Regional program coordinators and Field Office staff, the  Fellow will provide regular updates for the Division Manager and written or verbal briefings for the Deputy Assistant Regional Director and other managers as necessary. While the Regional program coordinators will provide direction and policy assistance, the Fellow will be expected to conduct most work independently, exercise critical thinking, and vet ideas with appropriate staff and managers. The Fellow provide regular briefings for the Deputy ARD and present the final draft Biological Opinion to the Deputy ARD through a comprehensive presentation describing the project, obstacles encountered and how they were resolved, lessons learned, and recommendations for follow-up actions. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Graduate student who has completed at least their first year or more of graduate school (Masters or PhD), and is pursuing a degree in biological sciences, environmental law and policy, or closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: None specified.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communications, project management experience, public speaking, teamwork, technical writing.

Regional Planning for Inclusive Natural Resource Damage Restoration Co-Design (Hadley)

Project Type: This is a telework only project. The Fellow will not report in-person to a duty station.

Location: North Atlantic-Appalachian Regional Office, Hadley, MA 

Housing: Not supported

Project Background: The Fellow will be tasked with developing a “Regional Plan for Inclusive Natural Resource Damage (NRD) Restoration Co-Design” for restoration with natural resource damage settlements for the Service’s North Atlantic-Appalachian Region (Northeast Region). Restoration planning work that engages the public is specified in the DOI NRDAR regulations at 43 CFR Part 11, and is a priority of the Natural Resource Trustees, including the Department of the Interior, and our co-Trustees with whom we partner in restoration work. Generally, Natural Resource Trustees hold public meetings and presentations, post information online, and distribute fact sheets and similar outreach materials as part of their restoration planning process. 

Project Duties: The Fellow will develop a strategy for public outreach and community involvement in restoration planning for the NRDAR program to enable the Trustees to engage with local communities in a meaningful way, focusing on the co-design paradigm. This Regional Plan will evaluate ways to overcome barriers to meaningful participation and prioritize opportunities for the involvement of minority, low-income, and tribal populations as appropriate early and throughout restoration planning activities. The Fellow will utilize information from the EPA’s EJScreen and the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index to inform the Regional Plan. The Regional Plan will present options for public engagement, and strengths and weaknesses of those options, as well as an implementation guide. Such a plan for restoration planning moving forward will be sensitive to diversity, inclusive, and reflective of the ‘co-designing model’ and Human Dimensions science, all within the context of the Trustees’ legal/regulatory limitations and managing expectations. The deliverable for the work would be a “Regional Plan for Inclusive Natural Resource Damage Restoration Co-Design” that the Fellow will present to Regional and Field office staff for consideration and potential implementation. This effort will have utility and applicability to NRDAR planning efforts throughout the North Atlantic-Appalachian Region and will aid in the Service’s work to connect people with nature.

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in Biological sciences, education and outreach, social sciences, or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: none specified

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication; Cross-Cultural communication skills, Partnership building; Teamwork; Conflict; Management/Facilitation.