Habitat Technician - Prairie Coteau / Prairie Recovery Project

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Clear Lake, South Dakota, USA
  • Jan 30, 2020
Full time Government/Nonprofit Land Use

Job Description


The Habitat Technician’s tasks primarily include fence construction and maintenance, vegetation management (herbicide applications, brush removal, tree removal, mowing, biological control, etc.), equipment maintenance and organization, identifying management needs for preserves, reporting, and miscellaneous duties as assigned.  Duties will also include installation of firebreaks for prescribed fire and prescribed fire implementation as part of a prescribed burn crew.  All TNC staff actively participating on a prescribed burn must be qualified as a FFT2. The Habitat Technician will participate in preparing fire lines, maintaining equipment, post-burn monitoring and other tasks. Occasional overnight or extended periods away from base office may be required.

There will be two different housing locations during the term of employment. The housing locations are in Clear Lake, SD (4-6 to 6-5) and University of Minnesota Morris (6-8 to 7-31). Employees are encouraged to live in TNC provided housing due to the remote setting of these work locations and the need to report to duty on short notice.  If an employee already lives in the area or is able to obtain housing within a close proximity to this work location, and the employee is able to report for duty within 30 minutes, then the employee may live offsite.  Transportation from The Nature Conservancy office to the various preserves will be provided by The Nature Conservancy.



  • Assist with maintaining TNC land as well as public lands including state-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) and federally-owned Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA's), as well as other protected lands. 
  • Coordination of short-term seasonal staff and communication of assignments between supervisors and seasonal staff.
  • Accurate dissemination of information, record keeping, and daily communication.
  • Prescribed burn preparation, implementation with TNC, MN Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff.
  • Assist with fireline construction, preparation for and implementation of prescribed burns and mop-up activities.
  • Mow firebreaks and clear trees where necessary for prescribed burn management.  Repair and organize burn equipment.
  • Use safety equipment and maintain safety conscious attitude at all times.
  • Maintain and install barbed wire and electric fencing for grazing programs
  • Control of exotic species by biocontrol measures or through herbicide application (e.g. Tordon 22K, Krenite S, Roundup, Plateau, 2,4-D) with back-pack and ATV type sprayers, mowing, hand cutting with machetes, chainsaws, brush cutters, and other tools.
  • Maintain accurate records and maps of herbicide use, biocontrol releases, mowed areas, and species managed.
  • Assist on prairie reconstruction projects including seed collecting, post seeding mowing management and spot treatment of noxious weed patches.
  • Seed harvest.
  • Install and maintain preserve boundary signs.
  • Identify observed management needs in and communicate information to supervisor verbally or in writing.
  • Maintain daily journal and work log, summarizing daily work completed.
  • Discuss calendar of proposed activities with supervisor daily.
  • Other preserve management activities as assigned.
  • Ability to perform heavy physical work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.



  • High school diploma and 6 months of related experience.   
  • Must be qualified, or able to become qualified, as a Fire Fighter Type 2 (FFT2), including Introduction to ICS (I-100), Human Factors on the Fire line (L-180), Introduction to Wild Land Fire Behavior (S-190), Firefighting Training (S-130), and one training burn serving under the supervision of a qualified FFT2.  See http://www.tncfiremanual.org/firefighter.htm     
  • Must achieve physical fitness standard as determined by local Fire Program Manager and the TNC Fire Manual.
  • Experience operating various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner.                        
  • Must be able to obtain related licenses or certifications as required. (e.g. First Aid, CPR, and driver’s license).
  • Multi-lingual skills and multicultural or cross cultural experience appreciated.
  • 6 months -1 year of related experience.
  • Ability to operate and maintain various types of equipment in a safe and efficient manner (e.g. engine, pumps, ATV, brush-cutter, chainsaw, two-way radio).
  • Ability to recognize plant and animal species as required for preserve management activities.
  • Experience working with natural systems. 
  • Qualified or able to obtain SD Pesticide Applicator license.
  • Have valid DOT health card or the ability to obtain a health card.
  • Must have valid driver’s license and good driving record.
  • Ability and willingness to follow instructions from colleagues.