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Kofa Biological Technician - Yuma, AZ

Conservation Legacy

Conservation Legacy

Yuma, AZ, USA
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2024

Kofa Biological Technician - Yuma, AZ


Individual Placement/Internships

Job Location

9300 E. 28th St, Yuma, Arizona

Tracking Code


Position Type


Title: Kofa Biological Technician (1 opening)

Start/End Dates: June 7, 2024 – May 16, 2025 (anticipated dates)

Stipend: $600 per week living stipend + Education Award.

Term: 49 weeks, Full-Time (40 hours per week)

Reports To: Paul Sitzmann (USFWS Refuge Wildlife Biologist)

Location: Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (9300 E. 28th St, Yuma, AZ 85365)

Status: 1700-hour AmeriCorps Service Term

Benefits: AmeriCorps Education Award $6,495; Public Lands Corps Certificate*; both with successful completion of the internship. The Corps Network health insurance provided by Cigna, AmeriCorps childcare assistance. On-site housing is available.

*To be eligible for a Public Lands Corps certificate, interns must be between the ages of 18-30, inclusive, at the time the individual begins the term of service and must complete 640 service hours or more to qualify.


Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC):

Arizona Conservation Corps, a program of Conservation Legacy, aims to continue the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930's. AZCC is focused on connecting youth, young adults, and recent era military veterans with conservation service work projects on public lands. AZCC operates programs across Arizona that engage individuals and strengthen communities through service and conservation. AZCC has program offices in Flagstaff and Tucson.

United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with others, is responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people through Federal programs relating to migratory birds, endangered species, interjurisdictional fish and marine mammals, and inland sport fisheries. As part of its mission, the USFWS is charged with enforcing Federal Wildlife Laws and Protecting Endangered Species.

The 666,000-acre Kofa National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona was established in 1939 for the protection of Desert Bighorn sheep populations and their habitat. The refuge is also one of a few locations with a population of the federally listed Sonoran Pronghorn. Other species found in Kofa include badgers, foxes, ground squirrels, pocket mice, and kangaroo rats. This vast desert environment is home to one of the few native palm tree populations to Arizona, as well as numerous mammal species, the majority of which are nocturnal and forage at night while the temperatures is cooler. The Refuge is headquartered in Yuma, Arizona.

Position Summary:

The Biological Technician intern will assist the Refuge staff with daily operations through a variety of tasks on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Kofa NWR). The majority of work on the Refuge revolves around managing habitat and water resources for the Desert Bighorn sheep and the Sonoran Pronghorn, which includes removal of invasive species, construction, and repair of water catchments, hauling water to catchments and wildlife drinkers, and educating the public about these species and the Refuge in general.

Kofa NWR also supports a large, designated wilderness (547,719 acres), which requires monitoring for and correction of illegal wilderness incursions by vehicles. Other duties will be to assist with NEPA documentation, wilderness reporting, and data management for the extensive camera trap project on the Refuge. Professional development funds are available to assist the intern with career and educational development during their term.

Training that will be provided includes 4x4 driving, trailer use, basic map reading skills, GPS navigation, safety communication, fieldwork safety, native plant identification, invasive plant ID and removal techniques, water facility measurement expectations, pronghorn animal husbandry, bird and bat ID, tortoise surveying, best practices for safe public interactions, FWS policy on social media, Survey123, restoration techniques, and Introduction to Minimum Requirements Analysis and NEPA process.

Housing is available for the intern during their term.

Essential Responsibilities and Functions:

  • Monitor and measure water resources by documenting max depth and estimating volume where appropriate. Record water level data in the Kofa Water Resource database, report low water levels and any maintenance needs to Kofa Biologist.
  • Maintain water resources by completing minor repairs to water facilities such as fixing float valves, clearing pipes, cleaning collection points, and turning windmills off or on.
  • Drive water trailers to water facilities, lay out hoses, and operate pumps to deliver water.
  • Assist with Sonoran pronghorn recovery activities by providing care for semi-captive Sonoran pronghorn at the Kofa pen, maintain electrical and barbed wire fencing.
  • Feed and water pronghorn, document and report their condition to Kofa Biologist and Arizona Game and Fish Department.
  • Assist with pronghorn translocation efforts by setting up and removing capture bomas and release pens. Perform assigned duties for pronghorn capture as described in capture plan.
  • Assist with invasive plant surveys, identify invasive plants and report to Kofa Biologist, document in GIS Refuge Management Database.
  • Conduct invasive plant eradication by using hand-pulling, tool, and herbicide application methods, document treatment activities in GIS Refuge Management Actions database.
  • Assist with annual North American Breeding Bird Survey.
  • Assist with bat surveys by documenting exit counts of bats at roost sites through use of night vision equipment.
  • Assist with bat mist netting and data collection, document species, measurements, and breeding status. Intern may assist with bat removal from mist nets if they have had rabies vaccine and bat experience.
  • Assist with Sonoran Desert tortoise surveys.
  • Conduct golden eagle nest surveys using ground observation, record and report nest occupancy according to survey protocol, provide survey forms to Kofa Biologist.
  • Conduct public outreach and educational activities at Kofa and at Southwest Arizona National Wildlife Refuge complex, share rules and regulations on Kofa with public through outreach events, via phone and in-person.
  • Mitigate OHV intrusions in wilderness area by raking out vehicle tracks, installing rock barriers, mulching, and sign installation, record wilderness violations using GIS database.
  • Conduct at least one interpretive hike at Palm Canyon.
  • Assist with social media outreach such as Facebook and Instagram.
  • Review, update, and draft environmental compliance documents and Minimum Requirements Decision Guide with assistance from Kofa Biologist.
  • Assist with herbarium specimen voucher preparation and collection organization.

Required Skills

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Applicants should be pursuing or have recently completed an undergraduate degree in biology or a related field; or possess a strong interest in natural resource management, regardless of area of study.
  • Applicants should be physically able to work in conditions requiring physical exertion that may be moderately strenuous in nature, including long hours in the field, and hiking over rough and uneven ground up to six miles or more during extremely hot periods that may exceed 110 ̊ F.
  • Must be “competent without supervision” in the use of GPS and orienteering/compass skills.
  • Basic level of camping knowledge is required.
  • Community engagement experience.
  • Self-motivated and able to work both independently and in a small group with limited supervision after initial training period; must be capable of performing well in an office setting, as well as the field.
  • Applicants must pass a criminal history background check and possess a valid driver’s license with a clean driving record.
  • Knowledge of 4wd vehicle operation is required.
  • Candidate must have their own vehicle for personal use. The position’s housing location is not remote, but it is a few miles to the nearest grocery store or services.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Strong desire to learn new skills.
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills.

Physical Requirements:

  • To successfully perform essential functions, the individual is required to sit, stand, walk, speak, hear, etc. May be required to stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl for significant periods of time and be able to safely lift 50 pounds on a routine basis.
  • Individual must be able to hike over rough terrain a minimum distance of 6 miles.
  • Reasonable accommodations may be made for qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Participant Essential Eligibility Requirements:

Participation and Expedition Behavior:

  • Work effectively as a member of a team despite potentially stressful and difficult conditions. This may require problem solving on an interpersonal or group level as well as a willingness to accept differences.
  • Contribute to a safe learning environment, no harassment of others for any reason.
  • Willingness and ability to complete all aspects of the program including conservation projects, education, training, and national service. Members must commit to participating in all crew/team activities, including service days in local communities where applicable.
  • Effectively communicate ideas and concerns as they arise directly to supervisors, colleagues, and organization staff.
  • Appropriately represent AmeriCorps, Arizona Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at all times.

Safety and Judgment:

  • Potential environmental/human risk involved can include hiking in remote and rugged conditions, extreme heat, operating vehicles on rugged roads, flash floods, difficult public interactions, and poisonous/venomous/stinging animals, insects, and sharp vegetation.
  • Effectively communicate danger to others in the form of either a warning of danger others may be encountering or a notification of personal distress, injury or need for assistance. Must be able to do so at a distance of up to 50 meters and in conditions with limited visibility or loud background noise such as darkness or high winds.
  • Effectively perceive, understand, and follow direction by others so that you will be able to successfully execute techniques to manage hazards.
  • Stay alert and focused for several hours at a time while traveling and working in varied weather conditions.
  • Respond appropriately to stress or crisis.
  • If taking prescriptions medications, participants must be able to maintain proper dosage by self-medicating without assistance from others.

Environmental Ethics:

  • Learn and practice 'Leave no Trace' techniques.

Substance Free:

  • In accordance with a drug free workplace, alcohol and drugs are prohibited while participating in AmeriCorps and program activities and while on organization property.

Background Check:

A DOI background clearance must be completed and PIV card obtained before the selected candidate may report to duty. The USFWS will provide instructions for completion of the clearance after an intern has been selected and will notify them when they have been cleared to start the internship. This process will determine the internship’s exact start date.

Interns will have access to government facilities and systems, and will be supplied with access to gov’t vehicles, equipment, and materials needed to work on the projects and activities as outlined above. Interns must adhere to all government regulations and policies for operating equipment, vehicles, security awareness, and safety.

For more information on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, please visit their website at https://www.fws.gov/. Information on the Kofa NWR can be found at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/kofa.

For more information about Arizona Conservation Corps, please visit https://azcorps.org/. Arizona Conservation Corps is a program of Conservation Legacy.