University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geospatial Jobs

Conservation Specialist

Marathon County

Location: Wausau, WI
Type: Full Time
Posted: 04/23/2021
Deadline to Apply: 05/17/2021
Payrate: $23-$32/ hr
More Information: Conservation Specialist

Position Summary

This is a full-time position in the Conservation, Planning and Zoning Department.  The purpose of this position is to provide professional technical conservation planning and support to Marathon County landowners.  This support includes all county, state and federal land conservation programs that result in the implementation of best management practices, thereby protecting the environmental resources of Marathon County.    Position will provide assistance to landowners throughout Marathon County with the priority work area being Eau Pleine watershed, especially the Pilot Fenwood Creek, Sub-Watershed Project.


Bachelor’s degree in natural resource related field, soils, agronomy, conservation, or closely related major; an Associate’s degree in natural resources related field with 2-3 years’ experience OR equivalent combination of closely related education and/or work experience. Prefer at least two years’ experience in related field of work.

Examples of Work Performed

  • Primary duty is to work as part of a conservation team to implementation of the county Land and Water Plan highest priorities, which are soil health and community engagement.  Works with farmers and landowners (individually and/or in groups) to voluntarily develop, maintain and implement conservation plans addressing resource concerns, focusing on cropland practices to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff; provides information regarding  county, state and federal conservation program opportunities. Performs on-site inventory and evaluations; assists in conducting necessary preliminary surveys; recommends practices to farmers which help control erosion, conserve soil and water resources.
  • Works directly with the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service in a partnership with the county to provide contract support for the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, which support soil health practices.
  •  Provides on farm recommendations to farmers and landowners to implement soil health practices on their farms.  Mainly, but not limited to no-till farming, cover crops, managed grazing, extending perennial forage rotations and other practices to improve soil health.
  • Engages stakeholders through community partnerships building consensus across a broad group of stakeholders to address water quality issues.  Successfully implements on farm demonstration projects showcasing soil health practices and hold educational events to build adoption of these practices.  Applies for and administer small grants to support these activities.
  • May provides follow-up to ensure implementation and maintenance of soil conservation practices in accordance with plan and contract schedules and provides technical guidance and assistance in making needed revisions to their conservation plans and contracts.  This includes design, layout, construction staking, and inspection of land use practices. Reviews practice designs for complete as-built documentation and oversees that all components of the design are completed according to standards and specifications prior to certification and payment recommendation.
  • Develops contracts for various county, state and federal programs to implement conservation plans.  Gathers required information for the submittal of permits that are to be reviewed by other staff.
  • Designs, prepares, and delivers land and water conservation related educational programs and materials, including newsletters, educational presentations, and local conservation conferences.
  • Monitors and evaluates runoff from agricultural fields and/or barnyards for pollution potential.  Evaluates the effects of alternative conservation practices on soil and water resources.
  • Leads community education efforts to improve understanding and increase levels of implementation of various conservation practices.
  • Works directly and alongside various state and local partners to attain common resource management goals.
  • Prepares a variety of maps using Geographical Information System (GIS) technology.
  • Communicates regularly and clearly with applicable staff regarding work schedule, project tasks being performed and landowner contacts/implementation status. Provides detailed quarterly report of completed work to the United States Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for data entry into performance tracking software.
  • Participates in establishing professional development goals that are supportive of broader County goals.
  • Maintains regular and predictable attendance.
  • Performs related work as required.

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities

  • horough knowledge of the principles and practices of soil and water conservation as well as soils, regional agriculture, geography and natural resources.
  • Strong verbal and written communication and citizen engagement skills.  Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with farmers, landowners, developers, contractors, elected officials, employees, cooperating agency staff and the general public.
  • Considerable knowledge of NRCS, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Department of Natural Resources standards and specifications pertaining to conservation practices.
  • Basic knowledge of surveying and drafting principles.
  • Knowledge of computer applications including, but not limited to Microsoft packages, GIS, basic knowledge of Global Positioning System (GPS), hydrologic modeling software and AutoCAD.
  • Ability to maintain records and prepare clear and detailed reports.
  • Skill in developing professional relationships with other partner agencies and with CPZ customers.
  • Understands the County’s and department’s mission, core values, plans, and priorities for the future.
  • Ability to contribute to a positive work culture that fosters excellent customer service and teamwork.