Monday, October 19, 2015

U.S. Department of Agriculture:Employment Outreach Notice

Biological Scientist
Quality Assurance Inspector
GS-0401-07/09 PSE 13/13
See OPM guidelines for wage information:
Pacific Northwest Research Station
Resource Monitoring and Assessment Program
Anchorage, Alaska
Please reply by October 26, 2015
The PNW Research Station, Anchorage Forestry Sciences Lab, anticipates filling 1-3 Quality Assurance Inspector positions with the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program.   
PLEASE NOTE:  The purpose of this Outreach Notice is to determine the potential applicant pool for this position and to establish the appropriate recruitment method and area of consideration for the advertisement.  Responses received from this outreach notice will be used to make this determination. 
The vacancy announcement for this position, when open, will be posted at the USA Jobs website, the U.S. Government’s official site for jobs and employment information:
About the position(s):
We are preparing to fill up to 3 positions at the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Anchorage Forestry Sciences Laboratory (AFSL) located in Anchorage, Alaska. The Quality Assurance Inspector positions are career ladder with the full performance level at a GS-09.
These positions are with the Data Collection Team of the PNW Research Station’s Resource Monitoring and Assessment (RMA) Program, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit. This FIA unit is part of a nationwide program which collects, processes, analyzes, evaluates, and publishes comprehensive information on forest and other related renewable resources in Alaska, Hawaii, and US affiliated Pacific Islands.
Quality Assurance Inspectors report directly to the field coordinator and are responsible for training and feedback to crews, field data accuracy, consistency and standardization, and correcting errors. These positions are also responsible for leading crews of two to four people collecting field data for annual inventory and forest health monitoring.  Quality Assurance Inspectors share duties as helicopter managers and will receive training leading to helicopter manager certification.
Positions with FIA in Alaska are adventurous, challenging, and rewarding.  The terrain traversed flying, hiking, and working can be immensely spectacular, but it can also be very physically and mentally challenging.  Physical fitness and flexibility to changing situations are key qualities for success. 
These permanent seasonal positions are 13/13, meaning that a minimum of 13 two-week pay periods of work per year (about six months) are guaranteed.  Additional work may be possible. The Alaska field season usually lasts 8 to 9 pay periods, so the guaranteed 13 pay periods of work generally includes an assignment with FIA crews in coastal or interior Alaska, Hawaii, US Affiliated Pacific Islands, California, Oregon, or Washington. Appointees may be offered the opportunity to work longer depending on workload and funding.
A majority of the duties will be devoted to data collection operations of which, about four to five months will be spent in the field.  Crews of two to four people will collect field data for inventory and forest health monitoring.  Duties include photo interpretation, locating inventory plots, and measuring various tree and site information.  Measurements taken by crews include: tree/sapling/seedling data (species, diameter, height, defect, insect & disease, damage, etc); understory vegetation (shrub, herb, grass species and percent cover, etc.); down woody material (line transects, litter depth, and fuels measurement, etc.); and site index and site attributes (site tree selection, slope, aspect, topographic position, distance to water, etc.). Crews use portable, handheld computers to collect data in the field and then process the data later using laptop computers to address any inconsistencies or errors.  Duties also include daily documentation, downloading, and editing of field data.  The Alaska field season lasts from May through early or mid-August.
Work Environment:  Alaska provides a wide diversity of ecological communities, which include coastal Sitka spruce and hemlock rain forests, interior mixed spruce and birch boreal forests, and expansive black spruce bogs. Extensive areas of alpine tundra, shrub land, high peaks, and glaciers occupy the non-forest areas. Work conditions in these areas are often arduous. Work may be performed in inclement weather (cold, rain, snow), on steep, slippery, and/or brushy slopes, and in the presence of biting insects. A significant amount of off-trail hiking is required. Employees must carry a 45lb pack daily; with pack weights occasionally exceeding 55lbs. Excellent physical conditioning is absolutely essential. Alaska crews are required to travel in small aircrafts, helicopters, and boats. Employees carry a firearm for bear protection and, consequentially, are subject to a federal background investigations and pre-hire and random drug testing. Living quarters on the research vessel are extremely cramped, background noise (from generators) is constant, and motion sickness is a problem for some employees. Although attempts are made to honor special dietary requirements, all food is prepared by a contracted cook when working off boats. 
Anchorage is nestled between the Chugach Mountains and the upper shores of Cook Inlet in the heart of Alaska’s Southcentral Gulf Coast. It is central to many recreational opportunities and offers many cultural activities from a performing arts center to outdoor music festivals. With a diverse population of about 300,000, Anchorage offers most of the amenities found in much larger cities (Museum of History and Art, Performing Arts Center, Native Heritage Center, shopping centers, and several large hospitals). The city trail system offers ample recreation opportunities and a sense of wilderness within the city. There are over 120 miles of groomed X-country ski/hiking/biking trails (30 miles lighted), over 70 ball fields, 5 golf courses, and numerous small parks and playgrounds.
For more information:
If you would like additional information about duties and work conditions of this position, or have questions, please contact Dan Irvine at or at 907-748-2096.
If you are interested in this position with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, please send the attached response form and a resume (optional) to express your interest by October 26th, 2015 to Dan Irvine at, and you will be notified when the position is advertised. To apply for this position, you must apply when vacancy announcements are posted on
You may also send in the attached response for by regular mail to:
Dan Irvine
Coastal Alaska Coordinator
Anchorage Forestry Sciences Lab
161 East 1st St., Door 8
Anchorage, AK 99501
This is a pre-announcement only.  When the position is advertised, the announcement will be posted on the USA Jobs web site:  The announcement will contain all of the information you need to apply for the position.
To be considered, applicants must be U.S. citizens.
The purpose of this Outreach Notice is to determine the potential applicant pool for this position and to establish an appropriate recruitment method and area of consideration for the vacancy announcement  (Region-wide, Service-wide, USDA-wide, Government-wide, and/or DEMO).  Responses received from this outreach notice will be relied upon to make these determinations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).  To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).


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