Natural Resources Management and Biological Sciences

GS-0401

Position Overview

Natural resource specialists study sensitive habitats, develop natural resources regulations and guidance, help protect lives, property, and resources from fires, inventory and monitor wildlife or vegetation, analyze and mitigate environmental impacts, and restore and protect threatened animals and plants. The duties performed by DOI natural resource specialists vary greatly by location, bureau, and position.

This position is represented at the following bureaus

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Bureau of Reclamation
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Department of the Interior Offices
National Park Service
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Candidate Description

The ideal candidate enjoys applying scientific knowledge in balancing the needs of plants, people and animals. He or she can communicate complex scientific information to diverse audiences, and gain the trust and cooperation of people with varied interests and agendas.

Work Environment

Natural resource specialists can be found in offices, labs and in the field in a variety of environments from cities to wilderness.

Minimum Education Requirements

Please see the Individual Occupation Requirements and the Professional and Scientific Positions Group Qualification Standard on the OPM websites.

Career Level Requirements

Responsibilities by Level

  • Entry: Preparing samples; Performing data analysis; Collecting specimens; Participating in restoration activities, invasive species control, or fire management; Gathering and organizing information

  • Mid: Evaluating land use requests; Coordinating and negotiating agreements with federal, state and local agencies and other groups; Provides technical expertise on interdisciplinary teams; Evaluating impacts to natural resources from proposed projects; Preparing reports and making presentations

  • Journey: Developing strategies to address environmental problems; Designing, planning and executing innovative studies and approaches; Analyzing and evaluating land management programs; Coordinating field projects; Coordinates enforcement actions for violations of laws, regulations, or policies

  • Senior: Providing senior level technical and policy review of proposals; Overseeing complex scientific projects; Developing national initiatives or policies; Supervising fire management staff; Coordinating fire program activities and facilitating agreements with private entities and state, local, tribal and other federal agencies

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Strengths by Level

Entry 5-7
Mid 9-11
Journey 12-13
Senior 14-15
  • Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Aquatic Ecology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, practices, and theories of how aquatic species interact with each other and their environment in aquatic habitats, including streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Attention to Detail
    Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Biology
    Knowledge of the environment, plant and animal living tissue, cells, organisms, and entities, including their functions, interdependencies and interactions with each other and the environment.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Botany
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories of plants, including structures and functions, classification, taxonomy, plant communities, distribution, habitat requirements, life histories, reproduction, conservation, and care of plant species.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Compliance
    Knowledge of procedures for assessing, evaluating, and monitoring programs or projects for compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Conservation Biology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, practices, and theories of the management of natural systems and biodiversity with the aim of protecting species, habitats, ecosystems, and ecological functions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Creative Thinking
    Uses imagination to develop new insights into situations and applies innovative solutions to problems; designs new methods where established methods and procedures are inapplicable or are unavailable.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Customer Service
    Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Data Interpretation
    Skill in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data and policies, to determine actions and develop and propose guidance.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Data Management
    Knowledge of the principles, procedures, and tools of data management, such as modeling techniques, data backup, data recovery, data dictionaries, data warehousing, data mining, data archiving, data disposal, and data standardization processes.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Ecology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories of the interrelationships among organisms and their environment, including competition and predation, evolution and natural selection, population dynamics, and the impact of natural phenomena or human actions on natural systems, processes, and biota.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Field Data Collection
    Ability to collect, record, and ensure accuracy of field data (for example, stream and river discharge measurements).
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Flexibility
    Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Geospatial Information Systems
    Knowledge of and skill in manipulating computer systems designed for capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying data related to positions on the surface of the earth and other planetary bodies in order to better understand spatial patterns and relationships.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Influencing/Negotiating
    Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Integrity/Honesty
    Contributes to maintaining the integrity of the organization; displays high standards of ethical conduct and understands the impact of violating these standards on an organization, self, and others; is trustworthy.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Interpersonal Skills
    Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Landscape Ecology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, practices, and theories of the influence exerted by spatial and temporal patterns on the organization of, and interaction among, functionally integrated multispecies ecosystems.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Oral Communication
    Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Organizational Awareness
    Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Partnering
    Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Plant Ecology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, practices, and theories of the distribution and abundance of plants, the effects of environmental factors upon the abundance of plants, and the interactions among and between plants and other organisms.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Problem Solving
    Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Project Management
    Knowledge of the principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing projects and resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Reasoning
    Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Restoration Ecology
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, practices, and theories of renewing, restoring, and enhancing degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Teamwork
    Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Technical Competence
    Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Biology Management Techniques
    Knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories of techniques employed in wildlife and fisheries biology and management, including capture techniques, marking, transport, harvest, sampling, aging and sexing, species identication, monitoring, captive-rearing and other techniques.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Writing
    Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material, that is appropriate for the intended audience.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15

Common Pathways

Candidates who made this career change most commonly held these occupations...

12%

Wildlife Biology

See Position Details
11.3%

Forestry Technician

See Position Details
11%

Miscellaneous Administration and Program

See Position Details
Less Common Pathways (<2%)

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