Job Opening: Avian Biologist, Audubon Louisiana

December 16, 2014 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Job openings

Audubon Web stacked colorOverview:

Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 22 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 46 states, and 700 staff across the country. Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Position Summary:

The Avian Biologist will be responsible for assisting Audubon Louisiana’s Director of Bird Conservation and other staff in field and office activities associated with conservation, research, and education programs.

This is a full-time position providing field and analytic support for the Coastal Bird Stewardship Program and other monitoring and research initiatives principally in Louisiana.

Essential Functions:
  • Collect and analyze data on birds to support research projects through a variety of techniques including point and transect counts, nest searching, mist-netting, and radio telemetry and input bird data into databases.
  • In collaboration with the Director of Conservation and others, lead and assist in the writing of technical reports and scientific manuscripts.
  • Develop and lead educational programs, aimed at increasing awareness of the threats birds face, for a variety of audiences. Engage volunteers and community leaders to participate in conservation efforts.
  • Cultivate and maintain productive working relationships with internal and external stakeholders including other Audubon offices and chapters, state and federal agencies, other non-governmental organizations, and community and government leaders.
  • Maintain vehicles and all assigned field gear.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, ornithology, ecology, or a related field required.
  • 2+ years of applied field experience is required; understanding and respect of the scientific method is paramount.
  • Knowledge in the identification and ecology of a variety of waterbirds, shorebirds, songbirds, and marshbirds, as well as proven experience using statistical techniques for analyzing bird data (e.g., distance sampling, capture-mark-recapture, other demographic modeling approaches, spatial and movement analyses, etc.).
  • Experience and working knowledge of Louisiana’s diversity of habitats, especially coastal wetlands, bottomland hardwood forests, and/or estuaries is a plus.
  • At least one year experience developing and providing environmental education programs to a variety of audiences and/or working with volunteers is strongly preferred.
  • Excellent work ethic, a team-focused attitude, and the ability to work well independently in the field.
  • Ability to maintain and repair mechanical equipment such as trucks and boats desirable.
  • Willingness to work long hours in sub-tropical wetland, coastal, and forest environments exposed to harsh Louisiana field conditions (sun, heat, biting insects, alligators, venomous snakes, wading in water or mud), sometimes alone.
  • Ability to walk long distances (at least two miles) while carrying field equipment (e.g., tripod and spotting scope) and/or other materials. Ability to lift and carry over short distances at least 40 pounds, with or without accomodation.
  • Regularly travel within the state of the Louisiana to field sites, often for several days at a time. Some work on weekends is necessary.
  • Valid driver’s license required, experience with small boats, and operating ATVs strongly preferred.

To apply, please visit: https://careers-audubon.icims.com/jobs/2293/avian-biologist/job.

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Job Opening: Senior Policy Specialist, Gulf Coast Restoration, National Wildlife Federation

December 15, 2014 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in Job openings

The National Wildlife Federation is seeking a Senior Policy Specialist for Gulf Coast Restoration to join our staff in Washington, DC. In this role you will advocate on behalf of NWF's Gulf Coast Restoration and Mississippi Delta Restoration (MRD) programs to protect and restore the Gulf of Mexico coastal area to greater resiliency in the face of storms, floods, sea level rise, human-caused erosion, oil spills, and other threats to wildlife and to coastal communities.

This includes leading the national portion of the National Wildlife Federation's campaigns to secure authorization and federal funding for restoring Coastal Louisiana and to direct funds from the BP oil spill to the restoration of coastal areas Gulf-wide. This position will also work, to a lesser extent, on the broader goals of Everglades restoration as it relates to the Gulf of Mexico. The Senior Policy Specialist will work in concert with NWF's team in Louisiana, with the Gulf Team in the other Gulf states, with NWF's partner organizations in both campaigns and with NWF's national restoration team. This position will be NWF's key voice advocating to the federal government and members of Congress on behalf of NWF's Gulf restoration and MRD priorities, and in particular for the use of all post-BP oil spill funds to advance those priorities.

In this role you will:

  • Advocate for NWF's and MRD campaign priorities to Congress and the Administration. This includes campaign's priorities with Congress and the Administration on RESTORE implementation and authorizations through WRDA and appropriations. Work includes policy analysis, materials production, and participation in relevant meetings.
  • Advocate for NWF's Gulf restoration priorities, particularly regarding the use of post-BP oil-spill funds, to Congress and the Administration. Work with the Gulf Restoration Director to identify NWF's restoration priorities. Work includes policy analysis, materials production, and participation in relevant meetings.
  • Integrate coastal Louisiana and Gulf campaigns with other NWF national programs and interests, engaging in National Advocacy Center meetings, supporting overlapping institutional priorities and collaborating with on-line, communications, lobby team and other key staff to advance agenda. Advocate for and otherwise support key policy reforms that will better protect people, communities, and wildlife, as assigned.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree required, advanced degree preferred.
  • Candidates must have at least 7 years progressively responsible experience required in helping develop and implement advocacy campaigns, grassroots organizing, media, and environmental advocacy. Congressional experience and/or pertinent federal agency experience preferred.
  • Must be knowledgeable of how Federal agencies and Congress work.
  • Must know how to use water restoration laws, programs and policies as a tool to protect wildlife and wild places.
  • Must be a strategic thinker, well organized, strong communicator, and have a demonstrated ability to set goals and meet deadlines.
  • Must possess ability to work collaboratively with others.

There will be travel involved in this role – approx. six trips per year and some weekend work may be required.

The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization, passionate about protecting wildlife for our children's future. NWF is an equal opportunity employer committed to workplace diversity.

To apply, please visit: https://nwf.applicantpro.com/jobs/170809.html.

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NEWS RELEASE: Conservation Groups Release Restoration Solutions for Mississippi River Delta

December 9, 2014 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in BP Oil Disaster, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Media Resources, Reports, Restoration Projects

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, lbourg@audubon.org

Conservation Groups Release Restoration Solutions for Mississippi River Delta
New report recommends a series of science-based restoration efforts to benefit coastal Louisiana

(NEW ORLEANS – December 9, 2014) Today, leading national and local conservation groups released a report outlining 19 priority projects for restoring the Mississippi River Delta following the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.

Restoring the Mississippi River Delta for People and Wildlife: Recommended Projects and Priorities was jointly authored by conservation groups working together on Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana – and describes a suite of restoration projects that would collectively reverse wetlands loss and help protect New Orleans and other coastal communities from storms. The project recommendations include sediment diversions, freshwater diversions, marsh creation, barrier island reconstruction, ridge restoration, shoreline protection and hydrological modifications. The proposed project solutions can work in tandem to not only build but also sustain new wetlands along Louisiana’s coast.

The report is aimed at informing a series of decisions that will be ultimately made for funds flowing from the Gulf oil disaster, including those to be made by Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council (Council). The federal-state Council is tasked with implementing a comprehensive restoration plan to include a list of projects prioritized for their impact on the Gulf ecosystem. The Council recently released a list of projects and programs proposed for funding with oil spill penalty money.

“The Mississippi River Delta was ground zero for the Gulf oil disaster,” said David Muth, National Wildlife Federation’s director of Gulf restoration. “These project recommendations, if selected and implemented efficiently, could begin in earnest the wholesale restoration of one of the most ecologically and economically important areas in the entire country. The health of the Mississippi River Delta is a cornerstone for the health of the entire Gulf Coast. ”

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get this right and start real restoration along the Gulf Coast,” said Doug Meffert, executive director and vice president of Audubon Louisiana. “Our recommendations present a full suite of restoration solutions that work in concert, providing complementary benefits and sustaining one other. We hope the Council will select restoration projects like these, which are scientifically shown to provide the maximum benefit to the entire Gulf ecosystem.”

“By combining different types of projects in the same geographic area – for example, sediment diversions, marsh creation and barrier island restoration – we can build new land quickly and sustain it for the long term,” said Natalie Peyronnin, director of Science Policy for Environmental Defense Fund’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program. “This comprehensive approach to restoration is much more effective than using a band-aid approach. We must get restoration right – and get it started now – for the communities, wildlife and economies of the Gulf.”

“The oil spill affected wildlife and ecosystems across the Gulf Coast, and we need to make smart decisions about how to use this money to improve the health of the entire system,” said Muth. “We owe it to future generations to determine where this money can have the greatest impact and to focus our efforts there.”

The oil disaster sent roughly 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana’s coastline received the largest amount of oil and was suffering one of the fastest rates of wetlands loss in the world even prior to the spill. BP and the other companies responsible will ultimately pay billions of dollars in penalties and punitive damages, much of which will be allocated to the Gulf states for restoration.

For a full description of the 19 projects, visit http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/files/2014/12/Restoring-the-Mississippi-River-Delta-for-People-and-Wildlife.pdf

For a full description of the 19 projects, push here.

###

Please contact Emily Guidry Schatzel, schatzele@nwf.org, for a recording of the telepress conference.

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. A map of the projects and descriptions are available for download at www.mississippiriverdelta.org/map.

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Media Advisory: Conservation Groups Release Restoration Solutions for Mississippi River Delta

December 8, 2014 | Posted by Elizabeth Van Cleve in BP Oil Disaster, Meetings/Events, Restoration Projects

MEDIA ADVISORY for Tuesday Dec. 9: Telepresser at 10:00 a.m. CT

Conservation Groups Release Restoration Solutions for Mississippi River Delta

New report recommends a series of science-based restoration efforts to benefit coastal Louisiana

The 2010 Gulf oil disaster dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, affecting hundreds of miles of coastline along the five Gulf states, with Louisiana's coast receiving the greatest damage. BP and the other companies responsible will pay billions of dollars in penalties and punitive damages, much of which will be allocated to the Gulf states for restoration.

In a new report, leading national and local conservation groups outline 19 priority projects for restoring the Mississippi River Delta following the 2010 Gulf oil disaster, for the benefit of people, wildlife and the national economy. Speakers on the call will also be able to comment on the recently-released Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council’s list of proposed projects.

WHAT: Restoring the Mississippi River Delta for People and Wildlife: Recommended Projects and Priorities – A report by the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition describes in detail 19 restoration projects aimed at stopping wetlands loss and restoring habitat in the Mississippi River Delta.

SPEAKERS: David Muth, Gulf Program Director, National Wildlife Federation
Natalie Peyronnin, Director of Science Policy, Mississippi River Delta Restoration, Environmental Defense Fund
Dr. Doug Meffert, Vice President and Executive Director, Audubon Louisiana

WHEN: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 10:00 am CT
1-800-791-2345, code 69498

CONTACTS:

Emily Guidry Schatzel, National Wildlife Federation, 225.253.9781, schatzele@nwf.org
Elizabeth Van Cleve, Environmental Defense Fund, 202.553.2543, evancleve@edf.org
Lauren Bourg, National Audubon Society, 225.776.9838, lbourg@audubon.org

###

The Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition is working to protect people, wildlife and jobs by reconnecting the river with its wetlands. As our region faces the crisis of threatening land loss, we offer science-based solutions through a comprehensive approach to restoration. Composed of conservation, policy, science and outreach experts from Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, we are located in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Washington, D.C.; and around the United States. See more at www.mississippiriverdelta.org.

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West Maurepas Freshwater Diversion Project

December 5, 2014 | Posted by lbourg in 2012 Coastal Master Plan, Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), RESTORE Act, Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

Louisiana recently proposed 5 projects to be funded by the initial round of funding from the RESTORE Act.  The West Maurepas Freshwater Diversion project’s objective, also known as the Mississippi River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp project, is to restore and enhance the health and sustainability of the Maurepas Swamp through the reintroduction of season Mississippi River inflow. Here’s what we wrote to the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, in support of the West Maurepas Freshwater Diversion project:

Dear Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority members,

The undersigned groups appreciate the opportunity to share our supporting comments on the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project, submitted by the State of Louisiana for RESTORE Council consideration for the first Funded Priorities List of the RESTORE Pot 2 Council-selected projects.

We represent a coalition of conservation interests that have worked for decades to restore a healthy Gulf of Mexico ecosystem – starting with prompt restoration of the Mississippi River Delta – reconnecting the Mississippi River to its delta to protect communities, environment, and economies. Our groups continue to recommend urgent action on projects that will reduce land loss and restore wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta through comprehensive restoration actions that have the potential to provide multiple benefits and services over the long term to the entire Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the necessary restoration actions to be undertaken in Louisiana are already fully authorized under the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2007, were unanimously approved by the Louisiana legislature in the 2012 Coastal Master Plan, enjoy broad public support, and have been vetted by scientists and lawmakers for many years.

Such is the case with the River Reintroduction into the Maurepas Swamp Project.

The River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project has long been discussed as an important coastal restoration project: it was featured as a key restoration project in the 1998 “Coast 2050” plan, was further developed in the Coastal Wetlands Planning Protection and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) program with EPA as its sponsor, was included in the LCA (Louisiana Coastal Area) Study (WRDA 2007) and the Louisiana 2007 Coastal Master Plan, and is currently included in Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan (named the “West Maurepas Diversion”).

This project would benefit the western Maurepas swamps, the landbridge between Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain and the LaBranche wetlands. In addition, this project, in conjunction with the Central Wetlands diversions, will influence the Biloxi Marsh area.

Dominated by bald cypress and water tupelo trees, this swamp complex is one of the largest forested wetlands in the nation. Levees constructed along the river and the closure of Bayou Manchac have isolated the area from spring floods and the vital fresh water, nutrients and sediments that once enhanced the swamp. This isolation has led to a decrease in swamp elevation, that coupled with rising salinities throughout the Pontchartrain Basin have left the swamp in a state of rapid decline – trees are dying and young trees are not regenerating. The River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project will reconnect the swamps to the river, preventing further loss and the conversion to open water, as well as helping to temper rising salinities throughout the entire Pontchartrain Basin.

Applying funds to the project now, toward completion of the remaining engineering, design, and permitting, will finally take the River Reintroduction into Maurepas Swamp Project to a construction-ready status. And, given its development history, this project would seem a perfect candidate for CPRA to conduct in collaboration with EPA, with some assistance from Corps of Engineers regulatory and restoration teams.

In conclusion, the 2012 Coastal Master Plan data demonstrated that the swamp could be completely lost in a mere two decades. Due to the urgency of getting this project constructed and operating, the below signatories commend Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority for submitting, and we urge the RESTORE Council to select this project for funding.

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