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Invasive Species Member - Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

Invasive Species Member - Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex

American Conservation Experience, a nonprofit Conservation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), is seeking 1 Invasive Species Member to contribute to the mapping and management of invasive plant species as well as other biological projects alongside Potomac River NWRC Staff.

For more information about ACE, please visit:


Start Date: May 20, 2024 (flexible)

Estimated End Date: August 23, 2024 (14 weeks after start date)

*a 12 week minimum commitment is required*

Location Details/Description: Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Woodbridge, VA

The Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC), located along the Potomac River in Virginia, consists of three National Wildlife Refuges: Occoquan Bay NWR, Featherstone NWR, and Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR.

Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established in June 1998 to provide habitat for migratory birds and endangered species. The refuge's diverse grassland, marsh and forest habitats attract a variety of songbirds, raptors and waterfowl that depend on the area for food, nesting sites, and a place to rest.

Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge consists of 325 acres of woodland and freshwater tidal marsh. The refuge was established to protect the contiguous wetland features characteristic of this small strip of land, bordered by urban development. Its southernmost boundary lies along the northern shore and mouth of Neabsco Creek.

Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1969, and became the first national wildlife refuge created specifically for the protection of bald eagles. The refuge will continue to protect and enhance regionally important habitat for the bald eagle, migratory birds, and native wildlife and plant species along the tidal Potomac River.

For more information about Potomac River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, please visit:


Position Overview: The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. This position will help FWS realize that mission at Potomac River NWRC. Members will primarily assist with mapping and management of invasive plants. Members may travel to nearby refuges to assist with work. Members will also have the opportunity to participate in other activities on the refuge. 

Primary Duties include:

  • GIS mapping of invasive plants using a rapid protocol established in the North Atlantic-Appalachian Region
  • Searching for new infestations (Early Detection Rapid Response)- methods may vary by refuge
  • Physical removal of invasive plants including hand pulling or with tools (not including chainsaws).
  • Application of General Use Pesticides using hand, backpack or  ATV-mounted sprayer.
  • Assist with other refuge projects including biological surveys, refuge outreach programs, or events.
  • Summarize data from invasive plant surveys and assist refuge biologists with writing reports. 

This individual placement is meant to facilitate professional development and promotes exposure to land management agencies and networking with professionals. This could include gaining experience in different conservation fields and shadowing different work groups.

Schedule: Duties will primarily be carried out 8 hours a day, Monday-Friday, typically 7:00 - 3:30.  Bi-weekly totals should not exceed 80 hours.  A flexible work schedule will be required, which involves work performed outside of normal work hours including on weekends to adjust for weather impacts.  Time off may be granted and requests should be directed to ACE and the FWS for approval.


Position Benefits

Living Allowance: The ACE Member is expected to contribute ~40 hours/week and will receive a living allowance of $500/week to offset the costs of food and incidental expenses, dispersed bi-weekly.

AmeriCorps Education Award Program: This position may be eligible for an 450-hour AmeriCorps Education Award while serving under the EAP 2023/24 grant year program, valued up to $1,824.07 upon successful completion of a complete service term and 450 hrs. 

Loan Forbearance: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for federal loan forbearance. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Qualifying Child Care Coverage: AmeriCorps members may also be eligible for qualifying child care coverage. Additional enrollment steps are required.  

Housing: ACE members will be accommodated in provided housing at no cost for the duration of the term.

Grant Funding Opportunity: The selected candidate(s) for this position will be eligible to apply for ACE’s Access and Inclusion Grant. This is a $500 grant which is intended to make participation in ACE positions more accessible to individuals who are underrepresented in the conservation field. Grant recipients will be able to allocate this funding to financial need(s) of their choosing. A limited number of grants are available.

Provided Training/Orientation: ACE members will receive position specific training and an orientation outlining ACE policies and procedures, clear guidance on prohibited activities, and networks for support. Specific USFWS training may include ATV/UTV.




  • Members must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident, as required by U.S. government contracts
  • Willing and able to represent ACE and the partner organization in a professional, positive, and enthusiastic manner. 
  • Ability to be both self-directed/work alone, and be a positive, contributing member of a group.
  • A valid driver's license and an insurable driving record (documentation to be provided upon request).
  • Willing to undergo and must pass the required three-part criminal history check.
  • Ability to perform the essential duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • ACE Members will need to complete bi-weekly timesheets, beginning of term feedback forms, end of term evaluations and for longer terms, a mid-term evaluation. 
  • Member may not participate in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement or as defined by AmeriCorps.
  • To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit our website:


  • Holding or pursuing a minimum of a 2-year college degree (education or experience in natural resources, biology, ecology or a related subject preferred).
  • Able to walk and stand for long periods.
  • Able to physically pull or remove invasive plants with hand tools.
  • Familiarity with GPS and iPads.
  • Ensure quality of the data collected.
  • Drive a vehicle and navigate to new destinations.
  • Willingness to apply General Use Pesticides with use of appropriate safety equipment, and training in the safe handling of General Use Pesticides.
  • Ability to identify plants and distinguish invasive plants from native plants and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to work in a team and accept guidance from supervisor and other refuge staff.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Willingness to work in field conditions which will include insects, heat, humidity, rain.
  • Willingness to participate in training in the mapping as well as pesticide use and safety.


Physical Demands, Work Environment and Working Conditions: 

  • Physical Demands: Requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, hiking, carrying, using hands to handle or feel, reaching with hands and arms, talking and hearing. Manual dexterity required for use of various tools, computer keyboard/mouse and other office equipment. Required to stoop, kneel, climb stairs, and/or crouch. Ability to hike over rough terrain.
  • Vision Requirements: Requires close, distance, peripheral and depth perception vision as well as the ability to focus. 
  • Weight Lifted or Force Exerted: Frequently moves up to 25 lbs., ability to move up to 50 pounds.
  • Environmental: Outdoor and indoor conditions. Work environment conditions can change frequently; working under adverse weather conditions and in various climates.
  • Noise Environment: Moderate to high noise such as gas-powered chainsaws and other hand and power tools.
  • Travel: This position does not require unique travel.

Environmental Conditions/Hazards:  The ACE member(s) may encounter environmental conditions/hazards including extreme heat or cold, rocky terrain, swamp or wetland conditions, biting insects, and potentially dangerous wildlife. The member is expected to conduct duties in a safe and orderly manner so as not to endanger self, fellow staff/members or resources. 

Vehicle and Equipment Use/Safety:  If a vehicle is required for the accomplishment of the duties, one will be provided by the FWS or ACE.  Any tools required for the accomplishment of the duties will be provided by the FWS. Use of personal protective equipment (PPE), typically provided by the FWS, will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Strict adherence to FWS and ACE equipment training, certification and safety protocols is required.  


To Apply: Please submit your resume, a cover letter demonstrating your interest and experience, and contact information for three professional/academic references to the online application page for this position here: Early consideration will be given as resumes are received. This position may close at any time. If you have any questions regarding this position please feel free to contact ACE EPIC FWS Member Manager, Cait Dunne, 

EEO: Employment with ACE is based upon ability, qualifications, attitude, and job-related factors. Every qualified employee or applicant has the same opportunity for recruitment, hire, training, transfer, promotion, compensation, demotion, termination, benefits, employee activities, and general treatment without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, national origin, pregnancy, ancestry, citizenship status, genetic information (including of a family member), veteran or military status, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, medical condition, marital or parental status, political affiliation, ethnicity, hair texture or style, arrest record, caste, hereditary status, endogamy, or any other classification protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.