Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC) is an established land trust serving a 10-county region in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. Since 1974, we have conserved more than 73,000 acres of the region’s unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation. SAHC is currently responsible for stewarding 156 conservation easements on 40,000+ acres and 66 tracts of SAHC-owned land on 7,000+ acres. Of these, approximately 69 properties are working farms and we continue to pursue land and conservation easement acquisitions to protect thousands more key acres.
SAHC is seeking a full-time Stewardship Associate to support SAHC’s program of managing conservation easements and SAHC-owned properties. The Stewardship Associate directly is supervised by the Stewardship Director and works closely with other SAHC staff. Occasional evening and weekend hours may be required. The Stewardship Associate is based in SAHC’s Asheville, NC office with travel within SAHC’s 10-county service area.
Under the direction and supervision of the Stewardship Director and the Roan Stewardship Director for properties in the Highlands of Roan, the Stewardship Associate will:
Conservation Easement Stewardship
Support stewardship of SAHC conservation easements, initially focusing on working farm conservation easements properties, including:
- Work with Land Protection Director, Farmland Protection Director, Stewardship Director and other relevant staff to review and assess new land protection prospects, review new project conservation easement documents and other due diligence items.
- Prepare baseline documentation reports for new conservation easement properties.
- Work with the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS) staff and landowners to help facilitate Conservation Plans and Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) Plans on existing and potential conservation easement farms.
- Conduct annual monitoring of conservation easements.
- Prepare written monitoring reports and GIS-produced monitoring maps.
- Maintain strong relationships with landowners, including preparing management recommendations to landowners.
- Assist in evaluating requests to exercise reserved rights on protected properties and make recommendations to the Stewardship Director.
- Stay apprised of relevant agency stewardship standards and coordinate with US Department of Agriculture, NC Department of Agriculture and other conservation easement co-holding and funding agencies on monitoring schedules, conservation easement reserved right and violation issues, and submittal of monitoring reports.
- Consult with the Stewardship Director, Conservation Director and Executive Director, on stewardship problems, including potential easement violations, enforcement and defense issues. Assist with decision-making on appropriate course of action, and implementing plans to resolve problems. Be prepared to testify about violations.
Fee Land/Preserve Stewardship
Support stewardship of land owned by SAHC, including:
- Prepare written monitoring reports and GIS-produced monitoring maps.
- Prepare land management plans, and periodically update management plans, as needed.
- Implement or coordinate implementation of management plans on SAHC-owned lands, including invasive species management, volunteer recruitment and management, contractors, and other land management needs.
- Under the supervision of the Roan Stewardship Director, assist with monitoring, report writing and management of SAHC-owned lands in the Highlands of Roan. Assist with implementation of the farm plan for Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area.
- Facilitate administration of licenses and contracts on properties assigned, including grazing and hunting licenses, and maintain strong relationship with licensees/contractors and neighbors.
- Respond to violations as discussed above under “Conservation Easement Stewardship”.
GIS and Organizational Support
- Utilize, organize and update property GIS data. Collect and/or create regional, county and local GIS map data. Create maps for stewardship projects.
- Maintain files, data, and documentation according to records management policy and procedures; regularly update and maintain SAHC’s online stewardship and landowner
- Assist the Stewardship Director in developing and implementing stewardship project planning and funding strategies.
- Prepare articles or reports for newsletters to promote stewardship activities.
- Stay apprised of SAHC’s Stewardship policies and procedures and Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices, and execute all functions accordingly. Review and assist in updating stewardship policies and procedures as appropriate.
- Work cooperatively with, and maintain good communications with other staff, AmeriCorps, and Board members. Assist with functions and events as needed.
- Help maintain SAHC’s stewardship equipment, conduct annual inventories and replace equipment as necessary.
- Facilitate SAHC vehicle maintenance and recordkeeping.
- Other duties, as assigned.
- College or advanced degree in natural resources, land management, environmental sciences or related discipline.
- Strong knowledge of farming and agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) as well as familiarity with NRCS conservation plans and cost-share.
- Expertise in preparing conservation easement baseline documentation reports, monitoring conservation easements, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), ArcMap 10, map-making and other land trust stewardship functions.
- Ability to use MS Office, including Word, Excel and Powerpoint. Basic experience with database management.
- Knowledge of non-native invasive species ecology and control, and willingness to obtain NC/TN herbicide applicator’s license.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills. Ability to communicate effectively with people, organizations, and agencies.
- Close attention to detail and accuracy. Ability to organize and archive important files and documentation, and complete projects within deadline.
- Competent in navigating to remote locations and accurately locate boundary lines using surveys, compass, maps and GPS, and a willingness to learn additional data collection technologies.
- Capable of hiking off trail over strenuous terrain and through dense vegetation.
- A valid driver’s license required with acceptable DMV record. Experience driving off-road helpful.
- Ability to travel and willingness to attend evening/weekend meetings and events.
Desired Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Two or more years of professional land trust experience.
- Familiarity with natural history of southern Appalachian flora and fauna, or a strong willingness and ability to learn.
- Familiarity with forestry best management practices desired.
- Tact and strong diplomacy skills. Talent for maintaining forward momentum in delicate situations and developing relationships with diverse background and world views.
- Experience leading volunteers desired.
- Desire and talent for working as part of a team. Enthusiastic, creative, self-motivated individual able to work with and motivate co-workers and volunteers.
- Persistence, sense of humor, and entrepreneurial spirit. Ability to balance and pursue multiple projects simultaneously. High tolerance for meeting competing demands efficiently, without becoming flustered.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this position. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. All personnel may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.
Job Category: Full-time Exempt (40 hours/week)
Salary: Commensurate with experience and skills. SAHC provides a competitive salary and benefits package to full-time employees, which includes health insurance, retirement plan, and paid vacation.
Submit a cover letter, resume with salary history/requirements, and 3 professional references to Carl Silverstein – Carl@appalachian.org – 372 Merrimon Ave. Asheville, NC 28801. No phone calls. SAHC is an Equal Opportunity Employer