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Soil Scientist: Entry (GS 5-7)

Job Description

This person serves as a member of the team developing soil survey information. They are responsible for the update and maintenance of soil surveys within their assigned geographical area. Their work is coordinated with other soil survey update activities within their state and adjoining states.

Job Duties

  • Uses geospatial technology to manipulate digital and analog geospatial data to examine and identify areas of different kinds of soils
  • Assists in examining existing soils geospatial information to identify areas where soil types and landscapes are not correctly associated; updates National Soil Information System (NASIS) to address errors or gaps
  • Assists the ecologists and MLRA soil survey leader in documenting basic soil-plant relationships and collects production estimates for crops, trees and grasses to develop ecological site descriptions

Recommended Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in soil science or related discipline, including 30 semester hours in biological, physical or earth sciences, with 15 of these hours in subjects like soil genesis, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil microbiology and soil fertility

Sample NRCS Work Experience

  • Works outdoors independently under difficult natural conditions
  • Operates hand tools
  • Uses GIS and GPS technology
  • Drafts/Writes a soil profile description
  • Reads topographic maps and aerial photo interpretations

Sample NRCS Training

  • Conservation Boot Camp (abbreviated version – 3 weeks)
  • Basic Soil Survey Field and Lab
  • NASIS – Basic
  • Digital Soil Survey Data Editing
  • Introduction to Digital Soil Mapping

Occupational Competencies

  • Soil Examination & Classification
  • Geomorphology & Hydrology
  • Soil - Vegetation Relationship Identification
  • Soil Attribute Database Management
  • Spatial Data Management
  • Soil Mapping & Correlation
  • Soil Interpretations & Land Use Guidance

Foundational Competencies

  • Attention to Detail
  • Accountability
  • Organizing and Prioritizing Work
  • Representing the Agency
  • Resource Management
  • Technology Management
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Continuous Learning
  • Initiative
  • Integrity and Honesty
  • Stress Tolerance and Resilience
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Influence and Negotiating
  • Conflict Management
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Decisive Judgment and Decision Making
  • Information Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Customer Service
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