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Soil and Water Conservationist

Overview and Key Facts

farmer and conservationist chatting
Education
Education
Bachelor's degree
Median Pay
Median Pay
$63,750
Job Growth
Job Growth
3.00%
(US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031
25,300

What Do They Do?

A soil and water conservationist could...

Overview Listen to this section

Soil and water are two of Earth's most important natural resources. Earth would not be able to sustain life without nutritive soil to grow food and clean water to drink. Soil and water conservationists foster the science and art of natural resource conservation. The scientists work to discover, develop, implement, and constantly improve ways to use land that sustains its productive capacity, and enhances the environment at the same time. Soil and water conservationists are involved in improving conservation policy by bringing science and professional judgment to bear in shaping local, state, and federal policy.
Watch this video to learn more about the responsibilities of a soil conservationist. A soil conservationist is part scientist, part educator, and part environmentalist.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of a Soil and Water Conservationist?


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Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks a Soil and Water Conservationist might do:
  • Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans.
  • Advise land users, such as farmers or ranchers, on plans, problems, or alternative conservation solutions.
  • Monitor projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications.
  • Visit areas affected by erosion problems to identify causes or determine solutions.
  • Develop or maintain working relationships with local government staff or board members.
  • Apply principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, or agriculture, to achieve conservation objectives.
  • Gather information from geographic information systems (GIS) databases or applications to formulate land use recommendations.
  • Compute design specifications for implementation of conservation practices, using survey or field information, technical guides or engineering manuals.
  • Participate on work teams to plan, develop, or implement programs or policies for improving environmental habitats, wetlands, or groundwater or soil resources.
  • Conduct fact-finding or mediation sessions among government units, landowners, or other agencies to resolve disputes.
  • Revisit land users to view implemented land use practices or plans.
  • Respond to complaints or questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing information or clarification.
  • Compute cost estimates of different conservation practices, based on needs of land users, maintenance requirements, or life expectancy of practices.
  • Provide information, knowledge, expertise, or training to government agencies at all levels to solve water or soil management problems or to assure coordination of resource protection activities.
  • Analyze results of investigations to determine measures needed to maintain or restore proper soil management.
  • Coordinate or implement technical, financial, or administrative assistance programs for local government units to ensure efficient program implementation or timely responses to requests for assistance.
  • Identify or recommend integrated weed and pest management (IPM) strategies, such as resistant plants, cultural or behavioral controls, soil amendments, insects, natural enemies, barriers, or pesticides.
  • Review proposed wetland restoration easements or provide technical recommendations.
  • Develop, conduct, or participate in surveys, studies, or investigations of various land uses to inform corrective action plans.
  • Develop soil maps.

Salary & Job Openings

Steps to Get There: Becoming a Soil and Water Conservationist

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