Mississippi’s coastal birds and marine turtles are either in decline, threatened, or endangered. There is a need to start to monitor for nesting marine turtles to understand utilization of Harrison County’s beaches as well as to protect marine turtle and bird nests from potential threats including routine maintenance of the beaches such as raking or re-nourishment. This position will report to the Program Manager of the Audubon Mississippi Coastal Stewardship Program.
The position will monitor for beach-nesting and stranded marine turtles and liaise with the appropriate agencies and organizations for species conservation and management; assist with monitoring for beach-nesting birds and liaise with the appropriate agencies and organizations for species conservation and management; assist with state and federal permits related to beach re-nourishment(s) and construction projects on Harrison County beaches; and initiate and support a working group with a focus on birds and turtles that includes conservation partners and natural resource managers to foster communications among practitioners, inform best management practices, and seek and secure funding for future on-the-ground projects.
The successful candidate will act as a liaison with the MS Harrison County Board of Supervisors, MS Harrison County Sand Beach Authority, state and federal agencies charged with wildlife and coastal management, and other stakeholders with interest in Harrison County’s beaches.
This is a full-time, grant-funded position through 2021 with possibility of extension with subsequent grants.
Biological Assessments & Stranding Response:
- Conduct daily beach surveys to monitor turtle nesting and hatching emergencies; post and protect nests from predators; and report sea turtle crawls and nests to applicable agencies.
- If deemed appropriate, locate turtle egg chamber and mark nests for evaluation and document turtle nest success through post-emergence nest inventories.
- If deemed appropriate, facilitate collection of biological samples.
- Respond to and report stranded sea turtles in accordance with NOAA’s Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network protocols; remove and/or transport sick or injured animals to appropriate stranding rehab partners.
- Identify, pre-post, and report Least Tern and Black Skimmer nests to all applicable agencies.
- Report and respond to depredations, over washes, or other events that negatively impact turtle and/or bird nests.
- Identify and develop coordinated turtle and/or bird surveys to satisfy federal agency requirements; perform wildlife surveys as indicated by project specifications and permits, regulations, and management plans.
- Report stranded marine mammals to Mississippi’s designated National Marine Mammal Stranding Network partner, Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.
- Respond to potential environmental disasters and identify needed environmental data in wake of disasters.
- Maintain assigned field equipment.