Summary Report for:
19-1031.01 - Soil and Water Conservationists
Plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.
Sample of reported job titles: Conservationist, Environmental Analyst, Erosion Control Specialist, Land Manager, Land Reclamation Specialist, Land Resource Specialist, Resource Conservation Specialist, Resource Conservationist, Soil Conservationist, Watershed Program Manager
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans.
- 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.
- Advise land users, such as farmers or ranchers, on plans, problems, or alternative conservation 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.
- Review proposed wetland restoration easements or provide technical recommendations.
- 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.
- Develop, conduct, or participate in surveys, studies, or investigations of various land uses to inform corrective action plans.
- Manage field offices or involve staff in cooperative ventures.
- Plan soil management or conservation practices, such as crop rotation, reforestation, permanent vegetation, contour plowing, or terracing, to maintain soil or conserve water.
- Initiate, schedule, or conduct annual audits or compliance checks of program implementation by local government.
- Develop water conservation or harvest plans, using weather information systems, irrigation information management systems, or other sources of daily evapotranspiration (ET) data.
- Survey property to mark locations or measurements, using surveying instruments.
- Review or approve amendments to comprehensive local water plans or conservation district plans.
- Enter local soil, water, or other environmental data into adaptive or Web-based decision tools to identify appropriate analyses or techniques.
- Develop or conduct environmental studies, such as plant material field trials or wildlife habitat impact studies.
- Provide access to programs or training to assist in completion of government groundwater protection plans.
- Analytical or scientific software — Clover Technology GALENA; CropSyst Suite; Water Soil and Hydro-Environmental Decision Support System WATERSHEDSS; WinEPIC (see all 16 examples)
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Data base user interface and query software — CroPMan; Microsoft Access ; State Soil Geographic STATSGO Database; Water resources databases
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Autodesk Maya
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software ; ESRI ArcInfo; ESRI ArcView; Geographic information system GIS software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Web platform development software — Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Laser measuring systems — Laser distance measurement systems
- Levels — Dumpy levels
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Soil core sampling apparatus — Dutch augers
- Theodolites — Total stations
- Water samplers
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Develop plans to manage natural or renewable resources.
- Advise others about land management or conservation.
- Inspect condition of natural environments.
- Monitor operational procedures in technical environments to ensure conformance to standards.
- Direct natural resources management or conservation programs.
- Develop collaborative relationships between departments or with external organizations.
- Plan natural resources conservation or restoration programs.
- Apply knowledge or research findings to address environmental problems.
- Collect geographical or geological field data.
- Mediate disputes.
- Communicate with the public on environmental issues.
- Advise others about environmental management or conservation.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Research sustainable agricultural processes or practices.
- Assess compliance with environmental laws.
- Survey land or properties.
- Review plans or proposals for environmental conservation.
- Plan environmental research.
- Record research or operational data.
- Analyze environmental data.
- Compile environmental or climatological data.
- Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
- Evaluate new technologies or methods.
- Research impacts of environmental conservation initiatives.
- Review environmental permits, plans, or reports.
- Electronic Mail — 80% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 52% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Deal With External Customers — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 48% responded “Some freedom.”
- Letters and Memos — 62% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 67% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 62% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Important results.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 38% responded “Some freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 65% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 81% responded “40 hours.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 52% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 43% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 33% responded “High responsibility.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 33% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Spend Time Standing — 50% responded “About half the time.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IRE Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Conservation Scientists.
Employment data for Conservation Scientists.
Industry data for Conservation Scientists.
|Median wages (2019)||$30.12 hourly, $62,660 annual|
|Employment (2018)||23,800 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Average (4% to 6%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||2,600|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Society of Agronomy
- American Society of Mining and Reclamation
- EnviroCert International
- Idaho Soil and Water Conservation Commission
- International Erosion Control Association
- National Association of Conservation Districts
- National Association of State Conservation Agencies
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Conservation scientists and foresters
- Society of Soil Scientists of Northern New England
- Society of Wetland Scientists
- Soil and Water Conservation Society
- Soil Science Society of America