Iowa State University seeks water quality assessment coordinator

(Guest author highlights inconvenient truths about an important but challenging job. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Iowa State University has announced a new position in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focused on assessing the effectiveness of Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy – an all-voluntary state plan to reduce chronic runoff pollution that is the state's most vexing water quality challenge.

Think you might be up to the challenge?  There's more after the jump.

From the official position description:

This position will work with ISU faculty and staff, state and federal agency staff and NGO staff to gather, compile and analyze indicators of practice implementation and water quality. Responsibilities of this position include collaborating with ISU, agency and NGO personnel; organizing spreadsheets of farming and conservation practice data, water quality monitoring data; collecting and evaluating resource commitments; organizing and analyzing survey data; estimating calculated nutrient loads; and developing summary reports. Other duties include communicating and collaborating with state and federal agencies to gather, organize and summarize water quality data.

The successful candidate will have the ability to…

Well, let me take over the job ad from there. 

Bring your BA and 2 years of experience to the position and you'll receive pay commensurate with your qualifications.  There's also a strong chance you'll be published early and often, for example in court proceedings related to the lawsuit between the Des Moines Water Works and Northwest Iowa counties over ag drainage policy.  

The Des Moines Register's editorial boardTodd Dorman at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the Farm Bureau, and a bevy of agriculture and environmental groups will all hang on your every word, looking for an opportunity to use your work as proof that Iowa's pollution reduction plan is either effective or a scheme to avoid needed regulation of agriculture.

You are also required to have a driver's license. 

To be sure, it's hard to argue the creation of this position is a bad thing, but it will be an incredibly tough job.  To the applicants:  I salute you, and, like many others, I look forward to reading your work.

Still wish to apply? Ok, here's the listing.  Don't say you weren't warned. 

How would you approach the position?  Have any advice for the person who gets the job?  Any relevant comments are welcome below.

  • Please read the job description

    It’s laugh-out-loud funny!  What isn’t funny is the fact that the ISU College of Ag is a branch office of Agri Business and the Iowa Farm Bureau. Sort a like the Governors office.  

    • since it will probably disappear

      once the position is filled, here’s the “Summary of Duties and Responsibilities”:

      The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration at Iowa State University (ISU) seeks applicants for a Research Analyst I to compile measurements and reports related to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy program. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a science and technology-based approach to assess and reduce nutrients delivered to Iowa waterways and the Gulf of Mexico. The strategy outlines voluntary efforts to reduce nutrients in surface water from both point sources, such as wastewater treatment plants and industrial facilities, and nonpoint sources, including farm fields and urban areas, in a scientific, reasonable and cost effective manner.

      This position will work with ISU faculty and staff, state and federal agency staff and NGO staff to gather, compile and analyze indicators of practice implementation and water quality. Responsibilities of this position include collaborating with ISU, agency and NGO personnel; organizing spreadsheets of farming and conservation practice data, water quality monitoring data; collecting and evaluating resource commitments; organizing and analyzing survey data; estimating calculated nutrient loads; and developing summary reports. Other duties include communicating and collaborating with state and federal agencies to gather, organize and summarize water quality data.

      The successful candidate will have the ability to work independently and manage multiple projects simultaneously. The ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing, with a wide variety of internal and external audiences and to seek new and develop existing partnerships will be important to the candidate’s success. Excellent networking and partnership development skills as well as strong project management skills and experience will also be needed for this position.

      “Preferred Education and Experience” for this three-year position:

      Degree in Agronomy, Environmental Sciences, or related field.

      Experience with Midwest conservation practices and/or watershed management.

      Demonstrated experience or knowledge of statistical principles associated with data calculation.

      Experience with Midwest row crop production and soil conservation.

      Experience with Microsoft office software, specifically Excel.

      Demonstrated experience working with data sets.

      Sounds like a thankless job for some talented person.

Login or Join to comment and post.