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Agricultural Program Specialist

Salary: $27.48-$33.54 hourly / $4,779-$5,834 monthly / Range: 5976

DEFINITION: Under direction, educates landowners and other interested parties about Santa Barbara County's oak tree protection program or noxious weed management program, depending on specialty; offers technical assistance to, generates support among, and coordinates efforts of public, private, and legislative partners to successfully administer the noxious weed management program or oak tree protection program; ensures compliance with applicable legal requirements; and performs related duties as required.

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This classification is distinguished from classifications in the Agricultural Biologist series by its emphasis on promoting compliance with self-regulatory or voluntary measures and on coordinating the activities of a variety of County stakeholders and resource managers to protect oak trees, or minimize environmental degradation and agricultural incursion by nonnative weeds, in order to preserve the ecological integrity of Santa Barbara County. This classification is further distinguished from classifications in the Agricultural Biologist series by its focus on obtaining acceptance of each program through public and community education, grant-writing and administration, and GIS mapping and data collection to measure program effectiveness; interpretation of the governing documents for each program; and the authority to take administrative action for noncompliance.


Both Specialties:

  1. Coordinates educational meetings and outreach and provides training to landowners and other interested parties as part of efforts to encourage community compliance with both voluntary and regulatory components in the respective program.
  2. Represents the County in dealings with landowners and other interested parties at individual and public meetings to make and explain decisions associated with the respective program that have legal, political, and environmental impacts.
  3. Provides reports to the Board of Supervisors and other decision-makers about the status of projects and progress toward goals of the respective program.
  4. Administers a countywide mapping and data coordination program for use in tracking, evaluating, and reviewing the effectiveness of the respective program and to facilitate program planning and initiate changes for improvement.
  5. Negotiates agreements related to oak tree protection and noxious weed abatement with public and private agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private land interests.
  6. Identifies and applies for grants and other funds to be used as incentives for landowners to comply with program objectives and the voluntary components of the respective program.
  7. Performs complex and specialized contract administration related to oak tree protection and noxious weed abatement efforts.
  8. Tracks costs for projects; ensures compliance with fiscal and reporting responsibilities associated with specific projects; serves as the County's agent in any jointly funded or shared-cost programs related to oak tree protection and noxious weed abatement efforts.
  9. Stays current on research and development and ensures that interested parties have access to the latest information in the respective program field.
  10. Reviews proposed changes to laws, rules, and regulations that affect or have the potential to affect the respective program and implement changes, as necessary.
  11. May plan, schedule, and evaluate the work of others; may supervise clerical and support staff and provide functional supervision to others working to address issues within the respective program.

Oak Tree Protection Specialty

  1. Provides administrative oversight of the Oak Tree Protection and Regeneration Program, with technical assistance from the Resource Conservation District and the Oak Tree Advisory Committee as detailed in The Deciduous Oak Tree Protection and Regeneration Ordinance (the oak tree ordinance).
  2. Requests that landowners voluntarily report deciduous oak removals; coordinates data tracking program, and provides technical assistance to landowners in the replanting and regeneration of valley and blue oaks in accordance with the oak tree ordinance.
  3. Consults with landowners regarding self-regulating elements of the oak tree ordinance; conducts on-site monitoring if the landowners voluntarily cooperate; monitors and enforces compliance with the regulatory component of the oak tree ordinance; and coordinates efforts with Planning and Development in accordance with the Oak Tree Ordinance.
  4. Provides or arranges assistance with drafting oak tree management plans for individual land owners and provides approval of such plans on a case-by-case basis.
  5. In accordance with the oak tree ordinance, obtains the necessary documentation of oak tree removals from landowners and ensures that violations are handled in accordance with the ordinance.
  6. Monitors and tracks the removal and replanting of oak trees to ensure compliance with the oak tree ordinance.

Weed Management Specialty

  1. Provides primary professional staff support to and serves as meeting facilitator for the Santa Barbara County Weed Management Area, an organization whose mission is to increase the quantity and quality of noxious exotic weed management efforts in Santa Barbara County.
  2. Monitors the presence of noxious, nonnative weeds countywide; defines scope of mitigation and eradication projects; identifies and obtains resources required to complete projects, and establishes and monitors progress toward project milestones and timelines.
  3. Contacts vendors, receives and reviews bids, and awards and administers contracts for goods and services to protect and restore land from invasive weeds.
  4. Utilizes principles of integrated pest management; and ensures the safe, proper, and effective use of herbicides or pesticides by self or others to reduce or eliminate noxious weed infestations.
  5. Maintains communications with administrators of other local Weed Management Areas.


Both Specialties:

  1. Possession of a bachelor's degree from an accredited four-year college with specialization in one or more disciplines in agricultural, biological, horticultural, or environmental sciences, or a related field such as forestry, natural resource management, or ecology, and three years of increasingly responsible professional journey-level experience, in a position related to agriculture, forestry, natural resource management, or environmental science that included program coordination involving public education and outreach; or,
  2. a combination of training, education, and experience that is equivalent to the employment standard listed above and that provides the required knowledge and abilities.

Additional Requirement: Possession of a valid California Class C Driver's License.

Knowledge of: principles and practices of project management and public relations; techniques for educating the public and enforcing laws and government regulations; basic math including fractions and percentages; standard English grammar, syntax, and usage; basic computer applications for office use.

Ability to: address and balance the concerns of different constituencies; build consensus to achieve goals; represent the department with tact and diplomacy; establish and maintain good working relationships and work effectively with colleagues, staff members from other County departments, and private landowners and other members of the public; plan, prioritize, organize, and carry out work independently; set priorities to meet deadlines; administer contracts and budgets; organize and manage multiple projects simultaneously; recognize and distinguish among various types of weeds, plants, or trees; learn basic purchasing processes and procedures to properly acquire goods and services; learn relevant technical information such as how to prepare oak management plans or ensure safe pesticide use; prepare and write clear and concise memos, reports, and other documents using correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling; analyze information, identify problems, make recommendations, and exercise independent judgment; prepare project budgets and learn contract terminology; keep accurate records; read and understand topographic maps; read, understand, and interpret relevant, technical reports and local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and policies; provide technical assistance to others; communicate clearly and effectively orally, both in person and over the telephone; lead, organize, and prioritize the work of others.

In addition to abilities listed above for both specialties, the Weed Management Specialty requires:

Ability to: direct efforts of technical weed control personnel in the public and private sector.


Both Specialties:

Knowledge of: current mapping techniques including Geographic Information System (GIS) software applications; database and spreadsheet software.

Ability to: experience involving enforcement in a regulatory environment; grant-writing experience.

Oak Tree Protection Specialty:

Specialized training, education, or experience with species of California oak trees, e.g., working knowledge of and experience employing the principles in the University of California publication How to Grow California Oaks.

Weed Management Specialty:

Possession of a Qualified Applicator's Certificate or License; knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations and inspection methods pertaining to county agricultural programs; botany; chemical properties and safe use and application of pesticides.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Performing the essential functions of this job may require the incumbent to climb and/or walk on uneven, unpaved terrain to identify weeds or protected oak trees to assess and document conditions and recommend remedial actions; to be exposed to unpleasant or hazardous conditions in the field, such as heat or dust; incumbents in the Weed Management Specialty who are licensed to use herbicides or pesticides may work with and/or around hazardous materials and perform tasks that require lifting up to 50 lbs. and bending.

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