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Soil and Water Conservationist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Conservation Scientists Career Video



Plans and develops practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and responsible land use.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Environmental Service Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Applies principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, or agriculture, to achieve conservation objectives.
  • Advises land users, such as farmers and ranchers, on conservation plans, problems and alternative solutions, and provide technical and planning assistance.
  • Monitors projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications.
  • Coordinates or implements technical, financial, or administrative assistance programs for local government units to ensure efficient program implementation or timely responses to requests for assistance.
  • Computes cost estimates of different conservation practices, based on needs of land users, maintenance requirements, or life expectancy of practices.
  • Responds to complaints or questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing information or clarification.
  • Schedules or conducts annual audits of program implementation by local government.
  • Reviews and provides recommendations on proposed wetland restoration easements.
  • Mediates sessions among government units, landowners, or other agencies to resolve disputes.
  • Analyzes efficiencies associated with changing from low-precision irrigation technologies to high-precision technologies.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Environmental Analyst -- Conducts research studies to develop theories or methods of abating or controlling sources of environmental pollutants.
  • Environmental Planner -- Formulates developmental plans that take environmental impact into consideration and may include the design and development of environmentally-conscious new buildings and recreational areas, the retrofitting of existing developments, and the creation of e
  • Restoration Ecologist -- Recreates degraded ecosystems by reviving the environment with the introduction of measures like re-vegetation, planting trees and removing non native weeds.
  • Soil Scientist -- Conducts theoretical and applied research into the composition, distribution and evolution of soils.
  • Terrestrial Ecologist -- Studies the interactions among soil organisms, and between biotic (living factors) and abiotic (nonliving factors, such as habitat or weather) aspects of the soil environment.
  • Watershed Program Manager --
  • Wetlands Technician --