Position Profile


Job Title:  Lands Officer

Work Unit:  Operations Division / Upper Athabasca / Integrated Approvals

Ministry:   Alberta Environment and Parks

Competition Number:  1041857

Date:  April 2017
 

Purpose

 

Under the direction of the Lands Unit Lead, the Public Lands Officer is responsible for the operational delivery of Public Land approvals and field inspections within the Region. This position is responsible for the processing, management and approval of applications in accordance with provincial policy for land and resource dispositions in their area of responsibility. Substantial workload is attributed to assisting the client in lands applications including guidance on first nation consultation. The position consults with applicants, identifies operational issues and concerns, which require follow-up and monitoring to ensure the timely processing of integrated approvals. At the operational level, they will seek opportunities and facilitate linkages with, all land users in order to achieve sound integrated sustainable resource management. This position performs field inspections of new and existing industrial dispositions within their work area.

This position is integral for ensuring compliance on issued dispositions and authorizations as per established guidelines, policies, principles and legislation. The position assists in keeping the industry focused on land management and stewardship. The position is the final check in the feedback loop that indicates whether sustainable management practises are being followed or whether there is a need to re-plan and adjust the approvals or planning process.

This position ensures consistency of operational application of statutes for industries operating on public lands, and ensures that compliance monitoring on disposition approvals is completed in a timely manner. This will include compliance audits, enforcement, and reclamation. The position is responsible for ensuring stewardship monitoring is undertaken, including operational requirements as identified in resource management plans. This position conducts inspections to verify compliance in accordance with the Compliance Assurance Framework Document. Resolves incidents of non-compliance through an abatement approach and/or refers incidents of non-compliance to the Compliance Program using the Integrated Compliance Process.

This position can assist with the operational delivery of the Provincial Wildfire Operations program in accordance with associated levels of Certification and mutually agreed to operational objectives of the Agriculture and Forestry Department mandate. As requested, this position may also assist other Programs within the Operations Division.

Responsibilities and Activities

  1.

Ensures timely processing, management and approval of applications in accordance with provincial policy for land management dispositions to ensure companies are conditioned as per accepted practices, policy or legislative requirements, and conform to their letters of approval.

Activities:

  • Reviews all land use referrals, within established timelines utilizing approved provincial protocols and standards, for the purpose of rejection or refusal or application submissions, and the identification of appropriate conditions for disposition approvals, renewals and amendments.
  • Ensure stakeholders concerns are considered in disposition application, amendment or renewal decisions. Stakeholders may include, but are not limited to:
    • Public
    • Industry (Forest Industry, utilities, rail etc.)
    • First Nations
    • Special interest groups
    • Internal Agencies (i.e. Resource Management)
    • Other government agencies (i.e. Agriculture and Forestry)
    • Municipalities - towns, counties, municipal districts etc.
  • Maintains up to date land management approval databases in within area of responsibility as per departmental standards ensuring continuity between District approval and compliance processes.
  • Advises clients and reviews consultation submissions by proponents to ensure adequate consultation is achieved.
  • Consults with applicants and stakeholders, identify operational issues and concerns which require follow-up in accordance with provincial policy to achieve timely, integrated land management Approvals.
  • Delivers active consultation to industrial, commercial and timber industry providing direction and advice for approval of land use and timber applications.
  • Conducts pre-start meetings with disposition holders to discuss approval conditions, and site specific environmental and / or access issues.
  • Issues as per provincial policy and guidelines, Temporary Field Authorizations (TFAs) or Disposition Operational Approval (DOAs) as per the PLAR Approvals and Authorizations Administration Procedure.
  • Addresses public queries and ad hoc requests within his area of responsibility in a timely and effective.
  • Conduct field reviews and makes recommendations regarding timber volume assessments, calculations and environmental considerations with respect to Land Disposition Requests, fence-line clearings or range improvement projects.
  • Acting as a land manager, review all applications and amend applications in reference and consideration of other associated or affected land values. (i.e. Fish and Wildlife, Watershed values).
  • Facilitate integrated access management and use at the field operational level amongst all industrial users including the; Forest Industry, commercial and industrial users and manage issues related to:
    • Common access corridors
    • Access management strategies
    • Access control
     
  2.

Responsible for field monitoring and inspection to report industrial and commercial dispositions and vacant public land activities within the province.

Activities:

  • Monitor and inspect the disposition to ensure that the disturbance is in accordance with the associated approval document.
  • Audit dispositions, reclamation certificates, letters of closure and clearance requests to ensure compliance with guidelines, policy and regulations.
  • Conduct annual inspections for Reclamation Certificates, Letters of Clearance and no entries.
  • Communicate with the disposition holder about unsatisfactory conditions to achieve compliance.
  • Update appropriate databases with inspection or abatement information.
  • Audit self-reporting submissions for compliance in respects to wildlife objectives and associated wildlife plans (i.e. caribou protection plan).
  • Act on complaints received from stakeholders or public.
  • Facilitates inspections of resource management objectives at the landscape level (e.g. Stream and Recreation buffers, Wildlife Zone (Caribou, Ungulate Winter Range), Special Access Areas, Access Control points, etc.
  • Field check operations for compliance, take appropriate corrective measures, communicate legal requirements and prepare the penalty information package for the Compliance Officer.
  • Ensure any incidents identified are documented and assessed for abatement actions by the Approvals Program or referred to the Compliance Program for investigation.
  • Implements abatement or recommends remedial measures to mitigate negative impacts associated with instances of non-compliance.
  • Where potential contraventions are identified, researches and presents findings to the Compliance Program for review.
  • Plans and conducts regular patrols/inspections on vacant public land to raise awareness of public land use.
     
  3. Assists when required with operational delivery of the Provincial Wildfire Prevention program in accordance with associated levels of Certification and mutually agreed to operational objectives of the Forestry and Emergency Response Division and Operations Division mandates.

Activities:

  • Fulfills role of Response Officer within the Wildfire Management Area program including:
    • Investigation and assessment of new fire starts.
    • Participation is pre-suppression and man-up activities.
    • Participation in Fire Export duties beyond the boundaries of Wildfire Management Area.
  • Issues/cancels fire burning permits to industrial users as per the Forest and Prairie Protection Regulations.

Scope

 
  • Impact of work includes all stakeholders as having an interest in crown land.
  • Facilitates conflict resolution amongst stakeholders relating to activities on crown land. Seeks opportunities and facilitates linkages at the operational level with all land users in assigned area to achieve sound, integrated resource management. Stakeholders may include but are not limited to:
    • Public
    • Industry (Forest Industry, utilities, rail etc.)
    • Aboriginal groups
    • Special interest groups
    • Other Alberta Sustainable Resource Development Divisions
    • Other government agencies
    • Municipalities, County’s, municipal districts etc.
  • Develops strategies for efficient use of crown land amongst stakeholders including facilitation of stakeholder interaction prior to disposition applications.
  • Improper application of processes and guidelines can have direct detriment to environmental ecosystems and bring the Department into situations where regulations, policies or procedures could potentially result in financial loss or legal action.
  • Applies thorough working knowledge of departmental procedures, legislation, policies, guidelines and operational frameworks to ensure the operational delivery of timely, integrated disposition approvals. Utilizes and incorporates traditional and leading edge science to address challenges/ issues relating to the operational delivery of the approvals program.
  • Proper review of company plan submissions prior to approval is imperative to minimize the potential for detrimental impact and to ensure that the resource is managed for the best use of all Albertans. Multi-user groups (in addition to the numerous companies cited above, this also includes trappers, private land owners, and industrial consultants/contractors, etc.) on the same land area means greater planning is required for lesser impact (i.e. roads/permanent access structures).
  • Recommends companies for penalty action when it is determined that they are not operating according to the letter of authority. Creativity is required in interpretation of policy and legislation when evaluating company results and in determining whether the sustainability criteria has been compromised as most regulations and policies are either not clearly defined or relatively complex.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

 
  • Diploma or degree in Environmental Sciences.
  • Thorough knowledge of land principles, ranging from disposition management to all aspects of the field component such as field assessment, inspection and audits.
  • Thorough knowledge of compliance assurance principles, strategies and the ability to convey said knowledge to staff.
  • Considerable knowledge of a broad range of investigative skills and techniques, such as interviewing, gathering and analyzing evidence, making findings of fact and applying appropriate legislation to make a determination.
  • Ability to communicate both orally and in writing to individuals and groups at various levels by obtaining and then providing information of a complex, technical or sensitive nature in an effective, concise and logical manner.
  • Ability to use electronic systems including computers, GPS and mobile technology.
  • Able to work independently in the field and remote locations on a regular basis with little direct supervision.
  • Ability to deal with problem wildlife in remote situations.
  • A working knowledge and ability to interpret lands policy, legislation, and administration including associated acts – Public Lands Act and association regulations, Forests Act, Timber Management Regulation, Wildlife Act and associated regulations, Regeneration Survey Manual, Ground Rules, and all AEP policy directives, manuals, and guidelines.
  • Extensive and thorough knowledge and understanding of the Occupational Health and Safety requirements, and the ability to implement required processes.
  • Ability to show leadership and act in a proactive manner.
  • Ability to mentor and assist other staff during increasing workloads or specific projects.
  • Flexibility and adaptability in dealing with rapidly changing workloads and the ability to prioritize without guidance.
  • Ability to operate all manner of ATV’s and 4 x 4 trucks in an off-highway capacity.
  • Computer literate in word-processing, spreadsheet and database skills, in particular MS Office and departmental databases.
  • Strong communication, negotiation, mediation and interpersonal skills are required as this position deals with issues resolution with the general public, the forest industry, special interest groups.
  • Ability to deal with resistant individuals or groups at various levels within and outside the organization effectively, remaining focused on outcomes and responding appropriately to provide or obtain information, to convey the information they may not want to hear, to resolve issues and or provide assistance.

Contacts

 
  • Extensive liaison responsibilities with departmental staff, regional and provincial offices, as well as other associated agencies at an operational level.
  • Primary field contact within an assigned area for land management companies and stakeholder groups such as trappers, private landowners, municipal districts, first nations and commercial and non-commercial ventures.
  • Contacts with the general public for issuance of permits, complaints and field inquiries.
  • Consults with applicants, identifies operational issues and concerns which require follow-up and monitoring to ensure the objective of timely, integrated approvals.
  • Delivers active consultation to industrial, recreational and commercial companies providing direction and advice for approval of land use applications.
  • Conducts pre-start meetings with disposition holders to discuss approval conditions and site-specific environmental and / or access issues.
  • Communicates department policies and procedures relating to land management activities to external stakeholders in an effective and constructive manner and is often involved in joint or multi-stakeholder conflict resolution processes.
  • Works directly with peers /stakeholders and solicits direction and advice from specialists, scientists and other sources in the performance of assigned duties.

Supervision Exercised

 

There are no positions directly reporting to the Lands Officer, however the Lands Officer can supervise wage staff (Wage/Summer Students) as required.


 

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