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About the Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program

USFWS Employee preparing for duck banding season

The Directorate Resource Assistant Fellows Program (DFP) is a fellowship program in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The DFP is designed to provide a fellowship opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to participate full time for at least 11 weeks on projects that meet the qualification of a rigorous internship program.

Participation in the DFP will offer the selected Fellows an opportunity to demonstrate to supervisors and managers their potential for success in an administrative or professional career field in the Service. Management may directly hire a DFP Fellow who has successfully completed the fellowship program and requirements for his or her degree program.

Additional fellowship opportunities may be found at

Application Process

We have closed the application window for 2016. Information regarding the 2017 projects will be posted on this site as it comes available.

  • Previous DFP Projects

  • Invasive Plant Species Monitoring at Humboldt Bay NWR


    The Fellow will carry out monitoring for the Forest Invasives Program at Humboldt Bay NWR, conducting and overseeing needed control of forest invasives such as English ivy; updating the Forest Invasives GIS; developing invasive control recommendations; and updating the Forest Management Plan. Invasive species are impacting almost half of the plants and animals listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S. They are the most frequently mentioned threat in the FWS Refuge System Threats Database.

    Learn more about Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
    • Easement Habitat Assessment


      In 2014, Modoc NWR was able to use the DFP fellowship position to begin updating the habitat assessment and management plans for nine off-Refuge easements, including completing vegetative surveys on all easements to determine the diversity, frequency, and density of species. In Phase II of the project, the Fellow will gather additional habitat information including production, grazing pressure, and additional invasive species mapping required for proper management of each easement. The Fellow will also establish and complete the vegetative mapping on two new easements following the protocol developed during 2014. The Fellow will be responsible for conducting vegetative surveys, documenting and mapping invasive species, generating species lists of birds and mammals, assessing the functionality of previous restoration efforts, making suggestions for future restoration needs, and documenting any instance of non-compliance. They will then enter collected data into GIS, and produce maps relevant for the management plans. The data will be used in the development of adaptive management plans for each easement to be completed by the FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Biologist and other Refuge staff.

      Learn more about Modoc National Wildlife Refuge

    • Greater Sandhill Crane Habitat Use


      The Central Valley Population of the Greater Sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida) is listed as threatened by the state of California. The Fellow will develop a habitat based model of Greater Sandhill Crane summer behavior for Modoc NWR by monitoring individual crane diurnal habitat use; monitoring behavior and use of cranes with young; generating a habitat management database in GIS and synthesize existing data.   The Fellow will collect multiple types of data and perform a variety of analyses to complete the project.  Sandhill Cranes are one of the focal species at Modoc NWR and are a high priority species as established in the Modoc NWR Comprehensive Conservation Plan.   They are also likely to be chosen as our surrogate species for the Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

      Learn more about Modoc National Wildlife Refuge

    • Latino Outreach Youth Programs


      The Fellow will develop and implement strategies for Latino Outreach for the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in South San Francisco Bay with a focus on Latino families and youth. Project will include identifying and staffing offsite outreach events to reach these audiences; identifying and fostering new partnerships with community groups and organizations; and developing and preparing original Spanish-language outreach materials such as brochures, fact sheets and program flyers, plus devising an advertising strategy to reach these communities.  The Fellow will also work as part of team to implement a series of summer programs for youth at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR. Fellow will develop and conduct special program recruitment targeted to Latino youth and families and will create, as appropriate, materials and activities to support their involvement in these programs.

      Learn more about Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge

    • Pacific Islands Conservation Website Resources


      The Fellow will develop a basic communications outline for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (PIFWO) in Honolulu, Hawaii.  That task includes identification of target audiences, project evaluation of the efficacy of the outreach tools used, and coordinating with local NGOs, cultural groups, partners and universities.  The Fellows will focus on improving PIFWO’s website, establishing and maintaining a social media presence, writing short stories, and developing and posting short video clips highlighting employees and their accomplishments on the Internet and through social media.  This project supports Service goals of improving our public outreach and engagement in order to achieve our conservation mission working on behalf of the American people.

      Learn more about the Pacific Island Fish and Wildlife Office
    • Hawaiian Tree Snail Database


      The Fellow will be responsible for developing the Hawaiian Tree Snail Database, designing data quality protocols, and spearheading outreach events with Hawaiian school groups, communities, and landowners.  The Fellow will work in close coordination with Snail Extinction Prevention Program, which is a joint partnership program of the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and the FWS, for the purpose of integrating captive rearing efforts and conservation management actions to prevent the extinction of Hawaiian tree snails.  This project is a vital component in the Snail Extinction Prevention Program Strategic Plan, supporting recovery actions for critically endangered Oahu tree snails.

      Learn more about the Pacific Island Fish and Wildlife Office
    • Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Project


      The Fellow will assist the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge staff in the their endangered plant restoration program by collecting plant propagation materials, propagating plants from these materials, maintaining plants in the greenhouses and out-planting propagated plants. These efforts will continue habitat restoration efforts for the benefit of native forest birds and vegetation.  The project supports the founding purpose of Hakalau Forest NWR to protect and manage endangered species and their rainforest habitats.

      Learn more about Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
    • Hispanic Outreach at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge


      The Fellow will develop and deliver Spanish language outreach tools focused on the currently underserved urban Hispanic community surrounding Deer Flat NWR, located near Boise, Idaho.   Outreach tools and materials developed during this program will facilitate implementation of conservation outreach strategies in the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan, currently being developed for this protected area located in a rapidly urbanizing landscape with a growing Hispanic population.  An important goal of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to directly engage with the American people through outdoor recreation, environmental education and interpretation.

      Learn more about Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge
    • National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Service Plan


      The Fellow will conduct social science research on growing community and public support for Ash Meadows NWR.  The Fellow will prepare a Visitor Services Plan that includes how to improve relationships with the community.  The plan will contain multiple step-down plans, including:  a hunt plan, outreach plan, outdoor recreation plan, volunteer plan, environmental education plan, and interpretive plan.  The Fellow will update and edit the existing Interpretive Plan for the refuge written in 2009. A visitor services plan will provide guidance on how to focus limited resources to best build community support and inform the public about the delicate ecosystems at the refuge.  The plan will support the Service’s priority of Connecting People with Nature and support the National Wildlife Refuge System’s vision of creating an informed and engaged conservation constituency.

      Learn more about Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
    • Protecting Snowy Plover


      The Fellow will provide FWS Ecological Services and the Office of Law Enforcement with a quantitative analysis that addresses recreational impacts on nesting of endangered snowy plovers, which is an ongoing issue affecting the recovery of the snowy plover population in Oregon. This project will allow FWS programs to identify, prioritize, and target problem areas where illegal access from public and private lands occurs, and where illegal entry into restricted areas by motorized vehicle operators, pedestrians, dog walkers, horseback riders, and other recreation groups has been reported. This effort will improve the management of snowy plovers and the coordination of interagency protection measures.

      Learn more about the Newport Field Office
    • Pacific Lamprey Conservation Plan


      The fellow will lead in the development of a Pacific Lamprey Conservation Implementation Plan that introduces and summarizes the basic biology of the species, their distribution, identifying limiting factors and prioritizing actions to conserve Pacific lampreys within a local watershed or hydrologic unit within the Willamette River Basin. The Fellow will build on existing information already developed by the USFWS Lamprey Conservation Team. The plan will be collaboratively developed with local conservation entities at a watershed scale and will be used for outreach and education as well as targeted funding. Lampreys are culturally important to Native American throughout their range, and play a vital role in the ecosystem. Recent observations of substantial declines in the abundance and range of Pacific Lamprey have spurred conservation interest in the species, with increasing attention from tribes, federal and state agencies, and NGO’s.

      Learn more about the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office
    • Reproductive Success of Hatchery and Wild Steelhead


      The Fellow will be a vital part of the FWS Abernathy Fish Technology Center research team during summer 2015, working with the project’s lead field ecologist to collect data on juvenile steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) inhabiting Abernathy Creek. The Center is leading a multi-agency effort to determine the natural reproductive success and mean relative fitness of hatchery-origin and natural-origin steelhead in Abernathy Creek, WA, a tributary of the Columbia River and to assess the overall demographic effects of hatchery fish supplementation in the creek. The project directly supports the Service’s efforts to improve its Pacific salmon hatchery management.

      Learn more about the Abernathy Fish Technology Center
    • Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan


      The Fellow will assist in the development and implementation of the FWS Pacific (Region 1) Monarch Conservation Strategy. This program is part of a regional and national initiative designed to address the on-going decline of monarch butterflies and their habitats. Primary duties will be to coordinate monarch, butterfly, habitat, and milkweed surveys with FWS Refuges, Fish Hatcheries, and the Partner for Fish and Wildlife program staff. This will entail working with members of butterfly and native plant associations, and Service staff to effectively implement surveys. Fellow will assist with conducting surveys, as well as assist Service personnel with data entry when needed. The position will also work with Service staff to initiate development of on-ground habitat projects, including milkweed seed collections, design of pollinator gardens, and establishing habitat restoration and enhancement criteria.

      Learn more about theColumbia River Fisheries Program Office
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