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Job Details

Water Rights Specialist

Company name
Department Of The Interior Bureau of Reclamation

$61,218.00 to $95,388.00

Billings, MT

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Open & closing dates

Opening and closing dates





$61,218 to $95,388 per year

Pay scale & grade

GS 11 - 12

Work schedule


Appointment type



1 vacancy in the following location:

Billings, MT

Billings, MT

1 vacancy

Relocation expenses reimbursed


Relocation expenses are authorized with the exception of the Guaranteed Home Sale Provision. First-Post-of-Duty relocation expenses are authorized for new appointments and reinstatement eligibles.

This job is open to

Federal employees - Competitive service

Current or former competitive service federal employees.

Career transition (CTAP, ICTAP, RPL)

Federal employees who meet the definition of a surplus or displaced employee.


Individuals with disabilities

Military spouses

Peace Corps & AmeriCorps Vista

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Announcement number


Control number





Position is being advertised concurrently under vacancy announcement BR-DEGP-MT-18-13 for all U.S. Citizens and Nationals and current Federal employees serving under an excepted service appointment If you are interested in applying under both announcement numbers, you must submit application packages for each.

Reclamation is seeking a career professional looking for an opportunity to capitalize on his/her expertise as a Water Rights Specialist. You can make a difference in the West by assisting in meeting increasing water demands while protecting the environment.

Here is a great opportunity to join an organization with excellent growth potential!

LOCATION: Great Plains Region, Montana Area Office, Planning & Project Development Division, Billings, Montana.

For living conditions go to:

Promotion to the next grade/salary level is neither guaranteed nor automatic, but based on supervisor initiation.

A Recruitment or Relocation Incentive may be authorized. For information on Recruitment or Relocation Incentives, visit:

Additional vacancies may be filled from this vacancy announcement.

Learn more about this agency


- Participates in all stages of the Montana Water Adjudication process.

- Supports and defends Reclamation's water rights by providing technical expert assistance, consultation, and advice to others.

- Participates in the litigation process by drafting supporting information for a variety of legal documents, including exhibits.

- Provides expert testimony at depositions.

- Testifies as an expert witness in hearings before the Montana Water Court.

- Performs technical review of Preliminary Decrees issued by the Montana Water Court.

- Utilizes GIS software to prepare maps and review aerial photos.

Travel Required

Occasional travel - Travel of 1-5 nights per month may be required for this position.

Supervisory status


Promotion Potential


Who May Apply

This job is open to…

Current Federal employees serving under a career or career-conditional appointment in the competitive service; former Federal employees with reinstatement eligibility; CTAP/ICTAP eligibles; Veterans Employment Opportunities Act (VEOA); Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA); 30% or More Disabled Veterans; Military Spouses under Executive Order 13473; Individuals with Disabilities (Schedule A); and eligible Peace Corps or AmeriCorps volunteers.

Questions? This job is open to 6 groups.

Job family (Series)

1101 General Business And Industry



Conditions of Employment

U.S. Citizenship or National. You must submit a resume and supporting

documentation. (See How to Apply). Submit transcripts to verify education.

You must meet specialized experience and/or education requirements.

For veterans consideration, submit document(s) under Required Documents.

Suitable for Federal employment, determined by background investigation.

Current/former Federal employees must submit an SF-50.

You must meet all qualification requirements including time-in-grade restrictions by the closing date of this announcement.

TIME-IN-GRADE: Current career or career-conditional employees of the Federal government, or former career or career-conditional employees, who have a break in service of less than one year, are required to meet the time-in-grade restriction of one year of Federal experience at the next lower grade, with few exceptions outlined in 5 CFR 300.603(b).



GS-11: Ph D. or equivalent doctoral degree -or- 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such a degree -or- LL.M., if related - OR - 1 year of specialized experience equivalent in difficulty and complexity to at least the GS-09 level in the Federal service - OR - a combination of successfully completed graduate education and experience.

GS-12: 1 year specialized experience at the GS-11 level in the Federal service.

DEFINITION OF SPECIALIZED EXPERIENCE: To meet specialized experience, your resume must describe experience that demonstrates the particular knowledge, skills, and abilities as follows:

GS-11: Experience must include four of the following:

- Working with State-based water rights proceedings.

- Analyzing water-rights related claims, researching land records, and water rights records.

- Proficient in using GIS software to create shapefiles and maps.

- Interpreting aerial photographs to observe and analyze irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural use, and water delivery systems.

- Writing water or land management reports that summarize finding from research.

GS-12: In addition to the proficiencies at the GS-11 level, experience must include four of the following:

- Preparing exhibits for and testifying in legal proceedings as an expert witness.

- Developing questions for opposing witnesses in a legal proceeding.

- Performing and/or leading work within the field of water rights.

- Developing and answering Discovery questions.

- Reviewing and editing legal documents to make sure they support your position.

- Formulating opinions and conveying those opinions to others.


This vacancy announcement allows substituting education for experience. You must submit a copy of your college transcript (unofficial copy is acceptable) to support your education if you are substituting education for experience. Transcripts must include the name of the college or university and date the degree was conferred.

Foreign Education: To receive credit for education completed outside the United States, applicants must show proof that the education has been submitted to a private organization that specializes in interpretation of foreign educational credentials and such education has been deemed at least equivalent to that gained in conventional U.S. education programs.

For further information visit:

Additional information

-Reclamation has determined that the duties of this position are suitable for telework and the selectee may be allowed to telework with supervisory approval.

-This position requires travel of approximately 1-5 nights per month.

- This position requires a successfully adjudicated Low Risk background investigation.

-Operation of a Government vehicle is required; therefore, a valid State driver's license is required. Driving record will be verified prior to final selection.

-Selective Service: If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System, or are exempt from having to do so under the Selective Service Law. Go to:

-Equal Employment Opportunity: The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability and genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.

How You Will Be Evaluated

You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.

Human Resources (HR) will review resumes and transcript(s), if applicable, -or- supporting document(s) to ensure applicants meet the basic qualification requirements. HR will evaluate each application that meets the basic qualifications on the information provided in the assessment questionnaire. The assessment questionnaire will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Applicants determined best qualified will be referred to the selecting official.

Applicants will be further evaluated on the following Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) through your resume and responses to the online questions.

1. Practical knowledge of Montana water rights adjudication process and ability to conduct water rights activities for MTAO including: Review of Water Right Claims, verify accuracy of Reclamation claims, hydrology principals, and irrigation practices and water use.

2. Knowledge and ability to use computer software programs including: word processing, spreadsheets, data bases, GIS, and mapping programs.

3. Teamwork and Leadership: Ability to instill trust and confidence while working with others. Ability to build cooperative working relationships with diverse groups, organizations, and customers. Inspires, motivates, builds team spirit, and guides others towards goal accomplishments.

4. Communication: Must be able to write and speak effectively. Ability to communicate technical material to a variety of audiences ranging from technical experts to lay people. Ability to communicate both technical and program information orally and in writing (reports, briefings, letters).

5. Ability to deal effectively with pressure, unexpected obstacles, be open to change, and remain optimistic.

Applicants’ answers to questions will be verified against information provided in their online resumes. Be sure that the resume clearly supports the response to all the questions by addressing experience, education and/or training relevant to this position. Applicants must make a fair and accurate assessment of their qualifications. If a determination is made that you have rated yourself higher than is apparent in your description of experience, competencies, skills, and/or education/training OR that your resume/application is incomplete, you may be rated ineligible or your score may be lowered.

To preview questions please click here

Background checks and security clearance

Security clearance

Q - Nonsensitive

Required Documents

Required Documents

To be considered for this position, applicants are required to submit a resume, on-line assessment questionnaire, and the following supporting documents, as appropriate:

-TRANSCRIPT(S): If substituting education for experience you MUST furnish a copy of your college transcript(s). If selected, you will be required to provide official college transcripts to verify your educational qualifications prior to reporting to work.

-SF-50, NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTION: Status applicants (transfer, reassignment, reinstatement, promotion, etc.) MUST submit a copy of their SF-50, verifying all of the following: highest rate of pay held, the full performance grade level obtained, and documenting career or career-conditional status in the competitive service (Tenure 1 or 2) for which you are claiming eligibility. This could result in more than one SF-50 to be submitted.DO NOT SUBMIT AN AWARD SF-50. FAILURE TO SUBMIT AN SF-50 VERIFYING STATUS WILL RESULT IN THE APPLICANT NOT BEING CONSIDERED FOR THIS POSITION.

-DD-214: For candidates eligible under the Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) you must submit the appropriate DD-214 (Member 4 Copy) documenting your eligibility.

-SPECIAL NON-COMPETITIVE APPOINTING AUTHORITIES: For more information on special non-competitive appointing authorities visit:

-CTAP/ICTAP: Provides placement assistance to permanent Federal employees who are surplus, displaced or involuntarily separated. Applicants claiming CTAP/ICTAP eligibility must submit a copy of their most recent performance appraisal, documentation of eligibility and most current SF-50 noting position, grade level, and duty location with their application. To be considered under CTAP/ICTAP, applicants must be well-qualified, i.e. meet the minimum qualification requirements, including selective placementfactors, education and experience requirements and score at least 85 on the assessment questionnaire as established, and be able to perform the duties of the position upon entry. For information on CTAP/ICTAP, visit:

If you are relying on your education to meet qualification requirements:

Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Therefore, provide only the attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education

Failure to provide all of the required information as stated in this vacancy announcement may result in an ineligible rating or may affect the overall rating.



A career with the U.S. Government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Learn more about federal benefits

Review our benefits

Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time, or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.

How to Apply

How to Apply

Applications (resume, assessment questionnaire, and supporting documents) for this vacancy MUST be received online BEFORE midnight Eastern Time (Washington D.C. time) on the closing date of this announcement. When you're ready to apply, click the blue APPLY ONLINE button on the right side of any page.

This vacancy is being announced through Bureau of Reclamation's Hiring System-HireMe. For more information about the HireMe system and the registration process, visit:

As part of the on-line application process, applicants may be required to submit supporting documents. Failure to submit the requested supporting documents may result in your not being considered for this position.

Options for submitting supporting documentation include Auto Requested Fax or uploading from your USAJOBS profile - instructions provided during the online application process. In addition, you may E-mail your supporting documentation to

; fax directly to the HR Office at 406-247-7875; mail to P.O. Box 36900, Billings, MT 59107-6900; OR hand-deliver to 2021 4th Avenue North, Room 109, Billings, MT. Include your name and the vacancy number on the supporting document(s).

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify us at the phone number shown at the bottom of this page. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be on a case-by-case basis.

Agency contact information

Human Resources Office Human Resources Office








P.O. Box 36900

Billings, Montana

United States

Learn more about this agency

Next steps

After application packages have been received, resumes, and transcript(s), and supporting documents will be reviewed to ensure applicants meet the basic qualification requirements. Applicants who meet the basic qualifications will be further evaluated on the information provided in the Assessment Questionnaire. Best-qualified applicants will be referred to the selecting official. After making a tentative job offer, a suitability and/or security background investigation will be conducted. A final job offer is typically made within 40 days after the deadline for applications. Applicants should monitor their status for positions with the Bureau of Reclamation by regularly checking their public status notifications in their USAJOBS profile.

Fair & Transparent

Fair & Transparent

The Federal hiring process is setup to be fair and transparent. Please read the following guidance.

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) for federal employees & job applicants

Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities where appropriate. Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should contact the hiring agency directly. Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

A reasonable accommodation is any change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job duties or receive equal access to job benefits.

Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, federal agencies must provide reasonable accommodations when: An applicant with a disability needs an accommodation to have an equal opportunity to apply for a job.

An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to perform the essential job duties or to gain access to the workplace.

An employee with a disability needs an accommodation to receive equal access to benefits, such as details, training, and office-sponsored events.

You can request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application or hiring process or while on the job. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Learn more about disability employment and reasonable accommodations

or how to contact an agency.

Legal and regulatory guidance

Financial suitability

Social security number request

Privacy Act

Signature and false statements

Selective Service

New employee probationary period

Note: We cannot accept applications on behalf of Federal Agencies. Application instructions are listed within the Job Description.

Company info

Department Of The Interior Bureau of Reclamation
Website :

Company Profile

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