Plant Specialist, Capital Grounds and Arboretum (CGA), Gardening Division

Published by Cori VanGalder on

Plant Specialist, Capital Grounds and Arboretum (CGA), Gardening Division 

Architect of the Capitol, GS-11/12

Salary: $69,581 – $108,422

At the Architect of the Capitol (AOC), we are proud to be ranked as one of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.Our employees are passionate about AOC’s mission to serve Congress and the Supreme Court. AOC is a legislative branch agency, the recognized authority on the preservation, maintenance and construction of the world’s most iconic treasures and buildings on Capitol Hill. As a global destination for thousands of visitors every day, Capitol Hill intersects history, architecture and art with the birthplace of our nation’s laws. 

The AOC is accepting applications for a Plant Specialist to serve as a Plant Health Care (PHC) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist and provide leadership for the pest, disease and nutrient management programs with special emphasis on providing innovative approaches to managing the health of the living assets of the Capitol campus.

The Plant Specialist will utilize biocontrol, integrated pest management and other advanced scientific plant health strategies and will be the lead CGA specialist collaborating with other specialist to safeguard the health of turf, trees and shrubs throughout the Capitol campus. Will also lead work performed by fulltime, seasonal and contract staff, and coordinate work activities with special events.

Major Duties:

  • Plans, coordinates and conducts pest, nutrient and disease management. Develops overall strategies and provides expert guidance to gardeners, horticulturists and arborists.
  • Manages the overall plant health program and prepares reports informing staff of practices and challenges. Leads biocontrol programs with an emphasis on sustainability and visitor and employee safety.
  • Serves as principal pesticide, herbicide, fungicide and other plant health related chemicals expert for CGA. Responsible for implementing, planning, organizing and maintaining a CGA pesticide license recertification program.
  • Prepares safety reports as required by controlling regulations and AOC policy. Serves as primary technical contact regarding programmatic and enforcement aspects for the pesticide program under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
  • Serves as principle liaison with plant health care researchers and specialist at United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Sentinel Plant Network and other national programs.
  • Designs sustainable and integrated plant health programs that meet the complex needs of CGA staffing, visitors, plant species (including culturally significant landscapes and memorial trees), environmental concerns and safety concerns.
  • Manages plant health risk as appropriate to a nationally significant arboretum with irreplaceable living specimens of outstanding horticultural or historical value.
  • Ascertains the proper timing and degree of watering, pruning, feeding and insect and plant disease control. Tests and recommends soil amendments to improve landscape health. Tests and recommends appropriate fertilizer applications.
  • Develops Scopes of Work (SOW) and serves as Contracting Officers Technical Representative (COTR) for various IPM and PHC contracts. As the COTR, ensures accurate and adequate oversight of contractor performance according to contract requirements. Performs timely inspections to ensure compliance with job specifications, quality, timeliness and budget authorizations.

Qualifications and Core Competencies:

We are looking for an educated and experienced plant/horticulture professional with strong knowledge of the proper use of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and pesticides for control of plant infestations and diseases, and the ability to collaborate with botanists, gardeners, and liaison with outreach staff and plant healthcare researchers and specialists in the management of an overall plant health program.

  • A degree in biological science, agriculture, horticulture natural resource management, or related field is required. 
  • A pesticides applicator’s license is desired but can be obtained while on the job.
  • Experience with mycology is highly desired.
  • A valid state driver’s license is required.

As a federal employee you will enjoy a comprehensive benefits package to include medical and dental insurance, sick leave and vacation time including 10 paid holidays per year, thrift savings plan similar to a 401(k) plan, flexible work schedules, flexible spending account,group life insurance and professional development and training opportunities. 

The selectee will also be eligible for the AOC Student Loan Repayment Program and for episodic telework. To apply, please go to: All applications must be submitted on-line. Vacancy announcement CG-2019-199R closes: 11/01/2019. The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is an Equal Opportunity Employer.