Ecological Monitoring Field Technicians (multiple western US locations)

  • The Great Basin Institute
  • United States
  • Oct 04, 2018
Temporary Biology - Ecology Conservation/ Natural Resources Wildlife - Endangered Species - Biodiversity

Job Description

Job Description:

The Ecological Monitoring program at GBI, which focuses on the conservation of natural resources in the Intermountain West, serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for burgeoning natural resource professionals looking for experience in botanical, soil, and rangeland surveys.

As an element of this program, participants will implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) terrestrial and aquatic Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy, which is targeted at collecting standardized inventory and long-term ecological data at multiple scales across western public lands. In many locations, participants will also implement the BLM Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF), which is aimed at collecting habitat assessment data on public lands with the purpose of informing conservation approaches for sage-grouse habitat. Opportunities in other locations (Boise, ID and Wenatchee, WA) will include applying AIM sampling to post-wildfire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) monitoring. 

In accordance with these strategies and through partnerships with multiple agencies, GBI’s Ecological Monitoring Program is dedicated to supporting resource management while providing college graduates and emerging professionals with hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience in natural resource management.

This video highlights the national BLM AIM strategy for landscape-scale data capture across western states.  


In partnership with cooperating agencies, GBI is recruiting Ecological Monitoring Field Technicians to work with agency staff, GBI staff, and GBI Ecological Monitoring Field Technicians. Each Field Lead Technician will work with a team (one Lead and two Technicians) to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial or aquatic AIM protocol, Describing/Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (D/IIRH), the Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) protocol, and/or the Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) protocol, for which training will be provided. The particular protocols implemented will vary by location. 

Duties include following established field protocols to conduct vegetation sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites. Field data will be used by resource specialists and land managers to inform decisions regarding range management and other resource management issues of the area. During periods of field work, camping will be required. 

Field work will include:

Maintaining safety awareness and practices; 
Navigating off-trail to sampling sites; 
Establishing sampling plots and transects; 
Identifying and describing soil horizons;
Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, forb frequency, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights); 
Making qualitative range assessments; and 
Taking photo-points.

Additional duties include:

Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
Entering data into and managing an Access-based database; 
Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys; 
Employing extensive QA/QC data checks; 

Locations and Targeted Timelines:

The AIM field season is currently underway, but we are accepting resumes and will contact qualified individuals in the event there is an opening. If you are interested in the 2019 field season (generally April-October) please note it in your cover letter. Recruitment for 2019 positions will begin this fall. Please contact for more information. 

Contract Timeline:
Location:Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for extension. Please indicate your availability and top three location choices when applying. We encourage applying early in order to gain the best chance at getting your top-choice locations. 

• California 
o Susanville: April - October 
• Idaho 
o Owyhee Challis (additional Idaho locations may be available): April – September
• Oregon 
o Burns, Lakeview, and Vale: April - October
• Utah
o Northern Utah, Kanab,/Escalante, Salt Lake City, Cedar City, Vernal: May - September

• Washington
o Wenatchee: April - October 
• Wyoming
o Lander, Rawlins, Kemmerer, Pinedale, New Castle: April - September

Compensation and Benefits:

• $15/hour
• $15/night Camping per diem
• $75/week Housing stipend 
• Paid holidays and personal leave
• Paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision)

Job Qualifications:

Technical requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences, such as: Botany, Wildlife Biology, Range Ecology, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Resources or related subject;
  • Coursework or equivalent experience in plant taxonomy and/or systematics;
  • Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key;
  • Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
  • Experience in describing and identifying soil horizons preferred;
  • Experience conducting plant surveys using various monitoring protocols, including standard rangeland monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations;
  • Experience with data entry and management;
  • Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
  • Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads;
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
  • Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap), preferred; and
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access). 

Additional requirements:

  • Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting, and to consistently enact high performance standards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the goals and objectives of the AIM program and the mission of GBI;
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
  • Ability to complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) and submit paperwork to BLM human resources prior to beginning position indicating that an active and fully adjudicated BI has been started or completed;
  • Ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals;
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members, agency staff, and a diverse public;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
  • Experience in and willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field;
  • Flexibility with position location within field district offices
  • Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, late nights); and
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition.

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