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Aquatic Biologist: Idaho
O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
Twin Falls, Idaho
Last Date to Apply
The O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West is a regional studies and public education program of the University of Montana in Missoula, MT. In 2021, we will again partner with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement their Aquatic Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM)strategy, which is targeted at collecting standardized data from streams across BLM Districts in the western U.S. Work will focus on wadeable streams and rivers in Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, but we will also field two crews for the Western Rivers and Streams Assessment (WRSA) project, with points in California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
Aquatic data collection will follow the AIM National Aquatic Monitoring Framework, specifically: 1) site evaluation, 2) water quality, 3) physical habitat and canopy cover, 4) macroinvertebrates, 5) photos, and 6) human influences. We will also implement vegetation assessment elements of the Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) protocol. State-based aquatic field crews will consist of a Crew Lead, a Technician and a Riparian Botanist. WRSA crews will be two-person crews, with one designated as the Lead. All crews will be supported by Aquatic Field Specialists and other professional O’Connor Center staff who will rotate between crews.
To assist in this effort, we are recruiting the following field positions:
Aquatic Monitoring Field Technician (10)
Aquatic Monitoring Field Crew Lead (10)
Currently we are seeking botanists at multiple locations and a crew leader in Twins Falls, Idaho.
All positions are field-based and require primitive camping. Sampling sites may sometimes be near a town, but often the towns will have few amenities or entertainment, and crew members should plan to bring all their food with them each hitch. Cell phone service from any carrier is poor to non-existent in many areas. Applicants should also understand that this is physically demanding work. Crews typically work eight consecutive 10-hour days, followed by a 6-day break, in all kinds of weather, and frequently have to navigate sketchy roads before lugging awkward and heavy equipment across uneven terrain to access a site. The “wadeable streams” we sample range from a few inches deep to fast-flowing small rivers that require good balance, a stout stadia rod, and a willingness to be waist or chest deep in water. A loss of footing means you will be submerged and will generally need to self-rescue.
The work schedule runs from Tuesday to Tuesday. The O’Connor Center supplies all necessary equipment, including vehicles, to carry out the work. We provide some group camping gear (stoves, coolers) but employees are responsible for their personal camping gear (tents, sleeping bags).
Location: Work will focus on wadeable streams and rivers in Idaho (base in Twin Falls and Missoula), Nevada (Elko and Carson City) and Wyoming (Cody and Kemmerer), but we will also field two crews for the Western Rivers and Streams Assessment (WRSA) project, with points in California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming
Job Length: The field season will extend either from late April – September (Nevada crews) or early June through September (Wyoming and Idaho crews).
Field Technicians: $14-15/hour DOE,
Crew Leads:$18-19/hour DOE,
Riparian Botanists: $16-$19/hour DOE.
All positions will recieve $30 per diem for field days.
ALL POSITIONS REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING:
Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites;
Experience with data entry and management;
Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access);
Experience driving and maintaining 4WD trucks and other vehicles, especially in off-road situations. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (DUI or other serious convictions need not apply);
Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals and to work independently as required;
Experience in and willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field where multiple hazards (snakes, bears, deadfall, lightning, poison ivy, fires, etc.) may be encountered;
Willingness to work irregular hours in harsh environments and challenging weather, and carry 40-50 pounds in a backpack over uneven terrain
Additional qualifications are specific to each position, and include:
1. Aquatic Monitoring Field Technician
A Bachelor’s Degree in Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries, Hydrology, Water Resources, or a related subject. Experience may be substituted for up to two years of education on a one-to-one basis;
A minimum of one season of field data collection. Several lab courses with extensive fieldwork can satisfy this requirement. However, preference will be given to people who have collected aquatic or hydrologic data in a work setting.
2. Aquatic Monitoring Field Crew Lead
A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries, Hydrology, Water Resources or related subject;
A minimum of one full year or two full seasons of fish, macroinvertebrate, hydrology, or water quality field data collection. A completed M.S. degree with fieldwork can satisfy this requirement;
Experience characterizing aquatic habitats in the field using standardized protocols, including establishing transects and thalweg profiles, determinations of bankfull width, stream classification (Rosgen or other), habitat complexity, and riparian vegetation;
Experience with macroinvertebrate collection and water quality sampling;
Experience supervising technicians, volunteers, or undergraduate students. Leadership in a volunteer or community organization, or in the military, can satisfy this requirement;
Experience managing gear and equipment for a crew, lab class, team, or other organizational unit.
3. Riparian Botanist
A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Botany, Ecology, Wetland Ecology or a closely related subject. Coursework in Plant Taxonomy and/or Systematics with additional training in wetland/riparian plant identification. Herbarium experience may substitute for coursework;
A minimum of one full year or two full seasons of botany fieldwork in wetland or riparian habitats;
Ability to identify riparian graminoids, forbs, shrubs, and trees to species using dichotomous keys;
Good familiarity with commonly accepted plant nomenclature;
Familiarity with wetland and riparian plants of the Rocky Mountains and/or Intermountain West; Experience preparing vouchers and herbarium specimens.