The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and service through the west. The Institute’s mission is to advance applied science and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships, supporting national parks, forest, open spaces and public lands.
The Ecological Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for natural resource professionals looking for experience in botanical, soil, rangeland, and aquatic surveys. This Program is a component of our well-established Research Associate Program, which focuses on the conservation and management of natural, cultural, and recreation resources in the Intermountain West while providing emerging professionals opportunities to begin or enhance their careers.
GBI’s Ecological Monitoring Program is dedicated to providing college graduates and emerging professionals with hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience in natural resource management. Extensive training and technical field skills development provides employees a unique opportunity to obtain valuable experience in executing monitoring protocols that will increase their employment success.
As an element of the Program, participants 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 vegetation data at multiple scales across western BLM districts. In many locations, participants will also implement Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health (IIRH), the BLM Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) aimed at collecting habitat assessment data to inform conservation approaches for sage-grouse, and other supplemental indicators. Opportunities may also include applying AIM sampling to post-wildfire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) monitoring.
This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LciTBPG2-Ss&feature=youtu.be) highlights the national BLM AIM strategy for landscape-scale data capture across western states.
GBI is recruiting Ecological Monitoring Field Leads to work with agency staff, GBI staff, and GBI Ecological Monitoring Field Technicians. Each Field Lead will coordinate a field crew (one Lead and two Technicians) to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial AIM protocols, 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
Additional duties include:
Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
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; and
Supporting and managing a field crew;
Coordinating field logistics and scheduling; and
Report writing and completing administrative paperwork
Locations and Targeted Timelines:
Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for post-field work 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.
o Susanville; crews based out of Reno, NV: April – September/October
o Salt Lake City, Fillmore, Vernal, Price, Richfield, Moab, Monticello; crews based out of Salt Lake City, UT: April – September
o Cedar City, St. George, Kanab, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument; crews based out of Las Vegas: April- September (St. George starts March)
o Reno, Carson City, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko, Ely; crews based out of Reno and/or Elko, NV TBD: expected dates mid-April to September, potential for several crews to begin earlier
o Las Vegas/southern NV; crews based out of Las Vegas: March-June/July
o Spokane, Wenatchee: April - October
o Lander, Rawlins, Kemmerer, Pinedale: April – September
• Leadership experience, including supervising field crews and managing projects simultaneously.
• Experience, education, or a combination in botany, range management, and or soils to meet one or both of the following (Crew Leads should have education and experience with plants and/or soils):
• Bachelor’s degree in botany, biology, ecology, or rangeland ecology or other natural resources with at least 9 semester hours in plant or biological sciences or a minimum of 1 year field data collection identifying plants;
• Bachelor’s degree in plant or soil science or similar with at least 9 semester hours in soils or a minimum of 1 year field data collection describing soils. Any of the 4 certifications from the Soil Science Society of America may substitute for education or experience.
• Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key;
• Experience in describing and identifying soil horizons; familiarity with NRCS soils databases and Ecological Site Descriptions concepts 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;
• Experience with technical writing and/or producing written project summary reports;
• 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); and
• Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access).
• 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;
• Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
• 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;
• 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.
How to Apply:
Please visit our employment web page at: http://crcareers.thegreatbasininstitute.org/careers/careers.aspx?rf=PD&req=2018-RAP-073 to locate the position(s) you are most interested in and apply online directly from our website.