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, and rangeland 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.
In one component of the Program, participants implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy for terrestrial systems, targeted at collecting standardized ecological information and long-term vegetation data at multiple scales across western BLM districts. In some instances participants may perform supplemental protocols such as Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) (to inform conservation approaches for sage-grouse). Supplemental sampling may also include collecting data on forb diversity, annual production and pollinators, among other indicators.
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 Vegetation Field Leads to work with GBI and BLM staff. Each Vegetation Field Lead will coordinate a field crew (one Lead will supervise two Technicians) to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial AIM core methods. In some instances, Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF), and/or other supplemental protocols will be performed, for which training will be provided. Aside from core AIM sampling, any supplemental protocols implemented will vary by project.
Duties include following established field protocols to perform vegetation sampling and field data collection at new and existing sampling plots. Data will be used by resource specialists and land managers to inform decisions regarding land management at various temporal and spatial scales. During field work, car camping for 7 night “hitches” in remote locations will typically be required.
Depending on performance and completion of work term this position can qualify for Public Lands Corps (PLC) status given that the applicant is 30 years old or younger at the time of GBI employment. This certificate allows for non-competitive status for future federal job applications and will last two years from the end of GBI employment.
Field work will include:
• Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
• Extensive 4x4 driving on unmaintained roads;
• Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
• Establishing sampling plots and transects;
• Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, forb diversity, species abundance, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights);
• Taking photo-points.
Additional duties include:
• Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
• Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
• Entering data into both Field Maps and Survey 123 software;
• Managing ArcGIS Online databases;
• 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
Total approximate compensation: $3358.30/month before taxes (Including benefits the approximate hourly equivalent: $20.99), plus health insurance (monthly premiums fully paid by GBI), and paid time off.
• $1,408 biweekly salary
• $150 bi-weekly housing stipend*
• $15 per diem for every night camped in the field (up
to 7 units in an 8 day work week)
• $32.30/month cell phone stipend
• Affordable Care Act Compliant Health insurance
including vision and dental provided at no cost to
the employee starting the first day of the month
following employment start date.
• Paid federal holidays
• Paid personal time off (amount dependent on contract
*Housing stipend is untaxed and can be used at the discretion of the applicant. Housing is not provided. Applicants must be able to provide their own lodging.
Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for extension. Crews will be based out of the Las Vegas GBI Office but work in BLM Field Office (FO’s) areas.
Please indicate your availability and project preference in your cover letter when applying. Application review will continue until all positions are filled. We encourage applying early to gain the best chance of getting top-choice locations. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.
Southern California Project:
• Southern California Desert District/ Bishop Field Office;
• February 14th -August 5th
• 3-person vegetation monitoring only
Desert Tortoise Habitat Project:
• Southern Nevada District
• February14th -September 30th
• 3-person vegetation monitoring (July & August the crew will be assisting other projects with the potential for
additional soils monitoring)
Nevada Statewide Project:
• Ely BLM District, Southern Nevada District
• February 9th -June 17th
• 3-person vegetation and soils monitoring
• Leadership experience, including supervising field crews and managing projects simultaneously.
• Experience, education, or a combination of both in botany and/or range management to meet the following(Crew Leads should have education and experience with plants identification):
• Bachelor’s degree in botany, biology, ecology, or rangeland ecology or other natural resources.
• At least 9 semester hours in plant or biological sciences.
• A minimum of 1 year field data collection identifying plants.
• Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key;
• 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);
• Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access); and
• Experience with Field Maps, Survey 123, and ArcGIS Online.
• 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;
• Willingness to mentor and foster professional development for members of your crew;
• Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
• 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;
• Ability to accurately complete administrative tasks on time i.e. timesheet, paperwork, etc;
• Excellent organizational skills;
• Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
• Experience in and willingness to spend up to seven consecutive nights camping with no amenities in remote locations;
• 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.