Field Assistant; Field Assistant; Mojave Desert Drought & Bighorn Sheep Monitoring– Bishop, California

California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Bishop, CA
Job Category
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
Seeking biologists who love to recreate/work in remote desert wilderness. Hikers, hunters, and climbers are encouraged to apply, as are all who enjoy the challenge of scrambling over steep mountain terrain, and want to use radio-telemetry, optics GPS, and maps to locate and study desert species including bighorn sheep and to monitor and maintain critical water sources used by wildlife. The CDFW Desert Bighorn Sheep Program and Drought Terrestrial Species Monitoring Program work side by side across 50 mountain ranges from the White Mountains, through Death Valley National Park, the Mojave Preserve, and beyond, across the deserts of southeastern California. If you love camping and hiking in remote areas and have completed at least 10 hrs of coursework in the sciences OR have at least 1 year of science-related job experience, this opportunity may be for you. Candidates should be comfortable with hiking up to 12 miles off-trail, with 3,000 feet of elevation gain per day, working in temperatures ranging from 0 to 125°F, and driving up to 7 hours to reach field sites, then camping in the field 2–14 days at a time. The ability to work safely, independently, or as part of a team, in challenging desert conditions is paramount. This advertisement is for three openings, based at the Bishop Field Office, in the beautiful Owens Valley, nestled between the Eastern Sierra and the White Mountains with plentiful access to hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, and other outdoor recreation. Starting salary is $16.07/hr with paid vacation and sick leave, holiday pay and $41/night per diem when camping overnight in the field. Positions are ongoing, but limited to a maximum of 189 workdays/year. Housing and medical insurance are not provided. Following is a general breakdown of duties: Drought/Bighorn Sheep Monitoring Actions: Assist regional staff with population monitoring and habitat surveys for native amphibians, reptiles, birds, and/or mammals. Assist with abundance estimation as well as demographic and spatial analyses of desert bighorn sheep. Use radio telemetry and optical equipment to locate bighorn sheep in the field and record habitat attributes associated with each animal, especially health and any symptoms of disease. Help with the set-up and maintenance of remote cameras. Determine group composition, monitor survival, and determine juvenile production and survival. Conduct necropsies to determine cause of death and store samples as per protocol. Provide assistance with radio telemetry flights and aerial surveys, as needed. Participate in base camp processing efforts to deploy radio-collars, assess animal health, and collect biological samples. Assist in the coordination of staff and volunteers to guide efforts with habitat projects. Drive 4x4 vehicles on rough desert roads Drought Mitigation Actions: Assist with habitat improvement projects, including maintaining, enhancing, and establishing wildlife water developments, where appropriate and feasible. Regularly compile and disseminate information on regional wildlife drought activities to the regional drought lead and the Department’s Wildlife Branch Drought Coordinator. Participate in the Department’s Terrestrial Species Monitoring (TSM) Team and attend statewide coordination meetings. Maintain and organize field equipment, vehicles, data recording sheets, and computer data files; keep accurate and up-to-date records of all observations made; input data into computers using Excel and Access; conduct basic spatial analysis and generate maps using ArcGIS; assist with preparation of reports; organize work schedule and coordinate with appropriate personnel; perform other duties as required and provide other assistance as requested, such as but not necessarily limited to transporting vehicles, maintaining equipment, and timely completion of routine monthly paperwork. (Assist biologists in implementing the annual hunting program, including: helping with the mandatory hunter orientation to answer questions and provide information necessary to improve hunter experience and opportunity; managing hunter check-in during hunt season; collecting and recording biological data from harvested rams; maintaining hunter harvest data in the Automated License Database System.
Apply for position by June 12, 2023 following directions on web site: Minimum Qualifications: Two years of college with 10 semester units in biology or other related courses in sciences or natural resources Willingness to work irregular hours including weekend days Good communication skills Possession of a valid California driver’s license or willingness to acquire one Ability to establish and maintain cooperative relationships with those contacted in the course of the work Must be able to work in extreme heat (120F), in inclement weather and in rugged backcountry terrain during all months of the year Desired Qualifications: Experience capturing wildlife, surveying wildlife, using radio-telemetry to locate wildlife, and assessing mortalities Experience using 4x4 trucks and driving on rugged desert roads Good writing skills Experience using computers for word processing, data management, analysis, and GIS (MS Access, MARK, ArcGIS) Good analytical skills and experience working with biological data Good organizational skills and ability to keep accurate records Ability to backpack with a 40 pound pack for 12 miles in rough terrain Willingness to fly in fixed-wing aircrafts and helicopters for surveys How to Apply: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and state application In your cover letter, briefly explain why you’re interested in this position and how education and experience relate to this position. In the cover letter, please detail experience (personal or professional) hiking, camping, working, or recreating in desert heat or other extreme environments, and give examples of safety precautions you took. (Cover letter and resume will be reviewed, in addition to the state application STD 678 for employment history. Resumes must include the complete to and from dates (MM/DD/YYYY) and hours worked per week.) The State of California is an equal opportunity employer to all, regardless of age, ancestry, color, disability (mental and physical), exercising the right to family care and medical leave, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, military or veteran status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religious creed, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), and sexual orientation
Contact Person
Jeff Villepique, Ph.D.
Contact Phone
(760) 937-5966
Contact eMail
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