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Aquatic Monitoring Field Lead
Job Code:2018-GBI-007
State:Multiple Locations
Program:Assessment Inventory Monitoring
Contract Length:5 Months

Job Description:
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 Aquatic Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for natural resource professionals looking for experience in aquatic, riparian, 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 Aquatic 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.  


GBI is recruiting Aquatic Monitoring Field Leads to assist in the implementation of the National Aquatic Monitoring Framework (NAMF) for Assessment, Inventory, Monitoring (AIM) of lotic ecosystems, as well as the Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of stream channels and streamside vegetation. The Aquatic Monitoring Field Leads will work with agency staff, GBI staff and Aquatic Monitoring Riparian Botanists and Technicians. Each Field Lead will work as part of a two-person crew (one Crew Lead, one Technician) or three-person crew (one Crew Lead, one Riparian Botanist, one Technician) to sample streams and rivers and assess riparian vegetation on BLM-managed land using the BLM’s Aquatic AIM protocol. If part of a three-person crew, crews will also assess riparian vegetation using the MIM protocol for stream channels and streamside vegetation. AIM seeks to standardize the collection of quantitative data that can be used at multiple scales to assist the BLM in making resource management decisions.

More information about AIM and AIM implementation can be found at

Crews will interact with local BLM staff, national level staff at the National Aquatic Monitoring Center, and GBI senior monitoring staff. Data collection involves measuring a variety of attributes including water chemistry and instream habitat, collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates, and conducting ocular estimates in the riparian zone. Successful applicants will be required to work and camp in the field. Applicants should be prepared to encounter strenuous working conditions.

Field work and duties may include:
• Navigating off-trail to sampling sites; 
• Establishing sampling plots and transects 
• Entering data into and managing the Stream and River Assessment Hub (SARAH) Ipad application (Aquatic Data Management Protocol); and
• Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys.

Additional duties include:

  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices; 
  • Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
  • Participation in GBI and agency trainings
  • Leadership: Supporting and managing a field crew; Coordinating field logistics and scheduling; and Report writing and completing administrative paperwork


Contract Timeline:


1 Lead, Burns District Office - Oregon Statewide project; home base Burns, Oregon: May 28th - October 4th

Compensation and Benefits:
• $1360-$1,400 Biweekly Salary + $150 non-taxed biweekly housing stipend
• $15 nightly camping per diem
• Paid holidays and personal leave
• Limited Health, Dental and Vision Insurance will be completely paid for at no cost to you by the Great Basin Institute and available starting your first day of service.

Job Qualifications:
Technical Requirements:
Leadership experience, including supervising and managing projects simultaneously;
Experience, education, or a combination in natural resources, ecology, or biology to meet the following (Crew Leads should have education and experience with plants and/or soils):
o Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources, Ecology, or Biology; Coursework or equivalent experience in aquatic biology, hydrology, entomology, geomorphology, plant taxonomy and/or systematics; AND
o Minimum of 1 year collecting aquatic AIM data or similar field work

Familiarity with lotic systems of the western United States;
Experience conducting field work using various monitoring protocols, including standard aquatic monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations;
Experience with data entry and management;
Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap); and
Experience using Google Earth and ArcMap; Strong interest in aquatic ecology and physical processes; and
Navigating off-trail to sampling sites; 
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 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);
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; and
Backcountry travel experience and solid navigational skills


Other Job Information (if applicable):

EEO Statement
We conform to all the laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability status, Genetic Information & Testing, Family & Medical Leave, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit Retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.