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Vegetation Habitat Assessment Crew Lead

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 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 hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience. Extensive training and technical field skills development offers employees a unique opportunity to obtain valuable experience in performing a variety of monitoring protocols that will increase future success.

As an element of this program, participants will implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy, which is targeted at collecting standardized inventory and long-term ecological data at multiple scales across western public lands. Opportunities with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) will apply AIM sampling to help guide proper restoration treatment design and to provide a baseline data set against which restoration treatment effects may be measured.  

In partnership with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), GBI is recruiting one Vegetation Habitat Assessment (VHA) Crew Lead to work with agency staff, GBI staff, and technicians. Each Field Lead will coordinate a field crew (one Lead and three Technicians) to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial AIM protocols and/or the Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) protocols. Excellent interpersonal skills and a true passion for Western landscapes, field work, and travel are absolutely critical for success in this position.

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. The schedule during early season training and end of season tasks will generally be 5 days on and 2 days off or 4 days on and 3 days off if required by the training schedule. The schedule during data collection will generally be 8 days on (Wed-Wed) and 6 days off (Thu-Tue).

Field work will include:
  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
  • Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
  • Establishing sampling plots and transects;
  • Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, forb frequency, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights);
  • Making qualitative range assessments; and
  • Taking photo-points.

 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
  • Leadership: Supporting and managing a field crew;
  • Coordinating field logistics and scheduling; and
  • Report writing and completing administrative paperwork

Contract Timeline:
The below timeline is tentative depending on sampling goals.
• Duration: 19 weeks from May - September

This position is based out of Reno, Nevada

Compensation and Benefits:
•$1,368 biweekly salary
•$150 untaxed biweekly housing stipend*
•$32.30/month cell phone stipend
•$15/night camping per diem
•Paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision) at no cost to the employee
•Paid state holidays
•Paid personal time off

*Housing is not provided. Applicants must be able to provide their own lodging.

Job Qualifications:

General Requirements:
• Leadership experience, including supervising field crews and managing projects simultaneously;
• Experience, education, or a combination in botany, range management, and or ecology to meet the following (Crew Leads should have education and experience with plants):
• 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 of field data collection identifying plants;

Technical requirements:
• 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 with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access).

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;
• 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 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.

Other Job Information (if applicable):
Please indicate your availability when applying. Application review will continue until all positions are filled.