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Vegetation Habitat Assessment Technician

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, GBI is recruiting three AmeriCorps Vegetation Habitat Assessment Technicians to work with agency staff and GBI staff. Each AmeriCorps Field Technician will participate in a field crew to characterize vegetation using the AIM protocol and/or supplemental protocols, for which training will be provided. The particular supplemental protocols implemented will vary by project site. 

Duties include following established field protocols to conduct vegetation sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites. This position heavily relies on the ability to identify plants both in the field and office settings. Field data will be used by resource specialists and land managers to inform decisions regarding resource management issues of the area. During periods of field work, camping will be required. The schedule during data collection will generally be 8 days on (Wed-Wed) and 6 days off (Thu-Tue). The schedule during early season training and end of season task will be 4 days on and 3 days off or 5 days on and 2 days off. 

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

Additional duties include:
• Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
• Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys;
• Entering data into an Access-based database; and
• Supporting QA/QC data checks.

Contract Timeline:
Duration: 15 weeks from May to August
• 450 hour AmeriCorps position
• Start or end dates may be slightly flexible dependent on sampling goals
• Tentative start date is May 10th

Based out of Reno, Nevada

Compensation and Benefits:
• $7,559.00 AmeriCorps Living Allowance
• $1,638.89 AmeriCorps Education Award*
• $15.00/night camping per diem
• $150 untaxed bi-weekly housing stipend**
• Paid holidays and personal leave
• Paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision)
• Student loan forbearance and interest accrual paid

* AmeriCorps Education Award may be used for past, present or future education experiences, including payment of qualified federal student loans.
**Housing is not provided. Applicants must be able to provide their own lodging.

Job Qualifications:
Technical requirements:
• Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences, such as: Botany, Wildlife Biology, Range Ecology, Natural Resources Management, Environmental Resources or related subject preferred; 
• Coursework or equivalent experience in plant taxonomy and/or systematics;
• Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key; 
• Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the Great Basin and associated natural resource issues 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;
• Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
• Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
• Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads;
• 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 Ecological Monitoring 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;
• Ability to accurately complete timesheets;
• 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
• Ability to meet AmeriCorps eligibility requirements: (1) U.S. citizenship or legal resident alien status, (2) eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award (limit of four in a lifetime, or equivalent of two full-time terms of service), (3) pass National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) and federal criminal background checks, (4) adhere to the rules, regulations and code of conduct as specified in the Member Service Agreement; and (5) will not engage in any prohibited activities as listed in the Member Service Agreement.  

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