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High-Elevation Forest Monitoring Crew Member

Project Background

Working cooperatively with the National Park Service’s Sierra Nevada Network Inventory & Monitoring Program (SIEN I&M), the Great Basin Institute is recruiting to hire two High-elevation Forest Monitoring Crew Members to join our Research Associate (RA) program. The SIEN I&M program monitors mountain forests, lakes, birds, rivers, and wetlands throughout Yosemite National Park (YOSE), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI), and Devils Postpile National Monument (DEPO). Data on key ecological indicators collected by SIEN field crews are used to track status and trends in forest ecosystems, provide data-driven information that informs park management decisions, identify areas of management concern, and evaluate effectiveness of and inform environmental policies that protect park resources. More information can be found at SIEN’s website: 

Position Description:

This long-term monitoring project involves visiting randomly located permanent plots in white pine stands (whitebark and foxtail pines) in both YOSE and SEKI. Plots are monitored on a three-year rotation to obtain tree-and plot-level data. In 2023, crews will be visiting 36 plots across YOSE and SEKI. Following an established protocol, crews collect information on:
• Tree species composition and structure
• Tree species birth, death, and growth rates
• Incidence of white pine blister rust and level of crown kill
• Incidence of pine beetle and severity of tree damage
• Incidence of dwarf mistletoe and severity of tree damage

Primary field activities involve collecting field data in remote, backcountry locations with overnight backpacking and travel required. A smaller component of the work will be in the office organizing gear and samples, preparing for trips, and managing data.

Primary Responsibilities: 

• Backpacking to monitoring sites in high elevation park wilderness. 
• Using topographic maps, compass, and global positioning systems to aid in navigation and document sample site locations. 
• Surveying targeted sites and tree species in accordance with standardized monitoring protocols.
• Office duties include entering field data, organizing and cleaning gear, planning for sampling trips, and meeting with project leads. 
• Maintaining safety awareness and practices in accordance with GBI and NPS safety policies and expectations. 

Working Conditions and Physical Demands:

The Forest Monitoring crew position is primarily a field based position with some office work. The field work involves large amounts of time outside under a variety of conditions, including high elevations (over 10,000 feet). Mountain weather is highly 
variable, including the potential for snowstorms in the middle of summer. Much of the field season will be spent camping in remote locations in the wilderness. Sites are located in remote mountain areas and require backpacking with heavy packs for up to 8 days at a time and often off-trail. In contrast, office work will involve time sitting and working at a computer. Summers in the foothills can be very hot with temperatures often over 100 degrees

Contract Timeline:

• Timeline: 17-week appointment during 12 June - 7 October 2023 (anticipated) and upon completion of DOI Background Investigation.
• Schedule: Typically eight consecutive days on (8-10 hours/day) followed by 6 days off
• Duty Station: Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, CA, although much of the fieldwork will be based out of the east side of the Sierra Nevada with front-country camping provided.


SIEN offices are located in the Sierra Nevada foothills, near the town of Three Rivers, CA.

Compensation and Benefits:

• Wage: $18.11/hour
• Health Insurance (medical, dental, and vision) coverage available at no cost
• Field Per Diem: $40/day (when applicable)
• Paid leave and federal holidays

Job Qualifications:

• Experience, education, or a combination of the two in natural sciences and field data collection to meet one of the following:
• Successful completion of a full 4-year course of study leading to a bachelor's degree with major study or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of scientific or technical courses such as biology, chemistry, statistics, entomology, hydrology, botany, physics, agriculture, or mathematics. 
• Minimum of 2 years field data collection
• Combination of the above
• Experience and ability to hike by foot in the backcountry at high altitude (>7,000 ft elevation) for extended periods of time while carrying backpacks, tools, and supplies of at least 45 lbs, and be able to camp for several days at a time.
• Ability to work productively and cooperatively as part of a team focused on accomplishing mutual goals and communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience.
• Possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license with ability to safely operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle on and off paved roads.
• Experience using topographic maps, compass, and GPS to navigate in remote wilderness areas 
• Strong communication skills.
• Strong organization skills

Preferred Qualifications:

• Experience conducting forest ecology field work
• Experience following standardized field and data protocols.
• Experience conducting data entry and management. 

The successful applicant must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to NPS human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position. If you already have a fully adjudicated BI, please let us know in your application.