NDOW Vegetation Monitoring Crew Lead – The Great Basin Institute

Reno, Nevada

The Great Basin Institute’s Ecological Monitoring Program focuses on collecting monitoring data to inform conservation and management of natural, cultural, and recreational resources in the Intermountain West, while providing emerging professionals opportunities to begin or enhance their careers. This program provides hands-on experience with rangeland surveys, terrestrial vegetation monitoring, and field data collection.

One component of the program works in cooperation with the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to implement NDOW’s Vegetation Health Assessment (VHA) program. The goal of the VHA program is to provide ecological monitoring data to inform conservation planning and adaptive management decisions. This data is used by resource specialists and land managers to inform future resource management decisions focused on protecting Nevada’s biodiversity and restoring productive terrestrial ecosystems to support wildlife.

For the 2024 field season, GBI is recruiting two Vegetation Monitoring Crew Leads to work with GBI staff, NDOW staff, and technicians. Each Lead will coordinate and supervise a field crew (one Lead and three Technicians) to characterize vegetation using VHA protocols, on various sampling sites across northern Nevada. Monitoring projects are predominantly located in sagebrush ecosystems and focused on post-fire restoration, habitat improvement, and baseline condition of sage-grouse habitat. This opportunity differs from other GBI Ecological Monitoring positions as the primary monitoring goal is to conduct long-term vegetation monitoring, excluding soil indicators.

Crew Leads will start a week before technicians for lead specific training before three weeks of combined training focused on botany and protocols. During the first month of training, the typical schedule is 5 days on (Monday-Friday) and 2 days off. During field work, dispersed car camping for eight day “hitches” (Wednesday-Wednesday) in remote locations will be required, followed by 6 days off (Thursday-Tuesday). At the end of the field season, there are three weeks of office work, primarily focused on data finalization and season wrap-up.

Field work will include:

  • Maintaining safety awareness and best practices;
  • Extensive 4×4 driving on unmaintained roads;
  • Navigating off-trail, hiking up to 10 miles to sampling sites;
  • Establishing sampling plots and transects;
  • Collecting vegetation data (including photo-points, species inventory, forb diversity, species abundance, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights);
  • Making qualitative treatment and landscape condition assessments;
  • Identifying plants to species using field identification skills and dichotomous keys; and
  • Applying extensive quality assurance and quality control data checks.

Leadership duties:

  • Training, supporting, and managing a field crew of two or three techs;
  • Coordinating field logistics and scheduling; and
  • Report writing and completing administrative paperwork.

Additional duties:

  • Regular communication with GBI staff and agency staff;
  • Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
  • Maintaining organization and condition of provided gear;
  • Using Field Maps and Survey123 software to collect field data; and
  • Managing a ArcGIS Online database.

Contract Timeline:25 weeks from April – September

  • Tentative start date: April 15th, 2024
  • Tentative end date: September 20th, 2024

Location:Based out of NDOW Field Office in Reno, Nevada

  • Crews will travel across Northern Nevada to monitoring sites on private, BLM, NPS, and/or USFS land, depending on the project.
  • Projects include sage-grouse monitoring on USFS, post-fire restoration on BLM, long-term habitat monitoring, etc.

Compensation and Benefits:Total approximate biweekly compensation, before taxes:
– Office: $2,006.15 – $2,126.15 (approximate hourly equivalent: $25.08 – $26.58)
– Average Field: $2,258.15 – $2,378.15 (approximate hourly equivalent: $28.23 to $29.73)

Compensation Breakdown:

  • $1,840.00 to $1,960.00 biweekly salary, depending on experience
  • $150 biweekly housing stipend; untaxed, used at applicant’s discretion as housing is not provided
  • $36 per diem for every night camped in the field (up to 7 units in an 8-day work week)
  • $16.15 biweekly cell phone stipend
  • Paid health insurance including vision and dental at no cost; monthly premiums fully paid by GBI
  • Paid state holidays
  • Paid personal leave

Job Qualifications:

Technical requirements:

  • Leadership experience, including supervising field crews and managing projects simultaneously, preferred;
  • Experience, education, or a combination of both in botany and/or range management to meet the following:
  • Bachelor’s degree in botany, ecology, or other natural resources with at least 9 semester hours in plant or ecological sciences; AND
  • A minimum of 1 year of field data collection identifying plants
  • 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;
  • Ability to train and supervise technicians;
  • Ability to collect and manage data of a high degree of quality;
  • Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units; and
  • Experience safely operating agency 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads;

Additional requirements:

  • Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues, preferred;
  • Willingness and ability to productively work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting while consistently maintaining high performance standards through a strong work and team ethic to accomplish goals;
  • Willingness to mentor and foster professional development for crew members;
  • Possess a valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members, program staff, and a diverse public;
  • Ability to accurately complete administrative tasks on time i.e. timesheet, paperwork, etc;
  • Possess or learn excellent organizational skills;
  • Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
  • Experience in and willingness to spend up to seven consecutive nights camping with no amenities in remote locations;
  • Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, long days); and
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain for up to 10 miles, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition.

If you applied to multiple Ecological Monitoring Program positions, please indicate your position and/or project preferences (if any) in your cover letter when applying. Application review will continue until all positions are filled. Please email any questions regarding this position to: Allison Peterson-Park, apetersonpark@thegreatbasininstitute.org.

Click here for more information and to apply.

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