River Assessment and Restoration Assistant – Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP)

Nevada City, California

American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered River®. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 355,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide.

Position Description:

The River Assessment and Restoration Assistant will gain project management, restoration, assessment and outreach skills and experience on a diversity of projects at American Rivers. Assessment experience will include field work as well as desktop methods. Field assessment will include vegetation, groundwater, hydrology, fuel loading, water quality, geomorphology/topographical surveys, and other biological assessments conducted in Sierra streams and high-elevation meadows. Desktop assessment will include GIS analysis, literature reviews, and research on best management practices. The member will assist with field monitoring, data analysis, presentations, and writing.

The member will gain experience with a variety of watershed restoration, protection and outreach projects. Our meadow restoration projects are at multiple stages of implementation, from initial assessment and prioritization to construction, and the AmeriCorps member will assist with and gain exposure to each phase of  restoration.

American Rivers is currently managing several meadow restoration projects, each with different needs, including pre- and post-implementation monitoring, report preparation, data analysis, etc. The forest fuels management and road management work will involve identifying new projects, monitoring fuel reduction projects, and developing priority sites for road repairs and decommissioning to reduce road-related erosion that impacts the local watershed. The AmeriCorps member will also help with outreach for the American Rivers’ California Regional office working with staff in the CA and National office to develop outreach materials specific to river and watershed conservation in California.

The AmeriCorps member will be encouraged to take on leadership of one or more projects with the goal of gaining in-depth experience in restoration project management and implementation. The particular focus project(s) will be decided upon once the member has more knowledge of American Rivers’ program areas and it becomes clear where enthusiasm, aptitude and need overlap best.

Site-Specific Training Provided:

The 2023- 2024 River Assessment and Restoration Assistant will work closely with the Headwaters Conservation team in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of a range of projects focusing on rivers and watersheds. The member will also work closely with staff and AmeriCorps members at the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) on a few of their nearby monitoring and restoration projects. Member service projects in the Sierra will include:

  • Sierra Meadow Assessment and Prioritization for Restoration including
    • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Yosemite National Park
    • Carson, Walker, American, Truckee, Tuolumne, and Pine Creek watersheds
  • Sierra Meadow Restoration and Monitoring including
    • Monitoring and Restoration of Faith Valley Meadow
    • Monitoring and Restoration of Log Meadow
    • Monitoring of Grouse and Pickel Meadows
    • Monitoring and Restoration of Ackerson Meadow
    • Monitoring and Restoration of priority meadows in the American, Walker, and Pine Creek Watersheds
    • Monitoring of Truckee watershed meadows
  • Forest fuels management projects including
    • Monitoring the Hoyt-Purdon fuel reduction along the South Yuba River
    • Identifying additional fuel treatment projects in the Sierra Nevada
  • Outreach for American Rivers California Regional Office
    • Assisting with communications materials including blog posts, website updates, and project tracking updates
    • Tabling at local outreach events

Members will be trained on field assessment and restoration methods by AR staff as they apply to specific projects. Assessment methods may include the Meadow Condition Scorecard, stream flow, groundwater, water quality, forest fuel loading, beaver dam surveys and vegetation surveys. Restoration methods may include willow staking, invasive removal, native plantings, and other meadow-specific restoration techniques. Members are also encouraged to identify trainings/conferences of interest – scientific, field skills, professional development, etc.

Click here for more information and to apply.

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