Forest Health Specialist: Sierra Corps Forestry Fellowship – Sierra Nevada Alliance

Tuolumne County, California

Background on Sierra Corps Forestry Fellowship Program: 

Sierra Corps is a Forestry Fellowship program implemented by the Sierra Nevada Alliance that aims to increase workforce capacity for forest health restoration, biomass utilization, and wildfire resilience projects in the Sierra Nevada. The Alliance places Fellows with partners throughout the region for forest-health related employment. Fellows bring their education, skills, and expertise to engage in paid fellowships that provide assistance in assessment, planning, permitting, project management, and other essential forest restoration and wildfire resilience work. The Sierra Corp is a program that allows you to advance your career in environmental conservation and forest health by working as a forest health project specialist and contribute to the increase in pace and scale of forest restoration at a time when it is critically needed. 

For this position, you will be a Fellow for Sierra Nevada Alliance, completing your fellowship and working under direct supervision by Tuolumne River Trust.

Position Location: Tuolumne County, CA 

Compensations and Benefits: 

  • $25/hr, full-time, hourly for 11 month commitment
  • Employer-provided Health Insurance and paid holidays as identified in the Employee Handbook. 
  • A total of $3,650.00 stipend to be used during the Fellowship term, itemized as follows:
    • $1250 travel stipend
    • $500 supplies stipend 
    • $500 equipment stipend
    • $1400 training stipend 

Work Commitment: Sierra Corps Fellows are passionate and committed to the mission of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, Sierra Corps Program, and their Host Site(s). Fellows make a full-time commitment to serve a nonprofit organization or public agency in the Sierra Nevada. Positions begin on December 1, 2022. 

Time Commitment: Fellows are required to complete project specific work over 11 months, working 40 hours/week.  All Fellows are required to commit to the full term of their Fellowship position.  Paid holidays, accrued vacation and sick leave are also included in this time commitment.  Positions start in December 2022 and finish in October 2023.

Host Site Description: The Tuolumne River Trust is located in the Sierra Nevada, and has a core mission of protecting and restoring the Tuolumne River, its watershed, and the surrounding landscapes, for future and present generations. Not only does the Tuolumne River provide ample recreational opportunities such as whitewater rafting, but it also supplies the drinking water for 2.6 million people in the San Francisco Bay area, hydroelectric power for much of Northern California, and irrigation for 200,000 acres of central valley farmland. The Tuolumne River Watershed was severely impacted by the 257,000 acre Rim Fire in 2013 and a concurrent widespread tree mortality event. 

To restore the Tuolumne River Watershed and surrounding landscapes, Tuolumne River Trust works closely with the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions forest collaborative (YSS), Tuolumne County, and the Stanislaus National Forest. Shared stewardship agreements are used to restore large landscapes, including reforestation within the Rim Fire Footprint and forest health and fire prevention work in a new 118,000 acre landscape called SERAL. Federal, state, and foundation funding is used to accomplish large-scale restoration goals, and they are excited to continue to gain momentum and build their programs.

Position Description: The Tuolumne River Trust is seeking two (2) full-term Forestry Fellows to further large-scale forest health work across the Tuolumne and Stanislaus River Watersheds. The work occurs in two landscape types—the black forest (areas that have burned) and the green forest (areas that have not yet burned).

The work in the black forest occurs in the Rim Fire Footprint. In 2023, Tuolumne River Trust will be managing contracts for the planting of 680,000 trees across ~2,300 acres and herbicide and manual release treatments within the same geography. Fellows will be involved in activities including leading forest inventory, inspections, and quality control of these reforestation efforts, as well as leading volunteer reforestation plantings. Tuolumne River Trust will also begin site preparation for another 1,000 acres of reforestation. Site preparation includes identifying unit boundaries and natural resources, coordination with contractors conducting fuels reduction, and documentation of project progression.

The work in the green forest occurs in the SERAL Landscape and beyond. These green forests are susceptible to high-intensity fires. Tuolumne River Trust is working on an array of treatments, including fuels reduction treatments and fuel break installation. Fellows will be involved in forest inventories including common stand exams, unit and project layout, and project monitoring and tracking. Fellows will be involved in an array of activities including documentation of project progression and overseeing contractors conducting large-scale forest health treatments. 

Additional projects and tasks may arise. Fellows will have opportunities to identify gaps in current programs of work and take on self-led projects to further our restoration efforts across the landscape. Fellows may have opportunities to work on meadows restoration projects periodically, and to liaise with partners including the Stanislaus National Forest staff and members of the YSS Collaborative.

Springtime fieldwork can be intense! Some projects require early mornings, long drives, and hot days. While Tuolumne River Trust strives for consistent and balanced workloads (~40 hrs/week), some projects such as reforestation include a pulse of 12-16 hr work days in the Spring. In our living out the “work hard, play hard” mantra, we often take time to rest, recover and recharge after these pulses of work by taking time off to disappear to the California coast or the east side of the Sierra Nevada! Your time as a Fellow at TRT is what you make of it! Outside of our field work, there are many opportunities to recreate and relax, but only if you have the initiative to seek them out! The Stanislaus National Forest is filled with swimming holes and hiking trails, and Yosemite National Park is right next door. For activities such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, backpacking, and more, Tuolumne County is hard to beat. Access to sequoia groves and unparalleled mountain ranges does come at a cost though—hour long drives to a good swimming hole are normal!

Required Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Forestry, Environmental Science, or other natural resource field 
  • Excellent communication skills both verbally and in writing
  • At least 1 ​​year of experience in natural resources management and assessment, post education
  • Ability to work long days and hike through steep terrain in remote areas
  • Ability to identify poison oak and take proper precautions to protect oneself, as it is unfortunately prevalent in many of the field sites
  • Ability to work with diverse partners and stakeholders and facilitate productive decision making
  • Ability to quickly learn and apply new technologies including but not limited to land navigation and GPS skills
  • Ability to commit to full term of Fellowship position

Desired Qualifications: 

  • 2 years combined experience in: 
    • forest health monitoring and assessment
    • conservation planning
    • project management
    • environmental analysis and research
    • environmental education/communications
    • wildland fire management
    • biomass energy technology or sustainable resource economics
  • ArcGIS GIS analysis and web mapping applications knowledge
  • Previous experience in forest mensuration and inventory and/or restoration and monitoring techniques
  • Previous experience coordinating and facilitating volunteer events
  • Access to a reliable personal vehicle to get to grocery stores, Tuolumne River Trust office, etc, as Tuolumne County does not have a robust public transportation system
  • Desire to work in a forest health related career
  • Passion for conservation of the Sierra Nevada
  • Knowledge of CEQA/NEPA regulations and documentation

Tuolumne River Trust Website: https://www.tuolumne.org 

Sierra Nevada Alliance Website: www.sierranevadaalliance.org 

Sierra Corps Website: www.sierranevadaalliance.org/sierra-corps-forestry-fellowship-program/ 

To apply:

Please send a letter of interest and CV/resume to the SNA Forestry Program Director, Taylor Parker, PhD at: Taylor@SierraNevadaAlliance.org. Applications will be reviewed beginning November 10, 2022, and will continue until positions are filled, no later than December 1, 2022.

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