Whitebark Pine Monitoring Technician – The Great Basin Institute

Sparks, Nevada


Whitebark pine (WBP) are experiencing extensive threats from white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle, and climate change impacts on already weakened forest stands. Ongoing survival of the species across its range will require resistance and resilience within extant communities. Identification of areas where there is little WBP mortality due to the interacting agents of blister rust, mountain pine beetle, and climate change is key for delineating core regions for treatments that promote the resilience of the WBP ecosystem. Little is known about the status of whitebark pine populations on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Many of the WBP populations on the HTNF occur in unique, isolated high-elevation patches, particularly in the Mountain City, Ruby Mountains, and Jarbidge Ranger District. Our goal is to set up a network of WBP inventory and monitoring plots across the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to determine baseline forest health and ecological status of WBP ecosystems. By repeatedly visiting these sites in the future, we can determine how the isolated populations of WBP on the Forest are changing through time and whether restoration or management activities could be helpful to promote ecosystem resilience.

GBI is recruiting two Forest Monitoring Technicians to work with GBI and U.S Forest Service staff to install long-term monitoring plots in whitebark pine ecosystems across the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Each Technician will work under the supervision of a USFS Field Lead to implement forest health surveys. GBI crew members will work with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest to inventory, monitor, and survey whitebark pine populations. There may also be opportunities to assist with other field work on post-fire ecology, fuel treatment effectiveness, and rangeland and riparian health.

Duties Include:

Following established field protocols to assess forest structure and composition, indicators of insect and disease damage to whitebark pine, identification of understory vascular plants, and enumeration of fuel loads . During field work, car camping or backpacking for 7 night “hitches” in remote locations will typically be required.

Field work will include:

  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices
  • Extensive 4×4 driving on unmaintained roads
  • Navigating off-trail to sampling sites
  • Collecting forest ecology data
  • Hiking 2-5+ miles a day in backcountry setting over rugged, uneven terrain while carrying >25 lbs of personal and sampling gear

Additional duties include:

  • Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff
  • Participation in GBI and agency trainings
  • Entering data into Field Maps, Survey 123 or Avenza software
  • Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys
  • Employing QA/QC data checks

Contract Timeline:

Field work will begin in mid- to late-May and is estimated to end in October or November, depending on ground conditions.


Crews will be stationed at the USFS Supervisor’s Office in Sparks, NV.

Compensation and Benefits:


  • $18.00 per hour
  • $100 bi-weekly housing stipend* (Pro-rated if less than 80 hours worked)
  • $30 per diem for every night camped in the field (up to 7 units in an 8 day work week)
  • Affordable Care Act Compliant Health insurance including vision and dental provided at no cost to the employee starting the first day of the month following employment start date.
  • Paid federal holidays
  • Paid personal time off (amount dependent on contract length)

*Housing stipend is untaxed and can be used at the discretion of the applicant. Housing is not provided. Applicants must be able to provide their own lodging.

Job Qualifications:

Technical requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in botany, biology, ecology, or rangeland ecology or other natural resources preferred
  • Knowledge and interest in botany, plant identification, and/or forest ecology – prior experience with botanical or forestry survey techniques preferred
  • Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key
  • Organization skills; ability to self-direct and self-motivate; effective communicator
  • Experience with data entry and management
  • Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps
  • Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access)
  • Experience with Field Maps, Survey 123, and Avenza
  • Ability to carry field gear or up to 40 pounds in a backpack while traveling over difficult terrain, and otherwise maintain good physical condition
  • Tolerant of working in variable weather conditions, willing and able to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions

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 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
  • 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, late nights)

Click here for more information and to apply.

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