Aquatic Monitoring Technician

Institute for Natural Resources - (INR)

Sacramento, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $18.12 per hour + up to $655 in per diem per hitch
Deadline May 01, 2024

The Institute for Natural Resources (INR) in Portland, Oregon, a research institute within Portland State University, is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement its Aquatic Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy, targeted at collecting standardized data from streams across BLM Districts in the western U.S. INR is hiring multiple positions to conduct this work for the Aquatic AIM Program. Potential candidates looking to assist in this effort with INR and the BLM will work helping assess the health of BLM lands on crews consisting of one crew lead and one field technician working in California.

The work will focus on wadeable streams and rivers ranging from a few inches deep to fast-flowing small rivers across California. Crews will collect aquatic data following the AIM National Aquatic Monitoring Framework: Field Protocol for Wadeable Lotic Systems (TR 1735-2) to assess the surface water hydrology and geomorphic conditions for the 2024 field season.

Mandatory paid in-person training will occur April 14 - April 21 to prepare crews prior to the field season, though a training on May 5 - May 12  is also possible. The cost of travel for the training  will be covered by INR. Following training, crews will begin their hitch schedule approximately one week later, working 8 days in the field followed by 6 days off. This rotation will continue from May through August, with the potential to extend the season through October based on performance. Crews will conduct aquatic monitoring across California's landscapes, with the base location in Sacramento, CA. However, crew members have flexibility to be based anywhere within commutable distance to the work sites.

Dates and Location: This position is based out of Sacramento, CA. Work takes place across California.

Schedule: Full-time, 40 hours/week. Typical schedule is eight 10 hour-days with 6 days off.

Start Date: Open until filled. Required training April 14 or May 5.


As part of an AIM crew, the work is entirely field-based and requires camping in typically isolated areas with few amenities in the surrounding area. During this fieldwork, crews work a 10-hour-a-day hitch-based schedule with 8 days (Wed-Wed) on and 6 days off, working in all kinds of weather. Crews must be prepared for conditions such as extreme heat, sun exposure, long hours in the vehicle, nearby wildfires, smoke, driving on rough gravel and 4x4 trails, carrying 40-50lbs packs over steep and uneven terrain, and encounters with wildlife. INR provides Crews with a two-burner stove, propane, table, sampling gear, and other crew essentials. Crew members are responsible for arranging their housing in between hitches and their personal camping equipment.

All positions will have the opportunity to conduct sampling in vast and unique habitats with a history of wildfires, settlers, and indigenous people. Crews will also gain experience learning a protocol implemented across the Western U.S., identifying plant and animal species native and invasive to the location, and monitoring surface water hydrology and its geomorphic features during the fieldwork in remote landscapes. 


  • All Crew members are encouraged to be vaccinated against Covid 19 (https://www.pdx.edu/covid-19-response/vaccinations for more information)
  • A Bachelor’s Degree in Aquatic Ecology, Fisheries, Hydrology, Water Resources, or a related subject. Experience may be substituted for up to two years of education on a one-to-one basis.
  • A minimum of one season of field data collection. Several lab courses with extensive fieldwork can satisfy this requirement. However, preference will be given to people who have collected aquatic or hydrologic data in a work setting. 
  • Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites.
  • Experience with data entry and management using Microsoft Office (Excel, Access) and/or GIS
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units or other electronic devices such as Survey123.
  • Experience driving and maintaining 4WD trucks, especially in off-road situations. Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record. Experience driving UTV/side-by-side vehicles is preferred. 
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals, and to work independently as required.
  • Experience in and willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field where hazards (snakes, bears, deadfall, lightning, poison oak, flash floods, fires, etc.) may be encountered.
  • Willingness to work irregular hours in harsh environments and challenging weather, and carry 40-50lbs in a backpack over uneven terrain.
  • Wilderness First Aid is a plus; CPR and First Aid Certification are preferred.


In addition to the above qualifications, we expect crew members to commit to the entire field season, to practice safety awareness, including vehicle safety procedures, to communicate regularly with INR support staff and BLM agency staff, to participate in INR and BLM training, and to contribute to building a healthy and fun work team environment. Due to the nature of the work and required driving between sampling areas, work days over 10 hours are possible, with the expectation of a total of 80 hours/hitch as crews strive to complete points assigned for the given hitch.


These positions are ideal for people who are committed to ongoing learning and development. You will receive extensive paid training on the AIM protocols and associated methodology.  You will also have the opportunity to interact with seasoned staff scientists from both the BLM and INR throughout training and fieldwork.  Mandatory 1-week in-person paid training will occur shortly after hiring (mid-April for CA)


  • Aquatic Monitoring Field Technicians are paid $18.12 an hour.
  • Receive a total of $480 per diem for food costs for each hitch. 
  • Receive up to $175 per diem for camping for each hitch.

Please submit the following in a single PDF to Andrew Christensen (Project Manager at INR): lotic@pdx.edu . For position information not found in the listing or additional links below, you may contact the email listed above. In your email please use the subject line “AIM Application - Lastname” to make sure your application is saved. 

  • Letter of interest. In this letter, please describe your background, including any military and volunteer service; professional experience, recreational interests, or hobbies that help demonstrate your suitability for work in harsh and challenging conditions, as well as your reasons for pursuing this opportunity. 
  • Resume, including all degrees and related coursework. 
  • Names and contact information for three (3) references. Professional references who can attest to your work ethic and technical abilities should be prioritized due to the nature of the work. 

Application review will continue until all positions are filled. 


Additional information about the Institute for Natural Resources can be found on our website at https://www.pdx.edu/institute-natural-resources/.

For additional information about the AIM project visit: https://www.blm.gov/aim and https://aim.landscapetoolbox.org/

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Ecology , Hydrology