Aquatic Monitoring Field Lead

The Great Basin Institute Various western states, Other
Job Type Seasonal / temporary

The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and service through the west. The Institute’s mission is to advance applied science and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships, supporting national parks, forest, open spaces and public lands.

The Ecological Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for natural resource professionals looking for experience in botanical, soil, rangeland, and aquatic surveys. This Program is a component of our well-established Research Associate Program, which focuses on the conservation and management of natural, cultural, and recreation resources in the Intermountain West while providing emerging professionals opportunities to begin or enhance their careers.

GBI’s Ecological Monitoring Program is dedicated to providing college graduates and emerging professionals with hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience in natural resource management. Extensive training and technical field skills development provides employees a unique opportunity to obtain valuable experience in executing monitoring protocols that will increase their employment success. 


GBI is recruiting Aquatic Monitoring Leads to assist in the implementation of the National Aquatic Monitoring Framework (NAMF) for Assessment, Inventory, Monitoring (AIM) of lotic ecosystems. The Leads will work with agency and institute staff to coordinate a field crew (one Technician each). AIM seeks to standardize the collection of quantitative data that can be used at multiple scales to assist the BLM in making resource management decisions.

More information about AIM and AIM implementation can be found at 

Aquatic monitoring crews will sample streams and rivers on BLM-managed land using the BLM’s AIM protocol for wadeable rivers and streams. Crews will interact with local BLM staff, national level staff at the National Aquatic Monitoring Center, and GBI senior monitoring staff. Data collection involves measuring a variety of attributes including water chemistry and instream habitat, collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates, and conducting ocular estimates in the riparian zone. Successful applicants will be required to work and camp in the field. Applicants should be prepared to encounter strenuous working conditions.

Field work and duties may include:

  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
  • Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
  • Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
  • Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
  • Entering data into and managing the Stream and River Assessment Hub (SARAH) Ipad application (Aquatic Data Management Protocol); and
  • Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys.

Locations and Tentative Timelines:

Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for additional locations and extension. Please indicate your availability and top choice when applying. We encourage applying early in order to gain the best chance at getting your top-choice location.

  • Western Rivers and Streams Assessment Projects:
    • 1 Lead, Central Region (Montana, Wyoming, Utah; home base TBD, likely Salt Lake City or Driggs, ID): April-September/October
    • 2 Leads, Pacific Northwest Region (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Northern California; home base Reno, NV): April-September/October
    • 1 Lead, Southwest Region (Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona with a focus on Colorado; home base TBD): April-August/September
  • District/State Office Projects:
    • 1 Lead, Northern California Eagle Lake and Applegate Field Offices; home base Reno, NV): April-September/October
    • 3 Leads, Nevada Statewide project; home base Reno, NV: April-September/October


  • $1360-$1,400 Biweekly Salary + $150 non-taxed biweekly housing stipend
  • $15 nightly camping per diem
  • Paid holidays and personal leave
  • Paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision)


Technical Requirements:

  • Leadership experience, including supervising and managing projects simultaneously;
  • Experience, education, or a combination in natural resources, ecology, or biology to meet the following (Crew Leads should have education and experience with plants and/or soils):
  • Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resources, Ecology, or Biology; Coursework or equivalent experience in aquatic biology, hydrology, entomology, geomorphology, plant taxonomy and/or systematics;


  • Minimum of 1 year collecting aquatic AIM data or similar field work
  • Familiarity with lotic systems of the western United States;
  • Experience conducting field workusing various monitoring protocols, including standard aquatic monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations;
  • Experience with data entry and management;
  • Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
  • Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap); and
  • Experience using Google Earth and ArcMap; Strong interest in aquatic ecology and physical processes; and
  • Navigating off-trail to sampling sites; 

Additional Requirements:

  • Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting, and to consistently enact high-performancestandards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the goals and objectives of the AIM program and the mission 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;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
  • Experience in and willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field;
  • Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, late nights);
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition; and
  • Backcountry travel experience and solid navigational skills


Please visit our employment web page at: &req=2018-GBI-007 to locate the position(s) you are most interested in and apply online directly from our website.

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