Biological Science Technician Crew Lead - (Plants) Humboldt- Toiyabe NF

The Great Basin Institute

Various, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $28/hour with overtime at 1.5x hourly rate. Full time, average 40 hours per week
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

Great Basin Institute 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 that will increase future employment success.

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), is recruiting a Biological Science Technician crew lead to perform and help manage botanical and ecological resource surveys within the Ruby Mountains and East Humboldt mountains of northeastern Nevada. Resource surveys will support analysis under NEPA for proposed fuels/forest health treatments within the Elko Front Project

Crew Leads will assist agency staff and 3 crew members in conducting botanical surveys to collect data on current population dynamics for sensitive plant species and noxious weeds as well as survey and monitor whitebark pine populations across the Project area. Surveys for R4 Sensitive plant species will utilize the Threatened, Endangered and Sensitive Plants (TESP) Protocol and Field Guide and data will be uploaded to the FS Natural Resource Management (NRM) database. Protocols for surveying and establishing long term whitebark pine monitoring plots will be followed to assess forest health conditions and inspect for white pine blister rust.  

Crew Leads will be responsible for crew safety and oversight, including coordination of daily tasks and affiliated project and crew needs, provide or assist in training, communicate frequently with senior GBI botanist and FS staff to plan and assess crew accomplishments. Specific duties include, but are not limited to guiding crew members while: 

  •  Training, coordinating field logistics and scheduling a field crew;
  •  Conducting botanical surveys following TESP protocols; 
  •  Collecting rare plant specimens for newly identified sensitive plant populations; 
  •  Making field observations of natural resource conditions;
  •  Establishing WBP long term monitoring plots following established protocols;
  •  Assessing WBP for white pine blister rust following given rapid assessment protocols;
  •  Utilizing Intermountain Flora keys to identify plants;
  •  Managing and downloading data weekly, while ensuring quality assurance and control;
  •  Writing quarterly reports on accomplishments;
  •  Assisting with end of season data report;
  •  Camping for extensive “hitches” in remote locations; 
  •  Extensive 4x4 driving on unmaintained roads using pickups, trailers and UTVs; and
  •  Navigating off trail and hiking up to 10-miles to sampling sites.

Crew leads will start approximately a week before technicians for lead specific training before combined training focused on survey and monitoring protocols. During training, the typical schedule is 5 days on (Monday-Friday) and 2 days off. During field work, dispersed car camping for extended “hitches” in remote locations will be required.  At the end of the field season, there will be one or more weeks of office work, primarily focused on data finalization and season wrap-up.

Contract Timeline:
-Tentatively: May through October
-Projects are weather dependent, therefore start and end dates vary according to local conditions and individual project needs
Ruby Mountains Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest based in Elko or Wells, depending on available housing.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Wage: $28/hour with overtime at 1.5x hourly rate. Full time, average 40 hours per week
  • Health, dental, vision Insurance premiums covered 100% by GBI (equivalent to approximately $350/month); health, dental and vision insurance is available on the first day of the month following the start of employment
  • Shared housing provided (equivalent to approximately $1000/month); housing stipend not provided if shared housing is denied by employee
  • Camping per diem: $15 /night as necessary (infrequent)
  • Uniform stipend

Job Qualifications:

At least one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in botany, plant ecology, or a closely related field in the biological sciences, including coursework in plant taxonomy and/or systematics AND one year of botany related field work; OR 
  • Three years of professional fieldwork experience.


  • Experience conducting rare plant surveys and other botanical field work;
  •  Experience using technical keys to identify plants to the species or subspecies level;
  • Ability to understand, implement and adhere to established data collection, inventory, assessment, and monitoring protocols; 
  • Capacity to collect and maintain field data in an organized manner that is easily understood and accessible to other resource staff
  • Proficiency in navigation using GPS, topographic maps and compass for off-trail navigation and data collection;
  • Experience using tablets to collect survey data using electronic field forms and GIS applications (i.e. Field Maps and Survey 123);
  • Possession of a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license with the ability to safely operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle on and off paved roads;
  • Ability to work safely and productively in remote field settings under adverse conditions. This includes regularly camping in remote areas for consecutive nights and hiking off trail in steep terrain; 
  • Physically fit to work outdoors, carry up to 50 pounds of personal and/or field equipment, and withstand the rigors of a forested and/or high desert environment in all seasons;
  • Backpacking skills;
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work cooperatively with USFS and GBI staff, as well as work independently with little oversite; and
  • Experience or the ability and willingness to be trained in UTV use and trailer towing.


  • Leadership experience, including supervising field crews and managing projects; 
  • Knowledge of Intermountain Flora and Basin and Range vegetation;
  •  Experience making qualitative landscape condition assessments
  • Training in Wilderness 1st Aid
  • Experience with handheld radios and satellite safety messaging devises;
  • Experience with using forestry monitoring tools such as compass, clinometer, densiometer and laser rangefinder. 
  • Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, long days); and
  • Ability to live and work in rural and remote field and office setting.

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Category Botany , Ecology
Tags GIS