Forestry Crew Lead - CA National Forests (USFS)

The Great Basin Institute

Various, California

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $26/hour with overtime at 1.5x hourly rate. Full time, average 40 hours per week
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the USFS, is recruiting Forestry Crew Leads to perform timber sale-preparation, vegetation management and restoration projects in the Sierra Nevada region. These projects all serve the Basin & Range Forestry program’s greater mission of helping the USFS in their critical goal of improving forest resilience in the face of worsening climate conditions and increased wildfire threats. Forestry Crew Lead work will directly improve the quality of these forests helping ensure they continue to thrive for generations to come. 

Crew Leads will support USFS Region 5’s vegetation management and fuels reduction efforts, supporting initiatives for healthy, productive, and resilient forest landscapes and resources. Projects will vary across Forests and Districts, and include but are not limited to fuels reduction initiatives in wildland urban interface (WUI) areas, in and around sensitive habitats for threatened and endangered species, and watershed protection. Crew Leads will receive professional development opportunities and benefit from exposure to USFS processes, procedures, compliance measures and reporting, and technical experience.

Forestry Crew Leads will perform a wide variety of activities to support all stages of project work. 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 daily/weekly with agency staff to plan and assess crew accomplishments, and communicate with GBI staff as needed. Crew size will range between 2-6 people. Forestry duties may include: 

  • Timber sale unit boundary delineation and layout (GPSing, flagging, painting); 
  • Tree species identification; Green and salvage timber marking and cruising; 
  • Timber and biomass plot cruising
  •  Collection of stand examination data; 
  •  General silviculture data collection; 
  • Identification of various resource concerns including hydrology, heritage, wildlife and recreation

All procedures will be performed in compliance with silvicultural prescriptions based on forest and treatment type and land management goals. Data will be gathered using standard instruments, direct measurements, general observations and on-site inspections. Project-specific training will be provided on tree-species identification, GPS data collection, tree marking, hydrology, entomology/pathology, heritage, fire/fuels and other elements.

Contract Timeline:

-Tentatively: May – November
- Projects are weather dependent, therefore start and end dates vary according to local conditions and individual project needs

Location:Forestry Crew Lead positions are open across many National Forests in various locations. Position locations include the following National Forests and Management Units: Tahoe, Sequoia, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Eldorado, Lassen, Plumas, Klamath, and Stanislaus.
Preferred location placement is not guaranteed and final placement will be dependent on the various needs of the National Forests.

Compensation and Benefits:
- Wage: $26/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


At least one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Forestry (preferred), natural resource management or related field, with coursework AND one year of forestry related field work; OR 
  • Three years of professional fieldwork experience. 


  • Proficiency in navigation using GPS, topographic map and compass; 
  • Experience with cruising and marking techniques; 
  • Possess 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 effectively in a team setting with USFS staff, GBI staff, interns, volunteers, academic, state, and federal partners; 
  • Ability to work safely and productively in remote field settings under adverse conditions. This includes occasionally overnight camping in remote areas for consecutive nights; 
  • 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;
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work cooperatively as well as independently; 
  • Strong communication skills with diverse audiences, both written and oral; and 
  • 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.


  • Experience leading crews in the field, including oversight of crew safety, communication, fidelity to methods and data quality; 
  • Familiarity with, and interest in, resource management issues of western states and the ecology of the Sierra Nevada ecoregion; 
  • Familiarity with the mixed conifer forests typical of eastern California, including common plants (woody and herbaceous), wildlife, geology and topography; 
  • Experience using ArcGIS to create maps; 
  • Experience identifying hydrologic concerns, recognizing forest entomology/pathology issues, identifying heritage sites and experience with fire/fuels assessments or related field tasks. 

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Category Forestry
Tags GIS, Entomology