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Riparian and Wetland Ecological Monitoring Crew Leads/Botanists

University of Montana

Carson City, Nevada; Boise, Idaho; Missoula, Montana

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $20 - $22 per hour
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

The University of Montana (UM) O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West (OCRMW) is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement their Riparian and Wetland Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy. This protocol is targeted at collecting standardized inventory and long-term hydrological, vegetation, and soils data to monitor wetland and riparian areas at multiple scales in BLM Districts in the Western U.S.

We are currently recruiting Crew Leads and Botanists with experience in botany, ecology, and soil science for data collection in Idaho and Nevada from April/May through August/September. The Nevada project starts mid-late April and the Idaho project starts mid May.

Crews will work as a team of three with a Crew Lead, Botanist, and Technician to collect vegetation, soils, hydrology, and disturbance data in wetland and riparian ecosystems. Crews work eight-day hitches: 10-hours/day, from Tuesday-Tuesday, with a six-day break between hitches. All positions are field-based and require working and camping in isolated locations. We ask seasonal staff to commit to the entire field season, practice safety awareness, safe driving policies, and contribute to building a healthy, productive, and enjoyable work environment.

Applicants should understand that this is a physically demanding position. Crews often work and camp in inclement weather conditions, frequently navigating rough, unpaved roads in 4x4 vehicles, and carry heavy loads (40 lbs.) by foot over rugged desert and mountainous terrain. Sampling locations are occasionally near small towns, but these towns often have few amenities. Primitive camping is required. Cell phone service is limited.

UM supplies all necessary monitoring equipment, including vehicles, to carry out the work. We provide some group camping gear (stoves, coolers). Individuals are responsible for their personal camping gear (tents, sleeping bags) but UM has camping gear available to borrow.

The University of Montana is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer and has a strong institutional commitment to the principle of diversity in all areas. Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ability, and perspectives are encouraged to apply.

Position Details

  • Position is full time, temporary (< 4 months).
  • Compensation is based on position, qualifications and experience.
    • Crew Leads earn $20-22 per hour (Hiring for all locations)
    • Botanists earn $20-22 per hour (Hiring for Carson City only)
  •  All positions include (tax-free):
    • $268 meal per diem per 8-day hitch
    • Muck boots (kept by employee on completion of the season, a ~$100 value) 
    • Field/Camping Equipment (kept by employee upon completion of field season, up to $500 value)
  • Benefits include Worker’s Compensation coverage, paid holidays, and accrual of sick leave.

Qualifications

Education and Experience

Crew Lead (Hiring for all locations)

  • A bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology, botany, soil science, range ecology, natural resources management, or related subject.
  • A minimum of two full field seasons collecting scientific data, specifically vegetation sampling, soil profile descriptions, water quality sampling, and/or other environmental data. A completed master’s degree with field work can satisfy this requirement. Knowledge of wetland ecology and experience working in wetlands and/or riparian areas preferred.

Botanist (Hiring for Carson City only)

  • Minimum three years of undergraduate coursework required. Bachelor’s or master’s degree in botany, plant sciences, biology, soil science, range ecology, natural resources management, or related subject preferred.
  • A minimum of one season of field data collection or intensive coursework in field data collection.
  • Coursework and experience in plant taxonomy or systematics required. Knowledge of wetland ecology and experience working in wetlands and/or riparian areas preferred.

Preferred Technical Skills

All Positions

  • Careful attention to detail.
  • Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection.
  • Experience with data entry and management using electronic devices.
  • Experience navigating off-trail with compass and GPS.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel) and preferably with Field Maps and Survey123.
  • Experience driving 4WD trucks, especially on rough and unmaintained roads. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (DUI or other serious convictions need not apply). 
  • Certification in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. 

Crew Lead

  • Experience using dichotomous botanical keys and field guides, familiarity with the major plant families, and knowledge of western flora. 
  • Familiarity with commonly accepted plant nomenclature and taxonomy.
  • Experience preparing and organizing voucher and herbarium specimens.
  • Ability to describe soil horizons, textures and stability and collect soil samples for analysis.

Botanist

  • Experience identifying plants to species in the field using a dichotomous key (e.g., Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, Jepson), including challenging taxa, such as Salicaceae, Poaceae, and Cyperaceae. Crews may encounter 60-90 plant species in a single plot, in various phenological states. Successful AIM sampling requires rapid and accurate field identification using dichotomous keys and meticulous documentation of unidentified plants.
  • Experience identifying wetland or riparian plants.
  • Familiarity with commonly accepted plant nomenclature and taxonomy.
  • Experience preparing and organizing voucher specimens.

Professional Skills

Crew Lead

  • Experience supervising technicians, volunteers or undergraduate students. Leadership in a volunteer or community organization, or in the military, can satisfy this requirement.
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve interpersonal conflict during stressful situations.
  • Ability to interact with stakeholders and partners in a professional manner.
  • Experience managing gear and equipment for a crew, lab class, team, etc.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals and to work independently as required.
  • Commitment to an entire field season.

Botanist

  • Ability to maintain good working relationships with crew members and managers.
  • Ability to accept guidance and constructive criticism from peers and supervisors; willingness to learn and incorporate suggested changes.
  • Demonstrated ability to resolve interpersonal conflict during stressful situations.
  • Ability to interact with stakeholders and partners in a professional manner.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals and to work independently as required.
  • Commitment to an entire field season.

Physical Requirements – All Positions

  • Ability to carry 40 pounds in a backpack over rugged mountainous terrain, off-trail, for up to eight (8) miles a day, gaining up to 2000 ft. of elevation per day.
  • Ability to dig soil pits in rocky and dense soils (50 cm deep).
  • Willingness and ability to maintain a positive attitude in field conditions that include exposure to inclement weather, hot or cold weather (20°F–110°F), rugged terrain, mosquitos, venomous snakes, bears and other wildlife, lightning, wildfire, etc., all while maintaining a strong commitment to team safety required.
  • Willingness to work irregular hours in harsh environments and challenging weather conditions.
  • Commitment to an entire field season.

Training

These positions are ideal for people who are committed to ongoing learning and professional development. You will receive paid training on AIM protocols and associated methodology. UM ecologists will also provide additional training on protocols, soil assessment, and plant identification for the area in which you will be working, and ongoing field-based support and training from specialists during the field season. You will have the opportunity to interact with seasoned staff scientists from both the BLM and UM throughout training and field work. 

Locations

Base locations for each project:

  • Idaho – Boise, ID or Missoula, MT (hiring for crew lead only)
    • Start mid May
  • Nevada – Carson City, NV (hiring botanist and crew lead)
    • Start mid-late April

Employment Eligibility: All New Employees must be eligible and show employment eligibility verification by the first date of employment at UM, as legally required (e.g., Form I-9).

HOW TO APPLY

Applications review will begin immediately.

Please submit the following documents to wetlandaim@umontana.edu. The subject line of the email should read "2024 Riparian and Wetland AIM Application”. Please combine all application materials into 1 document (.pdf preferred) titled “{your name} - {position applying for}” (e.g. Marsha Meadows - Botanist).

  • Letter of Interest – Please ensure it addresses the following:
    • Your ability to meet the stated required skills for the position.
    • Your preferred location.
    • Your earliest start date.
    • If you applied for any other positions with OCRMW.
  • Detailed resume listing education and describing work experience.
  • Names and contact information for three (3) professional references.
  • Transcripts (Unofficial Transcripts are acceptable)

Application review will be ongoing and will continue until all positions are filled. All applicants will be notified of receipt of their application and the results of the preliminary review (rejected due to failure to meet minimum qualifications or transmitted to hiring team). If you qualify for an interview, you will have the opportunity to speak with staff who worked as AIM crew members in previous years.

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

Category Botany, Ecology, Hydrology
Tags Wetland, Soil Science