Riparian and Wetland Soil and Hydrology Technician

Institute for Natural Resources, Portland State University

Portland, Oregon

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details starting at $21.58 / hour
Required Experience 0 - 1 years


The Institute for Natural Resources (Portland, OR office; https://www.pdx.edu/inr/institute-natural-resources) is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to implement their Riparian and Wetland Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (R&W AIM) strategy, which is targeted at collecting standardized data from wetlands and riparian areas across BLM Districts in the western U.S.  Work will focus on sites in northern California, and central and southeastern Oregon.  Data collection will follow the AIM National Aquatic Monitoring Framework: Field Protocol for Lentic Riparian and Wetland Systems (TR 1735-3).

To assist in this effort, we are recruiting the following position to participate in a three-person crew:  Riparian and Wetland Soil and Hydrology Technician (1):  Based in Portland, OR but working in northeast CA, central OR and southeast OR.  The position is field-based and will require rough camping (e.g., sometimes away from established campgrounds or any infrastructure).  Sampling sites may sometimes be near a town, but often the towns will have few amenities or entertainment, and crew members should plan to bring all of their food and supplies with them each hitch.  Cell phone service from any carrier (Verizon is usually the best) is poor to non-existent in many areas.  Applicants should also understand that this is physically demanding work. The crew will work eight consecutive 10-hour days, followed by a 6-day break, in all kinds of weather and with the possibility of fire smoke, and frequently have to navigate sketchy roads before lugging awkward and heavy equipment across uneven terrain to access a site.

Mandatory paid training will occur May 19 through 26 in Rawlins, WY; the cost of travel will be covered by INR.  Regular field sampling will begin June 5 and will continue into late August, and will consist of at least six 80-hour work hitches. An additional seventh hitch may occur in mid- to late September to revisit a subset of sites following grazing. Each hitch will run from Wednesday through Wednesday.  INR will supply all of the equipment necessary to carry out the work, including vehicle, sampling equipment, waterproof boots, and shared camping equipment (i.e., stove and water jug). Crew members are expected to provide personal items, including closed toe hiking boots, backpack for carrying field gear, tent, sleeping bag and pad.  Crew members are also responsible for arranging their own housing in between hitches.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s Degree or higher in Environmental Science, Biology, Hydrology, Water Resources or related subject.
  • Experience following established field protocols to conduct sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites, including:  experience with data entry and management using electronic devices; experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units and other electronic devices; and experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access).
  • Experience driving and maintaining 4WD trucks and other vehicles, especially in off-road situations. Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (DUI or other serious convictions need not apply).
  • 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 40-50 pounds in a backpack over uneven terrain.
  • Demonstrated ability to work productively as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals, and to work independently as required.
  • CPR and First Aid Certification. (INR can reimburse the cost of courses.)

Preferred Qualifications:

Studies have shown that women and minorities often don’t apply for positions where they don’t meet all of the preferred skills and experience. We recognize that there are many different paths, experiences, and less traditional backgrounds that add value to one’s work, and encourage applicants to apply even if they do not have all of the preferred skills.

  • One season of wetland soils and hydrology field data collection.
  • Experience characterizing riparian and wetland habitats in the field using standardized protocols, including sampling soil profiles, measuring water quality parameters and interpreting field indicators to classify wetland types.
  • Experience with water quality sampling.
  • Wilderness First Aid certification.  (INR can reimburse the cost of courses.)


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 trainings, and to contribute to building a healthy and fun work team environment.


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 training (for all crew members) on the R&W AIM protocol will occur May 19-26 in Rawlins, WY.


Salary is based on qualifications and experience, with the Riparian and Wetland Soils and Hydrology Technician starting at $21.58 an hour. All positions will receive a total of $480 per diem for food costs per hitch, and lodging reimbursement of up to $175 per hitch (e.g., for camping at established campgrounds).  We will also cover per diem, including two travel days, associated with training.


Additional information about the Institute for Natural Resources can be found on our website at https://www.pdx.edu/inr/institute-natural-resources. Additional information on the AIM strategy, including the protocols, can be found at https://www.blm.gov/aim.


Please submit the following as a single email attachment to Kyla Zaret (R&W AIM Crew Manager at INR, kzaret@pdx.edu ).  Email-based inquiries will be entertained, but please make sure that you have done your homework first (e.g., you’ve carefully re-read the entire position announcement, and looked over the INR and BLM websites and related links, see below).

  • 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; and your reasons for pursuing this opportunity in particular.
  • Curriculum vitae, including all degrees and related coursework.
  • Names of three (3) references. While we prefer professional references who can attest to your work ethic and technical abilities, we will accept academic references or references from organizations.

Application review will begin immediately, and will continue until the position is filled.

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

Category Botany , Hydrology
Tags Wetland , Soil Science