Wildlife 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.
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the USFS, is recruiting Wildlife Crew Leads to perform and help manage wildlife and habitat surveys within the Sierra Nevada mountain range (USFS Region-5 locations). 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. The work that you will do directly improves the quality of these forests helping ensure they continue to thrive for generations to come.

Specifically, Crew Leads will assist agency personnel and crew members with applied management objectives for sensitive, threatened and endangered species such as Northern goshawk, Spotted-owl, Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and fisher. Work will focus on monitoring populations and surveying habitats used by these species to 1) support population data on specific species; and 2) ensure adequate protections are in place for areas undergoing vegetation management and restoration projects. These positions support legally mandated compliance measures and obligations and  will help serve USFS vegetation management and fuels reduction efforts, supporting initiatives for healthy, productive, and resilient forest landscapes and resources. This work provides professional development and leadership opportunities including:

  • Increased exposure and responsibility enacting USFS processes, procedures, and compliance measures; 
  • Assisting in reporting and data entry/quality assurance and control.
  • Increased technical experience and expanded opportunities and exposure to additional disciplines (e.g. archaeology, forestry, hydrology, etc.)

Wildlife 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, converse frequently with agency staff to plan and assess crew accomplishments, and converse with GBI staff as needed. Crew size will range between 2-6 people. Duties may include:

  • Broadcast acoustical surveys for Northern goshawks, nocturnal surveys for Spotted-owls, nesting and reproductive status monitoring, and survey and identification of aquatic species.
  •  Provide technical advice and leadership for wildlife management programs. This includes gathering, compiling, and analyzing data to determine wildlife habitat requirements and management needs, assessing habitat quality and quantity, interpreting biological requirements for focal wildlife species and their habitat and inventorying and monitoring habitat populations. 

Contract Timeline:- Tentatively: April – November. Possibility to extend depending on forest reporting needs and your availability.
- Projects are weather dependent, therefore start and end dates vary according to local conditions and individual project needs

Multiple CA Forests including Sequoia, Eldorado, and Tahoe.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Wage: $26/hour with overtime at 1.5x hourly rate. Full time, average 40 hours per week.
  • Health, Dental, Vision Insurance paid 100% by GBI. Available on the first day of the month following the start of employment.
  • Shared housing provided in cooperation with GBI and USFS.
  • Camping Per Diem: $15/night as necessary.
  • Uniform Stipend.

Job Qualifications:

At least one of the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Ecology, Natural Resource Management or related discipline, including field based coursework AND one year of wildlife work related to the specific species that you will primarily be responsible for surveying (varies by forest and district, mostly spotted owl);


  • Experience leading crews in the field, including oversight of crew safety, communication, fidelity to methods and data quality;
  •  Proficiency in navigation using GPS, topographic map and compass;
  • Experience in standard field methods for wildlife surveys, status assessments, and habitat characterization;
  • Experience in conducting surveys for spotted owl, northern goshawk, and other raptors, strongly preferred;
  • Possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license;
  • 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 work & camping in remote areas for consecutive nights;
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to work cooperatively as well as independently;
  • Strong communication skills with a diverse audiences, both written and oral;
  • Willingness to work a variable schedule in response to project needs, possibly including some weekends, nights, holidays;
  • 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.


  • Ability to safely operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle on and off paved roads; 
  • Familiarity with and interest in resource management issues of western states and the ecology of the Sierra Nevada ecoregion;
  • Familiarity with Sierra Nevada forested habitat types, especially east slope, preferred;
  • 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 resources staff;
  • Advanced skill using specialized software such as Microsoft Office Suite, ArcMap GIS, and Google Earth.

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Category Wildlife
Tags GIS