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Aquatic Monitoring Field Technician

Expiration Date: 

Aquatic Monitoring Field Technician

The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and service throughout the West. The Institute’s mission is to advance applied science and ecological literacy through community engagement and agency partnerships, supporting national parks and forests, open spaces and public lands.

The Aquatic Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent development opportunity for natural resource professionals seeking experience in aquatic, riparian, and rangeland surveys. A component of our well-established Research Associate Program, GBI’s Aquatic Monitoring effort 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 success.  


GBI is recruiting Aquatic Monitoring Field Technicians to assist in the implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Aquatic Monitoring Framework (NAMF) for Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) of lotic ecosystems, as well as Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of stream channels and streamside vegetation. The Aquatic Monitoring Field Technicians will work with GBI staff, BLM staff, and Aquatic Monitoring Field Leads and Riparian Botanists. Each Field Technician will work as part of a two-person crew (one Crew Lead, one Technician) (southwestern Colorado) or three-person crew (one Crew Lead, one Riparian Botanist, one Technician) (eastern Oregon) to sample streams and assess riparian vegetation on BLM-managed land using the BLM’s Aquatic AIM protocol. If part of a three-person crew, technicians will also assess riparian vegetation using the MIM protocol for stream channels and streamside vegetation. AIM seeks to standardize the collection data that can be used at multiple scales to assist the BLM in making resource management decisions.

More information about AIM and AIM implementation can be found at

More information about MIM:

Aquatic monitoring crews will sample streams on BLM-managed lands in southwestern Colorado and eastern Oregon using the BLM’s AIM protocol for wadeable lotic systems. Data collection involves measuring a variety of attributes including water chemistry and instream habitat, collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates, and conducting ocular estimates in the riparian zone. Successful applicants will be required to work and camp in the field during 8-day sampling efforts (8 days on, 6 days off). Applicants should be prepared to encounter strenuous working conditions, including off-trail hiking and traversing streams. Additional effort might be required to reach difficult sites, including overnight backpacking and use of off road vehicles. 

Dependent on performance and completion of work term this position qualifies for Public Lands Corps (PLC) status given that the applicant is 30 years old or younger at the time of application for federal employment.

Field work and duties may include:

  • Route planning utilizing ArcMap and Google Earth
  • Navigating unmaintained roads and off-trail to sampling sites utilizing GBP and back country navigation; 
  • Establishing sampling plots and transects; 
  • Entering data into and manage SURVEY 123 ipad application (Aquatic Data Management Protocol)
  • Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys.
  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices; 
  • Regular communication with GBI support staff and BLM agency staff; and 
  • Participation in GBI and BLM agency trainings.

Technical Qualifications:

  • Experience, education, or a combination thereof in natural resources and field data collection to meet one or both of the following:
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources, Ecology, Biology or related subject; and
  • Minimum of 2 years field data collection.
  • Coursework or equivalent experience in aquatic biology, hydrology, entomology, geomorphology, plant taxonomy and/or systematics;
  • Familiarity with lotic systems of the western United States;
  • Experience conducting field work using various monitoring protocols, including standard aquatic monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations;
  • Experience with data entry and management;
  • Ability to read, interpret, and navigate using topographic maps;
  • Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
  • Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap);
  • Experience using Google Earth and ArcMap; 
  • Strong interest in aquatic ecology and physical processes; 
  • Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
  • Ability to live and work with other crew members in remote locations for prolonged periods of time
  • Ability to maintain a positive working environment during difficult working conditions. 

Additional Requirements:

  • Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting, and to consistently meet high performance standards. This includes maintaining a strong work and team ethic in support of the goals and objectives of the AIM program and the mission of GBI;
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
  • Ability to complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) and submit paperwork prior to employment indicating that an active or fully adjudicated BI has been started or completed;
  • Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Ability to communicate effectively with team members, agency staff, and a diverse public;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles;
  • Willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field;
  • Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, late nights); 
  • Backcountry travel experience and solid navigational skills; 
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments and all types of weather, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition;
  • Ability to provide personal camping equipment, backpack, and hiking boots. 



  • Total approximate compensation: $2910/month before taxes (approximate hourly equivalent: $18.19/hour), plus health insurance


  • $15.00/hour
  • $15.00 per diem for every night camping (up to 7 units in an 8 day workweek)
  • $300/month housing stipend paid $150 every two weeks
  • Health insurance including vision and dental at no cost to the employee
  • Paid federal holidays
  • Paid personal time off (amount dependent on contract length)


Locations and Timelines

Eastern Oregon:

May through September (3 crews)

May through July (1 crew)


Western Colorado: 

May through September (3 crews)


Apply at:

Placement is determined on a first-come, first-served basis, it is possible that some locations will be full. We encourage applying early to gain the best chance of getting top-choice locations. Applications will continue to be accepted until all positions are filled or until April 30, 2021, whichever comes first. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.