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Aquatic Monitoring Riparian Botanist

Expiration Date: 

Aquatic Monitoring Riparian Botanist (multiple locations)
Great Basin Institute and Bureau of Land Management

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

The Aquatic Monitoring Program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for natural resource professionals seeking experience in aquatic, riparian, and rangeland surveys. This Program is a component of our well-established Research Associate Program, which focuses on the conservation and management of natural, cultural, and recreation resources in the Intermountain West while providing emerging professionals opportunities to begin or enhance their careers.

GBI’s Aquatic Monitoring Program 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 in executing monitoring protocols that will increase their future employment success.  


GBI is recruiting Riparian Botanists to assist in the implementation of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Aquatic Monitoring Framework (NAMF) for Assessment, Inventory, Monitoring (AIM) of lotic ecosystems, as well as the Multiple Indicator Monitoring (MIM) of stream channels and streamside vegetation. The Riparian Botanists will work with BLM staff, GBI staff and Aquatic Monitoring Field Leads and Technicians. Each Riparian Botanist will work as part of a three-person crew (one Crew Lead, one Riparian Botanist, one Technician) in Eastern Oregon to sample streams and rivers and assess riparian vegetation on BLM-managed land using the BLM’s Aquatic AIM protocol for lotic systems and the MIM protocol, respectively. AIM seeks to standardize the collection of quantitative data that can be used at multiple scales to assist the BLM in making resource management decisions. The key objective of the MIM protocol is to assess riparian vegetation. All Riparian Botanists will assist in collecting aquatic AIM data at various points throughout the season, as well as collecting MIM data. 

More information about AIM and AIM implementation can be found at

More information about MIM can be found at:

Aquatic Monitoring Crews will sample streams and rivers on BLM-managed lands in Eastern Oregon using the BLM’s AIM protocol for wadeable lotic systems. Crews will interact with local BLM staff, national level staff at the National Operations Center (NOC), and GBI senior monitoring staff. Data collection involves measuring a variety of attributes including water chemistry and instream physical habitat, collecting aquatic macroinvertebrates, and conducting visual estimates in the riparian zone. Additional data collection for MIM sites will involve classifying streamside vegetation and identifying riparian vegetation to species and subspecies. Successful applicants will be required to work and camp in the field during 8-day sampling efforts (8 consecutive 10 hour days, followed by 6 days off). Applicants should be prepared to encounter strenuous working conditions, including off-trail hiking and traversing streams. Additional effort may be required to reach difficult sites, including overnight backpacking and the use of off road vehicles and UTVs.

Field work and duties may include:

  • Collecting riparian vegetation data, including species inventory (greenline composition, green-line width, cover and constancy, stubble height, wood), stream bank stability, age and height classes of woody species, canopy cover, etc. and making qualitative ecological assessments
  • Identifying plants to species or subspecies using dichotomous keys.
  • Establishing sampling plots and transects (within the stream channel and streamside riparian area);
  • Entering data into Excel data modules 
  • Aiding in the collection of Lotic AIM data
  • Maintaining safety awareness and practices; 

Additional duties include:

  • Participation in GBI and BLM-led trainings, including required attendance of BLM-led Lotic AIM Field Methods training in addition to the BLM-led MIM training
  • Route planning utilizing ArcMap, Google Earth, Avenza, and CalTopo;
  • Navigating unmaintained roads and off-trail to sampling sites utilizing GPS and backcountry navigation techniques; 
  • Regular communication with GBI support staff and BLM staff;

Locations and Tentative Timelines:

Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for additional locations and extension. Please indicate your availability and top choice when applying. We encourage applying early in order to gain the best chance at getting your top-choice location. 

Position Locations in Oregon (OR District Interactive Map) 

  • 1 Riparian Botanist, BLM Prineville District
    • Field office: Prineville, Oregon
  • 1 Riparian Botanist, BLM Vale District
    • Field office: Baker City or Vale, Oregon
  • 1 Riparian Botanist, BLM Burns District
    • Field office: Burns, Oregon
  • 1 Riparian Botanist, BLM Lakeview District
    • Field office: Klamath Falls, Oregon

There is a potential that the  Riparian Botanist assigned to one region will assist with other regions as the season progresses

Projected Season Length: May - September, 2022

Compensation: This is an hourly position. Total approximate compensation: $3230/month before taxes (approximate hourly equivalent: $20.19), plus health insurance and paid time off

  • $17/hr 
  • $150 non-taxed biweekly housing stipend ($300/ month) 
  • $15/ night Camping per diem
  • Paid Federal holidays 
  • Paid personal leave 
  • Paid health insurance (medical, dental and vision) at no cost to the employee

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


Required Qualifications:

  • Experience in plant identification, capable of identifying 95% of plants encountered to the species level, experience in riparian plant identification and field based monitoring is preferred. Qualifications may be met through education, experience, or a combination.
  • Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Botany, Biology, Ecology, or Rangeland Ecology or other Natural Resources with at least 9 semester hours in plant or biological sciences. Courses in such areas as plant taxonomy, plant physiology, and plant ecology are acceptable subjects.
  • Experience: minimum of 1 year field data collection identifying plants 
  • Experience conducting vegetation data with a strong interest in riparian vegetation
  • Experience with data entry and management;
  • Ability to swim, sample in cold water, walk on uneven surfaces, and bushwack on steep terrain, sometimes hiking up to 10 miles a day.
  • Willingness to spend 8 consecutive days camping in the field where multiple hazards may be encountered, while sometimes working irregular hours and camping in a new location each night 
  • Willingness to work multiple days in the field with limited or nonexistent phone or internet service.  
  • Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, carry 40-50lbs in a backpack, traverse over uneven terrain and otherwise maintain good physical condition.
  • Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
  • Willingness and ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic setting, and to consistently enact high performance standards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the goals and objectives of the AIM program and the mission of GBI;
  • Ability to complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) and submit paperwork to BLM human resources prior to beginning position indicating that an active and fully adjudicated BI has been started or completed;
  • Ability to work productively independently as well as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals;
  • 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;

Preferred qualifications

  • Familiarity with riparian vegetation in the western United States
  • 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 ESRI software (ArcMap, ArcGIS, ArcGISPro);
  • Experience using Google Earth, CalTopo, Avenza; 
  • Backcountry travel experience and solid navigational skills, including navigating off trail