Crew Member: Aquatic Ecological Monitoring in New Mexico
Lotic Ecological Monitoring
(Wadeable Streams and Rivers)
Southwest Conservation Corps
in partnership with
The Bureau of Land Management
Position Title: Crew Member
Position Type: Full-time, temporary
Number of Positions: 1
Location: Taos BLM Field Office, New Mexico
Program Dates: April 11, 2022 to September 23, 2022 (24 weeks)
Living Stipend: $640-680/week depending on experience
Benefits: Paid attendance to training; Wilderness First Aid (or reimbursement if course was paid for personally and taken after April 2021); uniform shirt; $15/day food allowance if camping; AmeriCorps Education Award of $3,247.50 upon satisfactory completion of term
Hiring Benefits: Public Land Corps hiring authority: eligible to use, for two years upon completion of term, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions for a federal agency. See below. Must be under age 31 upon issue of certificate.
Southwest Conservation Corps’s Mission
It is the mission of the Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) to empower individuals to positively impact their lives, their communities, and the environment. For more information, visit www.sccorps.org.
Bureau of Land Management’s Mission
The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Aquatic Monitoring Center (NAMC) have developed the National Aquatic Monitoring Framework to fulfill the Aquatic Assessment, Inventory, Monitoring (AIM) initiative. The National Aquatic Monitoring Framework (NAMF) uses the most common indicators within the land health standards (and to functioning stream systems). The NAMF promotes integrated data collection throughout BLM lands by providing guidance for selection of sample reaches within streams, electronic data capture and storage, tools for consistent data analysis and interpretation to inform management questions. The NAMF is a standardized approach for how the BLM can meet multiple monitoring requirements in a consistent, quantitative and credible manner.
One Crew Lead and one Crew Member will work together to sample wadeable streams and rivers on BLM land using the National Aquatic Monitoring Framework and Aquatic AIM methodology. They will collect water quality data, stream habitat data, and benthic macroinvertebrate samples, entering all appropriate data into Survey123, a tablet-based data-recording program, while on site. All data will be georeferenced using a GPS unit and stored in an ArcGIS geodatabase. Work will be completed in remote areas on BLM lands. Unconventional work hours, including 10 (sometimes 10+) hour days, are expected. Using a BLM- provided vehicle, crews will drive to several different areas of a vast sample area throughout a four- to eight-day work week (colloquially, “hitch”), camp overnight, hike several miles per day, and return to the office for equipment and data management. The crew may also have the opportunity to assist with other public land management projects involving fisheries, range, wildlife, and others. An unconventional schedule, a level of flexibility, and long hours are necessary for success in this program. There is an extensive and intensive training period (paid) spanning the first two months of the term.
Housing is not provided, but we are glad to talk through your options with you in the interview and onward.
We require proof of full vaccination against SARS-COV-2. We have also developed and successfully implemented protocols in precaution against COVID-19 transmission between crew personnel. Protocols address mask-wearing, cleaning, sanitation, and limited paid isolation/stand-down if necessary. Crews will ride in the same vehicle, run errands in public, and share camping and sampling equipment. We ask crews to perform their periodic office tasks in the BLM Field Office if it is available, though remote accommodations may be necessary. Crews may be asked to be flexible and accommodating in using their personal space when the physical BLM office is less available for any reason.
As we are a partnership with a federal agency, we are subject to halting work and pay in the case of a government shutdown. Backpay is not typical.
Crew Member’s Responsibilities
Participates in and contributes to all aspects of data collection, management, and quality control. Participates in and contributes to hitch preparation and planning, transportation of crew in the work vehicle, navigation to plots, equipment maintenance, and time tracking/management. Continuously learns the local flora and soils and builds botanical, soils, and landscape knowledge. Takes an active role in communicating their personal and professional development goals throughout the season.
Consistently exercises discretion and judgment. Takes an active role in identifying, communicating, and maintaining awareness of, and mitigating safety issues. Identifies, communicates, and solves problems ranging from technical, logistical, and interpersonal as they arise. Initiative and participation are expected at every step. Completes mid-term and end-of-term written evaluations for self and crew lead. Maintains adequate and professional communication and systems of feedback between fellow crew folk. The crew member should be passionate about sound science principles and have curiosity as to how the AIM data might be utilized.
- College coursework (2 years, at minimum) in hydrology, fisheries, water resources science, ecology, biology, natural resource management, or a related field,
- OR previous college- or professional-level experience in the above fields, plus familiarity with data collection and sound science principles
- Eligible to accept a 900-hour service term with Americorps
- Aged between 21 and 30 (civilian) or 35 (veteran) years upon start date
- U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residence and associated identification, including an image of a signed social security card AND another acceptable primary form of documentation
- Able to participate for the entire duration of the program dates (exceptions are rare)
- Able to produce identification as stipulated by I-9 upon hire
- Valid US driver's license and insurable driving record
- Able to pass Conservation Legacy’s and the Department of Interior’s background checks
- Experience with Microsoft Suite Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) or other data-collection software
- Interest in large scale, spatially-balanced monitoring designs, and how extensive sampling can assist in understanding dynamic aquatic systems
- Self-motivated and able to work independently with limited supervision after the initial training period. The applicant must be able to operate in both the office and the field.
- Capable of and comfortable with standing and walking in chest-deep, moving water
- Capable of and comfortable with rigging and taking measurements from inflatable watercraft in swift water environments
- Capable of standing and walking (at a minimum 6 miles/day on rough, steep, off-trail uneven terrain using a handheld GPS for routefinding), bending, crouching and stooping for long periods of time while taking precise, repetitive measurements, and lifting/carrying items that weigh up to 40 pounds, in upwards of 100 degree (F) heat while maintaining attention to detail and overall good humor
- Willing to spend multiple days (1-8 days at a time) making day trips and car-camping in remote areas; willing to learn, teach, and adhere to best practices for field safety, comfort, and low-impact principles
- Willing to spend several hours per day and/or per week riding in, navigating with, and driving a four-wheel drive pick-up truck on- and off-highway, sometimes over/around tricky or unexpected obstacles
- If little prior off-road driving experience, then willing to learn
- Willing to constantly demonstrate and enforce best driving practices
- Excellent judgment in assessing physical, mental, and emotional risk
- Able to safely and effectively work in and around adverse conditions including extreme heat, monsoonal rains, and hazardous wildlife (i.e. rattlesnakes, scorpions, biting/stinging insects, cattle, and horses)
- Current (or able to be trained by SCC/BLM) CPR, Wilderness First Aid, and Defensive Driver Training certificates
- Willing to cultivate self-awareness, desire for a positive crew culture, and excitement at the chance to have a close experience with the land.
- Prior experience and/or education in aquatic or terrestrial monitoring/inventory, hydrology, or water resource science
- Experience working as part of a small team and able to work well with others
- Excellent communication (including in-person, email, and phone), organizational, and planning skills
- Experience collecting data, especially electronically
- Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads, and driving for extended periods (2-3 hours at a time).
- Familiarity with the dynamic nature of streams and river systems dependent on monsoonal precipitation
- Experience working or recreating in rangeland, desert, and/or aquatic systems
Public Land Corps:
The Public Land Corps program provides the opportunity for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 years to work on conservation projects on public lands. Participants must successfully complete 640 hours that include at least 120 hours on federal lands through the PLC. PLC members are not federal government employees, but those who successfully complete the PLC requirements are then eligible to use, for two years, a noncompetitive hiring status for consideration when applying to competitive service positions. https://www.blm.gov/careers/students-and-grads/public-lands-corps
Or, go to: https://sccorps.org/small-teams. Application involves cover letter, resume/CV, at least two academic or professional (non-peer) reference contacts, and screening questions. Incomplete applications are given less weight. Please apply with full legal name, your preferred name, and pronouns.
SCC offers several Ecological Monitoring crew positions across Colorado and New Mexico, mostly performing the terrestrial AIM methodology. If interested in multiple locations, please mention and rank location (dis)interest in both the application questionnaire and cover letter. In the cover letter, please paint how your prior experiences demonstrate that you are a fit for the job, even if the connection is not immediately apparent. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
We anticipate beginning the interview process in January. Apply now for advance consideration. Feel free to reach out to Ecological Monitoring Program Manager Cassandra Owen (she/her/hers) at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
This position is located at 226 Cruz Alta Rd, Taos, NM. View the Google Map in full screen.