Topic ID #39121 - posted 1/19/2018 5:00 PM

Ecological/Archaeological Monitoring Field Lead (Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument)


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 ecological monitoring program at GBI serves as an excellent professional development opportunity for burgeoning natural resource professionals looking for experience in botanical, soil, 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 Research Associates provide the research, technical support, data and expert analysis resource managers require in order to make informed management decisions.

Extensive training and technical field skills development provides employees a unique opportunity to obtain valuable experience in executing monitoring protocols that will increase their employment success.  University credit may be available at host institutions for internship or practicum purposes.

As an element of the ecological monitoring program, participants implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy, which is targeted at collecting standardized inventory and long-term vegetation data at multiple scales across western BLM districts. In accordance with this strategy and through partnerships with multiple agencies, GBI’s ecological monitoring program is dedicated to providing college graduates and emerging professionals with hands-on survey, inventory, monitoring, and reporting experience in natural resource management.

This video highlights the BLM’s AIM strategy for landscape-scale data capture across the western states.  

In cooperation with the BLM-Utah, Kanab and Escalante Field Offices, GBI is recruiting one Field Lead to work cooperatively with BLM Resource Managers and GBI Ecological Field Monitoring Technicians. The Field Lead will coordinate a field crew (one Lead and two Technicians) to characterize vegetation using the Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring (AIM) protocol. Training for AIM will be provided by the Jornada Experimental Range. 

Duties include following established field protocols to conduct vegetation sampling and field data collection on new and existing monitoring sites within the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument (GSENM). Prior to establishing and sampling a site, an archaeological clearance is required. Thus, a Principal Investigator Permit from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, or ability to acquire one prior to the start of the season, is a requirement for the position.

Field work will include:

Conducting a general survey of the site to ensure that cultural sites and artifacts are not affected by vegetation sampling;
Maintaining safety awareness and practices; 
Navigating off-trail to sampling sites; 
Establishing sampling plots and transects; 
Identifying and describing soil horizons;
Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights); 
Making qualitative range assessments; and 
Taking photo-points.

Additional duties include:

Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
Entering data into and managing an Access-based database; 
Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys; 
Employing extensive QA/QC data checks; and
o Supporting and managing a field crew; 
o Coordinating field logistics and scheduling; and
o Report writing and completing administrative paperwork

Leadership experience, including supervising crews and managing projects simultaneously.

Technical requirements:

Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archaeology, or closely related field and/or archaeology coursework and field experience; applicants with advanced degrees are encouraged to apply;
2-3 seasons of archaeological experience on the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, or Wasatch;
Familiarity with the identification of  Ancestral Puebloan cultural material and pre and post Formative period archaeology of the region;
Granted Principal Investigator Permit from the Utah State Historic Preservation Office, or ability to acquire one prior to the start of the season;
Ability to recognize a cultural site and determine the boundaries;
Ability to recognize a cultural site if one is encountered while digging soil pits;
Experience in describing and identifying soil horizons;
Experience with data entry and management;
Experience with technical writing and/or producing written project summary reports;
Coursework in plant taxonomy and/or systematics preferred;
Experience identifying plants in the field and using a dichotomous key preferred; 
Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
Experience conducting plant surveys using various monitoring protocols, including standard rangeland monitoring protocols, photo plots, and site observations preferred;
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); and
Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access).

Additional requirements:

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;
Valid, state-issued driver’s license and clean driving record;
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 as part of a team to accomplish mutual goals;
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;
Experience in and willingness to spend multiple days camping in the field;
Willingness to work irregular hours (e.g., early mornings, late nights); and
Ability to work in harsh and rapidly changing environments, work in all types of weather conditions, traverse uneven terrain, carry upwards of 40 pounds in a backpack, and otherwise maintain good physical condition.


This position will require significant amount of travel across the monument between the two bases of operations in Kanab and Escalante. Kanab, UT is southwest of the monument and Escalante, UT is located to the north. The field sampling will be performed across the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, which comprises 1.9 million acres of southwestern Utah. GSENM is the first national monument to be managed by the BLM and the first area to be designated as part of the National Landscape Conservation System. Terrain and climate of the survey region is typical of the Colorado plateau and Utah Canyonlands.

o $1,500 bi-weekly salary 
o $15.00 Camping per diem
o $75/week housing stipend

Contract Timeline: 

o 4/2/2018 – 9/28/2018 
o Full-time, 40 hours per week minimum


Visit our Employment Network websites: - - For information on advertising on this website, contact