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11 Jan 2022

Environment Ecological Monitoring Vegetation Soil Technician (Las Vegas, Nevada)

The Great Basin Institute – Posted by Recrutiment Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Job Description

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 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’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. 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.

In one component of the Program, participants implement the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) strategy for terrestrial systems, targeted at collecting standardized ecological information and long-term vegetation data at multiple scales across western BLM districts. In some instances participants may perform supplemental protocols such as Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) (to inform conservation approaches for sage-grouse). Supplemental sampling may also include collecting data on forb diversity and pollinators, among other indicators. Select locations will apply AIM sampling to post-wildfire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) monitoring.

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

Southern California Soil Crew Specific Information:

This project is working within the BLM California Desert District (CDD) and in addition to collecting standard AIM data, this project will assist the NRCS with soil mapping and ecological site development at sites within the DRECP/CDD designs. The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is focused on 10.8 million acres of public lands in the desert regions of seven California counties – Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego. It is a landscape-level plan that streamlines renewable energy development while conserving unique and valuable desert ecosystems and providing outdoor recreation opportunities.

More information on the DRECP can be found here:​


GBI is recruiting six Ecological Monitoring Soil Technicians to work with GBI and BLM staff. There are two different projects GBI is recruiting soil technicians for; two soil crews working in the California Desert District and two crews working in Southern Nevada.

Southern California Soil Crew:

Each Soil Technician will work on a 2 person field crew under the supervision of an Ecological Monitoring Soil Scientist. Each soil crew will collect a NASIS (National Soil Information System) quality Soil Pit Description. This in an effort to assist the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) with soil mapping and ecological site development in the hot deserts of California. Sites within the DRECP (Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan)/CDD (California Desert District) designs will be completing NRCS Soil Pedon Descriptions. A comprehensive soil pit description will be completed at each site using the NRCS Soil Pedon Description Form 232. This will be done at randomized sample locations across the DRECP/CDD areas where standard AIM data is also being collected by a separate crew. This crew will be a dedicated soils crew. In addition, the soil crew will also collect soil sample voucher collections for three specified plots determined by the BLM.


Each Field Tech will work with one other technician under the supervision of a Field Lead to characterize vegetation using the terrestrial AIM core methods. In some instances, Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF), and/or other supplemental protocols will be performed, for which training will be provided. Aside from core AIM sampling, any supplemental protocols implemented will vary by location.

Data will be used by resource specialists and land managers to inform decisions regarding land management at various temporal and spatial scales.

During field work, car camping for 7 night “hitches” in remote locations will typically be required.

Depending on performance and completion of work term this position can qualify for Public Lands Corps (PLC) status given that the applicant is 30 years old or younger at the time of GBI employment. This certificate allows for non-competitive status for future federal job applications and will last two years from the end of GBI employment.

Field work will include:
• Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
• Extensive 4×4 driving on unmaintained roads;
• Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
• Establishing sampling plots and transects;
• Identifying and describing soil horizons to help verify ecological site descriptions (ESDs);
• Collecting vegetation data (including species inventory, forb diversity, species abundance, sagebrush shape, foliar cover, canopy gap, and herbaceous and woody heights);
• Taking photo-points.

Southern California Soil Crew specific duties:
• Maintaining safety awareness and practices;
• Extensive 4×4 driving on unmaintained roads;
• Navigating off-trail to sampling sites;
• Identifying and describing soil horizons to help verify ecological site descriptions (ESDs);
• Digging a NASIS (National Soil Information System) Quality Soil Pit- minimum of 100cm and up to 200cm or contact with bedrock. Digging time potentially takes more than three hours.
• Completing NRCS Soil Pedon Descriptions using NRCS Form 232.
• Collecting soil sample vouchers
• Taking photo-points.

Additional duties include:
• Regular communication with GBI support staff and agency staff;
• Participation in GBI and agency trainings;
• Entering data into both Field Maps and Survey 123 software;
• Identifying plants to species using dichotomous keys; and
• Employing extensive QA/QC data checks.


Total approximate compensation: $2990/month before taxes (Including benefits the approximate hourly equivalent: $18.69/hour), plus health insurance (monthly premiums fully paid by GBI) and paid time off.


• $15.50/hour
• $150 bi-weekly housing stipend*
• $15 per diem for every night camped in the field (up
to 7 units in an 8 day work week)
• Affordable Care Act Compliant Health insurance
including vision and dental provided at no cost to
the employee starting the first day of the month
following employment start date.
• Paid federal holidays
• Paid personal time off (amount dependent on contract

*Housing stipend is untaxed and can be used at the discretion of the applicant. Housing is not provided. Applicants must be able to provide their own lodging

Contract Timeline:

Locations and timelines listed below are tentative, some with potential for extension. Crews will be based out of the Las Vegas GBI Office but work in the following BLM Field Office (FO’s) areas.

Please indicate your availability and project preference in your cover letter when applying. Application review will continue until all positions are filled. We encourage applying early to gain the best chance of getting top-choice locations. Only qualified candidates will be contacted.

Southern California Project:
• Southern California Desert District/ Bishop Field Office;
• February 21st-July 8th
• 2-person soils monitoring only crews

Nevada Statewide Project:
• Ely BLM District, Southern Nevada District
• February 21st -June 17th
• 3-person vegetation and soils monitoring crews


Experience, education, or a combination of the two in natural resources and field data collection to meet one or both of the following:

• B.A./B.S in a natural resource field such as soil science, geosciences, environmental science, ecology, biology, natural resource management, or a closely related field
• At least 9 semester hours in soil science classes.


• A minimum of 1 year field data collection describing soils.
• Any of the 4 certifications from the Soil Science Society of America may substitute for education or experience.

Technical requirements:
• Experience conducting soils surveys, digging soil pits, delineating soil horizons, identifying soil texture classes using the hand texturing method, and describing soil structure preferred
• Familiarity with NRCS soils databases and Ecological Site Descriptions concepts
• Experience with data entry and management;
• Ability to read, interpret and navigate using topographic maps;
• Experience safely operating 4WD trucks on paved and unpaved roads, often in remote areas on unimproved roads;
• Experience navigating and collecting coordinates with hand-held GPS units;
• Experience creating maps and performing basic functions with GIS software (ArcMap), preferred;
• Experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access); and
• Experience with Field Maps, Survey 123, and ArcGIS Online.

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;
• Familiarity with native and invasive plants of the sampling area and associated natural resource issues preferred;
• 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;
• Flexibility with position location within field district offices
• 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.

How to Apply

Please apply online at:

Job Categories: Seasonal. Job Types: Environment. Job Tags: AIM, botany, Ecological, monitoring, soil, soil science, and survey.

Job expires in 49 days.

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