JOB: Biological Sciences Technician (AIM)

The USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Northwest Watershed Research Center in Boise, Idaho is seeking to hire crews of Biological Sciences Technicians (Plants) or Biological Sciences Aides to collect vegetation data for rangeland research.  Pay grade for these Federal positions will range from GS-3 to GS-7 ($12.95/hr to $20.06/hr) depending on the applicant’s education and previous work experience. Three crew leads will be hired (GS-05 to G-07) and 3-5 crew members for each crew will be hired as well (GS-03 to GS-05). Term of the positions will not exceed 180 days. Start date is expected to be in late February although later start dates (e.g., April/May) may be negotiable. Some positions will end in late August and others will extend as late as October. The duty stations for these positions will either be located at the ARS office facility in Boise, Idaho, the BLM District Office in Elko, Nevada, or the field duty station in Frenchglen, OR.

Duties: Technical work will be conducted primarily in remote field locations but will also include some laboratory work. Each Biological Sciences Technician will work as part of a crew of 4-5 to assess and monitor vegetation on rangelands invaded by cheatgrass and other introduced annual grasses at sites in the Great Basin. Crews will establish monitoring transects and collect botanical data and samples in accordance with established guidelines and protocols.  Specifically, crews will identify grasses, herbs, shrubs and trees to species; label and catalog plant materials collected during the season; operate field instrumentation and equipment; enter field data into a personal computer; sort, process, and analyze vegetation materials in the laboratory; and compile data for reports. Crew leads will oversee these teams and have more responsibility in day to day planning, safety, and logistics.

Physical Demands: Work will be physically demanding with prolonged periods in the field, walking and bending often required. Heavy items (packs and equipment) must be lifted and carried on a routine basis over complex terrain in potentially dry, hot or cold, wet weather conditions. Operation of 4-wheel drive vehicles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) will be required.  Travel and camping at remote backcountry locations may be required.

Successful applicants will receive training in ecological field and laboratory techniques. Specific training in vegetation sampling, plant species identification, data recording, and operation and maintenance of field instrumentation and equipment will be provided. Laboratory training generally will include vegetation sample preparation, laboratory analysis, and data collection and entry into electronic databases. Training in safe operation of field vehicles will be provided.

Desired Skills and Experience (crew):

·   Rangeland Plant identification preferred.

·   Field sampling and plot layout experience preferred.

·   Proficiency with common software (e.g., Microsoft Excel, Word and Access).

·   Experience with AIM protocol and DIMA software preferred, but not required.

·   Experience with demanding physical work outdoors.

·   Familiarity with GPS instrumentation.

·   Experience driving on unimproved or primitive roads.

Desired Skills and Experience (Crew lead):

·   Leadership and team coordination.

·   B.S in ecology or related environmental field preferred.

·   Proficiency with common software (e.g., Microsoft Excel, Word and Access).

·   Field vegetation sampling/ID skills (experience with AIM protocol and DIMA software preferred).

·   Experience with demanding physical work outdoors.

·   Experience driving on unimproved or primitive roads.

To learn more and apply please send resume and 2 references to Ben Porter — 208-422-0727 —