Soil and Water Projects

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To apply for any position(s), please email the project title and your resume to ansep.web@gmail.com

California

Conducting status assessments for threatened, endangered, or at-risk species (Carlsbad)

Location: Legacy Region 8, Pacific Southwest, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad CA

Housing: Supported by duty station, Non-FWS housing supported with $1,000 monthly stipend

Project Type: This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership

Project Background: The project will use conservation biology principles to synthesize information, identify data gaps, and develop conservation actions to support species recovery. Status reviews of listed species are required by the Endangered Species Act. Status assessments update a species’ biology and threats and recommend future research and conservation actions. The project can be conducted completely remotely or in person depending on the COVID situation and the Fellow preferences. The Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office is in coastal northern San Diego County. The office includes primarily Ecological Services and the following divisions: Coastal Programs, Partners in Fish and Wildlife, Listing and Recovery, Permits and Consultations (Section 7 and 10).

Project Duties: Working with the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (Carlsbad, CA), the Fellow will complete assessments for two species in southern California: 1) a status assessment or conservation strategy for a listed species, and 2) a rapid assessment to assess the status and conservation needs of an at-risk species, including facilitating an expert solicitation workshop. The Fellow will present the results of both assessments to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. The Fellow will coordinate with researchers and State and Federal agencies to gather new information and identify important activities for conservation and recovery. With support from project supervisors, Fellow will work independently to review and synthesize new information. We emphasize developmental opportunities for Fellows to learn about the Endangered Species Act and the work of an Ecological Services Field office. For example, we encourage Fellows to network with Fish and Wildlife Service staff, participate in coordination meetings between staff biologists and partners, and attend trainings and webinars, as the project schedule permits. The project does not involve any required fieldwork, such as conducting surveys or monitoring. However, there may be opportunities for site visits to meet with land managers and species experts. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: 

Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences i.e., Natural Resources Management, Biology, Wildlife Conservation, Fisheries, Zoology, Environmental Science, Ecology, Genetics, Microbiology, Chemistry, Land Management, Plant Science, Botany, Soil Science, Forestry, Invasive Species management, Plant Development, or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: None

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication, Partnership building, Public speaking, Leadership roles, Teamwork, and Technical writing.

Multi-refuge Wetland Habitat Assessment Survey Coordinator (Calipatria)

Location: Legacy Region 8, Pacific Southwest, Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, Calipatria, CA

Housing: Refuge bunkhouses at Modoc NWR, Kern NWR Complex, Stone Lakes NWR, and Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR at no cost to intern

Project Type: This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership. 

Project Background: The Multi-refuge Wetland Habitat Assessment Survey Coordinator Fellow will lead a field survey of plant seed production in managed wetlands across five National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) in Legacy Region 8. The Fellow will coordinate the implementation of the survey at Kern, Pixley, Stone Lakes, Modoc, and Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWRs, which span the longitudinal extent of California’s Pacific Flyway. The survey protocol framework provides a rigorous method to quantitatively assess food production for plant species that are the focus of moist soil management activities at the participating refuges. This survey provides valuable information to support the NWR System’s mission to provide habitat to migratory waterfowl. Survey results inform wetland management strategies by summarizing wetland seed production that results from wetland management activities. This Fellowship provides an excellent opportunity to develop leadership and data management skills while working with multiple organizational levels at a suite of NWRs and with the Refuges Inventory & Monitoring Program.

Project Duties: The Fellow will partner with refuge biologists and managers to conduct the field work at each station. The Fellow will: 1) manage a mobile data collection application, summarize the survey data following established procedures and scripts written for the program R, 2) expand the protocol framework by using established guidance to draft a site-specific protocol for the new station, and 3) provide a season summary report for each station and a final presentation on the season outcomes to refuge biologists, managers, and external FWS stakeholders. During the Fellowship, the Fellow will travel between refuges, work alongside refuge staff in the field and the office at each station and reside at station bunkhouses. The Fellow also could shadow FWS staff members at two or more stations and to meet and work with diverse natural resources staff at different organization levels. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Graduate student who has completed at least their first year or more of graduate school (Masters or PhD), and is pursuing a degree in biological sciences.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid driver’s license, ability to conduct field work involving hiking and carrying equipment, and ability and willingness to live in a remote camp for weeks at a time. 

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication skills, partnership building, project management experience, public speaking, leadership roles, teamwork, technical writing, experience scripting and summarizing data in R, experience with GIS applications, and use of Survey123, ArcCollector or AGOL online. Previous experience with ArcGIS and the R program is required, as are excellent written and oral communication skills. The Fellow should have demonstrated ability to excel at both independent and collaborative work.

Minnesota

Wetland bathymetry and a synthesis of cattail management (Middle River)

Project Type: Field. This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership.

Location: Legacy Region 3 (Midwest); Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, Middle River, Minnesota

Housing: Supported, bunkhouse, on-site

Project Background: This Fellowship position is located at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, located in northwest Minnesota within an ecologically unique transition zone between deciduous and boreal forests to the east and tallgrass prairie to the west. Agassiz NWR consists of 61,500 acres with the majority (60%) considered wetland habitat; much of this is in the form of actively managed wetland impoundments. The Refuge provides critical breeding and migratory habitat for numerous species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other avian populations, and is home to a variety of resident wildlife including moose, bears, wolves, deer, grouse, and turkey. Cattail species are an ongoing threat to wetland habitat on the Refuge due to the aggressive growth of hybrid cattail which eliminates important habitat for nesting and migratory birds. The Refuge has been managing invasive cattail for >10 years with varying levels of success in different pools. This project would aim to inform management on how cattail is affecting wetland habitat quality, pool storage capacity, and in turn, how Agassiz management is affecting cattail. 

Project Duties: The Fellow will 1) collect bathymetry data on a wetland impoundment, and 2) incorporate that data into an evaluation of past cattail management records on the Refuge.

This work will include field data collection, input, and analysis (via ArcGIS); reviewing Refuge records on past management; and exploring correlations or trends between management techniques, water levels, and cattail recovery or regeneration patterns. The Fellow will incorporate their findings on the bathymetry work to examine water depth relationships with cattail extent. The Fellow will produce a final report and presentation on their investigation of cattail management at Agassiz NWR. In addition, the Fellow will get to attend the week-long Student Intern Workshop at the Regional Office to gain exposure to all the opportunities within the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences, Geographic Information Sciences or other closely related field (e.g., Natural Resources Management, Biology, Wildlife Conservation, Fisheries, Zoology, Environmental Science, Ecology, Genetics, Microbiology, Chemistry, Land Management, Plant Science, Botany, Soil Science, Forestry, Invasive Species management) are qualified. Graduate students are also encouraged to apply. 

Working Conditions/Requirements: A valid driver’s license and an ability to drive federal vehicles, ability to conduct field work involving hiking and carrying equipment, ability to lift/carry 50 lbs., ability, and willingness to live in a remote area for weeks at a time, and experience with ArcGIS.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication skills, project management experience, public speaking skills or interest, conflict management and resolution skills, management and facilitation skills, technical writing skills, and interest in data analysis.

Nebraska

Managing Sustainable Wetland Habitat Restorations (Funk)

Project Type: This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership. 

Location: Legacy Region 6, Rainwater Basin WMD, Funk, Nebraska

Housing: Supported: Onsite bunkhouse (No cost to Fellow. Built in 2019 and still very new and clean. Fellow will have own bedroom and personal bathroom and shared kitchen/living room.)

Project Background: Rainwater Basin wetlands are noted internationally for their importance to waterfowl, especially during spring migration. An estimated 10 million spring-migrating ducks and geese annually use the RWB, acquiring nutrient reserves for continued migration and for reproduction on the breeding grounds. Forty-two percent of confirmed Whooping Crane observations in Nebraska have been reported within Rainwater Basin wetlands, which provide more whooping crane use-days during fall migration than any other known migration habitat in the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway. Currently, Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District staff are developing a 5-year Habitat Management plan focused on restoring priority wetland basins on fee-title property to support migrating birds, including Whooping Crane usage. The Fellow’s work will support the plan by developing an ecologically sustainable wetland restoration at Funk Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) supporting the models developed within the Rainwater Basin WMD Habitat Management Plan.

Project Duties: The Fellow will identify and contact appropriate stakeholders; prepare an operational list involving all facets of the design and implementation of the restoration project; and participate and oversee the proposed wetland model while networking with all necessary Partners and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) within the Rainwater Basin region at the field level. The Fellow will develop a written report of the results of the 11- week Fellowship for Service and other partners and representatives within the Rainwater Basin region (e.g., Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Ducks Unlimited) and develop and deliver an oral presentation of the project results to Service staff, NGOs, volunteer groups, and possibly present at a scientific meeting (TBD) such as the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Seminar. The work done by the Fellow will be invaluable for the success of the Rainwater Basin WMD, wildlife resources and habitat.

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in biological sciences including conservation biology, wildlife biology, fisheries, ecology, or natural resource management; geographic and information sciences including GIS; or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid driver license and an ability to drive federal vehicles. Written and oral proficiency in English.

Desired Characteristics: Understanding use of common survey equipment. Understanding use of current agricultural practices. Basic understanding of wildlife conservation, environmental biology, and policies. Basic understanding of mid-western history and influences agriculture has made on society. Specialized skill or equipment operation certificates.

New Mexico

NM Meadow Jumping Mouse Soil Moisture and Water Quality Assessment (San Antonio)

Project Type: Field. This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership.

Location: Legacy Region 2, Southwest Region – Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – San Antonio, NM

Housing: Supported by duty station, furnished Refuge shared quarters, on-site at duty location

Project Background: Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) will host a student in an undergraduate or graduate degree program with statistical, biological monitoring and writing/oral communication skills, that maintains interest in habitat management and federally listed species. The Refuge seeks to develop a monitoring protocol, water management matrix and monitoring plan focusing on New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (NMMJM) hydrological requirements. The results of these projects will guide Refuge management prescriptions, identify water quantity/quality needs for this species and meet Refuge goals and objectives. 

Project Duties: Soil Moisture Project: The Fellow will expand upon efforts tested in 2020 and 2022. This includes the independent set-up and establishment of five survey transects, set in place to monitor hourly variances in soil moisture content within NMMJM habitat. The Fellow will maintain probes and data loggers, extract data from data loggers, compile data and investigate options to create a matrix for Refuge water management uses. The Fellow will work closely with Fish and Wildlife Service personnel to establish monitoring equipment. The Fellow will analyze all data and draft an official monitoring protocol while working with FWS personnel. 

Water Quality Monitoring Project: The Fellow will also develop a water quality monitoring plan separate from the Soil Moisture Project. This project will complement NMMJM efforts on the Refuge and provide baseline data to ensure water quality parameters remain suitable for this species. The Fellow will accomplish this by developing practical methods for use of a hand-held YSI meter to efficiently document changes in water quality parameters concerning waters associated with the NMMJM. 

Upon completion of the monitoring protocol and plans, the Fellow will present results to FWS personnel and train Refuge field staff. This will likely include sharing results with stakeholders such as Bureau of Reclamation and Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in Biological sciences, Natural Resources Management, Biology, Wildlife Conservation, Zoology, Environmental Science, Ecology, or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid driver’s license (needed to drive a government vehicle), ability to conduct field work involving hiking and carrying equipment, ability to lift/carry 50 lbs.

Desired Characteristics: Use of Excel and other data management programs.

Nevada

Stillwater NWR Water Rights Acquisition Program Analysis and Review (Fallon)

Location: Legacy Region 8, Pacific Southwest, Stillwater NWR, Fallon, NV

Housing: Provided, at Duty Station, Refuge Housing Rent-Free

Project Type: This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership 

Project Background: Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is a globally important bird area located in Northern Nevada within the Great Basin Ecosystem.  It provides critical wetland habitat for migratory birds within one of the driest regions of the country.  The refuge has had an active Water Rights Acquisition Program (WRAP) for over 30 years and was legislatively directed to acquire enough water and water rights to sustain a long-term average of 25,000 acres of wetlands in the Lahontan Valley.  An updated analysis of the program is needed, and this Fellowship will assist in documenting its successes and the current long-term average of wetland acres to guide decisions about the future of the program. 

Project Duties: The Fellow will assist with site assessments, GIS and data analysis, technical writing, and interdisciplinary collaboration.  The Fellow will be responsible for drafting a summary of the results for Refuge management.  A better understanding of the direct impact of the WRAP program and its legacy on the refuge’s management will assist managers and leadership in providing direction for the future of the program and its contribution towards building resiliency of the refuge system in the face of climate change and water shortages in the West. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in areas such as Biological Science, Social Science, Geographic Information Sciences, Information Technology or Computer Sciences, or other closely related fields.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Valid Driver’s License (to drive Government Vehicle)

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal Communication, Partnership Building, Project Management Experience, Public Speaking, Teamwork, Management/Facilitation, and Technical Writing.

Utah

 Independent Utah Contaminants Resource Protection and Restoration (West Valley City)

Project Type: This field project will transition to telework or remote work if required by USFWS or DOI leadership. 

Location: Legacy Region 6, Utah Ecological Services Field Office, West Valley City, Utah

Housing: Supported ($1,500 monthly housing stipend provided)

Project Background: The purpose of this project is to review and prioritize Utah’s Environmental Contaminants (EC) program activities and develop a strategic plan to guide program priorities for restoration of habitat for a future EC specialist.  The EC Strategic Plan will be presented to key decision makers at the Utah FO and Regional Office, as well as to partners such as Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the State of Utah, and will be used to focus and monitor EC program activities going forward. The Fellow will work closely with the Utah FO EC Specialist, who will provide information and day-to-day guidance. While evaluating the office’s EC projects, the Fellow will meet and work with supervisors’ other biologists in the Utah FO, other internal partners in the Service’s Regional office and Refuges, and with external partners including the EPA, State of Utah, and non-governmental conservation organizations. Completing this project will give the Fellow a detailed understanding of the issues and priorities of the Utah FO ES program and will provide a glide path to employment in the office.

Project Duties: Starting with familiarization with the Utah Field Office’s (FO) 2019-2023 Strategic Plan and EC programs, projects and partnerships, the Fellow will inventory, and review Utah EC program activities using criteria and develop an evaluation matrix with input by the Contaminants Specialist. This evaluation will identify trust resources benefiting from restoration, species and habitats affected, partnerships involved, and desired outcomes and performance metrics. The Fellow will conduct an evaluation of the strategic importance of these efforts, using techniques such as SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). Finally, the Fellow will synthesize this information into a Strategic Plan. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Graduate student who has completed at least their first year or more of graduate school (Masters or PhD), and is pursuing a degree in environmental toxicology, biological sciences, water sciences or a closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Work will occur primarily in an office setting with day trips and possibly one overnight trip to view field sites.

Desired Characteristics: The selected Fellow for this project will need to possess a good understanding of ecology, wildlife science, and environmental toxicology and ecological risk assessment. Because so many of the EC issues in Utah are related to water and aquatic habitats, experience in aquatic toxicology is preferred. The Fellow will need to be able to work and manage their time independently, organize and synthesize diverse types of information, think creatively about evaluation and analysis methods, and produce high quality written products and presentations.

Telework

GIS-based National Spill Threat Assessment

Project Type: This is a telework only project, Fellow will not report in-person to a duty station. 

Location: This is a remote project based out of Region 9 (Headquarters), Falls Church, VA.

Housing: Not supported (remote).

Project Background:  This position is a remote project based out of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters office in Falls Church, VA.  The Service works with other response agencies to minimize exposure and adverse effects to natural resources from the spill and associated response activities. Over the last two decades, the Spill program has responded to hundreds of spills to protect Service trust resources; however, data is not typically tracked in a meaningful geospatial context or with threats to Service priorities, such as endangered or at-risk species, considered. 

Project Duties: The DFP Fellow will develop a Geographic Information System (GIS) based application and online dashboard capturing spill data, species habitat ranges, DOI lands, pipelines, railways, and navigable waters to create new data layers to demonstrate spatially where spills or threats of spills overlap with potential impact to several Service priorities. This project will allow the Service Spills program to better identify risks and contingency plan for future spills. The DFP will also present a webinar demonstrating the utility of the application.

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences, Geographic and Information Sciences, Information Technology/Computer Science, or other closely related fields.        

Working Conditions/Requirements:  ArcGIS experience.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication skills, Partnership building, Public speaking, Leadership roles, and Teamwork.

USFWS Climate Change Adaptation and Communications

Project Type: This is a telework only project, Fellow will not report in-person to a duty station. 

Location: This is a remote project based out of Region 9 (Headquarters), Falls Church, VA.

Housing: Not supported (remote).

Project Background: Successfully addressing climate change and other stressors that are transforming our lands and waters is the defining conservation challenge of the 21st Century. Join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) on the national stage in working towards addressing climate change.  We’re seeking a student well versed in life sciences and communications to assist us in telling the Service story of how we are successfully adapting in the face of climate change.  The Service has developed a Climate Conservation Action Plan and you will serve an essential role in developing resources that will enable Service offices to further climate adaptation strategies across Service operations. The Fellow will work for the Division of Conservation Science and Partnerships in the Headquarters Science Applications program (SA), which emphasizes innovation and partnerships to address conservation challenges, resulting in a network of connected lands and waters that support healthy fish and wildlife populations.  In particular, SA interprets and collaborates on climate science so that the most current science and state of the art methodologies are applied to meet the urgent needs of conservation.   

Project Duties: The Fellow will assess on-the-ground climate adaptation strategies applied by various Service offices and programs and highlight case studies, detailing the environmental consequences of climate change, the species, and habitats most vulnerable to climate change effects and how they benefited from the management strategies applied. The Fellow will conduct literature reviews, interviews, and other searches to learn about the Service’s stewardship responsibilities, skills, and resources. The Fellow will compile state lists of Species of Greatest Conservation Need and identify species of common regional interest, particularly those species most vulnerable to climate change. The Fellowship will culminate, develop, and present impactful communications across a variety of mediums, highlighting the Service’s successful techniques in adapting to climate change. This multifaceted project involves networking with Service employees and programs across geographical regions as well as operational layers of the agency.  Successful completion of this project will require communications with State partners, scientists, and media experts, as well as resourceful literature and digital research, creativity, resourcefulness, and strong written and verbal communication skills. 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Undergraduate rising seniors and seniors who are pursuing a degree in biological sciences; education and outreach; social sciences and humanities; geographic information sciences; communications/marketing; or other closely related field.

Working Conditions/Requirements: N/A.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication, cross-cultural communication skills, partnership building, project management experience, public speaking, leadership roles (school, extracurricular, etc.), teamwork, management/facilitation, technical writing.

Hydrologic Effects of Water Operations in the Everglades (Davie)

Project Type: This is a telework only project, Fellow will not report in person to a duty station

Location: Legacy Region 4, Southeast Region; Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, Davie, FL

Housing: Not Supported; this is a remote project.

Project Background: Everglade’s restoration is one of the largest ecosystem restoration projects in the world. At the core of restoration is a goal to “Get the Water Right”. Getting the water right requires a combination of modifications to infrastructure, much of which is included in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, and changes to operations to the Central and South Florida Project, the series of canals and structures managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The products from this effort will support adaptive management efforts by providing information on how modeled conditions are or are not being met and will also support preparation of biological opinions by providing products that can be used to evaluate the effects of upcoming projects.

Project Duties: The Fellow will work with the Science Applications/Migratory Bird Program and the Ecological Services and Refuge programs. The Fellow will have the lead role in: 1) reviewing ecological model output, 2) comparing model output to actual observations, and 3) providing a written analysis of how modeled hydro periods and water depths differ across baselines used with three different operations plans. In addition, the Fellow will present their results to an interagency team of scientists and decision makers. 

To obtain the relevant background and datasets, the Fellow will need to interact internally with Service staff including field biologists, project leaders, and State and Refuge Supervisors. Externally, the Fellow will work collaboratively with staff at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Florida Water Management District, National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Products will include maps, tables, metadata, and a final report 

Minimum Education Level and Desired Degree Areas: Graduate student who has completed at least their first year of graduate school (Masters or PhD), and is pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences, Geographic and Information Sciences, Communications/Marketing, and Information Technology/Computer Science or closely related fields.

Working Conditions/Requirements: Experience using and programming in R. Working knowledge of GISPro. Knowledge of netCDF data format.

Desired Characteristics: Interpersonal communication, Project Management experience, Teamwork, Technical Writing, Ability to work with large datasets.