Wildlife Biologist/ Technician

Bakersfield, CABakersfield, CA
Grand Junction, COGrand Junction, CO
Monte Vista, COMonte Vista, CO
Salt Lake City, UTSalt Lake City, UT

Bakersfield Field Office

Start Date: June 3, 2018

End Date: August 18, 2018

Related Degrees: Wildlife Biology

Position Description:  The Bakersfield Field Office manages high demand oil and gas development that is sympatric with threatened and endangered species habitat. This creates a need for complex, cooperative resource management internally as well as with external stakeholders, including US Fish and Wildlife Service, oil and gas company representatives, consulting biologists, and species experts. Of the listed species, two are primary contributors to the complexity of avoidance and minimization measures: Kern mallow and blunt-nosed leopard lizard.

Kern mallow is a small, annual flowering plant. Kern mallow was listed as endangered in 1990 due to habitat loss; at the time, only the white-flower plants were considered Kern mallow. In the 2006 five-year species review, the recommendation was for Kern mallow to continue to be listed as endangered, but the designation was expanded to include both the white- and pink-flower plants. Inclusion of pink-flower plants greatly expanded known population locations, and quite possibly opened up the chance for down listing. The intern would be responsible for collecting known information regarding plant distribution through record searches, discussions with species experts, field surveys, etc. and developing a recommendation regarding the listing status of the species that could be presented to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The blunt-nosed leopard lizard is a relatively large lizard with a long, regenerative tail, powerful hind limbs, and a short, blunt snout. Blunt-nosed leopard lizards were listed as endangered in 1967 due to habitat loss. The intern would be responsible for collecting known information regarding lizard distribution including record searches, discussions with species experts, collaborations with consultants, field surveys, etc. and based on findings, develop recommendations regarding whether certain areas should be treated as “local extirpation”. Recommendations must be of the caliber and quality that they can be presented to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for review.

This two-pronged project coincides with the issuance of a new programmatic biological opinion for oil and gas development in Kern and Kings Counties. If research and recommendations result in changes to current management, such as reduced need for compliance measures, this could greatly increase the efficiency of project authorization and contribute to America’s energy independence.

 

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Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

Grand Junction Field Office

Start Date: June 3, 2018

End Date: August 18, 2018

Related Degrees: Wildlife Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology

Position Description: This project would include compiling Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) data for the Pinyon Mesa population of Gunnison Sage grouse, as well as collecting new data where gaps exist. This project is would include portions of McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Dominguez-Escalante NCA, and the Grand Junction Field Office which overlap with designated occupied and unoccupied Gunnison sage grouse habitat. HAF data was collected, analyzed, and summarized for 2012 and 2014, for this population. However, data from 2017 has not been fully analyzed or summarized. Additionally, in 2017 HAF data was combined with AIM (Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring). This intern would analyze and summarize the 2017 data for the Pinyon Mesa Population including organizing an IDT (Interdisciplinary Team) process of designating points as suitable, marginal, or not habitat, based on published habitat guidelines.

The intern would also document and come up with a process for analyzing and considering HAF data that is combined with AIM data. This project is timely as AIM and HAF are implemented on larger scales, and to determine habitat conditions for a federally listed threatened species.

In addition to GUSG habitat, evaluation of Yellow billed Cuckoo (YBCC) habitat is needed for both MCNCA and DENCA. A yellow billed cuckoo was detected just outside of MCNCA within the past several years, and surveys for cuckoos need to be conducted in DENCA. If funding allows, an intern can re-collect and compile vegetation data collected in MCNCA in areas surveyed for cuckoos, and analyze remote sensing and other data to determine appropriate places for YBCC monitoring in DENCA.

 

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San Luis Valley Field Office

Start Date: June 3, 2018

End Date: August 18, 2018

Related Degrees: Wildlife Biology, Chemistry, Biology, Ecology, or other Natural Resource Degree

Position Description:  The Bureau of Land Management’s San Luis Valley Field Office (SLVFO) is proposing an internship focusing on shorebird management and conservation and education/outreach designed to engage Latinos in hands-on conservation efforts and introduce them to a variety of natural resource careers available with the federal government. This internship builds on SLVFO efforts begun in 2013 to provide environmental education and exposure to natural resource management career opportunities to local latino youth. The internship requires strong science and fieldwork skills, as well as communication and presentation/environmental education skills. Once selected, interns are placed in a 12 week full-time internship that may be extended to diversify and promote additional experience as funding allows.

The SLVFO has been engaged in shorebird/wetland related latino youth outreach since 2013. To date, over 2450 minority youth have participated in BLM education events and completed critical shorebird data collection on Blanca Wetlands. Through these efforts, we are actively engaging local Latinos in science and resource management, and through the DHA-RAI program, we would be able to go one step further and provide outstanding diversity candidates for placement within DOI. The San Luis Valley location is ideal for this work because it supports nationally significant wetlands for shorebirds and has a rich cultural heritage, with the Latino community comprising nearly 50% of the total population. In addition, Adams State University located in the San Luis Valley, a HACU institution, has worked with BLM locally to develop a land and resource management curriculum to ensure students graduating in this discipline have courses that are required to qualify for entry-level positions. This internship provides both a tremendous opportunity for recruitment and retention of an underrepresented group, and helps to ensure strong and effective efforts are made to engage this integral component of the local community in natural resource management discussions and efforts.

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Salt Lake Field Office

Start Date: June 3, 2018

End Date: August 18, 2018

Related Degrees: Wildlife Biology, Natural Resources, Biology, Environmental Science, or Other degree.

Position Description:  Availability of water is considered a limiting factor for most wildlife species, and livestock. The state of Utah, BLM, and other cooperating agencies have developed waters for wildlife and domestic livestock on Salt Lake FO BLM lands. The spatial distribution of waters affect the grazing intensity on forage resources, in addition to the distribution and abundance of wildlife. The spatial distribution, NEPA status, and current condition of developed and natural water sources is unknown across the SLFO. We are currently developing a field data collection form, and conducting a review of files (spatial and hardcopy). We propose to conduct a survey of all existing developed waters within the Salt Lake Field Office. This project will span the course of multiple years due to the size of the area to be assessed.

The resource assistant intern would spearhead these efforts in addition to the following:

  1. Develop partnerships with volunteer organizations (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, etc.) to complete surveys.
  2. Oversee and participate in data collection.
  3. Train volunteers on data collection and water development maintenance as needed.
  4. Write grant proposals to secure funding to ensure project success.
  5. Coordinate with SLFO GIS staff to update and maintain geodatabase.
  6. Edit and improve survey methods as needed, including updating forms in ESRI’s Collector.

In addition to the water development survey, the resource assistant will also conduct habitat mapping of BLM sensitive mammal species, including white-tailed prairie dog, kit fox, pygmy rabbit, desert kangaroo mouse, and Preble’s shrew. These data will be collected using Collector. The intern will participate in data sheet development and identifying areas using ArcGIS within proposed FY18/19 treatment (vegetation, herbicide, or other disturbance activity) areas that are potential habitat. Areas will then be ground-truthed and potential habitat mapped using predetermined criteria. A final habitat map by treatment area and species will be the final deliverable.

The final deliverable for the water development survey is an updated geodatabase with current condition, maintenance needs, and locations of all waters. It is not expected that this will be completed this field season. However, the intern is expected to take the lead on this project and develop partnerships so surveys continue once their internship is over.

Ground-truthed mapped habitat for BLM sensitive species within proposed treatment areas will provide SLFO wildlife biologists with data for conducting analyses, and providing mitigation measures within treatment areas.

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