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Stream Survey/MIM Crew Lead - Elko, NV


Great Basin Institute, founded at the University of Nevada Reno in 1998, is a mission-driven non-profit organization headquartered in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. GBI has been a leader in the conservation stewardship field for over two decades, supporting thousands of individuals each pursuing a career in public land management or advancing their academic standing. Partnering with federal, state and local governments, as well as other NGOs and researchers, GBI supports projects in eleven western states ranging from Alaska to New Mexico, and southern California to northwestern Wyoming.

Stream habitat surveys have been conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Elko District for more than 30 years using the Level III Aquatic Habitat Inventory and Monitoring protocol (Stream Survey). These surveys have successfully documented changes in stream and riparian habitat characteristics but have not been consistently conducted during the past decade due to competing management priorities. These surveys are currently being done alongside sampling under the Multiple Indicator Monitoring Protocol (MIM) for a comprehensive look at riparian habitat. To address this management need, the Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management, is recruiting a Stream Survey Crew Lead to gather data on the status of stream and riparian habitats throughout the Elko District. Many of these streams are occupied by the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi), three sensitive status mussel species, and other sensitive aquatic species. The Stream Survey Crew will also be collecting eDNA (Environmental DNA), targeting native mussel species at Stream Survey Locations. The Stream Survey Crew Lead will coordinate with agency staff and GBI personnel to sample designated streams/reaches according to specified protocols.

A four-person Stream Survey Crew, comprising one crew lead (this position) and three crew members, will perform this work in coordination with the USFWS and BLM. This is principally a field-based position. The work schedule will generally be eight consecutive days on (Wednesday-Wednesday), followed by six consecutive days off (Thursday-Tuesday). Camping in remote sites during work days will be required through much of the field season to minimize travel time. Office-work before and after field tours will include maintenance of equipment and supplies, data management, planning, and communication.

Leadership responsibilities of this position include communication with USFWS, BLM, and GBI staff, maintaining safety awareness and practices in the field, scheduling, logistics, and overseeing fidelity to methods and quality of outcomes. 

Contract Timeline:

  • 32-week appointment: 8 May – 15 December 2023 (anticipated)
  • Full time (40 hours/week); overtime (paid at 1.5x regular hours) during some weeks, depending on field sampling needs


This work will be based out of the BLM District Office in Elko, Nevada. The Elko District encompasses 12.5 million acres and has topography typical of the Great Basin with broad valleys separated by mountain ranges. Elevations range from 4,000 to over 10,000 feet. The city of Elko (pop. 21,000) is located along the I-80 corridor and is approximately 230 miles west of Salt Lake City, UT and 290 miles
East of Reno, NV. Recreation opportunities, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing, abound in this region. Cell phone service is poor to non-existent in many areas once the crew leaves the highway.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Wage: $17.00-$22.00/hour depending on experience
  • Camping Per Diem: $15.00
  • Housing Stipend: $75/week
  • Health Insurance premium paid at no cost to you
  • Paid Holidays

Job Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree (minimum) in Hydrology, Wildlife Biology, Natural Resource Management, or a closely related field, plus applicable field experience in techniques for stream surveys or riparian habitat surveys
  • Knowledge of the Great Basin ecoregion of eastern Nevada, including common plants, riparian vegetation, wildlife, and/or hydrology/geomorphology/topography;
  • Experience leading field crews in the backcountry, including oversight of safety, communication, fidelity to methods, and quality of accomplishments;
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience;
  • Experience using ArcGIS to create maps is preferred;
  • Ability to navigate and collect data using handheld GPS units;
  • Proficiency using a compass and topographic map to navigate;
  • Possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license with ability to safely operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle on and off paved roads;
  • Ability to live and work in rural and remote field and office settings; 
  • Physically fit to work outdoors, carry up to 50 pounds of field equipment and personal gear, and withstand the rigors of a high desert environment in all seasons; 
  • Ability to work in water that varies in depth from a few inches to chest-deep water for much of the field day and traverse through thick, often spiny riparian vegetation along miles of stream corridor;
  • Willingness and ability to work overtime hours as needed during the field season;
  • Willingness and ability to camp in remote, primitive sites for multiple consecutive days; 
  • Familiarity with best practices for field safety and Leave No Trace principles; and
  • Willingness and ability to consistently enact high performance standards and a strong work and team ethic in support of the mission of GBI and the goals and objectives of the USFWS and BLM.