Wetland Ecologist

Colorado State University

Fort Collins, CO, US

Description of Work Unit

The Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP) is Colorado’s primary biological conservation information center housed within the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. CNHP is a key player in Colorado’s conservation of open lands and maintains the only centralized conservation database in Colorado that includes plants, animals, and natural communities. The staff consists of approximately 30 highly experienced biologists and information managers with expertise in inventory, research, and monitoring of Colorado’s flora, fauna, plant communities, and conservation issues. CNHP serves a wide variety of users including federal, state and local agencies, consultants, environmental groups, non-government organizations, private landowners, and the public. CNHP’s annual revenue is approximately 2 million dollars and is generated from contracts and agreements through CNHP’s partners and clients. CNHP generally works on over 40 conservation projects per year.

Position Summary

The Wetland Ecologist RA II will work within CNHP’s Wetland Ecology Team on all aspects of wetland condition assessment projects in Colorado. This includes pre-field season logistics and planning, securing permission to access survey sites on public and private land, preparing field maps in ArcGIS, and preparing field supplies. Work during the summer field season will depend on the scale of each year’s projects. If a large field crew is required, the position may involve acting as field crew manager, coordinating the work of temporary field technicians and communicating with the Wetland Ecology Team Lead. For smaller-scale projects, the position may involve actively collecting field data on wetland condition. The field work involves extensive collection of wetland vegetation, soil, and environmental data, and identification of plant species and natural communities. This position requires some travel and long days in the field.

Post-field season activities include QC’ing field collected data, identifying collected plant specimens, entering field data or working with interns and work studies to enter data, and working with the Wetland Ecology Team Lead or other CNHP staff on data analysis and report writing. The position requires proficiency in scientific report writing, as well as use of Microsoft Office programs, statistical analysis programs, and ESRI ArcGIS programs. The Wetland Ecology Research Associate will assist with proposal writing, field staff hiring, field trainings, project reporting, and supporting other wetland related inventory projects as needed. This position is supervised by the CNHP Wetland Ecology Team Lead and is a member of CNHP’s Wetland Ecology Team.

Required Job Qualifications

1. B.S. or B.A. degree in ecology, botany, watershed science, natural resources, range management, forestry, or related field.
2. Knowledge of wetland ecology and experience working in these environments.
3. Three years of experience collecting and analyzing scientific data. This should include at least four field seasons and two years of year-round data collection and analysis.
4. Experience using dichotomous botanical keys and field guides and familiarity with the major angiosperm plant families. Experience with vegetation sampling techniques.
5. Experience collecting, interpreting, and describing environmental data, such as soils, geology, water quality, and wildlife habitat.
6. Willingness and ability to work long hours and unusual schedules, travel during the field season, share living quarters in rustic field housing, bunkhouses, and car camping, and potentially backpack and hike long distances (up to 10 miles / day) while carrying a heavy pack (up to 40 lbs).
7. Willingness and ability to work with a positive attitude in field conditions that include exposure to inclement weather, rugged terrain, hot or cold weather (30–110° F), mosquitos, and poisonous plants, all while maintaining a strong commitment to team safety.
8. Experience interpreting aerial photography (e.g., Google Earth), navigating with a topographic map, and use of GPS.
9. Experience with MS Excel, MS Word, and MS Access. Experience with ArcGIS and associated mapping applications.
10. Demonstrated organizational, time management, and problem-solving skills; ability to handle complex tasks with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.
11. Effective interpersonal, oral, and written communication skills, including ability to work with a diverse group of individuals and to maintain effective working relationships.
12. Ability to work both independently with guidance and effectively in a team.
13. Must have a valid driver’s license or the ability to obtain a driver’s license or access to a licensed driver by the employment start date.