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Vegetation Technician at Joshua Tree National Park

In cooperation with the National Park Service at Joshua Tree National Park (JOTR), the Great Basin Institute is recruiting two (2) AmeriCorps technicians to assist with JOTR Vegetation Branch operations. Technicians will assist program leads to propagate native plants and restore native plant communities, monitor rare plants and other vegetation, monitor and control invasive plants and other weeds, implement treatments to repair and prevent illegal off-road vehicle incursions, and other duties as assigned.

As part of the Vegetation Branch Team, technicians may assist park staff with vegetation monitoring, invasive plant inventory and control and Early Detection Rapid Response, fuel break maintenance using herbicide, and reclaiming damages caused be vehicles traveling off-road. Monitoring could include collecting plant cover, height, frequency, and density data, including identification to genus-species-variety level. Invasive plant control could involve manual (hand pulling, clipping) and chemical (herbicide) treatments. Off-highway vehicle damage reclamation may include inventory of incursion tracks, construction of barricades, installation of signage, installation of vertical and horizontal mulch and raking out vehicle tracks. Plant propagation tasks can include collecting and cleaning seed and tasks typical of plant nursery work (germinating, transplanting, watering, weeding, pruning).

The technician will be required to operate a 4x4 truck pulling a 500 to 800-gallon water trailer, including backing the trailer and negotiating tight turns and rocky roads. The technician must be capable of hiking long distances in a desert environment, including steep, rocky terrain. Field work will require working outdoors in all types of weather, including cold, wind, dust, rain, snow, and very hot (greater than 100F) days.

Contract Timeline:
o 11-month appointment beginning January 2023, or pending availability and completion of DOI Background Investigation
o 40 hours per week, possibly including some weekends

Joshua Tree National Park encompasses nearly 800,000 acres in southern California, 2- to 3-hour drive from Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Joshua Tree National Park is of special management concern, lying in the transition of the Mojave Desert and the Colorado Desert. Aside from the outdoor recreation opportunities and natural wonders within the park, Death Valley and Grand Canyon National Parks, the Mojave Preserve, as well as Lake Mead and Spring Mountains National Recreation Areas are nearby and afford a diversity of outdoor activities ranging from hiking, mountain biking and rock hounding to fishing, boating and skiing/snowboarding.

Field conditions at Joshua Tree include hot, arid days with high exposure to the sun, as well as cold, winter weather. Terrain varies from sandy desert washes to steep rocky slopes, including navigating through large boulder fields. Resources of the region include threatened and/or endangered species habitat, big game habitats, abandoned mine lands, and historic and prehistoric cultural sites.

Compensation and Benefits:
This is a 1700-hour AmeriCorps position and technicians will receive a living allowance. This is not an hourly wage or a salary and is paid to members every other week throughout the 11-month service term. Upon completion of AmeriCorps service, members shall receive an additional Education Award that can be used for paying off qualified student loans or paying tuition for a Title IV accredited college.

o Total Living Allowance: $28,050
o Education Award: $6,495 upon successful completion of full-service term.
o Medical, dental, and vision insurance provided at no cost to member
o Field per diem for camping
o Paid leave and holidays

Job Qualifications:
o Education or experience in conservation and restoration of natural resources, especially vegetation and soils; this experience in a desert environment desirable.
o Education of experience using tablets or similar devices for data collection and navigation, and applying methodological protocols for collecting field data.
o Ability to work well in a team as well as work independently;
o Willingness and ability to work outdoors, hike long distances (up to 15 miles round trip) carrying 30-40 pounds, and lift, carry and use equipment in harsh, variable desert conditions, including in extreme heat and near freezing temperatures.
o Willingness to work a variable schedule, possibly including some weekends.
o Valid, state-issued driver’s license; experience driving 4WD vehicles on unimproved roads and pulling trailers desirable.
o Helpful skills and accomplishments would include:
  - Bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, plant science, range science, restoration ecology, botany, environmental studies/science or related discipline.
  - Ability to identify native and non-native plants to genus, species, and, when applicable, variety level using botanical dichotomous keys.
  - Knowledge of California desert invasive plants and control techniques.
  - Experience in the safe application of herbicides to control invasive plants for natural resource management.
  - Familiarity with ecological processes and the flora and fauna of the Mojave and/or Sonoran Deserts.
  - Experience using ArcGIS software, including ArcMap and Collector or Field Maps; ability to read and navigate using topographic maps and a compass.
  - Ability to communicate effectively, both written and orally, with a diverse audience.
o Successful applicant must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to NPS human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position. If you already have a fully adjudicated BI, please let us know in your application.