Job Detail

Organization: Great Basin Institute
Location: Billings, MT

Posted: 2023-10-02
Application Deadline:

Position Description:

The Great Basin Institute (GBI) partners with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) throughout the western United States to implement vegetation monitoring programs such as the BLM’s Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) program. The AIM program is a BLM initiative to collect field data on rangeland indicators characterizing soil, vegetation, and hydrologic resources with an overarching goal to inform land management decisions and conservation actions.

The BLM manages approximately 8.3 million surface acres of land within the states of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The BLM is mandated to conduct land health monitoring to document effectiveness of the decisions established in its Resource Management Plans, to determine treatment effectiveness, to evaluate habitat conditions, and for other related land management purposes. GBI seeks to find a qualified data specialist to work at a BLM office within Montana to assist BLM staff with review and completion of Quality Assurance (QA) / Quality Control (QC) procedures for AIM datasets with a focus on data utilized for the Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) (a targeted supplemental protocol geared to collect standardized habitat assessment data to inform land management and conservation efforts for sage-grouse habitat). In addition, the specialist will, provide technical support and training to field staff in the use of ArcGIS Field Maps and Survey123, work with BLM staff on data management and storage issues for AIM and related datasets, review and assess historical data for compatibility with requested analyses, and complete basic analysis and reporting using AIM and supplemental data as needed for completion of BLM business. All processes shall occur in accordance with the most recent versions of information posted on the BLM website ( The data specialist will work with the BLM Montana State Office Monitoring Group, including the State Conservation Ecologist, Geospatial Ecologist and Monitoring Coordinator, for identification and completion of day-to-day tasks, as well as daily work directly with BLM staff and periodically participate in data analysis meetings led by Headquarters and/or the National Operations Center AIM team to share ideas and for additional support.

This position offers fulltime in-person work at the BLM State Office in Billings, Montana or a combination of in-person and remote work at a BLM office in the Montana-Dakotas organization for well-qualified candidates. Additional travel will be required for training, to support field crews, and for workshops on incorporating AIM data into BLM decision making processes. Specific tasks may include the following:

-Collaborate and engage with AIM leads, rangeland management specialists, and wildlife biologists at 11 field offices across Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota and provide support for data collection, data management, and data use;
-Conduct analyses and generate reports that may include aggregation of data provided in two or more databases, summaries of indicators for a given project area, including calculation of confidence intervals, comparisons of indicator values by stratum, and production of basic maps using ESRI products;
-Data may be summarized for NEPA projects at the field offices throughout Montana/Dakotas. The data specialist may be asked to create standard summary templates or tools, such as a standard summary tables to be used for land health assessments, biological assessments, and NEPA. The data specialist can use BLM Technical Note 453 and 455 as workflows to use AIM data with other lines of evidence to inform land health evaluations;
-Handle Habitat Assessment Framework (HAF) data (a targeted protocol geared to collect standardized habitat assessment data to inform land management and conservation efforts for sage-grouse habitat), utilizing existing tools and summary templates.
-Examine legacy vegetation monitoring datasets for applicability to BLM projects and analyses
-Coordinate requests for analysis and reporting through the BLM Montana Monitoring Coordinator and the GBI project manager or delegate as needed to manage the data specialist’s workload;
-Independently perform quality control checks on the data, organize it in a standardized way as coordinated with the BLM state office staff, and assist in submitting the data to BLM’s national operations center for ingestion to TerrADat database;
-Periodically retrieve data from TerrADat and Landscape Monitoring Framework (LMF) databases, complete analysis tasks, and requested reports or summaries;
-Attend a Train-the-Trainer course, usually held in Las Cruces, NM, to provide support and training for data collectors in the Montana AIM Terrestrial Core Methods training. The training will require travel for five (5) days and four (4) nights;
-Maintain government-owned tablet computers for training purposes;
-During the field season, be available to provide technical support to BLM staff and/or other contractors regarding data entry and management, particularly with regards to TerrADat or other AIM Databases;
-The data specialist may be required to stay overnight at field locations for up to three (3) days and two (2) nights at each location to assist BLM staff in the office as needed. Additionally, the data specialist may be required to camp overnight with AIM field crews for up to three (3) days and two (2) nights to assist with data collection as needed; and,
-The specialist may help with Arc GIS Online account management (making sure the correct people are added to the data collection groups); assist with updating Survey123 and FieldMaps forms such as maintaining a list of data collectors names and a list of plant names and codes, and communicate with the BLM National Operations Center (NOC) about the status of these lists
The Data Specialist must be able to pass a federal background clearance and complete all required security trainings (FISSA) needed for federal building and computer network access.

Contract Timeline:
This is a 12-month term. Position to start as soon as possible, pending completion of a federal background check.

This position will be based out of the BLM State Office in Billings, Montana.

Compensation and Benefits:
• Pay Rate: $25.00 - $26.50 per hour depending on experience.
• Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance paid 100% by GBI. Available first day of month following first day of employment. For more details on each benefit plan, please contact [email protected].
• Paid Leave Benefit: Vacation accrued at 4 hours per 80 hour pay period starting on first day of employment. Sick Leave accumulated at 4 hours per pay period starting on first day of employment with a maximum of 40 hours earned and used within the award period of July 1 and June 30 annually.
• Eligible to enroll in GBI 401K Employer Plan on the first of the month following 90 days of employment. GBI will match up to 4% of employee’s contribution.

Job Qualifications:
Qualifications of the data specialist include:

Education: Bachelor’s degree in ecology, botany or related natural resources field.

Experience: Minimum 2 years specialized experience or related graduate work. Demonstrated ability and willingness to collaborate effectively with multiple field and district office leads in complex work environments, interest and ability to learn and grow professional skills. Applicant must have valid state-issued driver’s license.

Preferred: Master’s degree; experience working with large datasets; previous Terrestrial AIM or similar vegetation monitoring experience; proficiency with ESRI products (e.g., ArcMap, ArcPro, ArcOnline); scripting experience and/or training in using software (R, Python) to conduct basic statistical analyses and experience in developing GIS or R tools; strong communication skills, including the ability to effectively teach technical concepts to others.

To apply please us link below:

Questions feel free to reach out to Cassandra Hughes, [email protected]

Are you following Great Basin Institute on social media?
@gbinstitute @GreatBasinInstitute @GBInstutute

EEO Statement
We conform to all the laws, statutes, and regulations concerning equal employment opportunities and affirmative action. We strongly encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply to all of our job openings. We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, age, disability status, Genetic Information & Testing, Family & Medical Leave, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We prohibit Retaliation against individuals who bring forth any complaint, orally or in writing, to the employer or the government, or against any individuals who assist or participate in the investigation of any complaint or otherwise oppose discrimination.

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