Aquatic Ecology Intern

Expected Dates
May 13, 2019 to September 30, 2019
Chugach National Forest
Position ID
Seeking a highly motivated, positive person with freshwater invertebrate experience, fisheries and/or hydrology interests, and communication skills. You will collect invertebrate samples using D-net sweeps, Eckman dredges, etc. in the field; process samples in the lab, including washing and picking samples; and summarize the results. You will be responsible for organizing your lab and field materials and the data collected, as directed by the study plan and lead researcher. In addition to your invertebrate project responsibilities, you will assist biologists with a broad spectrum of field research, including fisheries, hydrology, wildlife, and outreach education.

Highly qualified applicants should have good lab and research skills, as well as solid data management habits. You must have the ability to receive instructions and work well as an active member of the team.

This SCA position will be part of the Aquatic Ecology and Fisheries program on the Chugach National Forest, Prince William Sound Management Zone (PWSZ). This is a dynamic program that covers a large landscape with a wide variety of projects. The PWSZ totals 4.1 million acres and includes the wildlife and fisheries rich areas of both the Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta. This position will have an opportunity to work on projects throughout the zone, but will be based out of the Cordova Ranger District (CRD) in Cordova, Alaska.

This position will work in a variety of environments, including, the CRD office and lab, wetlands, forests, intertidal zones, and streams. Much of the field work is conducted from boats and planes as common modes of transportation. Much of the field work can be physically demanding and may require long days carrying packs weighing up to 35 lbs and walking through wetlands and other challenging terrain. Coastal Alaska weather is often inclement and field crews can expect multiple day rain events in the middle of summer. Although challenging, this position will be the adventure of a lifetime!

The incumbent will be provided the option of living in the CRD bunkhouse facility. All Forest Service field employees and interns are provided relevant training for their safety, including Bear and Moose Awareness, Cold Water Survival, etc.

Compensation amounts:
  • $1,300 - one time RT travel allowance
  • $1,200 - monthly housing allowance
  • $280 - weekly living allowance
  • $500 - gear allowance

*All allowances subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes

*Please provide a resume and up-to-date references with your SCA application

  • Roughly the size of New Hampshire, the Chugach National Forest is the one of the largest national forests in the U.S. Its 5.4 million acres provide recreational activities for half of Alaska’s population.

    The Chugach Forest is located in a region that is characterized by a diverse and magnificent mixture of land, water, plants, and animals as well as rugged mountain ranges, glaciers, and old growth temperate rainforest. Abundant fish populations persist including all five species of Pacific salmon, rainbow trout, grayling, and Dolly Varden char. Wildlife includes brown and black bears, wolves, goats, sheep, moose, deer, bald eagles, and wolverines.
    The Chugach has three distinct geographic areas: Prince William Sound encompasses almost half of the forest. It is an area of forested islands, intricate coastlines, and tidewater glaciers, with portions still recovering from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989. The Copper River Delta encompasses almost a third of the forest. Congress established the primary management direction for the delta as the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in ANILCA. The Kenai Peninsula encompasses about 20 percent of the forest. Its lands, mountains, and rivers are the most accessible of the three areas with an extensive trail system, state highways, and the Alaska Railroad. Of the three geographic areas, the Kenai has the most use, being the “backyard” of Anchorage.

    The service station is located in Cordova, Alaska. Cordova is a rural community located on the eastern end of Prince William Sound with commercial fishing as its primary industry. Cordova has approximately 2,000 residents in the winter and 4,000 residents in the summer. The Wildlife and Ecology program is zoned (Prince William Sound Zone) which covers all of Prince William Sound, the Copper River Delta, the Bering River Delta, and a portion of the Chugach Mountains.

    The Cordova District has a number of unique resources which include the 700,000 acre Copper River Delta, the largest contiguous wetland on the Pacific coast of North America, a number of spectacular glaciers, over 100 miles of hiking and public access trails, 17 public recreation cabins, and a wide variety of fish and wildlife resources, including trumpeter swans (7 % of the world’s population nests here), dusky Canada geese (virtually the entire population), grey wolf, moose, brown and black bear, mountain Goat, trout, and all species of salmon.

    Cordova lies in the northernmost temperate rainforest, averaging around 140 inches of rain a year. The long summer days will have 20 hours of daylight while the short winter days will only have 5.5 hours of daylight. The normal summer time temperatures average in the upper 60 to lower 70 degrees. The winter temperatures can get down to a few degrees below 0, but most of the time is near 15 to 25 degrees.
    Area and community descriptions can be found at the following links:
    See Chugach National Forest,
    See Cordova, Alaska
    See Cordova, Alaska

  • Provide USFS Driver’s License Training with potential for USFS Driver’s License.
    Provide USFS computer account with security training
    Provide USFS training including but not limited to: aviation user, bear and moose safety, bear spray, first aid.
  • Cordova has a wide range of services for a small town, and boasts excellent outdoor recreational opportunities. Cordova supports a branch of the Prince William Sound community college, with basic college courses and specialty classes.
  • Yes
Main Area of Focus
Natural Resources Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
degree minor or extensive experience
some coursework or experience
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
degree minor or extensive experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
some experience
Field Research
some experience
Community Engagement
competent without supervision
Public Speaking
competent without supervision
Working with Children
competent without supervision