Stream Assessment Assistant

Expected Dates
May 24, 2021 to October 25, 2021
Site
Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District
Position ID
PO-00731740
This position requires that you become enrolled in AmeriCorps.  If you are selected for this program please be sure to accept AmeriCorps during the SCA offer process.  No travel allowance will be offered for this position even if it is stated on your confirmation of acceptance.

Due to Covid-19, events and trainings are subject to change in response to an increase in the number of cases in the Hudson Valley region. Specific duties aligned with this position may also be subject to change. Such changes include, but are not limited to: trainings being eliminated or held remotely, elimination of large-scale gatherings, reduction of education programs, and a transition to teleworking.  


SCA Hudson Valley AmeriCorps partners with State and non-profit agencies to address the conservation needs of the Hudson River Watershed region. Corps members are placed at individual host sites, where service activities range from providing environmental education to underserved youth, to restoring streambanks along the Hudson River, and beyond. Members join together regularly for trainings, service projects, or other events. 

Purpose of the Program:
The Ulster County Soil & Water Conservation District (UCSWCD) is a partner along with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County (CCEUC) and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) in the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program (AWSMP) which works with local communities to protect and restore stream corridor stability and ecosystem integrity in the Ashokan reservoir watershed in the Catskill Mountain region of Ulster County. The program engages in stream assessment, engineered stream restoration projects, riparian buffer restoration, technical education and public outreach, research and monitoring, community grants, and flood hazard mitigation. The AWSMP aims to manage, protect and restore stream corridors, floodplains, ecosystems, and riparian buffers, while helping communities to protect public safety and infrastructure near stream systems.


Community Needs that the Program Serves:
The AmeriCorps member will join an effort to provide for the assessment, restoration, protection and management of the Ashokan Reservoir Watershed.  The Ashokan watershed is part of the West of Hudson New York City public water supply, which provides 1.4 billion gallons of clean drinking water to over 9 million residents in New York City and some smaller municipalities (nearly half the population of New York State).  The watershed is approximately 255 square miles and includes 459 miles of stream.  The watershed lies almost entirely within the Catskill Park which includes both public and private lands with a wide variety of stakeholders dependent on its water resources. The stream management program provides:
  • technical assistance for landowners, municipal officials, and highway departments
  • assists with the design and implementation of streambank stabilization projects
  • assists with the design and implementation of riparian buffer projects
  • assists with efforts to conduct Local Flood Analyses for population centers of watershed communities
  • assists with the design and implementation of highway and infrastructure projects
  • provides education and outreach in stream stewardship for watershed communities

The AmeriCorps member will join a team of people to continue providing the many services of our program to the local communities of Ulster County while also providing for the protection of a public drinking water supply that reaches a larger population within New York State.
Values and Standards of the Program: SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land. 

AmeriCorps Member Duties and Responsibilities:
The Student Conservation Association intern will assist the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District (UCSWCD) and partnering agencies in the Ashokan Watershed Stream Management Program in their efforts to assess, restore and protect Catskill Mountain streams that are within the NYC West of Hudson water supply. The selected candidate will work in close association with UCSWCD’s staff to collect and analyze a variety of field data related to stream management and restoration priorities, and assist UCSWCD staff with implementation of the stream management program.  Field work may include, but is not limited to: stream feature inventories using GPS to collect specific data; project monitoring including survey, photo documentation, pebble counts, and vegetation monitoring; and assist with riparian buffer restoration projects including vegetation planting and invasive species removal. The candidates will also participate in the post processing and analysis of field collected data using RIVERMorph and GIS.

  • 50% of time collecting data through stream feature inventory, project monitoring, vegetation monitoring, pebble counts, cross sections, longitudinal profile surveys and various other watershed studies
  • 20% of time processing and analyzing collected data
  • 10% of time assisting with invasive species management and riparian planting projects
  • 20% of time will be dedicated to SCA Hudson Valley Corps events and paperwork

How the AmeriCorps Member’s Role Aligns with the Organization:
The AmeriCorps member will assist the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District (UCSWCD) in their efforts to assess, restore and protect Catskill Mountain streams that are within the NYC West of Hudson water supply. The field work that the member will conduct will directly help to serve the local communities that are within the Ashokan Watershed and contribute to the long-term goal of water quality protection for the public drinking water supply that reaches over 9 million New York State residents.   For example, the environmental stewardship efforts of former SCA AmeriCorps members have directly contributed to stream assessment and management plan development, riparian buffer projects and stream restoration project monitoring. The service provided by the SCA AmeriCorps member is very valuable to the local communities within Ulster County and to New York City and State residents, both during their term of service and beyond.

Performance Goals for the AmeriCorps Member:
Goal 1: To support field work efforts of UCSWCD:

  • Participate in stream assessment activities
  • Participate in stream restoration efforts
  • Participate in project monitoring activities

Goal 2: To support data processing and data analysis efforts of UCSWCD:

  • Complete GIS projects related to stream management and conservation
  • Record, QAQC, and perform analysis of field collected data
  • Contribute to the development of project reports

Goal 3: To support riparian buffer restoration efforts of UCSWCD:

  • Remove invasive species and monitor past invasive species management projects.
  • Monitor vegetation growth and condition at past riparian planting projects.
  • Install potted plant material and seed at riparian buffer restoration projects

Candidate Qualifications:

  • Valid driver’s license of at least 3 years with a clean driving record.
  • Ability to pass a federal background check.
  • Skills: Survey techniques, GPS, GIS, hiking on uneven terrain
  • Knowledge: Candidates should have knowledge, experience, or coursework in watershed science, stream process, fluvial geomorphology, and surveying techniques. Candidates should also have some experience using ArcGIS and be proficient in Microsoft Office software such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Candidates must have strong interpersonal and communication skills. The candidates should also be capable of performing physical activities related to field data collection in fast moving streams. Personal transportation required but transportation to work sites is generally provided.
  • Training: During the term of service, the stream steward intern will receive training in stream assessment techniques, GIS and RIVERMorph, either through training programs or on-the-job training.  The specific training program(s) will be identified once the member begins the internship.
  • BA/BS/MS in environmental science/engineering, watershed management, geology, hydrology, botany, or related field.

Benefits:

  • All Hudson Valley Corps members receive a taxable $200/week living allowance
  • This position will receive a taxable $700/month housing allowance 
  • Upon successful completion of the term, members receive a taxable Full-time Segal Education Award through AmeriCorps.
  • Student loan forbearance and interest repayments for federal student loan through AmeriCorps.
  • Eligible for free health insurance
  • Eligible for childcare assistance through AmeriCorps

Training Opportunities:
All Hudson Valley Corps members receive Wilderness First Aid, CPR, Hudson River Citizen Science curricula, Trail Skills, Project WILD curricula, and professional development. Optional trainings include Leave No Trace, American Canoe Association Quick Start Your Canoe, and other opportunities that arise. 

           
 

  • No
Main Area of Focus
Geographic Info Systems (GIS, includes GPS)
Education, Training & Skills Expected
Earth Sciences
some coursework or experience
Mathematics & Data Analysis
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Field Research
some experience
GIS
some experience
GPS
some experience
Data Analysis
some experience