Posted by: Sandy Steinman | February 23, 2021

Job Opening: Botany Field Tech

Botany Field Tech, U.S. Geological Survey, Mojave Desert (CA & NV)

Location: USGS office is in Henderson, NV, field sites are in southern CA.

Dates: Position is from mid-April 2021 to the end of Sept 2021 (~5 months).
Application deadline is 8am on March 3, 2021.

Compensation: $17.15 hourly, plus paid vacation and sick days

Overview: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is recruiting field botanists (GG-0404-05) to assist with research evaluating the effectiveness of restoration techniques used to decommission OHV trails in the deserts of southern California. The field techs will collect data on plant cover, density, and species diversity; soil bulk density and texture; and other measures of restoration success. Work will be based out of the USGS office in Henderson, NV, with week-long visits to various field sites in CA required (~20 travel days per month). This work will help the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) determine techniques used for future restoration projects. This is a temporary 5-month position that will begin in mid-April 2021.

Schedules can be variable, change with little notice, and may require early morning start times, long days, and a few weekends of work. Field work will require hiking and working in remote desert terrain while carrying 25-lb packs, regardless of weather. Overnight, primitive car camping for up to a week at a time in desert conditions (hot/cold weather extremes) is required.

Duties will include, but are not limited to:

  • Use dichotomous keys to independently identify desert flora (perennials and annuals) to the species level both in the field and office.
  • Accurately collect, enter, organize, error-check, summarize, and analyze plant and soil data using spreadsheets, relational databases, and R.
  • Prepare voucher and herbarium specimens.
  • Safely operate 4WD vehicles on two-track roads.
  • Perform lab analyses including, but not limited to, soil bulk density and soil texture analyses.
  • Assist with the day-to-day operations of field research (e.g. preparing supplies, vehicle and equipment maintenance).
  • Participate in other research projects.


  • Experience using dichotomous keys to identify CA desert flora.
  • Ability to strictly follow data collection protocols and accurately collect transect data on vegetation and soils.
  • Background and strong interest in botany, desert ecology, plant ecology, and/or restoration ecology.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and work well both independently and as part of a team, depending on the situation.
  • Ability to hike in rugged terrain while carrying a 25-lb backpack, work long days, and camp in remote field conditions where temps can range from 30°F – 110°F.
  • Ability to maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic under the often unpredictable and trying (but rewarding) conditions of fieldwork.
  • Experience using ArcMap, Survey123, analyzing data, and writing publications is preferred.

To qualify for a GG-5 you need 9 months of field experience OR 3 years of sub-professional work experience OR 3 years of college with courses related to the work of the position to be filled (equivalent to 90 semester/135 quarter hours) plus 3 months of lab or field work experience. Sub-professional experience consists of working as a technician or aid in the field or in a laboratory or similar environment. A valid U.S. driver’s license, safe driving record, pre-employment physical, and background check are required. All applicants must be U.S. citizens.

Application instructions:
For each position on your resume/CV, please list the number of hours worked per week, as well as exact start and end dates (month/day/year).

Please submit a resume/CV and the contact information for at least three references to by 8:00 AM PST on March 3, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

If claiming 5 point veterans preference, a DD-214 showing character of discharge is required. If claiming 10 point veterans preference, a SF-15 with proof of claim is required.


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