GSA Online Application System



Public Land Name:
Custer Gallatin National Forest, Beartooth Ranger District

Position Title:
CLOSED Cave Management Assistant

Agency: USFS

Position Type: GeoCorps

Position ID Number:

Montana, Red Lodge

Accepting Applications? Yes

# of current Applicants: 0

Position Description:
This project will primarily conduct cave inventory/assessment work. Other duties include monitoring the Gallatin Petrified Forest, monitoring abandoned mine closures and assisting in monitoring locatable minerals operations. For cave work, the BLM Billings Field Office and USFS Custer Gallatin National Forest are working with the National Speleological Society’s Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto to conduct cave inventory and monitoring of cave resources on BLM and USFS lands. Cave entrance locations and other information sources will be used to identify potential caves for inventory, monitoring and significance evaluation. A three-person cave resources crew will be hired to complete above and below ground field work. Two Montana Conservation Corps positions will be hired by BLM & one will be a USFS GeoCorps participant. The crew will work cooperatively to inventory and monitor caves on both BLM and USFS lands. The crew will occasionally be augmented by BLM and USFS employees and volunteers with the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto. The cave crew will spend most of their term of service in the Pryor Mountains of Montana and some time in other Billings Field Office and Custer Gallatin National Forest locations. The weekly work schedule will likely be four 10-hour days and camping out or staying at a BLM work center the majority of the time. The cave crew will use GPS and a tablet with GPS capabilities to navigate and hike to points collected during a previously completed helicopter flight. The cave crew will investigate to see if the location is a cave entrance, document what they find using a standardized inventory protocol and digital photos. Dependent on the information discovered, the crew may investigate further by entering the cave or portions of the cave. If safe and feasible, the crew will locate and enter cave systems to document and monitor physical cave characteristics, including biologic, geologic, hydrologic, and cultural resources. Based on 2017 to 2019 cave inventory work, most of the crew's time will be spent hiking to and searching for potential cave entrances, many of which may be rock shelters rather than actual caves with extensive passage. Other duties: 1) The GeoCorps participant may also assist with other projects in other parts of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, including monitoring abandoned mine closures and resource monitoring of the Gallatin Petrified Forest. This may require camping in remote locations or staying in government housing in Gardiner, MT and/or Cooke City, MT. To meet applicable training requirements for work safety, first aid, and use of government equipment (vehicles, UTVs, computers, etc.), the participant will participate in training for the first portion of the internship. On-the-job training in defensive driving, GPS/tablet use, cave/karst inventory, vertical cave technique, working in grizzly bear habitat, etc. will be provided. This project is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program, in partnership with the Minerals and Geology Management Program of the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

GSA and its partners are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and remain committed to providing enriching geoscience work experiences while maintaining the safety of project participants and mentors. Because the current COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue well into 2021, project timelines and structure remain flexible and it may be necessary to postpone start dates, begin work remotely, or reformulate the project description. Should any development in the COVID-19 pandemic impact a project’s ability to proceed as planned, the GeoCorps team will work with the host site and project mentors to assess the situation and determine the best course of action at that time. GSA encourages candidates to apply for these opportunities, and we appreciate your flexibility and understanding during this time.

Goals, outcomes, and deliverables:
Findings will be used to augment existing cave inventory data and incorporated into work on USFS and BLM Cave Management Plans and Federal Cave Resources Protection Act significant cave designations. Additional time will be spent organizing and compiling cave data including digital photos, populating inventory databases, and/or populating hard copy files. Gallatin Petrified Forest monitoring information will be used to track impacts of public petrified wood collection and identify needs for revising management of the existing petrified wood collection permit system. Abandoned mine closure monitoring will be used to evaluate efficacy of prior closures and identify additional work needed to ensure public and environmental safety concerns remain addressed at sites.

Agency involvement (project oversight, mentoring, team building, etc.):
For cave inventory/management work, BLM and USFS will provide supervision, mentoring, and training of GeoCorps participant and crew members. BLM and USFS will provide equipment necessary for safe completion of work tasks. For petrified forest monitoring and abandoned mine monitoring, initial work will be under supervision of USFS staff to establish monitoring and safety protocol however, most work will take place with another GeoCorps participant.

Professional development & learning opportunities: (trainings, certifications, networking, etc.):
Training will be provided for completion of job tasks, familiarization with cave resources, familiarization with abandoned mine land hazards, and operation of government vehicles and equipment. The participant will participate in training in early June. The participant will have opportunities to interact with various resource specialists and be exposed to a variety of land management activities on BLM and USFS lands. This may be a Public Land Corps project, which provides some additional options when applying for federal jobs.

Leadership Development:
The participant will gain exposure and experience to leadership-building tasks in the following ways: • Independent problem solving in the field. • Working cooperatively with other USFS/BLM staff & crew members. • Data organization, interpretation, and synthesis. • Exposure to management of various geologic resources.

Presenting Project Results:
Reports will be compiled regarding data collected. Some data will be input into GIS systems. Project results and information collected would be utilized in ongoing resource stewardship and management by USFS and BLM staff. Cave and bat population inventory/monitoring information would also be utilized in ongoing research by the USFS's Rocky Mountain Research Station and the State of Montana's Natural Heritage program. The participant is also encouraged to present their work products and results at a GSA Annual Meeting or GSA Section Meeting.

Physical/Natural Environment:
Work will primarily occur on the Beartooth Ranger District, which consists of the Beartooth and Pryor Mountains. Work will also occur on Billings BLM land office lands. Three weeks of work are also planned for the Gardiner Ranger District.

Work Environment:
A shared desk & computer will be provided for office work. Field sites will be accessed by vehicle, with extensive hiking required. Potential job-site hazards include weather, rattlesnakes, entry into caves, riding ATVs and UTVs. Work schedule will mostly be four 10-hour days, with camping in remote locations.

We are looking for individuals who love adventure, being outdoors, getting dirty, and camping. Ideally, these individuals will have an interest and experience in caving. Individuals must be comfortable working independently and with a small crew in remote locations. Crew member training will be provided to develop skills in surface and cave navigation, vertical rope use and cave inventory. The applicant must be working toward or already have a degree in the geosciences or cave-related studies. A competitive applicant will have coursework and/or experience in cave/karst systems, experience in vertical caving, cave cartography, photography and GPS/GIS. While a Forest Service or BLM supervisor/mentor will be present, the applicant must be able to work well independently and as part of a small independent team, both in the office and in the field. The applicant should be familiar with Microsoft Word and Excel, be able to effectively use the internet for research, and have some experience writing technical/scientific documents. The project position will work intermittently with the USFS and BLM staff, but most office and much of the fieldwork would largely be done independently or with other crew members. The applicant must possess basic orienteering skills, be comfortable with use of topographic and geologic maps, aerial photos, and GPS navigation systems. The applicant should be comfortable with and competent at working alone or in a small crew in remote areas. The applicant should be able to communicate effectively in writing and orally, be comfortable hiking and driving 4-wheel-drive vehicles and/or ATVs in rough terrain and be able to perform field work in rough terrain. Applicant must have a valid U.S. driver's license and a good driving record. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent legal resident (Green Card holder). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required and the participant will need to pass a background check for GSA's staffing partner, Aerotek, Inc. Online training for computer access may also be required prior to starting this position.

Vehicle / Driver's License Requirement (If applicable):
Must have a valid U.S. driver's license and good driving record. Personal vehicle may be needed while off-duty, for errands and recreation. 4x4 or off-road driving experience needed. Experience operating UTV/ATV on rugged roads and trails is a plus.

Position Dates:
Summer 2021. Schedule is flexible. Ideally, the position will start June 7, 2021 and go through mid-October 2021; 12 to 18 weeks.

Position Duration: 12-18 weeks (negotiable, 18 weeks preferred)

Hourly Wage: $14.20/hour

Housing Details:
A room will be provided at no cost to the participant in a shared bunkhouse at the USFS District Office in Red Lodge. No pets or guests are allowed in USFS housing. During the work week, the participant may be required to camp and/or stay in a remote BLM work center or at other USFS locations.

If you have questions about the application and selection process, please contact GSA's SIP or GeoCorps managers.  If you have questions about any aspect of the position — description, qualifications, housing, dates — please direct them to the contact(s) listed in the project description. Remember, application materials can only be submitted online. The project contact(s) will not accept application materials sent to them via e-mail, mail, fax, etc. See the full program details at the SIP homepage or the GeoCorps homepage.

Dan Seifert
6811 Highway 212
Red Lodge, MT 59068

Lauren Oswald
Services Staff Officer
10 East Babcock Ave.
Bozeman, MT 59715