GSA Online Application System



Public Land Name:
Cleveland National Forest

Position Title:
CLOSED Geology and Mining Program Assistant

Agency: USFS

Position Type: GeoCorps

Position ID Number:

Rancho Bernardo, California

Accepting Applications? No

# of current Applicants: 35

Position Description:

Each project can accept up to 100 applicants. GeoCorps applicants can apply for multiple projects per season. Applicants must complete a cover letter for each project for which they apply.

For current applicants: You are considered a project applicant once you have successfully added the project to your profile while you are logged into your application form. The added project would appear under “POSITIONS YOU HAVE ADDED” for the GeoCorps America Program. You are encouraged to add projects before you complete your application components. In order to be fully considered for any position, you must complete all application components before the application deadline passes on 28 January. Login to your GeoCorps application profile to check the status of your application components, and make sure to complete any remaining items before the deadline passes.

The GeoCorps participant will serve as an assistant to the CNF Hydrologist and Geology Program Manager at the Cleveland National Forest Supervisor's Office, assisting with Watershed, Soils, and Geology program management, and acquiring knowledge of the natural resource specialist role working in land management. The participant will gain experience in resource management activities such as monitoring activities and recording information regarding mining operations; conducting field surveys used to identify management opportunities; and monitoring Forest Service land management project implementation. The participant will assist in collecting data, making observations, and reporting findings to the Forest Hydrologist to facilitate assessment and management of geologic resources. In addition to office work, the project includes driving on forest roads and field work. Potential field hazards include risk of injury from falls, strains, and exposure to inclement weather. Job hazard training will be provided. The participant will help assess the closure status of abandoned mines on the forest, recording recent activity, erosion, special features, and functionality of closure gates. For active mines, participant will record scope of existing mining operations, identify existing or potential resource impacts, and assist in interpreting geologic character and mineral potential of sites. To prepare for fieldwork, the participant will use a variety of methods (ArcGIS, LIDAR, aerial photos, and field investigations) to plan access and location of the mines. The participant will conduct field inventories recording the following: photo documentation of the site, mapping and describing features and structures, and assessing hazard and future hazard potential. For tasks related to project implementation monitoring, the participant will provide field and office support for fuels reduction projects, water rights management, trail rehabilitation monitoring, and best management practices implementation and effectiveness. Possible activities include: accompanying watershed staff in the field for Clean Water Act compliance evaluations (BMP evaluations); conducting water rights sight visits to measure flow discharge and photo document sites; assisting watershed staff with flagging riparian conservation areas during project implementation. This project is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps America Program, in partnership with the Lands, Minerals, and Geology Washington Office of the USDA Forest Service.

The program encourages participants to follow the same guidance provided to all USDA Forest Service employees and partners, which is to follow CDC guidance and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters that protect against the new and most prevalent variants.

Goals, outcomes, and deliverables:
Project goal is to introduce the participant to the role of a resource specialist working in land management, as well as support the needs of the Watershed, Soils, and Geology program on the Cleveland National Forest. For tasks related to the participant's support of mining management, the goal is to conduct site visits of 30 mining operations, and record the extent of operations and impacts. A secondary goal will be to assist the hydrologist with the project monitoring to introduce the applicant to different types of land management projects. Deliverables: Organized records (field notes, office documentation, photos) of site visits. By the end of the project, the participant will have the opportunity to present project findings to the Forest Interdisciplinary team to help guide land management decisions.

Agency involvement (project oversight, mentoring, team building, etc.):
Watershed, Soils, and Geologic resource management is integral to the Forest Service mission. The participant will serve as an assistant to the watershed staff in managing resources. Day to day supervision and mentoring will be conducted by the Hydrologist and Geology Program Manager that manages mining on the Forest. A greater amount of independence toward achieving project goals will be allowed once the participant demonstrates an understanding of the work, but there will always be oversight and collaboration throughout the project duration. The Forest Hydrologist will be the supervisor of record who manages any Human Resource needs and the overall Watershed Resources program.

Professional development & learning opportunities: (trainings, certifications, networking, etc.):
The participant will gain knowledge of working in land management by both shadowing the Hydrologist or the Forest Hydrologist, and conducting the activities listed in the project description. On-the-job training will be provided by the watershed staff. Examples of skills to be learned:

  • How to conduct site visits, what information to record, how to record it, and how that information is used to make land management decisions.
  • How to record data in NFS databases.
  • How to evaluate projects for compliance with planning documents and laws and whether projects are causing impacts to FS natural resources.

Leadership Development:
Leadership skills can be acquired in any position. While this position acts as an assistant, the participant will conduct investigations as a single resource once trained. The participant will take an active part in planning the week's workload and scheduling of site visits. The participant will be responsible for accomplishing the work they are assigned and may suggest alternative methods to the supervisor. The Participant will have the opportunity to present their findings to Forest Service staff (interdisciplinary teams). Additionally, while shadowing watershed staff, the participant will observe how Forest Service interdisciplinary teams function, and the role resource specialists have in land management. The Cleveland NF is planning leadership and team building workshops for the entire forest. The participant will have the opportunity to participate in any workshops that occur during their term of employment. These workshops will allow the participant to interact and network with employees from other districts and offices.

Presenting Project Results:
While most deliverables involve data collection, database entry, and mapping, the participant will summarize findings and present the info to the Forest Interdisciplinary Team to help guide future management decisions. Mining site information (summary of site investigation) will be presented to the applicable Line Officer, especially if sites are found to have significant resource damage. Findings will be presented both as project files and as a PowerPoint presentation.

Physical/Natural Environment:
The Cleveland National Forest, one of 18 National Forests in Region 5, is the southernmost National Forest in California and extends from Corona, CA to within 5 miles of the Mexico border. It is divided into the Descanso, Palomar, and Trabuco Ranger Districts and is approximately 465,000 acres in size.

Work Environment:
The project is based out of the Supervisor's Office, with most work taking place in the field (70% field, 30% office). Fieldwork would largely be done independently and may involve hiking in steep terrain, carrying equipment, and working in uncomfortable weather. Office work is conducted in a shared office space.

Applicant must have knowledge of geologic (or geomorphic) principles and concepts and working knowledge of ArcGIS software, AGOL, or ArcGIS Pro. Previous experience in field mapping and field investigations are beneficial but not required. Applicants must have a BS degree in geology. Optional course work in hydrology, geomorphology and/or engineering geology would make the applicant more competitive. The participant should be able to work well independently, both in the office and in the field with little supervision, have basic map reading and GPS orientation skills, must be able to interpret aerial photos, and be comfortable hiking cross-country in a rugged mountain environment alone. Computer skills in Excel Spreadsheet and database management are required. Start date is flexible but must begin no later than July 1, and applicant must commit to a full 26 weeks.

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (Green Card holder). Applicants must have a valid driver's license from a U.S. state or U.S. territory (i.e., Puerto Rico) and a good driving record. Prior to starting this position, the participant will need to pass a background check either with the host agency, GSA’s staffing partner, or both.

Applicants must be eligible to participate in Public Lands Corps, which means applicants must also:

  • Be between 18-30 years old inclusive during the timeframe they would finish the project (military veterans are permitted to be up to 35 years old during participation)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
Compliance with Public Lands Corps eligibility requirements is defined by the legislation supporting Public Lands Corps opportunities (16 U.S. Code § 1723 - Public Lands Corps program). Read more about the benefits and requirements of participating in Public Lands Corps with the USDA Forest Service.

Vehicle / Driver's License Requirement (If applicable):
Applicants must have a valid driver's license from a U.S. state or U.S. territory (i.e., Puerto Rico) and a good driving record. Experience operating four-wheel-drive vehicles is beneficial. A work vehicle will be provided for visiting field sites. A personal vehicle is strongly recommended for personal errands, for travel between housing and the duty station, and for exploring the area independently during time off. Ramona is located outside San Diego but several employees commute. Public transportation is limited.

Position Dates:
Must start no later than July 1, 2024. Can start as early as June 5, 2024.

Position Duration: 26 weeks

Hourly Wage: $15.50/hour

Housing Details:
The work site (duty station) will be in San Diego, CA. Barracks space may be available upon request but is not guaranteed. Suggested to use offsite housing. Limited housing stipend will be provided.

If you have questions about the application and selection process, please contact GSA's 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 GeoCorps homepage.

Emily Fudge
Forest Hydrologist
Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd., Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92127

Victoria Stempniewicz
Cleveland National Forest, 10845 Rancho Bernardo Rd., Suite 200
San Diego, CA 92127