GSA Online Application System



Public Land Name:
BLM Baker Field Office

Position Title:
CLOSED Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program Assistant (Apply by 29 March)

Agency: BLM

Position Type: GeoCorps

Position ID Number:

Oregon, Baker City

Accepting Applications? No

# of current Applicants: 21

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 29 March. 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.

Apply by Friday, 29 March. The Baker Field Office is approximately ½ million acres of public lands spanning over 8 counties in Oregon and Washington with thousands of AML features and over 5 historic mining districts (e.g., Virtue, Mormon Basin, Sumpter, Sparta, Cornucopia, etc.). The youth applicant will assist a BLM geologist with the above project specific AML sites and related field work. Field work includes identifying AML sites, hazard assessments, inspections, AML feature(s) data acquisition (e.g., imagery, GPS collection, dimension measurements, description, etc.), evaluation if cultural and bat inventories are required, assisting reclamation work, water/air quality monitoring (e.g., sampling and lab preparation). Fieldwork will be done in remote backcountry settings and requires strenuous exertion. Weather and terrain conditions may be extreme (e.g., heat, cold, thunderstorms, steep rough terrain, historic mining hazards). Office work will largely consist of data recordation in AMSCM, finalizing HazMat assessments and inspections, technical writing, emails, budget analysis (e.g., reclamation cost estimate), creating maps with GIS/imagery and final prep of water samples for lab analysis. The applicant will be assigned a project every 1 to 2 weeks based on the progress of previous assignments. Some projects may take a couple days and others may take a couple of weeks to complete. Progress will depend upon the severity/size of the AML site and number of features or monitoring required per site. Currently, most reclamation work includes installation of bat gates over adits and shafts, fencing or backfilling of shafts without the presence of bats, removal of HazMat materials, re-contouring/re-grading excavated areas, and reseeding. This work is done by a 3rd party contractor or certified BLM employee; however, the student will be responsible for monitoring and inspecting the finalized work. Not all projects suggested above are expected to be addressed during the 12-week period. The geologist will assess which projects the applicant is interested in relative to the fiscal year 2023 AML priorities/targets. This project is offered through the Geological Society of America's GeoCorps™ America Program in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.

Project Background Information:

The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program addresses physical safety, environmental hazards, cultural significance, future mineral potential/development, reclamation/remediation, and post-monitoring requirements associated with abandoned mines/exploration on BLM-managed lands. Abandoned mines are those mines/exploration activities that were abandoned prior to January 1, 1981, the effective date of BLM’s Surface Management 43 CFR 3809 regulations. Due to the age of these AML sites, it is rare to locate the financially responsible party; therefore, BLM funds the costs needed to assess, reclaim, and monitor these abandoned mines. Prior to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) in 1976, the U.S. government did not have the regulations or guidelines to require reclamation nor an understanding of the impacts; however, today operators are required to post a reclamation bond (liability fee in case of abandonment) and provide BLM with an adequate reclamation plan. Since the U.S. government’s initiative to settle the West in the 1800s, public lands have been mined/explored for precious and base metals. Over the last 150 years, the public lands have been exposed to some sort of mining activity from exploration to wide-ranging mine and mill development. As ore was extracted and eventually exhausted, exploration/mining operations were abandoned, leaving behind public lands that have major safety issues and environmental hazards such as, but not limited to, adits, portals, shafts, tailings, dumps, acid mine drainage (AMD), excavation pits/highwalls, structures and equipment. As continual efforts are taken on the federal level, AML sites are challenging due to the amount of money, time, resources, and cooperation with other Federal, State, and county agencies. As BLM continues to assess the impacts and reclaim AML sites, vandalism, future mining potential/development, and an increasing interest in other public land use(s) must be considered to further evaluate the best path forward. The BLM’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations; therefore, BLM has made it a priority to reclaim these abandoned mines.

Goals, outcomes, and deliverables:
Potential Project Specific AML Sites/Work: Pedro Mountain AML Site (hazard assessment, inspection, AMSCM data recordation); Mormon Basin/California Basin AML Site (hazard assessment, inspection, AMSCM data recordation, and water quality monitoring); Flagstaff Hill AML Site (hazard assessment, inspection, AMSCM data recordation, tailings analysis (AMD potential and metal concentrations analysis), and potential HazMat issues); post-reclamation water quality monitoring (First Creek, Clover Creek, and Connor Creek (water sampling and analysis)); Balm Creek AML Site (water quality monitoring, sampling, and analysis (e.g., metal concentrations, pH, Eh, salinity, temp, TDS, etc.)); GIS data acquisition and interpretation (collect and correlate Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), United States Geological Survey (USGS), and BLM GIS data and aerial imagery to identify AML features/hazards); and new AML sites (identification/location, hazard assessment, inspection, AMSCM data recordation, budget analysis, reclamation evaluation).

Agency involvement (project oversight, mentoring, team building, etc.):
There will be substantive BLM programmatic involvement by a BLM geologist that will work side by side with the recipient on all projects and provide project orientation and hands-on training. BLM will have the right to intervene by modifying the project management plan, if the project is not staying on schedule, technical issues arise, etc. In addition, BLM and the recipient will meet weekly to discuss progress and track project outcomes; review any training needs; and then decide a plan forward to finalize the project or move to the next phase/project.

Professional development & learning opportunities: (trainings, certifications, networking, etc.):
Training Requirements, if needed: BLM will be responsible for any training fees/costs necessary to complete the project: FISSA (Cyber Security Training), Water sampling/analysis (onsite training by geologist), AML site hazards (office/onsite training by geologist), AMSCM training (office), OSHA HazMat (if not accompanied by certified specialist/geologist), 4x4 Training (operate govt. vehicle), Defensive Driving (operate govt. vehicle). Travel: BLM will be responsible for any travel necessary to complete the project (e.g., government vehicle, gas, etc.). All trainings should be available either onsite or online; therefore, no travel expenses should be required; however, BLM will either provide the costs for transportation, lodging, and food or the student will be reimbursed following completion of the travel.

Leadership Development:
The participant will engage in rigorous projects that focus skills and reveal the work qualities of the individual. The project provides the opportunity for the participant to develop or apply personal responsibility in their work. The rigorous schedule of the project helps develop project management skills. The project will also work with multiple stakeholders in their project, which will help the participate develop/demonstrate communication skills, and experience navigating organizational hierarchies.

Presenting Project Results:
The participant may be asked to reflect on and present the outcomes from their project to BLM staff near the conclusion of the position. Participant is also encouraged to present their experience and project impacts at a GSA Annual Meeting or GSA Section Meeting.

Physical/Natural Environment:
The Baker Field Office within the Vale District is approximately ½ million acres of public lands spanning over eight counties in Oregon and Washington with thousands of AML features and over five historic mining districts (e.g., Virtue, Mormon Basin, Sumpter, Sparta, Cornucopia, etc.). For more information, please visit the BLM Baker Field Office's home page.

Work Environment:
Monday – Friday, generally 8 AM to 4PM, 40-hour week for 12 weeks, with flexible start/end dates in May-June/August-September 2023. Weekends might be required but would be a rare occurrence. BLM Vale Baker FO will provide a laptop, field equipment, and any other project specific materials. All required Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) will be provided by BLM. BLM suggests the applicant buy a pair of steel toe boots; however, removable steel toe covers are available.

This opportunity is suitable for youth working towards an undergraduate or graduate degree in geology, geoscience-related discipline, or mining/environmental engineering with an interest in mining or historic mining remediation/reclamation. As stated in the duties, this opportunity will require time outdoors and field work that is often under somewhat rigorous physical conditions. Applicants must also pass a DOI security background check.

Qualifications may include: - Background in geology - Minimum of one year of geology coursework at the college level - Background in environmental science - Minimum of one year of environmental science coursework at the college level - Educational background and/or experience or interest in mining, economic geology, or other similar field. - GIS experience or coursework at the college level - Experience with specific GIS tools, such as ArcGIS and ArcGIS Collector - Experience performing field work independently, including walking and hiking on uneven terrain, at high elevations, and in various weather conditions. - Experience navigating in the field independently with compass, GPS, etc. - Experience collecting and organizing data with tools like databases, tablets, etc. - Experience communicating and relating with members of the public - Familiarity with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

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 Department of the Interior.

Vehicle / Driver's License Requirement (If applicable):
Applicant must have a valid U.S. driver’s license and a good driving record. A government vehicle will be provided for project-related duties only, once the required safe driving trainings are complete. A personal vehicle is required for the position, as the Baker Field Office is not directly within city limits/walking distance and public transportation is not readily available. The closest regional airport is in Boise, Idaho. Baker City has a population of about 11,000, but most big city amenities are available in nearby La Grande (1 hour) or Ontario (1 hour). A government vehicle will be provided for any field work and travel to and from AML sites. The student will either be accompanied by a geologist or drive the government vehicle if clearance/training is authorized.

Position Dates:
May/June–August/September 2024 (start/end dates flexible)

Position Duration: 12 weeks

Hourly Wage: $15.00/hour

Housing Details:
The agency cannot provide housing, but might be able to assist in locating appropriate, clean housing. A maximum extra payment of $600 per month may be available to subsidize monthly housing.

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.

Lesley Petrie
Education and Outreach Program Coordinator
3300 Penrose Pl
Boulder, CO 80301

Amber Pike and Sandy Tennyson
Locatable, Saleable, Leasable & AML Minerals Programs
3100 H St
Baker City, CO 97814