Location: Based out of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Work will be conducted primarily in the headwaters of the Sprague River.
Anticipated Duration: The project will start in early or mid-July and will last for a total of four weeks, not to exceed 160 hours of work.
Job Description: This project will include two field technicians assisting in manually removing invasive Brook Trout from critical Bull Trout habitat in the headwaters of the Sprague River in the Upper Klamath Basin in Oregon. Bull Trout within the Klamath Basin represent the southernmost distribution of their range in Oregon and are currently considered imperiled due to numerous factors including impacts from invasive Brook Trout. Brook Trout directly compete with Bull Trout for available habitat and food resources in addition to actively spawning with them and creating mostly sterile hybrids.
Currently, Bull Trout within the Klamath Basin are restricted to the extreme headwater streams where cold and clean water is available. As a result of past legal and more current illegal Brook Trout introductions, nearly all Bull Trout populations within the basin are experiencing direct impacts of the spread of the invasive trout. To further compound the issues these imperiled Bull Trout populations are facing, the 2021 Bootleg Fire burned nearly all Bull Trout habitat within the Sprague River Subbasin and subsequent rains flushed extreme amounts of sediment and debris into the streams resulting in massive fish causalities. While the impacts of the Bootleg Fire on Bull Trout are severe and greatly hinder recovery efforts, the silver lining is that the fire represents the single biggest removal event for invasive Brook Trout since their invasion.
ODFW’s Klamath Watershed District is hiring two field technicians to assist with electrofishing numerous Bull Trout streams impacted by invasive Brook Trout and the Bootleg Fire. The work will occur on a weekly basis with a likely schedule of Monday through Thursday utilizing 10-hour work days. Camping is highly encouraged and per diem will be provided to compensate the employees for food purchases as well as a daily payment if the employee is camping. If the employee wishes to stay in town and not camp, they will be required to travel in their own vehicle to and from the site during the week and will not be compensated for travel time except for traveling to the site on the first day and traveling home on the last day of the work week. A state issued vehicle will be provided. If the employee is not currently living near Klamath Falls or the surrounding areas, there is a potential for acquiring a room in a bunkhouse on the Klamath Wildlife Area to stay in during the weekends between work stints.
The work will include working in 2-3 person crews that will start at a downstream location point and will then systematically moving upstream in order to cover large sections of streams. The streams will be wadable and waders and boots will be provided. The crew will have a backpack electrofishing unit that one person will carry and operate while the other team members will carry nets and buckets and help to capture stunned fish. Electrofishing works by pulsing a small level of electricity into the water that results in stunning fish long enough to capture them. Once captured, fish will be held in buckets until the crew processes them and records biological data. Any captured Brook Trout will be removed while all Bull Trout will be released back into the stream.
Working conditions will include navigating rough terrain, inclement and often hot weather, mosquitoes and biting insects, and driving a state vehicle to and from field sites from Klamath Falls and a central camp location. A tent and some cooking gear may be provided if the employees do not have their own and the camping per diem is intended to offset the use of any personal gear. Technicians need to have the ability to carry an electrofishing unit on their back that weighs roughly 30lbs if they are running the electrofisher and 3-5 gallon buckets of water and a small dip net if they are netting that stream stretch. Block nets may also be utilized to isolate stream sections into manageable units.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please send an email and a resume or a description of any relevant experience to Benji Ramirez at [email protected] that contains your contact information and you will be directly contacted to discuss the position and the evaluation process. There is no deadline for applying for these positions and candidates will be evaluated as they come in so preference will be given to those that apply first in order to fill both positions and get started working as quickly as possible to attempt to conduct the work before Brook Trout spawning activity occurs and a new age class of invasive fish is established.