River Steward Internship Announcement for Summer 2016

The Farmington River Watershed Association (FRWA) is now accepting applications for its Summer 2016 River Steward internships. Two FRWA River Steward interns will work in the field, laboratory, and office on a variety of projects, including water quality sampling and analysis, assessments of aquatic animal passage at road-stream crossings, outreach, and special grant-funded projects.  PDF copy of internship announcement here.

Background. The Farmington River is one of the most popular recreational rivers in Connecticut, with world-class trout fishing and whitewater paddling reaches, plus flatwater stretches and riverside trails. It has small scale hydropower, and provides very high quality drinking water for over 450,000 people in greater Hartford. Though intensively managed, it still faces serious challenges to its water quality and aquatic life. FRWA) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1953 and dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Farmington River and its watershed. (see www.frwa.org.) Internships at FRWA provide broad experience in watershed management, planning, and public education, and how agencies and organizations balance the many demands made on this natural resource.

Overview. River Steward internships are based in FRWA’s office in Simsbury, CT, and the work focuses on the lower mainstem of the Farmington and its tributaries in Canton, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Granby, East Granby, and Windsor. The total time commitment is 280 hours, to be spent in 30- to 35-hour work weeks from June to August.

Interns work with all the staff at FRWA and have responsibilities typical for entry-level professional positions in watershed associations. Most work is on weekdays but early morning, evening, or weekend hours are sometimes required. Indoor work is expected to be done in the FRWA office rather than off-site, to allow interaction with team members and staff. Interns will participate in the following projects:

Water quality monitoring. FRWA provides water quality data to the CT DEEP, where it may be used in the state’s reports to the US EPA in compliance with the Clean Water Act. Data collection and analysis is therefore held to a high standard. Monitoring is ongoing throughout the season and requires participation from at least one intern every Monday and Tuesday. It includes training; collecting water samples from watershed streams and rivers; laboratory preparation and analysis of samples for bacteria, data quality assurance and entry. Other monitoring tasks may include placing temperature data loggers, choosing additional sampling sites, and field collection of benthic macroinvertebrates.

Stream crossing assessments. Interns will work with FRWA staff to evaluate road-stream crossings (culverts and bridges) in the lower Farmington River for their ability to allow passage of aquatic animals. The process can also identify crossings vulnerable to failure in extreme storm events. We use the protocol of the North Atlantic Aquatic Continuity Collaborative (NAACC), which is used by agencies and organizations throughout the Northeast. Data are uploaded to a regional database maintained by the UMass Extension Service, where the information is available for viewing and analysis. Interns undergo mandatory training and testing in the protocol; obtain and record data at field sites; and assist with reviewing and uploading data.

Public education and outreach. This involves both face-to-face interaction with recreational users on the river to encourage safe practices and good river etiquette, and maintaining an online presence for FRWA on our website and in social media. FRWA interns will work with FRWA staff and with the volunteer members of the Lower Farmington River Coordinating Committee to organize and implement selected outreach tasks.

Special Project Assistance. Interns can assist as needed with current grant-funded projects or advocacy efforts that are ongoing in summer 2016. These may include, but are not limited to:
• Research tasks related to the development of a statewide water plan;
• Construction of a stormwater bioswale on the campus of Northwestern CT Community College;
• Developing an EPA-approved watershed-based plan for the Pequabuck River.
Qualifications. The ideal candidate is an advanced undergraduate or recent graduate, highly motivated to pursue environmental management, restoration, or advocacy as a profession. Coursework in environmental science and experience in field work and data collection are strongly preferred. A can-do attitude, imagination, interest in learning, flexible response to circumstances, “people skills,” and good humor are important.

Job Requirements. Interns are expected to:
• Have their own reliable transportation at all times;
• Commit and adjust to a weekly schedule that varies with weather and task;
• Climb up and down steep banks and wade in rocky streams;
• Paddle a canoe or kayak in flatwater or mild current (Class 1-2);
• Work 6-8 hours outdoors in variable weather;
• Cope with poison ivy, thorns, ticks, insects, and wildlife;
• Have excellent written and verbal communication skills;
• Work well on a team or independently;
• Represent FRWA in a friendly and professional manner;
• Be diligent about details when analyzing, recording, and uploading data;
• Be familiar with (or quickly learn) basics of GIS software, Google Earth, Google Maps, and using GPS units;
• Be good organizers;
• Be communicative and accountable to staff, with “deliverables” that are complete and timely.

Compensation. Each position comes with a stipend of $2,800. Travel to field sites will be compensated at $0.54 per mile. Housing is not provided. Positions are contingent on funding, which is pending at the time of announcement (Feb. 1).

To apply, send a cover letter, resume, two professional references, and two writing samples to: Eileen Fielding, FRWA, 749 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury, CT 06070 or efielding@frwa.org

Deadline. Submission before March 15 is highly recommended. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled. Hiring decisions are anticipated in April or early May.

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