Internships: Habitat Modeling on US Forest Service Lands - McDowell County

All supplies and equipment are supplied by the Wildlife Resources Commission. All work-related travel expenses are paid by the Wildlife Resources Commission. All interns are paid overtime in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards act and agency policy. Please note that housing is the responsibility of the intern.

Project Name: Habitat Modeling on US Forest Service Lands

This is a great opportunity for a student to gain intimate knowledge of how wildlife professionals plan for wildlife and wildlife habitat over a large landscape of public land.  The student will help develop the agency’s analysis of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in order that the agency can provide comments and technical guidance to the United States Forest Service for the revision of their current Land Management Plan (1994). This project will allow us to develop plans to provide habitat for game species and species of conservation concern on 1.1 million acres of National Forest Land over the next 10-15 years.  The intern will interact daily with wildlife professional and will learn about practical and real life wildlife management while at the same time providing us with information that will make a difference.


Objective:

During the internship, the student will provide assistance to the Eco-region Supervisor, Wildlife Forester and wildlife Diversity Supervisor.  The student will help develop the agency's analysis of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests in order that the agency can provide comments and technical guidance to the United States Forest Service for the revision of their current Land Management Plan (1987).  Requirements of the newplanning rule are to provide habitat for plant and animal diversity and species conservation. The requirements are intended to keep common native species common, contribute to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, conserve proposed and candidate species, and protect species of conservation concern.  This project is very much in line with our agency's mission to conserve wildlife resources and their habitats.  This project will allow us to develp plans to provide habitat for game species and species of conservation concern on 1.1 million acreof National Forest Land over the next 10-15 years. Clearly the beneficiaries of these efforts will be our sportsmen and other wildlife-associated recreational users such as wildlife viewers.  Goals 3 and 4 of our strategic plan will be met with this project.


Project Location:

County: McDowell

Location: Marion Fish Hatchery 645 Fish Hatchery Road Marion, NC 28752

Location Description: Field location such as a depot


Academic Majors:

Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Ecology, Wildlife Management, Forestry with wildlife minor, GIS skills with wildlife background


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required:

  • We are looking for someone with a wildlife background or a natural resources field with wildlife coursework or a minor in wildlife.
  • Must have fundamental knowledge of wildlife habitat components and common bird and mammal species
  • Basic GIS skills (Arc Map)
  • Computer skills - intermediate level (Word,Excel are a must)
  • Experience with habitat models would be a plus but not necessary
  • Ability to research journals and scientific publications online and through other outlets.
  • Ability to write well.

Tasks and Duties:

This is a great opportunity for a student to gain intimate knowledge of how wildlife professionals plan for wildlife and wildlife habitat over a large landscape of public land.  We are looking for someone with a wildlife background and basic GIS and computer skills.  Experience with habitat models would be a plus but not necessary.  The intern will be expected to accomplish the following tasks and duties:

  • Conduct literature reviews and obtain expert opinion to develop habitat needs and characteristics for selected indicator species to be used in habitat models
  • Help to develop and implement select habitat suitability models to be used to analyze current habitat quality and projected habitat quality under various management scenarios
  • Assist with GIS analysis of data on forest condition and wildlife populations in order to determine best management approaches for maintain diversity and selected priority species.
  • Research hunting/ fishing/ wildlife viewing economic impacts on both forests broken outby district (if have time)
  • Develop NCWRC priority roads and trails list across both forests
  • Other wildlife activities with local staff (habitat work, waterfowl banding, forestry, fisheries surveys, etc.)

 


Travel Required:

No travel required


Work Schedule:

Weekdays (M-F)


Final Product:

The final product will be a complete literature review and a series of habitat models and requirements for a group of selected wildlife species on the National Forests.  These data will provide inputs to USFS models and to our own habitat evaluation process.  The final result will be a landscape level habitat suitability map and also graphs of habitat suitability for 50-100 year time frames under various management scenarios.  These analyses will also provide the basis for NCWRC to recommend where and how much various important habitats are needed across the National Forest.  These products will greatly increase the ability of NCWRC to provide a quantifiable and scientific basis for management recommendations and will increase the likelihood of implementation and adoption by the US Forest Service.  The National Forests provide 1.1 million acres (22% of landscape) of forested habitat in the Mountain Ecoregion and are therefore critical for wildlife.


Knowledge Gained:

The student will learn about how wildlife professionals plan for wildlife and habitat on a large ownership of public  property.  The student will be taught wildlife-forestry integration, wildlife habitat management, ecological restoration, USFS land planning processes, use of models for habitat quality analysis, equipment operation, and other skills as needed.  This is real life wildlife management that has an impact.

How to Apply:


Learn about the application process.