Position Title: Irrigation and Farm Management Intern
Organization: Henry’s Fork Foundation
Job Type: Paid internship
Duration: June 12, 2019 through August 20, 2019 (10 weeks)
Job Summary: The Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF) is seeking an undergraduate student who is interested in working in the Farms and Fish program, a joint project of two non-profit watershed conservation organizations in the Greater Yellowstone region. The selected intern will participate in all sectors of non-profit work but will primarily contribute to an on-the-farm program that works with agricultural producers to develop innovative cropping and irrigation methods that will increase reliability of water supplies for agriculture and fisheries.
Organization Overview: The Henry’s Fork Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to conserve, protect, and preserve the unique fisheries, wildlife, and water resources of the Henry’s Fork Watershed. HFF uses a collaborative, science-based approach to achieve its mission and works closely with water users, hydroelectric power companies, government agencies, and other nonprofit groups. HFF’s primary partner in the Farms and Fish program is Friends of the Teton River (FTR), based in Driggs, Idaho. The supervisor of this internship is jointly employed by HFF and FTR.
Project Description: For many decades, fisheries conservation organizations such as HFF, FTR, and Trout Unlimited have relied on “in-the-stream” activities such as stream channel restoration, management and restoration of riparian areas, and fish passage improvements to maintain and enhance trout fisheries across the western U.S. Although successful on small scales in many areas, these types of projects have not been sufficient in and of themselves to maintain consistently abundant trout populations in river systems that are heavily used for irrigated agriculture. In these systems—which include all rivers in the upper Snake River basin—management and use of water for irrigation is the single largest factor determining trout abundance and aquatic ecosystem function. Demand for water is increasing in the West at the same time as climate change is reducing the amount of water stored each year in snowpack and increasing year-to-year uncertainty in water supply. As a result, fisheries conservation groups are developing new strategies to increase streamflow for trout at critical times of the year and mitigate the negative effects of climate change. Recognizing that the same factors that reduce streamflow for fish also threaten reliable water supply for local farmers and ranchers, HFF, FTR and their other conservation partners are now working one-on-one with agricultural producers to reduce on-farm irrigation use through a variety of financial and market-based incentives. Strategies include alternative crops and crop rotations, no-till farming methods, and changes to irrigation and other water management practices. The Irrigation and Farm Management intern will assist with research, monitoring and outreach associated with this program.
This internship will provide a unique opportunity for the student to work closely with HFF and FTR staff, especially Bryce Contor, the Landowner Outreach Manager for both organizations. Bryce grew up in the national parks of the western U.S., and as a young man returned to the farming roots of both his grandfathers. He has worked in the hydrology field since 1996, including seven years in private consulting, ten years with the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute where he served as a research hydrologist, and five years with Idaho Department of Water Resources where he served as a Senior Water Resource Agent. His education includes a B.S. in agricultural economics and an M.S. in hydrology. Bryce brings a unique combination of knowledge and skills in agriculture and hydrology to the job of working with irrigators for the good of the farms and the fish. Close interaction with HFF staff and its collaborators will allow the intern to learn about how nonprofit organizations and farmers are working together to improve reliability of water supplies for agriculture and fish. The techniques and partnerships being developed in the Henry’s Fork Watershed are representative of similar locally based efforts taking place throughout the western U.S.
Specific activities and projects include, but are not limited to:
1. Farms and Fish Project: Monitor farm fields enrolled in HFF’s irrigation demand reduction program, measure groundwater levels and streamflow, and collect data in a field-plot experiment to test effectiveness of low-elevation sprinkler application (LESA) technology.
2. Water Quality Sampling. Collect and process water samples from the Henry’s Fork River.
3. Outreach: Assist in preparation of outreach products, including presentations, reports, blogs, and social-media posts.
4. Summer Seminar Series: Participate in HFF’s weekly summer seminar series, at which HFF staff, invited guests, and the interns themselves present a variety of information relevant to HFF’s conservation work. All interns are required to attend seminar, ask questions of speakers, and give a 20-minute presentation on their own work with HFF.
5. Henry’s Fork Day: All interns are required to participate in “Henry’s Fork Days”, our main member outreach and fundraising event, on Friday and Saturday, June 21-22. Interns will help with set-up and event duties, alongside the entire HFF staff. At this event, interns will also be recognized to our membership for their internship.
6. Outreach/ Education: HFF has a youth education program that works to engage youth with their watershed and the work we do to protect it. Interns will assist, as needed, with our youth fly-fishing program “Youth on the Fly.”
7. Additional Field Work: Some of the intern’s time during the summer will be devoted to field work on other projects. In 2019, this work could include installing fences that keep livestock away from streambanks and collecting data on recreational river use. The recreational use survey may require occasional work on evenings and weekends.
Qualifications: We are seeking a motivated student with interest in agriculture, irrigation and water management, and agricultural economics and who is comfortable working outdoors, in and near water. The successful applicant will also need to have good communication skills, be comfortable working independently and with others, have good time management skills, be physically able to work outside and on the river, and be flexible with assignments. Applicants must also be able to swim and have a valid driver’s license.
Logistics: The selected intern will receive a 10-week stipend from HFF, paid on HFF’s regular twice-monthly payroll schedule. The intern is responsible for travel to and from HFF’s campus in Ashton. HFF will provide dormitory-style housing at its campus at no cost to the intern. HFF will also provide company vehicles for work-related travel, but the intern is responsible for local transportation during off-work hours.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion: The Henry’s Fork Foundation values a diverse workforce of people from all backgrounds and is committed to increasing the number of traditionally under-represented groups in the environmental and natural-resources professions. Our internship program provides a unique opportunity for students from around the country to bring a diversity of ideas and experiences to our small community and to each other, thereby enriching the experience and effectiveness of the entire HFF team. We are committed to respecting this diversity of ideas and backgrounds. We strongly encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups in the natural-resource professions, including women and minorities.
How to Apply: To apply for this internship, send a cover letter, resume, and a copy of your academic transcript to Bryce Contor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Application deadline is March 8, 2019. You can also contact Mr. Contor for more information about the internship. To learn more about the HFF and the work we do, please explore the following links:
Henry’s Fork Foundation website: henrysfork.org and HFF Blog: http://henrysfork.org/blog