• Riparian Assistant

    Job Locations
    US-CA-Trabuco Canyon
    Seasonal, Full-Time
    Job Category
    Land Stewardship
    Trabuco Canyon
  • Overview

    Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).



    Position Summary

    Assistants perform the research and physical work that are the heart of our relatively new riparian (stream) exotic control and restoration project. All such work at Starr Ranch is non-chemical (no herbicides used) and guided by research that is executed on site.

    The Assistants are required to reside on-site in housing provided by Audubon as a condition of employment to properly perform the essential functions of the position that require hard physical activity during early morning hours beginning at  5 am to avoid high afternoon temperatures in excess of 90 degrees.  They must also be on site during evening hours to serve as fire watch assistants throughout fire season, which the Orange County Fire Authority now considers to be year-long.  This function is to try to prevent destructive wildfires set intentionally (i.e. arson) or unintentionally (e.g. cigarettes and campfires).   Living on-site will also afford the Assistants the opportunity to develop a first-hand understanding of operating a large conservation sanctuary.


    Housing will be provided in the “Bunkhouse” located at 100 Bell Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA  92679. The dwelling is in excellent condition and is the former lodging for Starr Ranch cowhands, built in the 1930s.  It is a single story building with one guestroom, which can be used for the Riparian Research Assistant position when funded, with a separate door and two bedrooms separated by a sitting room. All rooms have doors and private entrances.  One room has bunk beds and the other has one double and two single beds. The bunkhouse is fully furnished, linens provided.  Two bathrooms and a fully equipped roofed outdoor kitchen are about 100 feet each from the bunkhouse.  All are well described to candidates during phone interviews.  The bunkhouse is professionally cleaned before assistants arrive and again in late spring. Each bedroom is occupied by one adult, no minors. Up to three adults can live in this residence. Utilities are paid by Audubon.

    Essential Functions

    • Physical control of exotic species in two major stream corridors (3.16 and 4.71 miles long, respectively)  including roadsides, using heavy tools such as trencher-cultivators, weeder-diggers, loppers, and pick mattocks
    • Serve as fire watch assistants during evening hours throughout fire season to prevent human-caused wildfire.
    • Initiate or continue, under guidance of a mentor, experiments or observational studies that explore non-chemical control methods for top exotic species identified during stream monitoring and mapping in our Bell and Crow Creeks.
    • Recruit, track, and organize volunteer “Weed Warriors” that help remove streambank weeds
    • Initiate or continue experiments or observational studies on techniques for restoring native stream vegetation.
    • Write protocols and work plans; execute weed removal, restoration, and research; then write final reports.

    Qualifications and Experience

    • Undergraduate degree in biological science or related field.
    • Ability to work with tools such as pick mattock or trencher-cultivator.
    • Must be able to work outside in varying conditions (poison oak, heat, etc.).



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