Henry's Fork Foundation
Summer 2020 Fisheries Intern
The Henry’s Fork Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works to conserve, protect, and restore 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.
The intern will assist with a portion of a Ph.D. project, researching how geomorphology and fish habitat in the upper Henry’s Fork change with macrophyte growth. After initial training, the intern will work with the Ph.D. student to collect streamflow and aquatic habitat metrics at four locations within the upper Henry’s Fork watershed. The intern will spend ~20 days in the field (6-8 hrs), with most of the effort hiking in (<1 mi) and wading. Work distribution: 70% field, 30% office.
To put measurements of available fish habitat in context, it is important to survey actual fish habitat usage. However, the unique fish habitat within the Henry’s Fork River may make fish detection and accurate determinations of habitat usage difficult. An ideal intern project will be focused on exploring and testing alternate methods for collecting data on fish habitat usage, including snorkeling surveys, raft surveys, and aerial photography. Deliverable: short written report and oral presentation at the seminar series describing your project, including justification, methodology, and analyzed results.
• Interest in watershed management and conservation from the perspective of a non-profit organization
• Basic background in environmental science or related fields
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Ability to work independently on some tasks and as a member of team on others
• Good time management skills
• Flexibility in work assignments
• Ability to share living space with four other interns
• Valid driver’s license
• Basic coursework in fish biology, aquatic ecology and/or hydrology
• Familiarity and comfort with snorkeling, swimming, wading, and work within and around moving water
Additional Work Expectations:
• Ability to work independently and think creatively when designing, collecting data, and analyzing data for an independent research project
• Physical ability to lift ~25 lbs of equipment and work in unfavorable weather
• FAA Drone pilot certification would be useful but is not required
What to Expect During the Internship
The 3,200-square mile Henry’s Fork watershed lies at the headwaters of the Snake River in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. The Continental Divide, Yellowstone Plateau, and Teton Range form the watershed’s northern and eastern boundaries. Elevations range from 4,300 feet above sea level at the bottom of the watershed to over 10,000 feet along the Teton crest. Irrigated farms of potatoes, grains, and hay dominate land use in the lower half of the watershed. At higher elevations, National Forest and other public lands provide outstanding outdoor recreation, including hiking, climbing, camping, fishing, hunting, cycling, and snow sports. The watershed is very rural, with a total population of around 70,000 people. Agriculture and tourism are the largest economic sectors; HFF’s work seeks to maintain a balance between water use for agriculture and streamflow to support world-class fishing and related ecological resources.
All interns from out of the Henry’s Fork area will live in a shared dorm space at HFF’s campus in Ashton, a farming community of 1,000 people. The campus is housed in Ashton’s old community hospital, which was completely refurbished in 2017 to house HFF’s offices, laboratory, interpretive center, and intern/graduate student housing. The dorm space consists of two bunk rooms, two large bathroom/shower facilities, a large open kitchen, laundry facilities, and a living room. Housing, including linens and all kitchen implements, is provided by HFF, but interns are responsible for their own meals.
Other than businesses oriented primarily toward tourism and agriculture (auto parts and repair, hardware, etc.), services in Ashton are limited to a small health clinic and pharmacy, one grocery store, a dollar store, and five small eating establishments (Mexican, three traditional American diners/drive-ins, and a pizza/sandwich shop). The grocery store is well stocked for a small town but does not carry much in the way of organic and natural foods and is difficult to access from HFF’s campus because of a busy highway crossing with no stoplight or pedestrian facilities. The nearest large supermarkets, Walmart, drug stores, and other business are located in Rexburg, about 25 miles southwest of Ashton. There are a few restaurants with broader menu options located in the tourist area of Island Park, 20-30 miles north of Ashton. The closest natural-food stores and restaurants, “finer” dining establishments, and “night life” (e.g., weekly outdoor concerts) are located in Teton Valley, 40-50 miles southeast of Ashton. The closest regional airport is located in Idaho Falls 53 miles southwest of Ashton. The closest international airport is located in Salt Lake City (SLC) 220 miles south of Ashton. The Salt Lake Express shuttle runs from the airport Salt Lake City International Airport to Rexburg several times a day, but should be booked in advance. The west entrance to Yellowstone National Park is a one-hour drive from Ashton, and Jackson, Wyoming is about a 90-minute drive. The best climbing and hiking opportunities are 45-60 minutes from Ashton, although outstanding fly fishing can be found 5 minutes away from the campus. An out-of-state fishing license costs $98. Some of HFF’s boats and rafts are available for intern recreational use after hours and on weekends, when not being used for HFF’s field work. HFF provides company vehicles for work but does not provide vehicles for interns to use on their personal time. Although not required, a personal vehicle is strongly recommended to allow full enjoyment of the area’s recreational opportunities. Interns without vehicles must rely on those with vehicles for transportation to and from shopping and activities.
The Work Schedule:
HFF is committed to supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace and to promoting careers in the environmental and natural-resource sciences among groups underrepresented in these professions. Thus, we will make every effort to adjust assignments to accommodate strong applicants who may initially be uncomfortable with the work requirements described below. However, these adjustments are much easier to make during the recruiting process rather than after interns arrive for the summer, which is why we request that applicants contact us with questions before applying.
Interns are expected to work 40 hours per week, on average. Work weeks start with mandatory staff meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Monday. The other mandatory weekly event for interns is seminar, held from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons. For the first two-three weeks of the internship, expect to work more than 40 hours, including some evenings and weekends. These weeks will be filled with orientation and training events—including CPR and first aid for those not currently certified—and with Henry’s Fork Days, a week of HFF’s most important outreach and fundraising events. During that week, June 15-20, all interns will be expected to assist the fundraising and event team with no fewer than three events, including a donor reception, HFF’s annual fisherman’s breakfast and membership meeting, and a fundraising dinner and auction on Saturday the 20th attended by 600 of HFF’s most dedicated supporters. Work days during these first few weeks of the internship can begin as early as 6:30 a.m. and end as late as 10:30 p.m. Interns will be given extra time off around July 4 to compensate for the additional work time. Other than June 20th, weekend work will be rare, but it may be necessary to staff the interpretive center and accommodate availability of volunteers and shared equipment, vehicles, or lab space.
After the business of the first few weeks (and it is equally busy for staff), interns will settle into a weekly routine of field, laboratory, and office work, with individual schedules dependent on the particular internship position. All internships will require field work, which can vary between 25% and 80% of the intern’s work hours. All field work will require driving to/from field sites,
usually 20-45 miles one way. Some field work will be done in teams with the intern’s mentor and possibly other interns, staff or volunteers, while other tasks will require the intern to work alone in remote, rural settings. If you think you will not be comfortable working alone, please request more information about the particular internship(s) of interest to you before you apply.
Depending on the internship position, field work could include conducting experiments in farm fields, measuring various ecological and physical parameters in the river, and maintaining fences to keep livestock away from streambanks. Field and laboratory work will include use of expensive high-technology equipment as well as boats, rafts, and other standard outdoor equipment and clothing. Field work will be done in all types of weather, aside from lightning and severe thunderstorms. In June, temperatures can be below freezing, and snow is possible at high elevations. During the rest of the summer, temperatures range from 40 degrees to 90 degrees, sometimes spanning that range in a single day. Expect wind, low humidity, and bright sun, all of which add to the physical stress of working at high elevations, especially for those not accustomed to the climate and altitude of the arid western U.S. At the same time, afternoon thunderstorms are possible on any given day, usually producing some combination of strong winds, heavy rain, hail, dangerous lightning, and sudden temperature drops of up to 40 degrees. Orientation and training will cover procedures for conduct under these conditions. If you have questions about field work and physical requirements of a particular internship, please request more information before you apply.
As a Henry’s Fork Foundation intern you must assist with fundraising and member events, education, outreach and other projects as needed, including water quality monitoring, field work in hydrology and stream ecology, maintaining fish passage facilities, installing/maintaining livestock fences, and staffing HFF’s interpretive center. Occasional evening and weekend work will be required on these tasks. Interns are required to attend HFF’s weekly summer seminar series and are required to give a 15-minute seminar presentation on their independent project at the end of the summer. Interns will contribute to the HFF intern blog where they will provide a weekly update on their work to our membership.
To learn more about the HFF and the work we do, please explore the following links.
Henrys Fork Foundation website: henrysfork.org and HFF Blog: http://henrysfork.org/blog