NRRI Temporary Field Technician Aquatic Ecology

Mar 31, 2022

NRRI Temporary Field Technician/Aquatic Ecology

Job Opening: 347052

Application review: April 25, 2022

About the Department:

The Natural Resources Research Institute was established by the Minnesota legislature in 1983 as an applied science and engineering research organization to inform state citizens and decision-makers while leveraging the power of the University of Minnesota. NRRI is guided by the forward-looking charter provided by the Legislature to foster the economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

NRRI’s mission is to deliver integrated research solutions that value our resources, environment, and economy for a sustainable and resilient future. We are a mission-driven, project-focused team working to create opportunities for natural resource stewardship.

With industrial-scale facilities in Duluth and Coleraine, MN, NRRI works across five strategic research platforms. These platforms address Minnesota’s soil, forest, water, and mineral resources:

1. Applied Ecology and Resource Management

2. Minerals and Metallurgy

3. Minerals and Bioeconomy

4. Data Collection and Delivery

5. Commercialization Services

About the Job:

Research Overview – Researchers work in Great Lakes coastal wetlands and northern Minnesota lakes and streams. We investigate the condition of aquatic ecosystems using fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates and do research on aquatic invasive species. Field technicians will work in crews of 2-4 individuals to conduct field surveys and will access study sites by boat, canoe, or by hiking overland. Some of this work will require multiple 6-8 day trips, while other work will be done in 3-4 day field trips or will be near Duluth. Crews can expect to travel anywhere from Green Bay, WI to the Keweenaw Peninsula, MI, and to inland lakes in Minnesota. Travel from NRRI to field sites will occur in University vehicles; field trip lodging is provided and technicians are given a meal allowance when traveling away from the Duluth area.

Job Duties – Depending on the project, technicians will document fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, habitat, aquatic macrophytes, and water quality in Great Lakes coastal areas; electrofish and sample aquatic invertebrates and habitat in wadeable streams; sample aquatic invasive species and fish in lakes, and other similar duties. Field technicians should possess boating and water-related safety skills, must be fit enough to hike all day in wadeable streams and through trail-less forested areas, and are expected to work cooperatively in small groups for extended overnight travel. Training will be provided but all crew must pass tests after training to be certified to work on field crews. Field sampling and travel will be about 75% of the job duties. Technicians will also be responsible for organizing field equipment and reporting on sample collection activities (10%), as well as processing invertebrate, sediment, and water quality samples in a laboratory (10%).  Computer and GPS skills are desired to navigate to sampling sites and for data management (5%).

Field training will occur in May or June, depending on the project, after which successful passage of a fish identification exam is required, as well as successful demonstration of understanding of sampling techniques. During training, field technicians will be required to demonstrate an aptitude for basic boat operation, boat trailering, water safety, handling and identifying fish, performing macroinvertebrate sampling, and collecting and processing water quality samples.  

Field surveys will be conducted by crews of 2-3 individuals on up to 6 day trips during June, July and August, 2022. Transportation, lodging, and a meal allowance will be provided during travel away from Duluth. When crews are working around Duluth on a standard work schedule, and on days off, crew are responsible for their own transportation, housing, and food. New employees will start orientation and complete online training modules in May or early June. This appointment will last until work is completed (typically into September), but will not exceed October 31, 2022.

Terms of Employment:

NRRI is based out of Duluth, MN; multi-day travel required.
This is a temporary position; May 15 through October 31, 2022.

Salary: $16.20 per hour and up, depending on qualifications.


Required Qualifications:
• Valid driver’s license and clean driving record (absolutely no moving violations; any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a motor vehicle background check)
• Physical ability to work long hours outdoors, sometimes in inclement weather, covering long distances over uneven terrain carrying gear.
• Evidence of ability to work as team member in a field or laboratory setting
• High school diploma or equivalent

Desired Qualifications:
• Experience sampling and identifying fish, invertebrates, and aquatic macrophytes.
• Boating and trailering experience with water safety knowledge.
• Strong communication skills when working with a team.
• Computer skills performing data entry and spreadsheet management skills.
• GPS and orienteering experience, including forest hiking and stream walking.
• Mechanical aptitude: e.g. changing vehicle and trailer tires, troubleshooting boat motors, performing routine maintenance of vehicles, trailers, boats, and motors.
• 1 yr of college-level coursework

How to Apply:

Applications must be submitted online.  To be considered for this position, please visit the UMN careers page.  You will have the opportunity to complete an online application for the position and attach a cover letter and resume. Job Opening is: 347052

Additional documents may be attached after application by accessing your "My Job Applications" page and uploading documents in the "My Cover Letters and Attachments" section.

Application review will begin April 25, 2022.

To request an accommodation during the application process, please e-mail or call (612) 624-UOHR (8647).

Employment Requirements:

Any offer of employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. Our presumption is that prospective employees are eligible to work here. Criminal convictions do not automatically disqualify finalists from employment.

Please note: All employees at the University of Minnesota are required to comply with the University’s Administrative Policy: COVID-19 Vaccination and Safety Protocol by either providing proof of being fully vaccinated on their first day of employment, or complete a request for an exemption for medical exemption or religious reasons. To learn more please visit:


The University recognizes and values the importance of diversity and inclusion in enriching the employment experience of its employees and in supporting the academic mission.  The University is committed to attracting and retaining employees with varying identities and backgrounds.

The University of Minnesota provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  To learn more about diversity at the U: