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COAST Student Internships Summer 2017

 California Department of Fish and Wildlife 

Office of Spill Prevention and Response

Natural Resource Damage Assessment Internship​​


Host: California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Pre​vention and Response​

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR), acts as a public trustee and possesses custodial responsibilities for protecting, managing and restoring the State’s fish, wildlife, and plants. It is one of the few State agencies in the nation that has both major pollution response authority and public trustee authority for wildlife and habitat. OSPR's mission is to provide best achievable protection of California's natural resources by preventing, preparing for, and responding to spills of oil and other deleterious materials, and by restoring and enhancing affected resources.

Location: Based in Sacramento

Internship Dates: June 5 - August 18, 2017; start and end dates flexible with regard to student’s academic commitments. 

Stipend: $5,000 

Time Commitment: The internship is a full time, 11-week commitment. Over the 11 weeks, the intern may take up to five days off for personal reasons, vacation or illness. If participation is less than 100%, the stipend will be pro-rated.

Position Description and Responsibilities: Resource protection and resource assessment are key principles that guide many scientific activities within OSPR’s Resource Restoration Program. One (1) internship is available to work side-by-side with OSPR scientists to address priority resource protection and assessment tasks. 

The OSPR Resource Restoration Program, Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Unit examines the natural resource injuries from oil spills or other pollution events, quantifies the injuries, and identifies projects that restore both the injured resources and compensate the public for the lost interim ecological benefits and uses of those resources. Following spills, water, sediment, and tissue samples are chemically analyzed and used to assess exposure, injury, and time to recovery following a spill of petroleum or other deleterious material. For example, following the Santa Barbara Refugio Beach Oil Spill in May 2015, OSPR scientists collected surf water, sediments, and invertebrate and fish tissues for chemical analysis as a means of determining the level of oil exposure and wildlife injuries caused by the spill. 

Under the direction of OSPR staff toxicologists and environmental scientists, the NRDA Unit intern will assist staff in a variety of tasks related to injury assessment and environmental sampling, including the development of field documentation, checklists, standard operating procedures, files and electronic library management, and production of an instructional ‘how to’ video that details procedures to be followed when collecting spilled product, water, sediment, and/or tissues in the field. The intern will spend approximately 50% of their time working on tasks related to environmental field sampling, as well as actual time in the field collecting samples. The other 50% will involve general office-related tasks, including scanning and archiving of hardcopy and electronic files related to NRDA cases. 

Preferred Experience and Capabilities: We are looking for a motivated self-starter who is skilled in science, natural resources, toxicology, chemistry, or biology with excellent verbal and writing skills. Ideally, the selected candidate will be experienced in or capable of learning how to collect environmental samples for chemical analysis. Experience in video production or design is desirable. Ability to learn and use Microsoft Office and EndNote software to perform various tasks, including preparing documents, filing, electronic scanning, and electronic library management will be required. 

Skills Gained: The intern will learn about how OSPR uses scientific concepts for resource protection and resource assessment. The intern will learn how to collect and document environmental samples, operate sampling equipment, and interact with a highly technical team of Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. level scientists, including toxicologists, biologists, and environmental program managers.   

Eligibility/Requirements: The internship is intended for upperclassmen (juniors/seniors) and graduate students. Intern must be at least 18 years old and must have a valid driver’s license. The intern must be able to work independently and interact in a professional manner with OSPR staff. Travel to marine/freshwater shoreline areas may be required. Applicants are also subject to additional eligibility and requirements that can be found here​.


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