USFS Geomorphological Research Fellowship in Meadow Restoration

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Reference Code
How to Apply

Connect with ORISE...on the GO! Download the new ORISE GO mobile app in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to help you stay engaged, connected, and informed during your ORISE experience and beyond!

A complete application package consists of:

  • An application
  • Transcript(s) – For this opportunity, an unofficial transcript or copy of the student academic records printed by the applicant or by academic advisors from internal institution systems may be submitted.  Selected candidate must provide proof of completion of the degree before the appointment can start.  Click Here for detailed information about acceptable transcripts.
  • A current resume/CV
  • Two educational or professional recommendations. At least one recommendation must be submitted in order for the mentor to view your application.

All documents must be in English or include an official English translation.

Application Deadline
9/1/2023 3:00:00 PM Eastern Time Zone

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling-basis.

USFS Office/Lab and Location: A postgraduate research opportunity is available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS), Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) located in Fresno or Shaver Lake, California. Selected Fellow will have access to lab facilities and office space in Fresno and Shaver Lake (Dinkey Mill) and use of a vehicle for project participation.

At the heart of the U.S. Forest Service's mission is their purpose. Everything they do is intended to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generations. Why? Because their stewardship work supports nature in sustaining life. This is the purpose that drives the agency’s mission and motivates their work across the agency. It’s been there from the agency’s very beginning, and it still drives them. To advance the mission and serve their purpose, the U.S. Forest Service balances the short and long-term needs of people and nature by: working in collaboration with communities and our partners; providing access to resources and experiences that promote economic, ecological, and social vitality; connecting people to the land and one another; and delivering world-class science, technology and land management.

Research ProjectThe participant will collaborate with a diverse science team of the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW) and several of its federal, state, and non-governmental partners. The participant will join the Meadows Restoration Research team to contribute to understanding hydrology and sediment delivery in fire-impacted watersheds and meadows in the Sierra Nevada. The multi-year study is assessing the efficacy of using beaver-based restoration approaches to restore degraded mountain meadow channels in burned versus unburned landscapes in the northern and southern Sierra Nevada. The participant will perform activities to review and synthesize data collected from ongoing experiments and participate in ongoing field projects scheduled to continue until fall 2025.

Learning ObjectivesUnder the guidance of a mentor, the participant will hone their skills of teamwork and collegiality, hydrology, sediment production and delivery, statistics, and data visualization to review and analyze meteorological, hydrological, and geomorphological data from research conducted before and after meadow restoration on the Plumas and Sierra National Forests. The participant will learn to co-lead field data collection and instrument troubleshooting, topographical surveying, using software to review and adjust electronic data based on other field records, developing algorithms to review data, analyzing and interpreting results, and communicating results via written and oral presentations.

MentorThe mentor for this opportunity is Joe Wagenbrenner ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor.

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: September 5, 2023.  Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year but may be extended upon recommendation of USFS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. The current stipend for this opportunity is $4,800 - $5,500 per month plus an insurance stipend.

Citizenship RequirementsThis opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and USFS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, USFS, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please visit our Program Website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a master's degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within one year of the appointment start date.

Preferred Skills:

  • Experience conducting watershed research and analyzing meteorological, hydrological, and geomorphological data.
  • Experience gauging streams for stage and turbidity including instrument troubleshooting.
  • Comfortable using software to review and adjust electronic data based on other field records, developing algorithms to review data, analyzing and interpreting results, and communicating results via written and oral presentations.
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master's Degree received within the last 12 month(s).
  • Overall GPA: 3.50
  • Discipline(s):
    • Chemistry and Materials Sciences (2 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (7 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (5 )
    • Mathematics and Statistics (4 )