Position Title: Hydrology Assistant
Park Unit: Water Resources Division
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/06/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
Relocation Allowance: $400.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

Springs are a valuable natural and cultural resource that are found in abundance on lands managed by the National Park Service. They serve many important functions, including water sources to both wildlife and humans, often in otherwise water-limited environments. They support lush dependent ecosystems, provide base flow to streams and rivers, and hold a strong cultural connection for many native and indigenous communities worldwide. They serve as points of discharge for aquifer systems being recharged both locally and regionally, and thus serve as an indication of the function and status of the geologic units transporting and controlling the flow of groundwater in the subsurface. Springs are also very sensitive environments, and are being affected by conditions such as drought, climate change, wildfire, invasive species, groundwater development, and others. Springs have been identified as one of the most sensitive indicators of climate change, and as such serve as a ‘canary in the coal mine’ for other resource considerations.

The Water Resources Division has started the process of compiling data and creating an interactive database of NPS springs and dependent resources and is working in partnership with the University of Nevada Desert Research Institute (DRI) on an Inflation Reduction Act-funded project looking into the vulnerability of springs and dependent resources to climate change and other stressors. This position will assist in gathering pertinent information on the location, geology, flow, water quality, and ecologic and cultural significance of NPS springs, and work to enhance and further develop a data repository of information on these sites as well as the map application of their locations, source geology and other pertinent attributes.

Specific duties will include working with the primary and secondary supervisors to identify parks and regions of primary focus, such as hydrothermal areas, karst springs, or culturally important areas. The intern will follow a process to search, compile, and summarize data for these areas, input data into the central tabular database, and incorporate the data into the map application for visualization and analysis. Site visits to more than one NPS unit will be necessary to collect or confirm data or test methods and protocols.

A centralized source of data on the location, geology, flow, chemistry, or dependent ecology for springs in the NPS is just becoming a reality, and the applications and use of these data are becoming more apparent as the process evolves. This effort will positively impact a number of potential conservation, restoration, sustainability, and even legal efforts within the NPS. For example, springs that were historically developed or impounded could be identified and prioritized for restoration by returning natural flows to the landscape. Identification of source aquifer, flow rate, and/or presence of sensitive species can assist in vulnerability assessments for potential added protection measures. In water rights protests, springs are often sites of a potentially impacted water right or important resource that requires protection. A first important need is knowing that these resources exist on the landscape and require protection, while a secondary step would be to have adequate information on source aquifer, potential for outside actions to impact the spring, and what dependent resources might be affected. Having an adequate understanding of springs on the landscape will allow for these arguments to be made for their protection. Identifying candidate spring sites for long term monitoring will allow assessments to be made on the resilience of the larger landscape to such stressors as drought, wildfire, and groundwater development on nearby lands.


The desired product at the completion of the one-year term is continued development of the new NPS springs and groundwater database, with focused efforts on certain areas with known or suspected resource concerns. Presentation of the database, map application, and use cases should be presented at one scientific conference or other venue during the intern's term. The intern will be expected to work with the project team at DRI to assist in products they are developing with NPS data, and may be needed to assist with field work, report development, or other tasks.


The ideal intern candidate will be a motivated and passionate geoscientist (graduate-level preferred) with experience in hydrogeology/geology coursework and concepts, and comfort with GIS or database development. Considering the cultural significance of springs to many native/indigenous communities, we would welcome additional recruitment efforts in these areas.

The ability to travel out of state and hike in backcountry conditions under varying environmental conditions will be necessary for park visits.

Additional preferred, though not required, qualifications include geologic map interpretation, water quality measurement and sample collection experience, previous database development, and previous field work.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 52 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

This position is with the National Park Service Water Resources Division in Fort Collins, CO. The work environment is primarily an office setting and can require long periods of sitting. This internship is based in the NPS office located in Fort Collins, though some out of town travel may be necessary for periods up to one week. There would be no more than 6 of such trips over the course of the internship and may include travel by government vehicle or via air travel. All travel is budgeted into the Internship. Work trips could include trail and off-trail hiking to springs sites and may include the possibility of remote car camping or tent camping, but most likely as day trips with in-park lodging or nearby hotel stays. Field efforts may require carrying up to 40 pounds of personal and scientific equipment over the course of field days that may extend up to 12 hours of field time and require up to 10 miles of hiking.

The office is located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and sits at an altitude of approximately 5,000 feet. The weather in Fort Collins is generally mild in the spring and hot/dry in the summer and can be cold and snowy during winter. There is great access to hiking, biking, fishing, and other outdoor activities, although a car may be needed to enjoy some of these activities. It is considered a bike-friendly community, with miles of bike trails throughout the city. Because Fort Collins is a college town, there are many great restaurants and breweries to explore, and plenty of grocery stores and shopping opportunities. The nearest airport is located in Denver, which is a little over an hour away.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. Park housing is not available, as this is a NPS Natural Resources Stewardship and Science Directorate (Water Resources Division) position and not a Park Unit position. Nearby housing options in Fort Collins, Colorado and the surrounding towns include both apartments and room rentals. Rent costs start at around $800/month for a room in a shared house to $1100/month for an apartment, and vary depending on furnishings, amenities, and location. Because Fort Collins is home to both Colorado State University and Front Range Community College, there may be sublet options available. A few web sites that list available rentals are FortCollins.CraigsList.org, Apartments.com, Roomster.com, and Zillow.com. For reference, the office location is within zip code 80525.

Springs, groundwater, database, GIS, geochemistry, Native American perspectives

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)