Position Title: GIS Assistant
Park Unit: Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network
Location: Kingston, Rhode Island
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: YES

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 10/07/2024
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.)

We seek a motivated and highly collaborative intern to work with a diverse team of NPS and university scientists on a multi-park eelgrass restoration project by assisting with the development of quantitative models predicting eelgrass distribution and other data products. The ideal candidate will have a strong quantitative background, experience working with spatial data (eg, GIS), and with large datasets. Familiarity with the open-source statistical software R will be especially valued. They are expected to be able to work independently while also participating in regular small group and larger team meetings. While the position is largely computer-based, there will be some field trips available to assist with the restoration planning.

The Northeast Coastal and Barrier Network (NCBN) is one of 32 networks created by the National Park Service to implement ecological monitoring activities under the NPS Inventory and Monitoring program (I&M). The NCBN consists of eight parks linked by geography and shared natural resource characteristics, and extend from MA to VA. These eight parks together contain approximately 59,220 hectares (146,300 acres) of park lands, representing some of the most ecologically similar collections of lands within the National Park Service. These parks protect vital coastal wetlands that are essential to water quality, fisheries, and the biological diversity of coastal, near shore, and terrestrial environments.

The NCBN has been monitoring a seagrasses habitat conditions within three National Seashores (Cape Cod, Fire Island, and Assateague Island) for more than 15 years. Over these years, seagrass meadows have declined at alarming rates in these parks and across the East Coast. Meadows are disappearing, shrinking in size, and becoming more fragmented. There is evidence that recent losses are partly due to rising temperatures. To address the urgent need to stop and reverse declining seagrass trajectories in parks, reduce population-scale climate change vulnerability, and ensure the persistence of the region’s key seagrass species, eelgrass (Zostera marina) into the future, through funding from the Biden Administration Inflation Reduction Act, the NPS is pursuing ways to restore and enhance the resilience of their eelgrass populations in national parks across the East Coast.

Specifically, the intern will: 1) assist with development and execution of eelgrass habitat suitability models for three National Seashores (Cape Cod, Fire Island, and Assateague Island); 2) provide GIS and mapping assistance for the entire project; and 3) generate online visualizers to make information and data more readily available for use in planning and management of seagrass. The intern’s primary role will be to locate and collect relevant spatial datasets that will be used in generating eelgrass habitat suitability models and creating maps to display relevant datasets and model results. This will involve working closely with colleagues at the USGS Eastern Science Center, Boston University, and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The intern may also assist with the collection and curation of datasets; parameterizing and running existing models; generating and validating model output; collating additional data layers on current eelgrass extent and potential usage conflicts; overlay these conflicts on the eelgrass biomass projections to identify areas for restoration and other management activities.

The NPS recognizes seagrasses as priority natural resources and Cape Cod, Fire Island and Assateague have developed stewardship strategies and management plans outlining goals to achieving and maintaining desired seagrass resource conditions. Goals include understanding threats to seagrass meadows, improving environmental conditions, and expanding the extent of meadows via restoration. The work that the intern will complete during their 52-week internship will directly address these goals by developing key scientific information needed to develop management strategies in these parks and throughout the northeast and mid-Atlantic coast. The work will also contribute to the Network by filling a very important roles related to 1) applying monitoring data to resource management; 2) science communication; and 3) data delivery, which are all goals of the I&M Program. Park managers are in need of not only the scientific reports that the Network develops, but communication material and online visualizers that make the information and data more readily available to them to use for planning and management of the coastal resources that they protect.


The intern will develop GIS and map products to provide to the parks based on the data and information generated by the larger project. These products will include maps and AGOL dashboards/visualizers to display data and habitat modeling results that may include Storymaps and/or RShiny. They will also have the opportunity to work with their supervisor to develop an individual project based on their own professional interests.


Strong organizational skills and knowledge and experience in R and ArcGIS/ArcGIS Online, upper level undergraduate or graduate credit hours in GIS (6 or more credits) and at least one class in remote sensing techniques, or extended experience as a post-graduate developing GIS applications such as StoryMaps, AGOL dashboards or data visualizers, and working with remotely sensed data. Other classwork or professional work should include experience in natural resources science and/or coastal resources science.

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.

The intern may work remotely or in one of the following office locations: 1. the University of Rhode Island, Kingston Campus in an NPS office within the Natural Resources Science Department; 2. Cape Cod National Seashore in an NPS office in North Truro, MA; 3. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at the offices of the Integration and Application Network in Annapolis, MD or Cambridge, MD.


  • Applicant will not need 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. No park housing is available.

GIS, Mapping, Remote Sensing, Imagery, R, ArcGIS, Spatial Analysis, Coastal Ecology, Habitat Suitability Modeling, Machine Learning, Seagrass

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.)