Trainee Opportunity: Apply to be a Karst Hydrology Intern with the Geological Society of America

Position Title: Karst Hydrology Intern
Position Type: GIP Intern
Primary natural resource discipline: Water resources
Location: Harrison, Arkansas

Position Description: Buffalo National River is searching for a well-rounded individual who is interested in being part of an interdisciplinary team of natural resource scientists working to solve real-world water quality issues in a complex and interconnected karst geology environment. The primary duties of the Karst Hydrology Assistant will be working alongside natural resource staff to conduct routine water quality monitoring and special investigations within the Buffalo River Watershed to contribute to one of the National Park Service’s oldest and most continuously running water quality databases for a national river. Data collected, in part, by the intern will be used in park management decisions and by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality to better inform state water quality standards and § 303d impaired waterbody listings pursuant to the Clean Water Act. The intern will routinely calibrate multi-parameter sondes which measure pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and conductivity. The GIP will learn to analyze water samples for fecal coliform, Escherichia coli, and turbidity using standardized protocols and specialized equipment in the park’s EPA-certified laboratory under the supervision of the Lab Operator. Routine water quality monitoring for nutrients, fecal coliform, E. coli, and turbidity will be conducted at 9 sites along the 152-mile long Buffalo River, 20 tributary sites, and 3 springs. Other water quality monitoring opportunities will include collecting emerging contaminant water samples in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, monitoring, recording, and collecting samples from reported algal blooms, and monitoring E. coli and turbidity levels as part of a special investigation researching the potential environmental impacts of a large-scale confined animal feeding operation located in close proximity to the park.

The intern will be integral to the park’s continuous dissolved oxygen monitoring program by assisting the park’s Hydrologic Technician with calibrating, deploying, and analyzing data from Onset HOBO® Dissolved Oxygen Data Loggers placed in tributaries of the Buffalo River. S/he will become familiar with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) and be trained as a site back-up operator for the park’s NADP weather station. There may also be opportunities for the intern to gain specialized research experience in groundwater mapping through dye tracing studies that are planned within the park.

Secondary duties may include working with the park’s interpretive staff to develop educational material about karst hydrology and to develop and present interpretive programs throughout the park, helping to develop and prepare for S.T.E.M. learning events at the park’s two research learning centers, and working with the Project CAVES program. S/he will have ample opportunities to meet and collaborate with staff from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U.S. Geological Survey, other  federal and state agencies, private consulting companies, the Cave Research Foundation and other NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs). This position is offered through the National Park Service’s Geoscientists-in-the-Parks (GIP) Internship Program in partnership with Stewards Individual Placement Program (Stewards) and The Geological Society of America (GSA). Upon successful completion of the GIP internship, the participant is eligible for an AmeriCorps Education Award.

Work Products: Deliverables expected from the Karst Hydrology Assistant will include:

• Complete and accurate field data sheets and record keeping
• Digital water quality records documented in park’s water quality database
• Final presentation to park staff summarizing internship accomplishments and potential data results
Other potential deliverables may include:
• Karst hydrology educational material (to be developed in coordination with the park’s interpretive staff)
• Karst hydrology interpretive program and corresponding material (e.g. slideshow presentation and

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