2017 Position Descriptions, Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship Program

Alaska Sea Grant will fund three or more state fellows in 2017. Ten potential fellowship opportunities are available. Applications due Friday, February 24, 2017.

Index of fellowship position descriptions

Links jump to the full position descriptions below.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

A fellowship with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be based in Anchorage or Juneau and includes duties such as analyzing and developing fisheries policies at state and federal levels.

USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey

A fellowship with the U.S. Geological Survey will be based in Anchorage and focuses on supporting and facilitating hazard mitigation initiatives with an emphasis on coastal flood mapping.

NOAA

NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (2 positions)

Two fellowships with the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center will be based in Juneau. The first fellowship will support ongoing research in the Arctic for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program. The second opportunity will investigate the stock composition of juvenile chum salmon.

NOAA

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska Region (2 positions)

Two fellowships with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service will be available based in Anchorage and Juneau. The first position provides the fellow with an opportunity to analyze and evaluate current monitor use caps under several catch share programs. The second position offers two potential sets of duties, one addressing the management needs associated with Cook Inlet beluga whales and northern fur seals, and the other addressing the management needs associated with humpback whales and Steller sea lions.

logo of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council

North Pacific Fishery Management Council

A fellowship with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council will be based in Anchorage providing an opportunity to work as an assistant fishery analyst, analyzing and identifying fishery management plan issues.

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North Pacific Research Board/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperative

A fellowship with the North Pacific Research Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperative will be based in Anchorage focusing on a variety of research topics including resilience and adaptation in coastal communities, resource management and coastal and nearshore processes in the marine environment.

logo of the National Park Service

National Park Service

A fellowship with the National Park Service will be based in Anchorage with a variety of different management project options including coastal climate resiliency and adaptation, fisheries ecology and subsistence management and ocean acidification monitoring.

Alaska State Seal

Alaska Office of the Lt. Governor

A fellowship with the Office of the Lt. Governor will be based in Juneau investigating fisheries, climate change, food security and international issues such as transboundary rivers and arctic relations.

For further information, contact

Tara Borland, Program Manager, (907) 474-7014

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The fellow position will be housed in the ADF&G Commissioner’s Office in Anchorage or Juneau.

Description of the anticipated position

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U.S. Geological Survey

USGS - science for a changing world

The fellow would work at the U.S. Geological Survey Office of the Regional Director in Anchorage. The duties of the fellowship would be somewhat tailored to fit the individual selected fellow. Some of the core activities would include:

  1. Coordinating, co-writing, and reviewing documents in support of the work of the Arctic Council, Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna working group;
  2. Facilitating USGS initiatives in hazard mitigation modeling and planning, with particular emphasis in coastal flood mapping to more fully define flood risks and other natural hazards over large landscapes.

The incumbent will remain very busy with a wide range of science and technical applications over the course of the fellowship.

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NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (2 positions)

NOAA

Position #1

The Alaska Sea Grant State Fellow will support ongoing research in the Arctic for the Arctic Integrated Ecosystem Research Program. The Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Program at Auke Bay Laboratories is funded to conduct integrated ecosystem research in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas during 2017 to 2021. The research fellow would be responsible for providing assistance with:

  1. survey logistics: inventory/disposition of oceanographic gear (CTD, winch, onboard sample processing), biological gear (pelagic trawl, CLAMS data acquisition system), supplies, and shipping to and from Juneau to Dutch Harbor;
  2. participating as a fish biologist to collect bio/physical oceanographic data and fish data during late summer surveys—up to 65 days at sea during 2017;
  3. sample disposition during and after surveys to make sure principal investigators receive samples required to run in the laboratory;
  4. data management through collection, storage, requests and dissemination;
  5. processing bio/physical oceanography and fish samples in the laboratory;
  6. data analyses through written reports for cruises and provide assistance in semi-annual reporting requirements to North Pacific Research Board.

Position #2

We seek a recent graduate with an advanced genetics or mathematics degree to help us investigate the stock composition of juvenile chum salmon collected on National Marine Fisheries Service surveys in the Bering Sea. The position will be expected to isolate DNA and genotype samples for microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers. By comparing the allele frequency distribution in the sample set with a reference baseline of populations, the position will work with the project lead to improve existing mathematical models correlating stock abundance at sea with adult returns to western Alaska rivers. The successful applicant will become an integral member of the Genetics Program participating in all aspects of laboratory support and work. It is expected that the fellow will draft at least one scientific manuscript during the fellowship year for future publication in the academic literature.

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NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska Region (2 positions)

NOAA

Position #1

Monitoring use caps for NMFS Alaska Region catch share programs

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS have developed and implemented several limited access privilege programs (catch share programs) for federally managed fisheries in Alaska. These programs allocate exclusive harvesting and processing privileges among fishery participants. To implement each program, NMFS issued harvesting and processing privileges as quota share to persons based on specific qualifying criteria established by the Council or in statute. The catch share programs are:

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires the Council and NMFS to ensure that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of harvesting or processing privileges when allocated in a catch share program. NMFS has implemented limits on quota share holdings, called use caps, in all catch share programs to prevent participants from acquiring an excessive share of privileges. NMFS collects ownership information for entities holding quota share to monitor holdings against the use caps. However, NMFS limits the information submission requirements in terms of entity ownership detail and frequency of collection in order to limit the reporting burden on entities holding quota share. The number of catch share programs and use caps has increased over time, and the agency resources required to administer the ownership information collection requirements and monitor quota share holdings with respect to use caps have increased substantially. In addition, NMFS has encountered some challenges with monitoring use caps as the ownership structures of entities holding quota share have become increasingly complex for liability, tax, or estate planning purposes.

For this project, the Alaska Sea Grant Fellow would work with NMFS Alaska Region staff to develop an analysis that describes the current information sources and processes NMFS uses to monitor use caps under each catch share program. The analysis would also evaluate alternatives for improving the processes NMFS uses to monitor use caps overall or for specific catch share programs (i.e., by implementing additional ownership information collection requirements). The NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Division would use the analysis to determine if specific administrative or regulatory changes could improve NMFS’ ability to monitor catch share program use caps, consistent with the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Position #2

In 2017, the NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources Division offers Sea Grant fellows two choices of work location (Anchorage or Juneau) and sets of duties, although only one of these two positions will be filled.

NMFS Protected Resources Division in Anchorage, Alaska, seeks a Sea Grant Fellow to address management needs associated with endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales and, if time allows, northern fur seals. The Sea Grant Fellow should expect to engage in a range of activities, including: (1) designing and implementing an investigation of beluga whale use of the Twentymile River, and disturbances caused by human use associated with recreational and personal use fishing; and (2) community outreach throughout the Cook Inlet watershed promoting rapid response to stranded beluga whales and other actions that will promote their recovery. Outreach efforts may include working with graphic designers to develop enhanced signage at strategic places in Southcentral Alaska, and engaging the public through social media.

If time allows and the need exists, the Sea Grant Fellow will also have an opportunity to assist in monitoring northern fur seals on the Pribilof Islands, including tagging of animals and subsistence harvest monitoring. This would involve travel to remote locations and working in often harsh conditions.

The position based in Anchorage has some opportunity for in-state travel. The hosting unit will be NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Division of Protected Resources in Anchorage. Supervisors will be the Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Coordinator and the Northern Fur Seal Coordinator. The Division of Protected Resources in Anchorage is composed of nine biologists in a field office of about 20 professionals from several NOAA programs.

NMFS Protected Resources Division in Juneau, Alaska, seeks a Sea Grant Fellow to address management needs associated with humpback whales and Steller sea lions. The Sea Grant Fellow would be engaged in a variety of activities to include (1) further development and implementation of the Whale SENSE Alaska responsible viewing program for whale-watch operators (may involve outreach development, partnership-building with Juneau businesses to support best practices for wildlife viewing, geographic expansion of program, ride-alongs on vessels to evaluate/monitor on-water practices, etc.); (2) providing support for the goals of the Humpback Whale Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan; and (3) assisting in implementation of the Pinniped Entanglement Group to address pinniped gear entanglement issues (may involve field work in Southeast Alaska to survey haulouts for entangled animals).

The position based in Juneau has some opportunity for in-state travel. The hosting unit will be NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region Division of Protected Resources in Juneau. Supervisors will be the Humpback Whale Program Manager and Whale SENSE Coordinator and the Pinniped Entanglement Coordinator. The Division of Protected Resources in Juneau is composed of eight biologists within the larger NMFS Alaska Regional Office, home to fisheries and habitat management offices as well.

In these positions, the Sea Grant Fellow will gain an understanding of the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, issues surrounding federal management of listed species in a rapidly developing area, and issues related to federal and tribal co-management of marine mammals.

The work of the NOAA Fisheries Protected Resources Division includes implementing the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act for NOAA Fisheries trust species, primarily Cook Inlet beluga whales, Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, humpback and bowhead whales and several species of seals. We strive to promote recovery of all ESA-listed species, minimize the effects of development on these species, and, in coordination with Alaska Native organizations, co-manage the subsistence harvest of marine mammals throughout the state.

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North Pacific Fishery Management Council

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Major Duties and Responsibilities

The position serves as an assistant fishery analyst, working closely with other biologists and economists in the identification and analysis of issues pertaining to fishery management plan development and amendments, with specific focus on potential effects of management measures on fish stocks, other resources, and socioeconomic outcomes. Duties of the position include:

Potential Projects

Research activities during the fellowship may include working on several of the following projects:

Assisting in the preparation of a cutting-edge Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea

The Council is interested in developing an FEP that is structured to benefit fishery management decision-making, and creates a framework for considering policy choices that affect managed species and the ecosystem. For example, the Council will be working closely with the Alaska Fisheries Science Center to utilize modeling capacity and other tools to evaluate the resiliency of Council management strategies, and communicate management trade-offs in the decision-making process. The development of the FEP may include various components, for example, an assessment of North Pacific fishery management with respect to ecosystem-based management principles; a synthesis of the Bering Sea ecosystem as it relates to fisheries; consideration of non-traditional sources of knowledge; identification of fishery impact considerations for agencies authorizing non-fishing activities; and an assessment of risk associated with fishery management practices. Staff will work with the Council’s Ecosystem Committee, in addition to the Council, for review of FEP work products.

Assisting with Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program review

The Council implemented a catch share program for the central Gulf of Alaska (GOA) directed rockfish fisheries in 2012. The Rockfish Program allocates rockfish, other secondary species, halibut Prohibited Species Catch (PSC), and Chinook salmon PSC to catcher vessel and catcher/processor cooperatives. As required by section 303(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), systematic reviews are required of all limited access privilege programs (LAPPs) to determine progress in meeting the goals of the program and the MSA.

Assisting with the analysis of regulatory changes to the Observer Program

In 2013, the Council implemented a restructured Observer Program that made important changes to how observers are deployed, how observer coverage is funded, and the vessels and processors that must have some or all of their operations observed. As with all new programs, there have since been requests to revise specific elements of the program. These discrete analyses provide an opportunity to track a Council management change through the analytical and regulatory process.

Assist with Salmon Fishery Management Plan (FMP) amendment

The Council must reconsider a 2011 action to revise and update the Salmon FMP to exclude from its scope of coverage the sport fishery and three traditional net commercial salmon fishing areas: Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, and South Alaska Peninsula, in which they effectively ceded management authority to the State of Alaska. The Council will need to reconsider the FMP to ensure that these fisheries are managed according to the standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, even if that management is delegated to the State of Alaska.

Potential halibut and sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program amendments and research

In February 2017, the Council’s IFQ committee is scheduled to consider a suite of topics that were raised during the halibut and sablefish IFQ 20-year program review. For example, some Council members have expressed continued interest in understanding the impacts of quota share ownership movement away from rural Alaska communities. They may wish to know more about the nature of that movement (i.e., human migration versus sale of QS) and develop a better understanding about the characteristics of the movement (i.e., using multiple definitions of rural). Depending on how the committee chooses to address these topics, there may be a need to develop discussion papers or investigate these issues through additional research.

Prepare Amendment Action Summaries

The previous NPFMC Alaska Sea Grant Fellow prepared summaries for all 112 amendments to the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The compilation of summaries was published and posted online. See: http://www.npfmc.org/wp-content/PDFdocuments/fmp/BSAI/BSAIGFAmActionSumm.pdf. The summaries provide an overview of each amendment, and the compilation is a valuable resource to anyone interested in the development of the Council’s fishery management program for Bering Sea fisheries. Amendment Action Summaries for the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish FMP and Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands Crab FMP have yet to be prepared.

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North Pacific Research Board/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Landscape Conservation Cooperative

The two hosts will work together to provide overlap and synergy between initiatives at each institution and ensure shared purpose and focus, while exposing the fellow to two distinct organizations. Areas of joint interest include research on: (1) resilience and adaptation in Alaska coastal communities; (2) effective means to inform resource management in the context of climate change; and (3) coastal and nearshore processes in the marine environment.

The fellow’s focus at NPRB would be to synthesize science relevant to coastal resilience, possibly including the accessibility of the data that undergirds that science. At FWS the fellow would work on the complementary issue of helping communities identify research gaps and needs, among other projects. (More detail appears below.)

Both projects respond to the fact that Alaska’s coastal communities and resource managers face significant challenges as our coastal areas experience unprecedented change. Changes in marine water temperature, sea ice, and weather patterns result in infrastructure damage, risk to human lives, disruption of subsistence hunting and fishing, and significant impacts or threats to commercial and recreational fisheries. To adapt to these changes coastal managers and decision-makers need scientific information, data and tools presented in ways that help guide their actions. Further, they need a better understanding of how to engage with the vast array of agencies, research institutions and nongovernmental organizations working on these issues.

The FWS LCCs and the NPRB have each recently funded programs that, while designed independently, in fact complement each other and provide a partial foundation for this joint fellowship:

LCCs

logo of the Landscape Conservation Cooperative Network

Recently, three of Alaska’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and the Aleutian & Pribilof Islands Association spearheaded an effort to bring together leaders from tribes, agencies and research to focus on issues that threaten coastal communities and the resources they depend on. Spanning the Aleutians to the Chukchi Sea, participation was wide-ranging and included 34 tribes, 14 state and federal agencies, and almost 200 participants. The workshops served to identify tools and strategies to address the challenges of a rapidly changing coast and also raised dozens of critical questions and policy and science information needs that prevent communities and managers from taking action. These questions included mitigation of coastal erosion and flooding, management of fish and wildlife species, challenges to subsistence harvesters and implications for food security, as well as data and tools for community planning.

NPRB

logo of the North Pacific Research Board

The North Pacific Research Board has funded three integrated research programs (IERPs)—in the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea, and the Arctic—that bring diverse groups of scientists together to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ecosystem processes that support Alaska’s commercial fisheries and coastal use. NPRB also invests in annual research projects that address issues with relevance to coastal communities and supports a category of research directed towards community involvement. More information on all three IERPS is available on the NPRB website at: http://www.nprb.org/nprb/integrated-ecosystem-research-program, and on the core programs at http://www.nprb.org/core-program/about-the-program/.

Together our entities fund several million dollars annually to inform management decisions about the valuable fish and wildlife resources that coastal communities depend on. We are looking for a candidate with a keen interest in the science that supports Alaska’s coastal communities and resource managers as they address effects of rapid climate change on coastal and marine resources. Areas for prospective candidates to demonstrate their abilities based on interest and prior experience include:

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National Park Service

logo of the National Park Service

For the 2017–2018 fellow, the individual would be placed in the Alaska Regional Office in Anchorage with the Natural Resources Division. The National Park Service has a broad range of management needs associated with oceans, coastal, and fisheries resources an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow would be well suited to support. Within the next year, the fellow would have the option of supporting a few different management projects that would include participating in coastal climate resiliency and adaptation efforts; fisheries ecology and subsistence management impact assessments; inter and subtidal physical/biological assessments for environmental planning; implementation of lagoon monitoring assessments and integration of biophysical baselines for climate change and ocean acidification monitoring; and analysis and interpretation of nearshore physical oceanographic conditions and their impacts on nearshore coastal ecological communities.

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Alaska Office of the Lt. Governor

Alaska State Seal

The 2017–2018 fellow would be assigned to the Office of the Lt. Governor in Juneau, Alaska, and work directly for the Lt. Governor and the Governor and be supervised by the Lt. Governor’s Chief of Staff.

The position would be the first Executive Office Sea Grant Fellow in the Alaska Office of the Lt. Governor. The fellow would be an integral part of a fast-paced, flexible, small team of professionals advancing the goals of the Walker/Mallott Administration as they relate to fisheries, climate change, food security and international issues such as transboundary rivers and arctic relations.

The fellow would work closely with Senior Advisor Barbara Blake and provide research, written analysis and outreach to stakeholders as appropriate. The fellow would provide a doctoral level of scholarship and organization required for high level policy development and contribute his/her knowledge, ideas and experience with staff. The fellow would interact with Governor’s advisors as well as various departmental staff across Alaska and would help with major policy meetings, staffing the Lt. Governor when needed, as well as duties as assigned.

Acceptance as a fellow for this position would require at least two interviews, writing samples, and a background security check, which is required of all employees working on the third floor of the capitol.