Caribou Guardians (2 positions available)

Full time

Applications Close: February 2, 2023

Open for WMFN Members and Community members only

West Moberly First Nations and Saulteau First Nations are dedicated to helping caribou survive in their traditional territory. The Nations have worked together to stop the Klinse-Za caribou herd from going extinct by protecting cows and calves from predators during the calving season. This is the 10th season of the maternity pen project which, combined with other recovery efforts in the Klinse-Za herd area, has resulted in an increase from 36 caribou in 2014 to 114 in 2022. The communities need Guardians (“keepers of the caribou”) to guard a maternity pen where caribou cows and new-born calves are kept from early March through to the early August, and to monitor and protect the waters, lands, and resources within the traditional territory. This is an opportunity for personal development and a real opportunity to make a difference in caribou conservation. While not at the pen during off days and while the pen is not operational, these positions will continue to do work focused on Caribou, and assisting the overall guardian program to make this a full-time employee position

About the position
This position will work to guard caribou maternity pen and to monitor and protect waters, lands, and resources within traditional territory.

  • Goals of the position are to:
    1) care for and protect all caribou held in the pen;
    2) maintain maternity pen fence integrity;
    3) maintain a safe, clean environment;
    4) maintain a presence throughout the territory; and
    5) collect and manage field data necessary to monitor, plan, and implement caribou habitat restoration works.
  • Guardians will remain on site and guard the caribou pen 24hrs/day from early March to mid-August. Guardians from each community will operate in 8-day shifts, followed by a second 8-day shift conducted by the alternate community with one day of overlap.
  • Location: The Klinse-Za maternity pen is situated on Mt. Bickford, 52 kilometers west of Chetwynd along highway 97. The pen itself is 11 kilometers north from the highway and is accessed via Fisher Creek Road. This FSR is not currently maintained and does not get plowed in the winter months. Snowmobiles are used to travel the 11 kilometers to the pen when snow fall amounts prevent vehicle access. Following snowmelt (usually late-May or early-June), access to the pen can be made via vehicle (AWD or 4x4 strongly recommended).
  • A cabin with beds, table, chairs, wood stove, cook stove, cooking supplies, lantern and generator are provided for Guardians use.
  • When not at the pen, the Guardians will be assisting with other duties related to the Caribou program and the overall Guardian program, including but not limited to;
    o Camera checks
    o Wildlife checks and investigations
    o Various courses,
    o Working with the TLE, PA, Wildlife, Mining, Windfarm, water, oil and gas and forestry departments on gathering data, obtaining specific information, sourcing, and any other general duties as required.
    o Working with other community guardians/COs/OGC or other government officials when directed by the Land Use Manager.

Main tasks, duties, and responsibilities:

Caribou Pen work
Care and protection of caribou – FTE: 0.3

  • Help with transport of captured caribou cows to the maternity pen (4-5 days in early-March).
  • Pickup and transport enough caribou forage lichens and pellet feed for an 8-day work session at the maternity pen. Lichen and pellet feed are stored at the Twin-Sisters Nursey, Moberly Lake
  • Conduct twice-daily feeding of the penned caribou with terrestrial lichens and/or pelleted food.
  • Conduct daily observations of all caribou from the ground or an observation tower to ensure all animals are present, to collect observations of individual health status, and to document calving events.
  • Conduct daily completion of hardcopy data forms to record all required information about the penned caribou and activity at the pen.
  • Conduct timely communication with the Pen Operations Lead or their designate of potential issues (e.g., predators, fence conditions, animal health, amount of remaining food for caribou) to avoid accidents, incidents, or other health and safety concerns to the penned caribou.
  • Conduct daily inspection of, and if necessary, adjustment of, weigh-scales and trail cameras to maintain proper function.
  • Help capture new-born calves inside the pen for the purpose of deploying radio-transmitter collars (early-May to end of June).
  • Implement actions as required to mitigate the impact of any predator related issues in a 2km buffer around the pen facility. Guidance on predator conflict management will be provided.
  • Collect data for side projects (e.g., antler drop dates, visual condition indices, fecal pellets, etc.)

Maintain fence integrity – FTE: 0.3

  • Conduct sweeps around the inside pen perimeter at least once a week and twice daily around the exterior perimeter, or after heavy snowfall or wind event to check for:
    o Geotextile panels that are sagging from broken zip ties that need additional zip ties
    o Holes in the pen geotextile structure greater than 5cm x 5cm that need to be patched
    o Vegetation that needs to be removed prior to puncturing the geotextile fence, resulting in a hole 2cm x 2cm or greater
    o Pooling water on the geotextile fence that needs to be drained
    o Trees may compromise the pen structure that need to be removed
    o Snow levels less than 2 meters from the top and less than 2 meters out from of the geotextile fence that need to be shovelled to prevent predators from jumping in and caribou from jumping out
    o predator sign and document accordingly
    o Repairs needed on electrical fences.
  • Maintain the electric fences:
    o Ensure a voltage of at least 6.5 kilovolts
    o Fix any shorts
    o Trim vegetation touching and grounding out electric fences
    o Adjust electric fence insulators as necessary with changing snow depths to within 5-12cm of the ground
    o Adjust electric fence wire tension to maintain proper wire spacing
    o Install fencing t-posts as needed to maintain proper coverage
    o Implement actions as required to reduce human use of the maternity pen area.

Camp duties and safety – FTE: 0.1

  • Must not leave the work site during an active shift for non-emergency reasons unless there has been prior authorization with adequate replacement arrangements.
  • Must attend a brief mandatory 1-hour meeting between Guardians from both shifts and Pen Operations Lead, held at the pen site itself, to insure a proper exchange of information about any events at the pen during the previous shift. This meeting will be held at 12pm every Tuesday, the designated shift change day, unless otherwise specified.
  • Source camp groceries, fuel, propane and drinking water necessary for an 8-day work session.
  • Source firewood for heat as needed.
  • Follow through with timely communication of any human health or safety issues to their direct employer and Pen Operations Lead, or their designate, to discuss mitigation of circumstances that may lead to accidents, incidents, or other health and safety concerns.
  • Keep good care and proper maintenance of the pen and camp site including equipment such as hand tools, chain saws, brush saws, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, radios. Area to be kept free of garbage.
  • Conduct daily (minimum) contact with employer for safety checks.
  • Provide bi-monthly submission of timesheets (or as specified) through the Lands departments.

Monitoring and Restoration Work – FTE: 0.3

Restoration

  • Travel to remote sites via unmaintained dirt roads while operating an ATV/UTV, snowmobile, truck, or travelling in a helicopter.
  • Remote trail camera data collection.
    Soil, water, plant and animal field data collection using paper and digital means.
  • Trail camera photo classification and data management.
  • Inspect restoration sites to ensure proper treatment application and effectiveness.
  • Provide bi-weekly submission of timesheets (or as specified) through the Lands departments.
  • Stay in camp or hotel accommodations intermittently as necessary for a task.

Monitoring

  • Monitor and collect data on the waters, lands, and resources within the traditional territory
  • Participate in various lands studies
  • Conduct predator management work
  • Animal and land resource health checks
  • Implement resource extraction mitigation measures
  • Other duties as required

What We Offer
Please note this position will have 2 different rates. While at the pen, it is a daily rate. All other times will be at a salary rate.

Requirements

The Successful Candidate
Your toolkit will bring:

  • You are a member of WMFN or a community member.
  • Willingness to learn
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • Good communicator
  • Detailed and organized
  • Self-motivated with a good work ethic
  • Responsible and reliable
  • Valid BC driver’s license
  • Access to a reliable vehicle for travel to and from the pen site
  • PAL and proficiency in the use of a firearm
  • A firearm for the protection of the caribou against bears, wolves, cougars, lynx, wolverines, and other predators
  • Level 1 First Aid or higher
  • Access to a reliable snowmobile
  • Proficiency in the use of snowmobile, relevant training, and tickets
  • Proper insurance on vehicle and Snowmobile
  • Proficiency in the use of radios, Spot messenger, InReach,
  • Sat phones

Physical requirements:

  • Ability to lift up to 50lbs
  • Able to hike up to 10 kilometers a day on uneven terrain year-round in all-weather conditions

Successful candidates must have:

  • Valid BC driver’s license
  • Access to a vehicle for travel to and from the pen site (see note below)
  • PAL and proficiency in the use of a firearm
  • A firearm for protection against bears, wolves, cougars, lynx, wolverines and other predators
  • Level 1 First Aid or higher
  • ATV/Snowmobile and relevant training AND tickets or the ability to access equipment and take training (see note below)
  • Proper insurance on vehicle and ATV/Snowmobile
  • Proficiency in the use of radios, Spot messenger, InReach, Sat phones, gps
  • Proficiency in the use of remote telemetry equipment
  • Proficiency in the use of trail cameras
  • Proficiency in the maintenance of electric fence including but not limited to:
    o Trimming vegetation
    o Fixing broken wires or wires rendered ineffective due to unintended grounding
    o Removing debris that may have fallen on the fence
  • Proficiency in the proper use of all data collection forms
  • This position will require a drug and alcohol test

For safety purposes, consumption of alcohol or drugs is not permitted while on the job or at the work site. Drug and Alcohol Testing will be mandatory for these positions.

How to Apply

How to Apply

Interested candidates can email their resume and a cover letter at jobs@westmo.org by no later than February 2,2023. Please visit www.westmo.org for complete job description.