Resource Management Intern - Houston Toad (Backfill)

Expected Dates
January 5, 2014 to June 6, 2015
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge
Position ID

Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, is one of the largest remnants of coastal prairie habitat remaining in southeast Texas and home to one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie-chicken (APC), a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem.  In addition to the APC, the NWR has been host to a number of recovery actions over the preceding decades for the critically endangered Houston toad (HT).  In the 1980’s an attempt was made to headstart HTs at the NWR utilizing captively propagated animals from the Houston Zoo.  Funding lapses did not allow adequate monitoring of those efforts, but it appears some survived and reside off the NWR in other parts of Colorado County to this day.  The current project seeks to identify habitat variables that may have contributed to the extirpation of HTs from historic prairie sites similar to the APC NWR.     


Intern duties will include some or all of the following.  Assist in HT recovery efforts by building HT juvenile enclosures, building and maintaining predator/livestock deterrent fences around such, and removing them after the season, monitoring HT juvenile enclosures, capturing and assessing body condition and survivorship of juvenile HTs, maintaining thorough records of project activities and assisting with computer data entry and summarization. Occasional day trip travel to/from the Houston Zoo to become familiar with the captive propagation and monitoring program and to assist in juvenile identification may be necessary. Working relationship and frequent verbal and written communication with Texas State graduate program personnel will also be required.  Assist with research orientated tasks such as observation and data collection, etc.  Assist the Refuge by accomplishing clerical, visitor service and maintenance tasks as necessary.  

WORKDAY NOTE:   Duties will need to be carried out 7 days a week with sometimes long hours and night work, however, every effort will be made to distribute the workload among the interns and other staff so that everyone will get some time off each week.
EQUIPMENT USE:  The Refuge will provide a vehicle and the tools required to accomplish the tasks the Intern is asked to do.  Training will be provided for all equipment that the Intern is asked to use.  Any use of chemicals will require pesticide use training as well as review of the label and material safety data sheet (MSDS) for every chemical used.  Use of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be mandatory for any activity that requires it.  Heavy equipment (tractors, dozers, graders, backhoes, front-end loaders, etc.) may not be used by Interns unless the Official U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service training and certification process is completed.  Local training is allowed for small equipment such as lawn mowers, weedeaters, ATVs and UTVs.  A valid state driver’s license is required for any (highway legal) vehicle use.  


Potential opportunity to visit one or more of the APC captive breeding
facilities. 10 other National Wildlife Refuges are within a 3 hour drive. Hundreds of miles of Texas
bays and beaches as close as 90 minutes from the refuge with excellent public access for fishing,
surfing or beachcombing. Austin, Texas (live music capitol) is less than two hours to the
northwest. San Antonio Texas (Riverwalk, Sea World, Six Flags, etc.) is a 2 hours drive west.
Houston is within a one hour drive and excellent stores and restaurants are available just 45
minutes to the East in Katy, Texas. This part of Texas is considered one of the premier birding
destinations in the U.S., with several of the top U.S. Christmas bird count totals coming from
counts within a two hour drive of the refuge.
  • Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Eagle Lake, Texas
  • ATV safety; radio telemetry techniques; record keeping; predator deterrence fence building
    methods; computer data entry; on-the-job training.
  • Opportunity to visit one or more of the Houston Toad breeding facilities. 10 other National
    Wildlife Refuges are within a 3 hour drive. Hundreds of miles of Texas bays and beaches as
    close as 90 minutes from the refuge with excellent public access.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Wildlife Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
some coursework or experience
Resource Management
some coursework or experience
Bird Identification
some experience
Data Entry
some experience
Field Research
some experience
some experience
some experience