EPA Long Island Sound Study Research Fellowship

EPA Office/Lab and LocationA postgraduate research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 2 office in New York, New York. This research opportunity is with the Water Division’s Long Island Sound Program. The Long Island Sound Program Office is located in Stamford, Connecticut.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated the Long Island Sound as an “Estuary of National Significance” and has joined with the states of Connecticut (CT) and New York (NY) to form the Long Island Sound Study Management Conference, a partnership of federal, interstate, state, and local agencies, industry, community groups, and the public.

The LISS Management Conference coordinates science and management activities to protect and restore the Sound, an estuary impaired by decades of pollution and habitat loss. Unlike traditional regulatory approaches to environmental protection, the LISS Management Conference works to address a broad range of issues and encourages coordinated solutions through public-private partnerships. 

To fulfill the vision of a restored and protected Long Island Sound the partner agencies of the Long Island Sound Study have adopted a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). The Plan seeks to achieve four primary goals under four themes:

  1. Clean Waters and Healthy Watersheds – Improve water quality by reducing contaminant and nutrient loads from the land and the waters impacting Long Island Sound.
  2. Thriving Habitats and Abundant Wildlife – Restore and protect the Sound’s ecological balance in a healthy, productive, and resilient state for the benefit of both people and the natural environment.
  3. Sustainable and Resilient Communities – Support vibrant, informed, and engaged communities that use, appreciate, and help protect Long Island Sound; and.
  4. Sound Science and Inclusive Management – Manage Long Island Sound using sound science and cross-jurisdictional governance that is inclusive, adaptive, innovative, and accountable.

Throughout the four themes, the CCMP incorporates integrative principles that have emerged as key challenges and environmental priorities. The CCMP also sets ambitious, but achievable, long-term targets for the Sound. These ecosystem targets are intended to drive progress toward attaining CCMP goals. Measuring, tracking, and reporting on program implementation and environmental indicators of each ecosystem target provides information to assess progress and refine and adapt management as needed

Research Project: The selected participant will conduct research focused on improving data access, analysis, and communication related to Long Island Sound environmental (water and habitat quality) and program implementation tracking data. The project will have three focus areas: 1) Evaluate the application of Open Science Tools (open-source software toolkits [primarily in the R language] and online cloud repositories, such as GitHub) to increase efficiency and reliability of data into Long Island Sound Study data management; 2) Assist in developing and implementing the Long Island Sound Study’s Program Implementation Tracking System; and 3) Assist in gathering, analyzing, and reporting data on Long Island Sound environmental indicators (see https://longislandsoundstudy.net/research-monitoring/liss-ecosystem-targets-and-supporting-indicators/).

Learning ObjectivesUnder the guidance of a mentor, the participant will gain an understanding of EPA’s estuary management programs and have an opportunity to develop research projects to support EPA’s role in working with federal, state, and local governments, academic institutions, environmental organizations, and the general public on Long Island Sound management. The participant will learn first-hand about the interaction between the various levels of government and the private sector on these issues. This project will provide excellent exposure to a broad range of scientific, technical, and policy issues pertaining to water quality protection, habitat protection and restoration, climate resiliency, community sustainability, and public involvement and education. The participant will be involved in work groups with colleagues from different organizations and skill sets, collaborate on assessing management and communication needs, research national approaches, and evaluate their application.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Mark Tedesco (tedesco.mark@epa.gov). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Spring 2021.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed three to four additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is full-time.

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security ClearanceCompletion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email EPArpp@orau.org and include the reference code for this opportunity.Qualifications

The qualified candidate should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees with completion by the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. Preferred skills:

  • Data management and statistical analysis (particularly spatial and temporal analysis)
  • Modeling and visualization (GIS, Qlik)
  • Proficiency in R or other code 
  • Field sampling and measurement experience


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