Adam Birken

Adam Birken


I received a Master of Science degree in Ecology from Colorado State University in 2004, a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University in 1998, and have over eight years worth of professional research experience in variety of environmental science disciplines.For the past three years, I have worked for the federal government as a Hydrologic Technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service – Snow Survey Program.My job responsibilities include conducting field maintenance and data collection throughout the year as well as providing data entry, database management, and snowpack measurement documentation.Prior to this, I spent the five consecutive years actively engaged in wetland ecology, watershed hydrology, and river restoration projects for a variety of other federal agencies, including: the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Environmental Protection Agency. I have also authored a two professional papers; the first having been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Ecological Applications, in 2006 and which addressed ecological and geomorphic floodplain dynamics and the role of 20th century river regulation and exotic riparian vegetation invasions along the lower Green River in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.The second professional paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Biological Invasions, in 2011 and featured an investigation into the development of the genetic hybridization of invasive riparian tamarisk species.

Work experience

Work experience

Environmental Consultant

U.S. National Park Service - Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Investigated the impacts of exotic woody riparian plant invasions (Tamarisk and Russian Olive) on physical stream processes in Canyon de Chelly National Monument.Contributions made to this river restoration project included reconstructing the chronology of floodplain invasion during the 20th century using tree-ring analyses and developing stratigraphic cross-sections that detail the patterns and processes of channel change as the establishment of woody invasive species progressed over the past century. 

Sep 2008 - Oct 2011

Hydrologic Technician

Natural Resources Conservation Service - Snow Survey Program

This position is located at the Snow Survey Data Collection Office of the NRCS Idaho State Office in Boise, Idaho, as member of the Resource Assessment Staff under the supervision of the Data Collection Officer.Primary job responsibilities include effectively serving as the hydrologic technician for the Idaho NRCS – Snow Survey Program, conducting field maintenance and data collection throughout the year, and providing data entry, database management, and snowpack measurement documentation.Duties are performed throughout the Snow Survey Data Collection Office's region of responsibility of mountain snowpack measurement and water supply forecasting for the entire state of Idaho, western Wyoming, northern Nevada, and eastern Washington.


1.Assists with automated SNOTEL data site maintenance and installations.Responsibilities include maintaining snow pillows, precipitation gages, snow shelters, meteor burst communication systems, solar panel networks, temperature, relative humidity, and snow depth sensors, pressure transducers, as well as other hydrologic and meteorological sensors.

2.Performs manual Snow Course data site upkeep and maintenance with the assistance from NRCS field office staff and other Federal Agency cooperators.Extensive travel and workforce scheduling management is often required.

3.Completes snow surveys and SNOTEL ground truth measurements by fixed wing aircraft, helicopter, snow mobile, snow cat, and on foot. Extensive travel is frequently required during the winter months.

4.Checks, incorporates and arranges snow survey data for publication in the monthly Idaho Water Supply Outlook Report and assists with distribution, printing and mailing of the publication.

5.Authenticates hydrologic and meteorologic data in preparation for the publication of Annual Data Summaries.

6.Gathers Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) data, tabulates, plots and prepares data for approval and use by the Water Supply Specialist.

7.Checks field notes from manual snow surveys and SNOTEL ground truth observations for accuracy. Gathers other hydrologic and meteorologic data from various sources for streamflow forecasting or other resource inventory needs. When data appears questionable, incumbent contacts staff hydrologists to verify data and make necessary adjustments.

8.Manages the documentation and validation of several hydrologic and meteorologic datasets such as SNOTEL and snow course ground truth measurements, cumulative annual precipitation values, snowmelt analyses, streamflow volumes and forecasts, and reservoir storage levels in multiple computer database programs – Microsoft Access and Excel – for streamflow forecasting as well as other associated hydrologic resource inventory purposes.

Contributes to the development and quality assurance of several snowpack, streamflow, reservoir, precipitation, and GIS/Cadastral archival databases on the Centralized Forecast System computer (CFS) managed by the NRCS National Water and Climate Center (NWCC) in Portland, Oregon.

Nov 2005 - Oct 2006

Environmental Consultant

Rio Grande Water Conservation District

Provided technical support for research regarding water use and evapotranspiration of native plant communities in the San Luis Valley.Central to the project was determining the relationship between evapotranspiration and water table depth with respect to regional groundwater pumping schemes that support the San Luis Valley’s extensive agricultural industry and water allocations of the Rio Grande River.Responsibilities included maintaining several Radiation and Energy Balance Systems Bowen Ratio evapotranspiration stations, collecting data on weather, soils, and water table depths stored on Campbell CR10X dataloggers, as well as modeling and analyzing data using regression and analysis of variance.

Jun 2005 - Jul 2006

Environmental Consultant

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region 8

Identified, mapped, and assessed the ecological integrity of fen ecosystems in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado for the Environmental Protection Agency (Region 8) in order to promote large-scale protection and restoration of wetlands throughout the region.Data collected from this project led to the creation of San Juan Fen database and GIS coverage through the combination of aerial photographic interpretations, field evaluations of the hydrologic, geochemical, and ecological conditions at particular fen sites, as well as digital mapping and spatial analyses performed on ESRI GIS software ArcGIS.

May 2004 - Dec 2005

Environmental Consultant

U.S. Forest Service - Rocky Mt. Research Station

The objective of this study was to develop monitoring protocols for the U.S. Forest Service to determine if minimum instream flows and lake levels provide adequate water resources to sustain native riparian plant communities along waterways within the National Forest lands of Colorado.Hydrologic data was collected at twelve different wetlands (including springs, wet meadows, fens, headwater streams, and large perennial rivers) located in the San Isabel, White River, San Juan, Gunnison, Uncompahgre, and Grand Mesa National Forests of Colorado.Responsibilities included the installation and monitoring of groundwater monitoring wells and staff gauges, collection and processing of surface and groundwater data stored on Global Water WL15 Water Level Loggers and precipitation data recorded on Onset RG3 Data Logging Rain Gauges, and surveying each study site using a TOPCON GTS-600 Series Total Station to create topographic and water table maps.

May 2001 - May 2004

Graduate Researcher

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation - Upper Colorado Region

Investigated the patterns and processes of woody plant establishment and floodplain development on the lower Green River in eastern Utah as part of my Master's thesis in Ecology at Colorado State University.Several components of this research were focused on determining the downstream influence of river regulation by Flaming Gorge Dam on the establishment and recruitment success of native Populus and invasive Tamarix populations.Research included dendrogeomorphic analyses of several floodplain reaches of the Green River located in Canyonlands National Park, the Gray Canyon Wilderness Study Area, and the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.Spatial analyses of channel change and dominant woody riparian vegetation were performed using ESRI GIS software ArcView 3.2a.

Nov 1998 - Nov 2000

Environmental Technician

Maxim Technologies (presently, Tetra Tech)

Responsible for the collection, analysis, and documentation of environmental data for Maxim’s biology and geology departments.Investigations addressed a wide variety of environmental issues, including:


1. -Environmental Impact Statements-

Participated in the collection and characterization of baseline data inventories of water, soil, vegetation, wildlife (birds and mammals), and aquatic (fish and macroinvertebrates) resources for the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements.

2.-Watershed and Fisheries Analyses-

Collected and analyzed hydrologic and biologic data as part of watershed and fisheries studies.Hydrologic data collection methods included stream flow gauging, estimation of drainage area, slope runoff potential and characterization of riparian areas.Biologic data collection methods included macrobiotic species sampling, fisheries monitoring involving mark-recapture and depletion surveys, and the delineation of jurisdictional wetland areas.

3.-Hydrocarbon Contaminations-

Performed underground storage tank (UST) excavations and associated soil and groundwater sampling and analyses.Evaluated field data, prepared environmental assessment reports, and if necessary, recommended subsurface contamination remediation.Coordinated remedial activities and documented final cleanup at restoration sites.Conducted vapor extraction and air-sparging pilot tests.Participated in slug testing and aquifer pumping tests.Performed field installation of soil remediation systems.Monitored remediation systems to measure effectiveness.Installed groundwater monitoring wells for determining groundwater gradient, field permeability, and collection of groundwater samples for laboratory analysis.

4.-Air Quality-

Responsible for the installation of landfill gas probes and the collection of field measurements of landfill gas constituents and gas samples for laboratory analysis.Conducted air quality sampling from petroleum hydrocarbon remediation sites for analysis of volatile organic compounds.

Sep 1998 - Nov 1998

Raptor Bander

HawkWatch International

Participated in the monitoring of the Fall 1998 raptor migration on a significant western flyway along the Manzano Mountains of central New Mexico.Field data collection methods included trapping and banding various species of hawks, falcons, and eagles through the use of mist nets, bow nets, and dho-gazas.

Jun 1998 - Sep 1998


National Audubon Society - Starr Ranch Sanctuary

Conducted two independent research projects and participated in the daily activities of maintaining a wildlife preserve.The first research project examined coyote populations in interior and urban-edge habitats of Cleveland National Forest and Orange County, California, respectively.Field data collection methods included call playbacks, scent stations, and scat transects.The second research project involved mapping the surficial geology of the Starr Ranch Sanctuary.


Sep 2001 - Aug 2004

Master of Science

Colorado State University

M.S., Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, Colorado State University, August 2004

Cumulative GPA: 3.70

Thesis: Processes of Tamarix Invasion and Floodplain Development During the Twentieth Century Along the Lower Green River, Utah

Advisor: Dr. David J. Cooper 303-288-6441 [email protected]

Sep 1994 - May 1998

Bachelor of Science

Tufts University

B.S., Double major in Geology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University, May 1998

Cumulative GPA: 3.51, Cum laude honors awarded in both Geology and Environmental Studies

Advisor: Dr. Jack C. Ridge 617-627-3434 [email protected]