French Broad Water Quality Intern

Position Description:
The French Broad Riverkeeper team is currently seeking an intern to help with monitoring for E.coli and microplastics in our local waterways. Bacteria is one of the biggest pollutants within the French Broad River basin. We have two monitoring programs aimed at tracking its sources.  Our intent with these programs is twofold— 1). to alert the public of high E. coli levels to ensure safe water for safe recreation, and 2) pinpointing sewer/septic leaks and agricultural runoff problems in order to get them fixed.

Microplastics are an emerging issue we are tackling. Not many studies have been done on microplastics on freshwater systems, especially on headwater watersheds. It is our goal to begin quantifying this pollution. 

Ideally, this intern would help facilitate both programs, 2-3 days per week.  The experience is a particularly excellent opportunity for a public health, chemistry, biology, geography, or environmental science student who wants to demonstrate skills in leadership and project management with measurable outcomes. The ratio of inside to outside time is about 50:50.

The position involves coordinating sampling volunteers, performing lab and field work, managing data, conducting research, and distributing results to the public. The ideal candidate will possess charisma and leadership skills, and an above-average attention to detail. No prior knowledge or experience in water quality monitoring is necessary; training will be provided.  Special attention will be given to individuals who historically have been underrepresented in the environmental field. 


  • Strong attention to detail and organization 
  • Ability to adhere to strict, but simple, Quality Control measures 
  • Ability to lift and carry cooler full of ice, bend over to collect sample up to 30 times per day, and maintain a steady hand in the lab 
  • Familiarity with Excel and ability to keep accurate records 
  • Ability to teach others 
  • Willingness to drive your own car up to collect samples  
  • Commitment to the goal of improving water quality through citizen science
  • Experience with communication around environmental issues preferred

Start date:  Flexible between late May and June
End date:  Flexible, but ideally through late September

Work schedule: Approximately 2-3 days per week

Compensation: Flat daily rate (amount to be determined contingent upon grant funding) plus mileage reimbursed at approximately $0.47 per mile

Location: This position will work with staff in our Asheville office. The samples will be collected throughout the French Broad Watershed

There are no required documents with the application form, but please tell us about your skill set, personality and passions. Including a resume or cover letter is optional. Apply through this form.