Hydrologist 2

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Helena, MT, USA 🇺🇸

Job Overview 

The Hydro-Sciences Section within the Water Management Bureau (WMB) is seeking a Groundwater Hydrologist. This position will begin interviewing on January 31, 2022.

The Hydro-Sciences Section conducts hydrologic investigations of Montana’s surface and groundwater resources, provides technical support to other bureaus within the Water Resources Division (WRD) and supports the development of new water resource policies, rules, and regulations. The WMB is organized into a Water Resources Planning Section and Hydro-Sciences Section. WMB staff frequently partner with local water users, watershed groups, conservation districts, other Bureaus and Divisions within DNRC, and other state and federal agencies.

The Groundwater Hydrologist conducts hydrologic investigations, modeling studies, and provides technical support to the Water Rights Bureau to implement the Montana Water Use Act. The position communicates complex information through fact sheets, written reports, oral presentations, and web-based applications. The position reports directly to the Hydro-sciences Section Supervisor; however, the incumbent is required to exercise considerable discretion, creativity, and professional judgment.

Essential Functions (Major Duties or Responsibilities):

Technical Support

  • This position supports administration of the Montana Water Use Act by providing subject guidance on complex and/or controversial water right applications and change of use applications. The hydrologist provides guidance on physical and legal water availability analyses, historic consumptive use, and assesses potential adverse effects to other surface water and groundwater users on the source of supply. This position may support or provide testimony during administrative hearings and through depositions and affidavits to district court. The hydrologist in this position will also be called upon to work on the development of administrative rules and guidance documents on various aspects of water right administration and water management.
  • This position supports the development and implementation of the state-based stream gaging program. Duties include, but are not limited to, identifying appropriate stream gage sites, working with landowners to secure access agreements, securing required permits, installing, trouble shooting, and maintaining stream gage stations and associated electronic communication systems, developing stage-discharge relationship curves, and managing the retrieval, decoding, processing, posting, and archival of program generated streamflow data.
  • This position provides technical support and training to court appointed water commissioners, watershed groups, conservation districts, ditch riders, the Montana Water Court, irrigation boards, Department staff, other government agencies, consultants, and the public regarding all facets of water measurement.

Hydrologic Investigations

This position conducts hydrological investigations to ensure that accurate and appropriate information is available to support the resolution of water resource management issues identified by local water users, or local, state, and federal agencies. Typical investigations revolve around questions of basin water supply (physical availability), implementation of Federal Reserved Water Right Compacts, irrigation efficiency, drought and flood risks, stream dewatering, and the distribution of water by court degree. Hydrological investigations are conducted in consultation with interested stakeholders that may include water users, watershed groups, tribal agencies, elected officials and government agency personnel. This position also works closely with other state and federal agencies in collaborative partnerships. The position communicates complex information through fact sheets, written reports, oral presentations, and web-based applications.

Other Duties as Assigned

This position performs a variety of other duties in support of ongoing Division and Department operations. This includes representing the Division or Department at various meetings and conferences, working as a member of a multi-disciplinary team, and participating in ongoing training and educational programs. This position provides technical review of scientific reports and models from other agencies and stakeholders.  The hydrologist will coordinate with other staff to review Department technical reports and applications. This position also reviews and provides technical comments for grant applications dealing with groundwater and surface water hydrology, hydraulics, water storage, irrigation, and other water-related projects.


Required Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Behaviors


  • Principles, theories, and methods of hydrology, hydrogeology, geology, geomorphology, integrated remote sensing, meteorology, geospatial analysis, and groundwater and/or surface water modeling.
  • Extensive knowledge of water use and water conservation methods in Montana
  • Practical understanding of a multitude of topics, including state and federal water policies and the implications of water policy decisions.
  • Hydrologic field methodologies and use of appropriate instrumentation for water measurement.
  • Methods for conducting hydrologic investigations, including techniques and methods for analyzing data, developing hydrologic models, and reporting findings.
  • Irrigation system design and practices common to Montana including sprinkler and flood irrigation systems.
  • Spatial information development, data management, GIS software (ArcGIS), spatial data analysis and mapping principles.
  • Mathematics, statistics, (especially statistical inference, regression, and probability), and computer methods in hydrologic analysis.
  • Water Law and use in Montana, water allocation, interstate and international river basin issues and compacts, water rights, Indian and non-Indian federal reserved water rights.


  • Adaptability and skills in trouble shooting and problem solving.
  • Strong writing and public speaking skills necessary to effectively convey complex concepts.
  • Effective working relationships with landowners on issues and projects that are sometimes contentious.
  • Ability to clearly and accurately express position(s) of the agency while maintaining cooperative working relationships among participants.
  • Hydrologic data collection, organization, and interpretation, and analysis using quantitative techniques including models.
  • Stream gage installation, collecting stream discharge measurements, and building stage-discharge rating curves.
  • Use of computers for hydrologic, mathematical, GIS, mapping, and graphical analyses, and various electronic instruments for measuring water quantity.
  • Use of hand and power tools.

Abilities and Behaviors

  • Ability to synthesize technical information on a wide range of water resource topics.
  • Communicates objectively when providing information, advice, and guidance to technical and non-technical individuals and groups on complex and controversial issues.
  • Initiative and motivation to act independently and take responsibility for evaluating and responding to challenging situations, problems, and opportunities.
  • Establishes and maintains effective working relationships with subordinates, supervisor, administrative staff, WRD leadership, WRD Regional Offices, local, state, and federal agencies, elected officials, special interest groups, and the public.
  • Models high standards of honesty, integrity, trust, and openness. Knows and follows through with the correct standards of conduct and moral judgment. Communicates and demonstrates actions in a consistent manner. Respects others, regardless of individual capabilities, agendas, opinions or needs.
  • Focuses to achieve results.  Actively participates and respects the ideas of others. Looks for alternative ways to work with others that will create better results and working relationships.

Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):


  • A bachelor’s degree in a field related to Hydrology, Earth Science, Geology, Civil Engineering, Agricultural Engineering, or Water Resources, with an emphasis in hydrogeology is required. A master’s degree in the above fields is preferred. The applicant’s transcripts must show completion of hydrogeology and GIS coursework.
  • A minimum of one year of pertinent, progressively responsible experience in hydrogeologic investigations, taking hydrologic measurements, groundwater modeling, working with diverse stakeholder groups, and public speaking.
  • Completion of a master’s degree and Thesis in a relevant field will be considered as one year pertinent experience. Education and experience equivalent and comparable to that specified above may meet job requirements and would be considered on an individual basis.

Working Conditions:

The position is based in Helena, Montana and approximately 90% of the work occurs in a normal office setting. Travel and field work is required and generally occurs between the months of April and November. Travel may exceed 1,500 miles per month and will occasionally be two (2) to three (3) days in duration. The position requires the ability to walk over rough and steep terrain to carry field equipment to data collection sites. The hydrologist must be able to work outdoors during bad weather. The hydrologist must rely on experience and judgement as to what safety precautions are prudent. The hydrologist must have good driving skills required for both on-road and off-road travel and during times of inclement weather. Some irregular hours, evenings, and weekends may be involved.

Application and Selection Process

The DNRC may include the following factors in determining whether an applicant meets the qualifications of a position vacancy by: State of MT application form, cover letter, current resume, educational requirements, structured interview, a performance test, job-related reference checks, job-related work experience, job-related past and current performance.


  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
  • References (3)
  • Supplemental Questions (addressed in Cover Letter)

  ****Please address the following two Supplemental questions within your Cover Letter. The cover letter must not exceed 1,000 words.

1. Please explain how your education, work experience, and your own personal career goals make you a good fit for this position.  

2. Please describe your knowledge of western water law and Montana water policy.

HELPFUL HINT: You must check the “relevant document” box to ensure your attachments are uploading correctly to the specific application. Failure to attach the required material will result in your application being incomplete.

DNRC Benefits:

  • Paid Vacation, Sick Leave, and Holidays
  • Health, Dental, Prescription, and Vision Coverage
  • Retirement Plans

 Applicant Pool Statement:  If another department vacancy occurs in this job title within six months, the same applicant pool may be used for the selection. Training Assignment:  This agency may use a training assignment. Employees in training assignments may be paid below the base pay established by the agency pay rules. Conditions of the training assignment will be stated in writing at the time of hire.  


:  Science 

Salary: $

 28.49 – 30.02  Hourly Benefits Package Eligibility:  Health Insurance, Paid Leave & Holidays, Retirement Plan  

Number of Openings

:  1 Employee Status:  Regular Schedule:  Full-Time 


:  Day Job 


:  Yes, 25 % of the Time  

Primary Location

:  Helena 

   Agency:  Department of Natural Resources & Conservation Union:  000 – None Bargaining Unit:  000 – None  

Posting Date

:  Jan 13, 2022, 11:04:35 AM 

Closing Date (based on your computer’s timezone)

:  Feb 6, 2022, 1:59:00 AM Required Application Materials:  Cover Letter, Resume, References  Contact Name:  Department of Natural Resources and Conservation  |  Contact Email:  [email protected]  |  Contact Phone:  406-444-0513 The State of Montana has a decentralized human resources (HR) system. Each agency is responsible for its own recruitment and selection. Anyone who needs a reasonable accommodation in the application or hiring process should contact the agency’s HR staff identified on the job listing or by dialing the Montana Relay at 711. Montana Job Service Offices also offer services including assistance with submitting an online application.

State government does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, creed, political beliefs or affiliation, veteran status, military service, retaliation, or any other factor not related to merit and qualifications of an employee or applicant.





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