River Scientist

Coastal Watershed Council
Santa Cruz, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
0-2 Years
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

About the Coastal Watershed Council

The Coastal Watershed Council is a dynamic and growing 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Santa Cruz, CA, working to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a community destination by inspiring people to explore, enhance and protect this critical natural resource. When people care for the river, learn about its significance and build a connection to nature, it benefits the river ecosystem and the community. Learn more about CWC’s approach for a cleaner, healthier San Lorenzo River.

CWC is committed to ensuring equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination. CWC prohibits unlawful discrimination in any term or condition of employment against any employee or applicant for employment because of the individual’s race, color, religion, gender, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, sexual orientation, medical condition, genetic information, disability, membership or service in the U.S. Armed Forces, or any other characteristic protected by law. This policy applies to all personnel transactions, including, but not limited to, recruitment, hiring, placement, training, compensation, benefits, leave of absence, transfer, promotion, demotion, discipline, layoff, and termination. Beyond following the law, CWC leadership is committed to making this the best place in the county to work, where we’re all proud of what we’re doing with the Santa Cruz community.

Position Overview

Reporting to the Programs Director, the Coastal Watershed Council’s (CWC) River Scientist is responsible for implementing CWC’s community-based programs to improve water quality and enhance habitat in and along the lower San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, CA. These programs are funded by contracts with local city and county agencies, grants from state and federal agencies and private foundations and community donations. Community-based programs to improve water quality include special investigations to identify water quality problems and solutions, the implementation of these solutions by engaging people to take action and the organizing of volunteer days to monitor water quality including the annual Snapshot Day. Community-based programs to enhance habitat include volunteer-based invasive species removal and native plant installations through monthly River Health Days, organizing corporate team building opportunities and coordinating with CWC’s education program staff to engage students and youth groups. This position will represent CWC to the public and communicate their findings to preserve and protect coastal watersheds while teaching youth and adults of all backgrounds about the importance of rivers, creeks and watersheds to our daily lives and inspire people to take action to improve watershed health.

Essential Job Functions

  • Build and maintain strong relationships and clear communication with people of all backgrounds who live, work and play along the lower San Lorenzo River. Be visible and accessible to the community by attending community events, sharing CWC’s vision and providing program information.
  • Design, implement and lead community engagement, community science water quality monitoring and community habitat enhancement programs, including recruiting, training and supervising over 500 volunteers annually.
  • Collaborate with the City of Santa Cruz to direct water quality monitoring programs and implement best management practices based on storm water management plans and pathogen and other Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the San Lorenzo River.
  • Lead volunteers to follow safety protocols, collect water quality measurements and samples and ensure sample analysis is conducted following applicable quality assurance/quality control plans.
  • Coordinate with City of Santa Cruz and other partners for event permitting, volunteer engagement, lab analysis of water quality samples, plant selection approval and contract management.
  • Use, calibrate, troubleshoot and manage inventory of field equipment such as multi-parameter probes, meters and field kids.
  • Analyze water quality and habitat data, author technical reports and develop infographics for internal use, funders and community education.
  • Communicate about upcoming volunteer opportunities and stewardship actions through social media, email, blog posts, education programs and press outreach. Communicate regularly with volunteers and partner organizations through email, phone calls and meetings in order to enhance and maintain strong working relationships with river constituents.
  • Implement CWC’s strategic plan utilizing CWC’s Theory of Change to transform the lower San Lorenzo River into a community destination by inspiring people to explore, enhance and protect this critical natural resource. Research and implement best practices in improving water quality and habitat, volunteer management, placemaking and behavior change.
  • Evaluate and report on project outcomes, manage project and event budgets, send monthly invoices and complete reporting requirements for the community and funders. Perform other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Watershed Science, Ecology, Plant Sciences, Biology, Hydrology, Environmental Science, Chemistry, Science Communications or related field.
  • Minimum two (2) years’ experience in related field.

Education & Experience (preferred):

  • Advanced degree in related field.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities (required):

  • Basic knowledge of environmental principles, river restoration practices and watershed concepts.
  • Knowledge of water quality parameters including bacteria (including microbial source tracking tools), nutrients, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, total suspended solids (TSS)/turbidity, metals, pesticides, etc.
  • Knowledge of field protocols and methods for analysis of water quality samples (USEPA, Standard Methods, etc.).
  • Knowledge of the following industry terms and their applicability to CWC’s work: Basin Plan, TMDL, water quality objectives, Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPP), urban runoff, storm water, receiving waters, nonpoint source pollution, Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB), Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and hold times.
  • Knowledge of ecological principles, native plant installation and mechanical invasive species removal.
  • Basic knowledge of basic project-level reporting, accounting and bookkeeping practices.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities (preferred):

  • Knowledge of water quality monitoring for surface waters and storm water runoff.
  • Knowledge of restoration techniques for riparian corridors.
  • Ability to lead volunteer outings in Spanish.
  • Ability to write grant proposals and reports.
  • Ability to assist CWC staff with external communications.
  • Ability to plan and organize major events.
  • Good understanding of social media and web development tools.
  • Salesforce, Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress and statistical software packages skills.

Application Instructions 

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and due no later than Sunday, March 10.

Submit your application via email to Laurie Egan, Programs Director at . Please include: “River Scientist” in the subject line of your email and attach the following:

  1. Resume or CV
  2. Cover letter