Physical Scientist (Associate Environmental Scientist I or II)

San Francisco Estuary Institute
Richmond, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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.

Position Description

SFEI is seeking a talented mid-level physical scientist or engineer to join our Resilient Landscapes Program and work on projects in tidal and watershed environments around San Francisco Bay and across California. The position offers an opportunity to work with an outstanding multidisciplinary team of scientists on innovative projects that help improve the functioning of California landscapes for people, plants, and wildlife in the face of climate change. We are looking for someone who can start immediately.

The successful candidate will work on applied science projects relating to watershed and tidal ecosystem restoration, water and sediment management, and climate-change adaptation planning in the Bay Area and statewide. This position will also play a leadership role in managing projects, coordinating teams, and working with partners to achieve successful project outcomes. Primary position responsibilities will include:

  • investigating historical, contemporary, and future fluvial and tidal hydraulic and sediment processes;
  • advancing landscape-scale conservation and adaptation planning that promotes resilient riverine, wetland, coastal, and urban ecosystems using a quantitative approach;
  • and leading projects and managing staff and budgets

The position will require using a variety of analytical tools such as GIS and hydrologic/hydraulic modeling to understand landscape processes (such as sediment dynamics, flood regimes, or groundwater patterns; creativity and collaboration to achieve multidisciplinary project goals, effective communication with project partners, and writing technical reports and giving presentations to convey project findings.


Master’s degree or PhD in geomorphology, hydrology, environmental engineering, or related field, with two or more years of relevant work experience is preferred; Bachelor’s degree with 5+ year of experience will also be considered. The candidate should have the following credentials and demonstrated abilities:

  • Ability to work collaboratively and with interdisciplinary teams
  • Ability to lead projects, including overseeing staff, budgets, schedules, and deliverables
  • Ability to synthesize, analyze, and/or visualize information from qualitative and quantitative datasets using a variety of tools (e.g., Excel, GIS or other geospatial tools, R, Python)
  • Experience in field measurement, data collection, and synthesis
  • Excellent communication skills; demonstrated ability to communicate findings clearly in writing and presentations and translate complex concepts for both general and technical audiences
  • Experience presenting at professional or academic conferences and to stakeholder groups
  • Ability to maintain excellent working relationships with external partners and stakeholders
  • Demonstrated ability to produce scientific reports and publications for both general and technical audiences

In addition, the candidate will have expertise or experience in some of the following areas:

  • Sea-level rise vulnerability and adaptation
  • Geomorphic and hydrologic/hydraulic processes
  • Relationships between hydrogeomorphic and ecological dynamics in riverine and tidal ecosystems
  • Groundwater processes
  • Numerical modeling (e.g., hydrologic, hydraulic, water quality, groundwater flow)
  • Geospatial or geostatistical analyses
  • Fisheries science
  • Landscape change and historical ecology
  • Ecosystem services (e.g., flood protection, heat island effect reduction, or human health benefits)
  • Landscape-scale conservation and restoration
  • Engaging diverse communities in adaptation planning
  • Graphic design using Adobe tools or similar desktop publishing software
  • Data visualization using Adobe tools (Illustrator, Indesign, Photoshop), AutoCAD, Rhino or similar software

To apply, fill out the application form here (  Please do not use any 3rd party web sites to apply for the position. No phone calls please.

About the Resilient Landscapes Program

SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes Program develops innovative ecosystem restoration and management strategies to re-establish and sustain key ecological functions and services. These strategies are helping integrate natural and human infrastructure to create systems that are more adaptive to climate change and other stressors. We are a team-oriented program of 20 interdisciplinary scientists (geomorphologists, hydrologists, ecologists), designers, and GIS specialists, working closely together and with staff across the Institute with expertise in water quality and informatics.

About SFEI

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) provides independent science to assess and improve the health of the waters, wetlands, wildlife, and landscapes of San Francisco Bay, the California Delta, and beyond. SFEI’s 65 scientists and experts deliver data, technology, and tools that empower government, civic and business leaders to create cost-effective solutions for complex environmental issues--from cleaner water and sustainable communities to climate change. We have three primary programs: Clean Water, Resilient Landscapes, and Environmental Informatics.

SFEI is committed to building a culturally diverse staff, and we strongly encourage applications from women, people of color and other groups commonly under-represented in environmental science.

San Francisco Estuary Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex including sexual orientation and gender identity, national origin, disability, protected Veteran Status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you have the right to request an accommodation if you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our career center as a result of your disability. To request an accommodation, contact Linda Russio at 510-746-7355 or

For more information on our mission, values, programs, and staff, visit the San Francisco Estuary Institute website  

Please note that SFEI cannot sponsor an employment visa (e.g., H-1B) to fill this position.