Environmental Specialist III

Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Lincoln, NE, USA 🇺🇸

Salary: $26.38 Hourly

Location: Lincoln, NE


Department: Department of Natural Resources

Job Number: 02901129

Closing: 12/16/2022 11:59 PM Central


Do you have a passion for protecting Nebraska’s natural resources? Do you love knowing your work makes a difference in your community and state? Are you looking for a work environment that supports developing and applying new skills and technologies? If you answered yes, then we might be the team for you!

We’re looking for the next great addition to the Water Planning Division (Division) at the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (NeDNR). Our small but enthusiastic group of dedicated planners and technical experts provides a supportive and collaborative work environment that offers many opportunities to learn and grow professionally. 

Before we dive into what we need, let us show off what you get!

• Workplace flexibility

• 13 paid holidays 

• Vacation and sick leave equating to 24 days your first year, accruing immediately 

• Military leave 

• 156% (that’s not a typo!) state-matched retirement 

• Tuition reimbursement 

• Employee assistance program 

• 79% employer paid health insurance plans 

• Dental and vision insurance plans 

• Employer-paid $20,000 life insurance policy 

• Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) through the Federal government 

• Wide variety and availability of career advancement as the largest and most diverse employer in the state 

• Opportunity to be part of meaningful work and make a difference through public service 

• Training and development based on your career aspirations 

• Fun, inviting teammates 

• A safe and secure environment 

At the State, we stand by our core values of treating others with dignity and respect, acting ethically in all situations, and creating an environment where our customer is our top priority. Apply to join our team today!

The Water Planning Division at NeDNR works with local, regional, state, and interstate partners and stakeholders on integrated management of surface water and groundwater and on interstate water agreements.   Our vision is advancing collaborative water management across the state of Nebraska based on sound science, and our mission is to sustain and protect Nebraska’s water supplies and water users for both the near and long term.  The Division’s work blends hydrogeological modeling and analyses with water policy and planning.

Under limited supervision, the successful candidate will assist in the development of integrated groundwater and surface water management plans; key aspects include groundwater modelling, public outreach, meeting coordination, and conveying complex scientific concepts to a variety of audiences. Performs related work as assigned. 

This position may be assigned to the planning team, the technical team, or both. Candidates may apply and be evaluated using experience; education; and preferred knowledge, skills, and abilities from either or both categories. Examples of Work

Job duties:

  • Assist the Water Planning Division (Division) of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources with the development and implementation of integrated surface water/groundwater management plans and with interstate compacts, decrees, and agreements:
    1. Organize data and required information for integrated water management planning, implementation, and compliance, and for compliance with interstate compacts, decrees, and agreements  
    2. Assist with stakeholder input processes, public participation, and community outreach  
    3. Determine required actions and deadlines related to integrated management plans, compacts, decrees, and interstate agreements; and obtain official documents as necessary 
    4. Write, review, and edit water management plans and reports
    5. Provide meeting support and coordination for the Division and outside agency partners
    6. Perform groundwater modeling in MODFLOW and hydrogeological analyses of groundwater/surface water interactions and conduct other hydrologic analyses
    7. Lead teams of staff to complete projects, as assigned by Division Managers and Coordinators
    8. Provide input on consultant selection and oversee their work
    9. Assist with financial oversight of integrated water management planning projects, including consultant selection, cost research, and contract management
    10. Opportunity to supervise interns, temporary staff, or graduate assistants
  • Assist with development and maintenance of the Division’s data and official documents and records:
    1. Acquire and organize pertinent data such as surface water diversions and use, water rights information, and changes in irrigated acres and land use/land cover 
    2. Develop and maintain databases and information management systems to ensure reliable storage and efficient retrieval of the Division’s data and records 
    3. Use and create content for Division GIS-related education and outreach materials. This includes ESRI experience builder content, ESRI Story Map content, general ArcGIS Online data/content, brochures, and other publications. This will include using the web as a medium for communication
    4. Maintain and uphold Division standards for GIS figures
    5. Maintain and follow established procedures for the management of GIS data
    6. Maintain and follow established procedures for the creation and upkeep of standard Division GIS tools/base data
    7. Assist in editing spatial and tabular data, spatial analysis, image analysis, map layout design, web mapping, and/or image classification that support land and water data development in Nebraska
    8. Determine the type of technical data needed to support and implement integrated surface water/groundwater management plans
    9. Retain proper documentation and maintain archiving of completed hydrogeological analyses
  • Communicate with a variety of audiences:
    1. Explain scientific and planning-related laws and concepts to a variety of audiences using strong communication skills and multiple communication platforms
    2. Prepare and edit educational and public relations materials such as maps, graphics, newsletter articles, technical reports, and handouts to disseminate information about the Division’s activities 
    3. Assist with maintaining and managing content on the Division’s website
    4. Represent the Department and Water Planning Division at public education and outreach events and assist in coordination of such events 

Qualifications / Requirements

REQUIREMENTS:   Bachelor’s Degree in the physical sciences, natural sciences, environmental science, geology, biology, agronomy, civil engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, hydrology, community and regional planning, or a related field AND two years of professional experience in a related field. Experience may substitute for education or a year-for-year basis.

PREFERRED:  Experience in writing and editing reports and other documentation; records and data organization and management; oversight of the creation of meeting materials such as agendas, handouts and minutes; using geographical information systems (GIS) to create map graphics or solve a problem; stakeholder input or public participation processes; creating figures to explain a complex concept; quantitative or qualitative data collection and analysis; natural resources or environmental planning; and/or education and outreach.

Experience with groundwater modeling in MODFLOW; experience with computer programming in python, MATLAB, Fortran, or C++; proficiency in ArcGIS; experience with database creation and management using Microsoft Access or other programs; experience with the Jupyter Notebook App; and experience in technical writing and communicating complex hydrological data with the public and technical audiences concerning integrated management issues. 

Some travel is required for this position, including occasional overnight travel.  When not traveling, the employee’s work time will include a mixture of teleworking and in-office work.

NeDNR will not sponsor non-immigrant work visas for this position.

Job requirements include 

  • A valid driver’s license
  • The ability to work overtime and weekends if the need arises

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of: 

  • Hydrogeology, hydrology, natural resource sciences, agricultural sciences, and/or natural resources planning 
  • Methods for collection, maintenance, and analysis of large, multidisciplinary scientific and technical datasets 
  • Water management planning processes, policies, rules, and regulations  
  • Public participation methods and community outreach
  • Basic field-scale irrigation and agricultural practices used across the state
  • Basic subsurface geology and characteristics of primary/secondary aquifers in Nebraska 
  • Basic remote sensing techniques and its application of land use/land cover delineation
  • The interconnection of agricultural practices, land use, and the hydrological cycle
  • Hydrogeological processes
  • Water use measurements and assessment technologies
  • Database creation and management
  • Statistical and mathematical models as applied to the analysis and interpretation of hydrogeological data
  • Project management of the areas above

Skill in:  

  • Writing and editing publications for a general audience
  • Meeting or event planning (in-person and via virtual platforms- Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc.) 
  • Creation of figures and presentations using computer software such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Publisher, Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign, CorelDraw, Prezi, ArcGIS, and/or Geocortex
  • Using software such as Excel and/or ArcGIS software to distill information, perform analyses, and present results from technical datasets 
  • Using ArcGIS software to construct, maintain and distribute File Geodatabases.
  • Organizing information and records using tools such as records management systems (e.g., OnBase), Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Access, OneNote, and intuitive filing structures
  • Constructing documentation files that accurately outline methods used to complete projects, such that utilized methods can be easily repeated and evaluated in the future
  • ArcGIS Model Builder and/or Python/Arcpy programming a plus
  • Groundwater modeling in MODFLOW
  • Computer programming to automate modeling processes
  • Developing and analyzing groundwater models
  • Managing large datasets
  • Applying hydrogeological analysis techniques
  • Synthesizing alternative solutions or conclusions
  • Communicating results of hydrogeological analyses

Ability to: 

  • Learn and apply Nebraska’s surface and groundwater laws
  • Think logically and understand surface and groundwater systems 
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately with diverse constituents
  • Clearly convey technical information to the public and colleagues
  • Organize, write, review, and edit technical reports and memorandums, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, outreach materials, and other documents
  • Independently compile, and analyze information as necessary to identify, substantiate, and solve a scientific or technical problem and prepare reports based on that analysis
  • Effectively develop workplans, ensuring adherence to project deadlines
  • Efficiently self-manage and operate in a remote setting/virtual workplace
  • Improve skill deficiencies/interest in developing said skills with on-the-job training
  • Learn various modeling and programming techniques as well as application of analytical tools
  • Interpret data obtained from instruments and equipment
  • Organize and analyze surface and groundwater systems and other available hydrogeological information and reach sound conclusions
  • Read, interpret, and apply Nebraska’s surface and groundwater laws, rules and regulations, and integrated management plans
  • Apply critical thinking skills and logic
  • Select, compile, and analyze information as necessary to identify, substantiate, and solve a scientific or technical problem
  • Communicate technical information to other technical experts and the general public through presentations and technical reports





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development