Watershed Health Scientist and Field Crew Lead (Natural Resource Scientist 2)

Washington Department of Ecology

Lacey, WA, US

Protecting Washington State’s environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. If you want to join a team that is highly effective, collaborative, has leadership that embraces the value of people, and believes in the fun factor, Ecology is a good fit.

The Environmental Assessment Program (EAP) program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a permanent, full-time Watershed Health Scientist & Field Crew Lead (Natural Resource Scientist 2) position. This position is located in our Headquarters Building (HQ) in Lacey, WA.

The Watershed Health Scientist & Field Crew Lead position serves as a natural resource scientist performing specialized freshwater aquatic and stream ecology research using conventional techniques. Responsibilities include gathering and analyzing sampling information to assess the status and trends of the streams, rivers and aquatic resources throughout Washington State.

As an agency, we invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism, and accountability. 

To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at www.ecology.wa.gov and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or our blog.

The Environmental Assessment Program provides a range of scientific, monitoring, laboratory, and quality assurance services.  Its mission is to measure, assess, and communicate environmental conditions in Washington State. 
The Watershed Health Scientist & Field Crew Lead position under the administrative supervision of the WHEMU Supervisor, uses scientific knowledge and professional judgment as a natural resource scientist to perform specialized freshwater aquatic and stream ecology research, including:
  • Gathers and analyzes probabilistic sampling information to assess the status and trends of streams, rivers and aquatic resources statewide.
  • Plans, develops, researches, and conducts or oversees probabilistic sampling design technical data collection and analyzes, evaluates, and interprets data.
  • Independently performs Status & Trends Monitoring Program and other environmental monitoring/sampling and provides guidance for surveys, field studies or other special data gathering activities, such as collecting and analyzing water samples, stream and riparian habitat measurements, and biological samples.
  • Makes recommendations regarding new or modified sampling and analytical testing methods, best management practices, technical operating procedures and data collection tools (eforms).
  • Understands and communicates complex environmental information with agency staff, other agencies, industry and the general public related to the conditions of streams, rivers and aquatic resources around the state.
  • Uses scientific knowledge to determine the Watershed Health and Environmental Information Management (EIM) System database/inventory requirements and may design and/or develop databases/inventories to be utilized in support of the Watershed Health Monitoring Project. 
  • Develops and defines the record keeping and reporting procedures; trains and supervises other personnel in survey protocols, field evaluation and reporting work; gathers and evaluates sample data; formulates and justifies conclusions and recommendations
  • Develops Geographic Information System (GIS) projects and coverages for the Watershed Health Monitoring Project data in ArcMap; ensures project data is accurately entered into the agency data repository.
  • Uses specialized knowledge of freshwater community ecology, biological taxonomy and aquatic life history to ensure that the unit’s field operations relating to biological habitat assessment are done in the most efficient and effective manner practicable
  • Serves as a unit point-person for WHM issues related to the Field Operations Center.
  • Produces WHM training videos using professional video editing software and equipment.
  • Leads and coordinates work on boat-able sample sites and provide boat safety training.
  • Recommends and test eform updates to gain efficiencies and reduce possible error during field collection.
  • Responds to technical questions and stakeholder inquiries regarding the WHM project’s field sampling techniques used in probability monitoring of biological, chemical, and habitat conditions.
Participates in the following WHM data management and project support activities:
  • Data quality assurance reviews.
  • Conducts data analyses, including calculation of summary statistics using statistical software.
  • Data preparation and manipulation; graph, chart, and map preparation in ACCESS, EXCEL, GIS, and other software.
  • Formulates and justifies conclusions and recommendations, writes sections of monitoring reports.
  • Presents, in posters and oral presentations, findings of the WHM program work.
  • Provides field training, mentoring and advice to less experienced seasonal staff on Watershed Health Monitoring protocols, methods and survey techniques. 
  • Obtains training for maintaining and improving skills related to boat/raft operations, fish collection techniques, data review and analysis, and stream surveys.
  • Procurement of required permits from all appropriate entities for stream access, fish collection and sample collection activities as required.
  • Assists with Watershed Health Monitoring Program reporting to various audiences to communicate the status and trends of streams, rivers and aquatic resources throughout the state.
This position will remain open until filled. The initial screening will be February 4, 2020. In order to be considered for the initial screening, please submit an application on or before February 3, 2020. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.

Please to do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.

Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree with a major study in a natural science field, including freshwater ecology or biology, or an environmental science

Three (3) years of professional research or scientific work experience including collecting water or environmental samples, surveying field conditions and recording field measurements, conducting data management, review and analysis.
A Master’s degree will substitute for two years and a Ph.D. will substitute for all of the required experience, provided the field of major is in a natural science field, including freshwater ecology or biology, or an environmental science.

Desired Qualifications:

  • Coursework in Environmental Science, Fisheries Biology, Chemistry, Forestry or related field.
  • Experience collecting water samples and measuring stream flow is desired.
  • Some experience with data analysis and data management.
  • Good communication and writing skills.
  • Taxonomic identification of freshwater fishes.
  • Experience fish sampling with electrofisher equipment. 
Special  Requirements/Conditions of Employment:
Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license.





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