Staff Scientist (Freshwater Conservation)

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)

Washington, DC, US


NFWF’s portfolio of freshwater programs requires a subject matter expert in freshwater ecology, management, and conservation. The position is nationwide in scope and entails a detailed understanding of the conservation challenges faced by aquatic species in more than one region of the country. Intimate knowledge of freshwater fish is a must, yet experience with other relevant taxonomic groups is desirable (e.g., amphibians, reptiles, crayfish, freshwater plants, freshwater mollusks, aquatic insects). Experience in the recovery of threatened species and the principles of conservation planning are a plus. The ideal candidate will have designed field-based research projects and will have a working knowledge of standard survey techniques and a range of monitoring approaches both for species and habitats (e.g., eDNA, population viability, IBI, mark-recapture, barrier assessment, habitat condition and suitability).

The staff scientist will work with the Science and Evaluation team to develop monitoring and evaluation plans that enable rigorous assessments of conservation impact. As such, s/he is responsible for ensuring the freshwater component to NFWF’s programs is science-based, aligning project portfolios with conservation outcomes, providing technical assistance to programs and grantees as needed, reviewing reports from grantees and contractors to ensure the quality of information being reported, drafting recommendations for staff and Board action, reviewing requests for proposals, contributing to fundraising efforts, and closely coordinating program efforts with the Director of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, the Science and Evaluation team, and other Foundation staff.


• Provide subject matter expertise for the Foundation on all aspects of freshwater conservation.
• Work with science and program staff to set freshwater species targets/goals and measure the impacts of NFWF’s conservation programs towards those goals.
• Work with the science and program staff to develop implementation strategies that draw on, and contribute to, evidence-based practices. This will require a familiarity with many types of habitat restoration, species-specific management (e.g., invasive species, captive-breeding), and education and outreach efforts to foster best management practices.
• Keep abreast of scientific and policy developments that may impact aquatic conservation.
• Review and evaluate submissions by grant/contract recipients and applicants ensuring strategies and results are aligned with programs’ monitoring and evaluation plans.
• Track proposals and active grants/contracts that support NFWF’s science-based approach, in coordination with the program leads and project administration team.
• Work with the program leads and advisory committees to solicit, review, and develop funding recommendations that align with the science-based strategies and outcomes of the program.
• Light amount of domestic travel anticipated (approx. 1–2 trips per year).


• Support the development of public and private partnerships to secure operational and programmatic funding for NFWF programs in coordination with the VP Science and Evaluation, Chief Conservation Officer, Development and Government Relations staff, and NFWF regional partnership offices.
• Perform other duties as assigned by the Director of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. 


• Passionate about the nation’s freshwater biodiversity and its conservation.
• Intimate knowledge of freshwater fish (and preferably at least one other freshwater dependent taxonomic group).
• Comfortable working on data-poor species/geographies and setting up processes to fill critical information gaps.
• Graduate degree.
• Experience in research design, and analyzing and interpreting statistical or environmental data. Proficient with statistical software (R, SPSS, and/or SAS).
• Ability and desire to learn on the job.
• Experience conducting field research as part of a multidisciplinary project or team.
• Driven to meet and exceed goals.
• Strong listening and communication skills.
• Exceptional ability to organize and prioritize work and meet deadlines. 


• Experience working and communicating with stakeholders such as federal or state fisheries/natural resource management agencies, academia, private landowners, and non-profit organizations.
• Strong data management skills.
• Experience using geographic information systems software.
• Experience with priority setting / conservation planning / endangered species recovery / site identification and delineation.
• Ph.D. or Doctorate degree.

Application Notes:  

Please submit a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, and resume.  

Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the US on a full-time basis.  





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development