Minimum Qualifications Candidates for this position must have a Bachelor’s Degree in the field of Limnology, Biology, Ecology, Natural or Environmental science, or a related field, and three years of professional research experience in the appropriate field; OR Master’s Degree in the field of Limnology, Biology, Ecology, Natural or Environmental science, or a related field and two years of such experience; OR Doctorate in the field of Limnology, Biology, Ecology, Natural or Environmental science, or a related field.
Area of Specialty: Water Pollution
Duties Description Program Overview
In 2017, Governor Cuomo established the NYSDEC Finger Lakes Water Hub. The Hub is focusing on planning, coordinating and implementing state-led environmental quality projects within the Finger Lakes sub-watershed of New York’s overall Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River region. This new action furthers the efforts of the Governor’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team to swiftly address water quality issues and develop new policies, programs and technologies to ensure clean water for all New Yorkers. This action also enhances state efforts to implement the state-funded Great Lakes Action Agenda and the federally-funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan, both of which geographically encompass Central NY’s Lake Ontario/Finger Lakes region, as well as integrating technical knowledge and program resources with the adjacent Susquehanna River/Chesapeake Bay Action Plan and Mohawk River Action Plan. This team of scientists, watershed coordinator and the Hub Supervisor will leverage the efforts of research and other institutional partners such as the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the Upstate Freshwater Institute, Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance (FLLOWPA), lake management associations, regional planning commissions and the many local watershed groups and stakeholders throughout the region. The mission of DEC’s Finger Lakes Water Hub is to bring people together to share expertise and find the solutions necessary to protect these important resources in upstate New York, with the Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) issue being the initial focus and priority.
The Research Scientist 2, Finger Lakes Water Hub, Bureau of Water Assessment and Management will work within the Hub team, but with considerable independence to develop methods and scientific techniques, analyze data and prepare reports, papers, and publications to effectively and successfully perform and refine the Finger Lakes Water Quality Monitoring program and to develop & complete HABs monitoring/research projects. The candidate is expected to develop new methods/processes, sampling protocols and research that will contribute to the DOW research program.
The candidate will develop research plans, conduct data collection, identify statistical approach, analyze and interpret results, and produce technical reports related to Water Quality and HABs in the Finger Lakes. This will require expertise in understanding and evaluating the relationship between traditional limnological data and HABs, familiarity with aquatic biological ecosystems, and familiarity with the New York regulatory framework.
It is expected that the candidate will provide significant recommendations, based on their research, to supervising staff for incorporation into existing or expanded DOW programs.
Under the technical and administrative supervision of the FLW Hub Section Chief, Research Scientist 3, the successful candidate will be responsible for:
Research, Monitoring and Data Analysis
• Conduct research, data analysis and interpretation of environmental data for the Finger Lakes in conjunction with the Department’s water quality monitoring & assessment programs and the HABs monitoring efforts.
• Perform quantitative assessments of the Finger Lakes, including modeling potential nutrient reduction strategies for both in-lake and watershed scenarios. Work with division modeling staff on the development of total maximum daily loads (TMDL) and 9 Element Plans, promoting appropriate biological endpoints for impaired and impacted waterbodies;
• Conduct lake and tributary water quality monitoring and evaluate external data using standard physical, chemical and biological limnology tests and procedures to perform water quality assessments of designated uses of the Finger Lakes in support of state and federal mandates, evaluate the physical and biological characteristics of sampled Finger Lakes; perform statistical analysis and interpretation of water quality data, particularly large databases, identification of native and non-native aquatic species; this includes, physical transport of equipment (bottles, sampling equipment, small boats) for up to a half mile and use & operation of motorized boats.
• Work with the state Stream Monitoring & Assessment Program, state Lake Classification and Inventory Survey and the New York Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program, the Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB) program, local Health Departments, Lake Associations and existing academic research institutions in support of ambient monitoring of the Finger Lakes for assessing recreational and potable water conditions.
HABs Program Support
Conduct research, data analysis and interpretation of environmental data related to Finger Lakes and statewide HABs programs. Provide technical assistance for the DEC HABs monitoring programs, development of HABs mitigation strategies & pilots and the development of new HABs research initiatives.
Coordination, Partnership and Reporting
Interact and support local academic research efforts and lake-specific management associations. Provide technical assistance to partner organizations (e.g. lake associations, soil and water conservation districts, local governments and colleges/universities) who are working on watershed management projects.
• Represent the Agency and participate in public meetings and stakeholder activities to convey technical expertise on related projects. On behalf of NYSDEC, attend meetings of partner organizations and agencies to build relationships, distribute and coordinate a scientific and technical dialogue on the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the Finger Lakes.
• Assist in the development and implementation of Quality Assurance Management Plans and Quality Assurance Project Plans.
• Collaborate closely with other DEC research scientists and engineers on Finger Lakes issues and projects; assist DOW central office staff in the development of quantitative assessments of the Finger Lakes including both TMDLs and quantitative watershed plans.
• Prepare and present the results of research at partnership meetings, in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific meetings. Coordinate and assist in the development of technical reports, summaries, informational and other materials related to the Finger Lakes watersheds.
• Conduct literature reviews and advise senior research staff on the interpretation of the results and findings for the development of research plans.
• Prepare, with assistance from other DOW staff, papers for publication in peer reviewed journals.