Water Resource Specialist

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Lewiston, MT, US

At DNRC we are passionate about ensuring that Montana’s land and water resources remain a benefit today and for future generations. We are actively seeking a Water Resource Specialist who values the vast resources in our treasure state as much as we do.

Yes, we fight fires across Montana and provide volunteer fire departments with resources, but are you aware that our agency also owns 5.2 million acres of state land that generates revenue for K-12 schools? Last fiscal year our Trust Lands Division distributed just under $100 million to the public educational trusts we serve. We are a significant resource to assist small communities through grant funding with restoration of their natural resources. Small communities’ matter in Montana.

The Water Resources Division is responsible for managing Montana’s water for the present and future needs of its people. We compile accurate, up-to-date stream flow data from more than 90 monitoring gages, providing critical data for managing reservoirs, irrigation schedules, water rights permitting and adjudication, floodplain management and other services for farmers, ranchers, citizens and communities. We also manage the operation and maintenance of 24 state-owned dams and 250 miles of irrigation canals.  

JOB OVERVIEW:    The Water Resource Specialist is responsible for performing a broad variety of duties associated with managing Montana’s water resources.  The specialist provides expert technical assistance for each program administered by the Water Resources Division.  Specialists work primarily with the Water Right Bureau and Water Adjudication Bureau programs and are assigned to the new appropriations program, statewide adjudication program or a combination of both.  The main duties include: water rights investigations, analysis and decisions; public assistance, complaints, and dispute resolution; and other administrative duties. Primary tasks include analysis of issues pertaining to water use, availability and management; collection and analysis of technical water data; researching water use information; conducting field investigations to collect and evaluate water data; applying Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) analysis and documentation to water right applications; investigating water use complaints; resolving disputes between water users; and performing other water resource management functions as required.

This position requires a thorough knowledge of Montana water law, relevant interstate and reserved water compacts, rules, policies, procedures, and government operations. The person in this position will need to have skill in reading, understanding, and interpreting land descriptions, as well as the ability to convey complex laws and technical information to the public in a clear and concise manner. An expertise in records research and report writing are also desirable. This position will also require considerable knowledge of water measurement and USGS stream gauging procedures and records, as well as the ability to understand water uses, measurements, and issues.

These job functions are the essential duties of the position and are not all-inclusive of all the duties that may be assigned to the incumbent. For a complete job description please contact Maggie Jolma at [email protected]

APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS:  The DNRC may include the following factors in determining whether an applicant meets the qualifications of a position vacancy by: State of MT application form, cover letter, current resume, educational requirements, structured interview, a performance test, job-related reference checks, job-related work experience, job-related past and current performance. 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PLSF) – Employment with the State of Montana may qualify you to receive student loan forgiveness under the PSLF. Look here to learn more and see if you may qualify.


  • Cover Letter – in your cover letter please explain any gaps in employment.

  • < >< >HELPFUL HINT: You must check the “relevant document” box to ensure your attachments are uploading correctly to the specific application.

EDUCATION/EXPERIENCE:  This position requires a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management or the natural sciences, plus a minimum of two years of experience with water resources management.  Coursework in water resources, physical or natural sciences, engineering, public speaking, and writing is desirable.

Alternate combinations of education and experience may be considered.

SPECIAL INFORMATION:  Candidates must be eligible to work in the United States.  A valid driver’s license is required with less than 12 conviction points in the most recent completed 36 months.

ELIGIBILITY TO WORK: In accordance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the person selected must produce within three days of hire documents that show authorization to work in the United States. Examples of such documentation include a birth certificate or Social Security card along with a driver’s license or other picture I.D., or a U.S. passport, or a “green card”.

Applicant Pool Statement:  If another department vacancy occurs in this job title within six months, the same applicant pool may be used for the selection. Training Assignment:  Not Applicable