Water Resources Specialist

West Virginia Research Corporation

Morgantown, WV, US


The West Virginia Research Corporation is seeking applications for a full-time, benefits eligible, Water Resources Specialist for the West Virginia Water Research Institute. This position provides general support for the coordination and implementation of West Virginia Water Research Institute (WVWRI) programs (e.g. Three Rivers QUEST (3RQ) REACH program and acid mine drainage (AMD) programs), assists with grant and report writing, and conducts field sampling events.  Coordinates WVWRI program activities (e.g. 3RQ Roundtable events) and communicates frequently and effectively with various organizations.  Incumbent assists with various aspects of WVWRI Programs, conducting program implementation, outreach and reporting.  Develops working relationships with various volunteer groups, attends monthly meetings and fosters good relationships with various state, federal, and grass-roots organizations.  Assists in developing outreach materials including internal and external publications (e.g. email newsletters, social media content, and press releases). Pursues opportunities for funding and program growth under the direction of the Program Manager.

Provides program assistance, as well as direct internal and external client support services, responds to inquiries, and independently resolves moderate to complex matters. Responsibilities require some judgment, resourcefulness, and originality, but diverse guides and precedents are usually available to apply or adapt to the circumstances. Performs functional operation duties, and work effort has a considerable impact on personnel and workflow with potential legal liabilities.

In order to be successful in this position, the ideal candidate will: 

  • Make presentations and represent WVWRI at meetings, conferences, and workshops.
  • Serve as a liaison with various volunteer groups, attending evening meetings and occasional weekend events.
  • Foster and create successful working relationships with various federal, state, and private organizations.
  • Represent WVWRI in a professional matter at various meetings and functions.
  • Build relationships with new organizations.
  • Seek partnerships for funding opportunities.
  • Work with teachers and group leaders with implementation of WVWRI projects.
  • Coordinate school-related programs to implement water quality studies.
  • Assist with education programming with WVU summer camps, and after school programs.
  • Provide assistance with data management to volunteer groups.
  • Ensure program objectives are communicated effectively to external organizations.
  • Maintain meeting notes, contact information, and related materials regarding WVWRI projects.
  • Develop and coordinate the sending of external and internal newsletters.
  • Coordinate with press and WVU media to publicize success stories, research initiatives, education programs, and outreach events and meetings.
  • Assist in the management of social media content
  • Perform water chemistry sampling fieldwork using field sampling equipment such as pH meter, flow meter, global position systems (GPS) unit, etc.  Place field monitoring equipment in situ, such as remote sensing monitors, etc. requiring some physical activity in varying weather conditions.
  • Collect samples of coal, coal tailings, overburden, coal combustion products, or other solid material needed to conduct the Institute’s research.
  • Collect water quality and stream biota samples following established protocols and providing quality control/quality assurance.
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOP) and ensures quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) in sampling, laboratory practices, and data analysis and management.
  • Develop and update quality control procedures, as well as written QAPPs required by funding agencies.
  • Ensure that all equipment and supply needs are met for field work and the laboratory by working with project managers to procure supplies and materials required to accomplish research objectives and activities.
  • Ensure proper permits (i.e. biological collection permits) and right of entry agreements are secured for sampling sites.
  • Maintain and oversee field equipment, including the WVWRI dedicated field vehicle, mileage tracking for routine maintenance and ensure proper documents, and first-aid kits and safety implement are readily available to all drivers.    
  • Performs bench-scale lab experiments as directed by the program manager.
  • Maintains safety certification and follows lab procedures as directed.
  • Follows all safety procedures.
  • Performs data entry, and maintains and manages water quality databases, routinely creates graphs for data visualization.
  • Produces print-quality maps utilizing GPS to field-truth coordinates.
  • Performs spatial and statistical analyses using geographic information system (GIS) platforms.
  • Writes technical progress reports and final technical reports in which analytical methodology is described; summarizing data analysis and results; and describing conclusions in a coherent manner.
  • Assists researchers with the completion of successful projects.
  • Performs literature searches; writes and presents research results.
  • Supports preparation and submission of program summaries, topical reports, and scientific articles using material from past, active, or future WVWRI research projects.
  • Develops technical and topical reports, project briefings, and presentations on project progress.
  • Assists with identifying new research opportunities, preparing proposals, and developing budgets.
  • Maintains records of site visits and meetings with volunteer groups.
  • Maintains internal tracking logs (i.e. analytical samples/invoices received).
  • Follows WVU procedures related to travel, reimbursement, etc.


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, environmental science, or a natural resource related field.
  • Two (2) years of experience in water quality research and developing grant proposals.
  • Two (2) years of experience with volunteer organizations.
  • An equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Proposal development and grant writing experience.
  • Ability to read and understand request for proposals, agency requirements for submission of proposals and reports, article format and submission guidelines, and other formal requirements required
  • Excellent communication skills (written and oral).
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Experience in field sampling.
  • Advanced understanding and experience with fundamental laboratory procedures.
  • Maintains skills in, or knowledge of, professional principles, legal and/or reporting requirements affecting area of responsibility.
  • Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, disposal methods.
  • Knowledge of water quality issues common in West Virginia, such as acid mine drainage, total dissolved solids, and bacterial contamination.
  • Knowledge of AMD treatment practices.
  • Knowledge of computer software, including Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Access as well as ArcGIS.
  • Knowledge of water quality issues in Appalachia preferred.
  • Thorough knowledge of correct English grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure.
  • Ability to use sensitive field sampling equipment such as pH meter, DO meter, GPS unit, etc.
  • Ability to operate 4×4 vehicle to travel to, around, and from research sites for data collection.
  • Ability to read, analyze, and interpret professional journals, technical procedures, or governmental regulations.
  • Ability to write reports, correspondence, and procedures.
  • Ability to effectively present information and respond to questions from groups of managers, researchers, and the general public.
  • Ability to apply concepts of basic algebra and geometry.
  • Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume.
  • Ability to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of concrete variables in situations where only limited standardization exists.
  • Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, diagram or schedule form.
  • Ability to work independently without direct supervision.
  • Ability to coordinate and generate cooperation from research team members.
  • Ability to think creatively and offer solutions to complex problems.
  • Ability to work well with others, both internal to WVWRI and with external collaborators.


  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Trainings/certificates associated with surface and/or groundwater sampling preferred.