U.S. nationals: Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch Research Opportunity (Developing and administering EPA wetland policies and science-based wetland analysis)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Washington, DC, US


*Applications may be reviewed on a rolling-basis and this posting could close before the deadline. Click here for information about the selection process.

EPA Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is available at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water (OW), Office of Wetlands, Ocean and Watersheds (OWOW) located in Washington, DC.

The participant will be in the Program Development and Jurisdiction Branch, which is responsible for developing and administering EPA wetland policies and science-based wetland analysis pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA) through a blend of programmatic, policy and technical activities including rulemaking and state and tribal program development.

Research Project: This project will focus on rulemakings that include the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, ongoing regulatory development under the Clean Water Act sections 401, 404 and 404(g), and aspects of the Endangered Species Act. State and tribal program development will focus on wetland monitoring and assessment, regulatory activities, restoration and protection and water quality standards.

This project will also focus on research regarding:
  • State and tribal efforts to develop dredged and fill regulatory programs
  • Current and planned state water quality regulatory programs, including surface water discharges, permit certifications and the discharge of dredged or fill material – as affected by CWA regulations
  • Wetland program development efforts to develop science methods and tools for surface water engaging with federal, state, and tribal partners and associated outreach efforts to the public
Learning Objectives: The participant may learn about:
  • Roles of EPA, states and tribes to achieve CWA goals as well as hydrological science and connectivity among waters
  • Collaborative approaches to policy development, rulemaking and wetland program building
  • Science and program issues, “technology transfer,” communication, outreach and website/social media development and leveraging media to reach the audience
Under the mentor’s guidance, the participant will apply their knowledge to:
  • Develop/assess data on aquatic impacts related to implementing Court decisions and EPA rules
  • Characterize and communicate approaches for state/tribal CWA 404(g) assumption
  • Translate science tools, techniques, research finding and policies into formats for target audiences
  • Explore how to communicate successful science and tailor messages to support capacity-building of state and tribal programs

This opportunity will provide excellent exposure to the interface of watershed science and environmental policy, federal regulations and state/tribal programs. It also offers exposure to the EPA, US Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries and Army Corps of Engineers’ Section 404 CWA programs including insight to the implementation of their respective responsibilities. In addition, the participant will be grounded in the relationships and interdependence of the various CWA programs to maintaining and achieving water quality.

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Damaris Christensen ([email protected]). If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: Fall 2020.  All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for one year and may be renewed up to three additional years upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of Participation: The appointment is full-time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. At this time, master’s degree stipends are ~$59,534 per year. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends.

EPA Security Clearance: Completion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE Information: This program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email [email protected] and include the reference code for this opportunity.


The qualified candidate should have received a master’s or doctoral degree in one of the relevant fields, or be currently pursuing one of the degrees and will reach completion by the end of September 2020. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date.

Preferred skills:
  • Background in watershed sciences or in state or tribal environmental regulatory programs
  • Strong skills in multimedia use platforms, communications, research, engagement, analysis, outreach and writing on environmental issues
  • Familiarity and/or experience with the CWA
Eligibility Requirements
  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Master’s Degree or Doctoral Degree received within the last 60 months or anticipated to be received by 9/30/2020 11:59:00 PM.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Communications and Graphics Design (1 )
    • Earth and Geosciences (23 )
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (13 )
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (47 )
    • Other Physical Sciences (12 )
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (4 )
  • Veteran Status: Veterans Preference, degree received within the last 120 month(s).





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