Northeast Watermaster

Spokane, WA, United States 🇺🇸

Protecting Washington State’s environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. If you want to join a team that is highly effective, collaborative, has leadership that embraces the value of people, and believes in the fun factor, Ecology is a good fit.

The Water Resources program (WR) within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Northeast Watermaster (Environmental Specialist 5) position. This position is located in our Eastern Regional Office (ERO) in Spokane, WA.

The Northeast Watermaster position Serves as the Northeast Watermaster in the Department of Ecology’s Water Resources Program (WRP), acting as the agency and program expert regarding water resource issues in Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, and Lincoln Counties. Reports directly to the WRP Section Manager in the Eastern Regional Office (ERO).  Works with the ERO WRP Section Manager to develop and implement Ecology’s water resource management strategies and priorities for northeast Washington. Responsible for recognizing emerging water resource issues and for independently determining work objectives and goals to effectively manage surface water and groundwater. Represents the agency in negotiations regarding complex and/or controversial water resource issues in those areas. Coordinates Ecology’s work with local, state, federal and tribal governments, municipalities, private industry, consultants, water use stakeholder groups, and the general public.

We are looking for applicants who have an in-depth knowledge of the Washington water code, and who possess practical experience working with the laws and rules that constitute the code.
As an agency, we invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism and accountability. Maybe you’ve seen some of our recent stories on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or our blog.
To learn more about our agency, please visit our website at
 Local efforts… Diverse people… Statewide impacts
The mission of the Water Resources program (WR) is to manage water resources to meet the current and future needs of the natural environment and Washington’s communities.

Some of the key work activities of the Northeastern Watermaster position are:

In cooperation with the ERO WRP Section Manager, develops and implements policies and strategies to manage water resources in northeast Washington, which includes Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry, and Lincoln Counties.  Responsible for recognizing emerging water resource issues and for independently determining work objectives and goals to effectively manage surface water and groundwater in northeast Washington.  Serves as Ecology’s technical expert regarding implementation of the management policies for the Little Spokane, Middle Spokane, and Colville River Basins (WAC Chapters 173-555, 173-557, and 173-559).
Evaluates groundwater and surface water usage in northeastern Washington, and makes assessments of acreage irrigated and quantities of water withdrawn to determine whether or not the limits and provisions of water right permits and certificates are being exceeded.  Independently investigates alleged water appropriation violations through on-site investigations, interviews with affected parties, and collection of necessary information and field data.  Effectively negotiates and resolves water rights conflicts whenever possible.  Has delegated authority to issue field citations and notices of violations of the state water code within the five-county area of northeastern Washington.  Advises ERO Section Manager regarding compliance actions to take through submittal of written Recommendations for Enforcement, including advice regarding the issuance of orders and penalties.  Develops and prepares expert testimony for presentation to the Pollution Control Hearings Board and higher courts.  Testifies as an expert witness in administrative and court hearings.
Writes recommendations on applications for new water rights and changes to existing water rights, including seasonal changes.  Independently conducts field examinations for water right applications and final proofs of appropriation of water.  Develops detailed Reports of Examination for water right applications and applications for changes to existing rights.  Reviews and evaluates applications for seasonal changes of existing water rights.  Has delegated signature authority for the issuance of temporary and seasonal transfers as well as authorizations for short-term water uses and acreage expansion (spreading).
Responds to public inquiries concerning water right applications, the water right permitting process, and the status of pending water right applications and permits.  Provides technical assistance to a wide variety of stakeholders, including government agencies, municipalities, tribes, private industry, and the general public.  Effectively communicates technical information clearly, both verbally and in writing.
Fosters and maintains healthy working relationships with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife staff, county staff, tribal members, and with consultants and representatives from a wide variety of water user groups in northeastern Washington.  Serves as Ecology’s representative on a variety of workgroups and committees established to address water resource management issues in northeastern Washington.
Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree involving major study in environmental, physical, or one of the natural sciences, environmental planning or other allied field and six years of professional-level experience in environmental analysis or control, or environmental planning, which includes two years equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above.

Additional qualifying experience will substitute, year for year, for education.


A Master’s degree in one of the above fields and four years of professional-level experience as required above which includes two years equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above.


A Ph.D. in one of the above fields and three years of professional-level experience as required above which includes two years equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above.


One year of experience as an Environmental Specialist 4.

The 2 years of experience as an Environmental Specialist 3 can include a combination of the following: 1) investigating and / or resolving complaints involving science or technology content, 2) performing inspections, 3) drafting technical evaluations and reports, 4) develops plans for researching information used for technical projects, regulatory or policy development, 5) plan and facilitate public meetings and hearings, 6) project work requiring specialized knowledge of industry processes, pollutant sources or natural processes, 7) providing technical assistance for complex scientific content and/ or support for implementing scientific content programs, 8) conducting tests, analyzing and evaluating data, 9) using environmental databases to support technical projects, 10) developing scientific studies and resource management plans, 11) providing environmental technical and administrative assistance to grant/ contract/ loan recipients of environmental protection projects.

Preferred/Desired Qualifications:
In-depth knowledge of the Water Resources Program in the Little Spokane River Basin, WRIA 55 (Chapter 173-555 WAC), Water Resources Program in the Middle Spokane River Basin, WRIA 57 (Chapter 173-557 WAC), and Water Resources Program for the Colville River Basin, WRIA 59 (Chapter 173-559 WAC).
Supplemental Information

Application Instructions:

Please include the following documents as an attachment to your application:
  • A cover letter describing how your experience, skills and abilities meet the required qualifications of this position.
  • A resume outlining your professional experience.

Please complete the applicant profile when applying for this position. Or, you may paste the text of your resume within the profile’s resume text field.

Please read the supplemental questions carefully and answer completely. Incomplete responses, including “please see resume” may disqualify you from further consideration.

Department of Ecology employees, please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources at (360) 407-6186.

If you are reading this announcement in print format, please visit to access the online recruitment system. Click on “Look for Jobs” and select Dept. of Ecology under the “Department” search list. Click “Apply Search.”

Other Information:

If you need assistance applying for this job, please call Human Resources at (360) 407-6186 or e-mail [email protected]. Please do not call this number or send an email to this address to follow-up the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile’s main page.

If you have specific questions about the position, please email Keith Stoffel at:
[email protected]. Please do not contact Keith to inquire about the status of your application.

The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed.

This position is included in the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) union bargaining unit for the Department of Ecology. All employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the WFSE will, as a condition of employment, either become members of the WFSE and pay membership dues or, as non-members, pay a representation fee as described in the CBA, no later than the 30th day following the effective date of this CBA or the beginning of their employment.

The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.