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Wetlands/Shorelands Specialist (Environmental Specialist 4)

State of Washington

Lacey ,  Washington

The Shorelands and Environmental Assistance (SEA) program is looking to hire a Wetlands/Shorelands Specialist (Environmental Specialist 4). This position will be located in our Southwest Regional Office (SWRO) in Lacey, WA

As a senior environmental specialist, this position negotiates technical and legal details on major wetland or in-water proposals with local, state, and federal entities on project actions that may have inter-related environmental impacts. The Wetlands/Shorelands Specialist provides scientific and technical expertise to local jurisdictions, Ecology and other agency staff regarding wetlands and shorelands ecology, management, and regulation. The senior environmental specialist operates independently, with general direction implementing matters pertaining to shorelands, wetlands, federal and state wetland guidance, and anti-degradation policies contained in Chapter RCW 90.48; and coordinates the state response to federal permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, issuing permits under Section 401 of the Act. This position also serves as the compliance and enforcement officer for wetlands and shoreline violations.

We are looking for applicants who possess excellent people skills, the ability to quickly assess a situation and make a decision, a creative problem solver, and the ability to communicate with a diverse audience.

As an agency, our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. 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.

Duties

The mission of the Department of Ecology's Shorelands and Environmental Assistance (SEA) Program is to work in partnership with communities to support healthy watersheds and promote statewide environmental interests.

This position supports the agency's and program's mission and goals by working with a number of local governments on shoreline and wetland permitting that allows for development while also protecting the shoreline and water resources of the state within the parameters of the law.

Some of the key work activities for the Wetlands/Shorelands Specialist include:

Technical Expertise/Compliance and Enforcement:

  • This position serves as the senior environmental section specialist in wetlands and shoreline ecology and in the development and implementation of Critical Area Ordinances and related components of Shoreline Master Programs.
  • Independently provides scientific and technical expertise in wetlands and shorelands identification and delineation, functional assessments, development of mitigation plans, and evaluation of project impacts through applying understanding of wetland and shoreline ecology and biology.
  • Independently identifies, analyzes, and makes recommendations to local government officials on the identification and delineation of the Ordinary High Water Mark to determine the regulatory boundaries of Chapter 90.58 RCW, Shoreline Management Act.
  • Independently analyzes GIS layers and soil typing and performs field reconnaissance to identify and delineate wetlands utilizing standardized protocols in the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual and the Regional Supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual.
  • Provides senior level technical review and evaluation of project impacts, shoreline and wetland mitigation plans according to state guidance. 
  • Makes recommendations to department management and other local, state, and federal authorities involved in complex wetland and shoreline regulation and management actions.
  • Independently provides education and training through the development and presentation of lectures, workshops, field training, conferences on scientific, technical, and political issues related to wetlands ecology and management.
  • Attends scientific and technical conferences or workshops and may present and/or publish professional papers in the fields of shorelands or wetlands ecology and management.
  • Wetlands, Shorelands and Section 401 Permitting:
  • Implements matters pertaining to wetlands, federal and state wetland guidance, and anti-degradation policies contained in Chapter RCW 90.48; coordinates the state level permitting response to federal permits issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, issuing permits under Section 401 of the Act.
  • Implements matters pertaining to shorelands, dealing with Shorelands program policy and interpretation of the SMA, its policies, rules, regulation and procedures. Coordinates the state level permitting response to Shoreline Permits and Variances.
  • Independently resolves issues related to shoreline appeals to the state Shoreline Hearings Board and wetlands or Section 401 appeals to the Pollution Control Hearings Board. Works directly with the Assistant Attorney General and other parties (including local planners, attorneys, and citizens) towards detailed settlements that reflect the current policies of the program and ensures consistency with current wetland regulations and the SMA, using the ability to apply negotiation and conflict resolution skills.
  • Independently represents the Department of Ecology as a wetlands and shoreline expert in enforcement actions, hearings and legal proceedings using the understanding of environmental legislation and regulations at the federal, state, and local level and applying the knowledge of wetlands and shoreline ecology. Testimony may also form the basis for precedent-setting interpretations of agency jurisdiction and regulatory authority.

This recruitment will remain open until filled. The initial screening will be January 18, 2017. In order to be considered for the initial screening, please submit an application on or before January 17, 2017. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.

Qualifications

Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor's degree involving a major study in environmental, physical, or one of the natural sciences, environmental planning or other closely allied scientific field AND five (5) years of professional-level experience in environmental analysis or control, or environmental planning which includes one (1) year equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above or two (2) years equal to an Environmental Specialist 2 or above. Two (2) years of the experience must include wetlands delineation, hydrology, soil science, or plant science, or natural resource or land use planning.

OR

A Bachelor's degree in another discipline, provided that at least 45 quarter hours or 30 semester hours of course work is in the environmental, physical or one of the natural sciences including ecology, biology, hydrology, soil science, or plant sciences AND five (5) years of professional-level experience in environmental analysis or control, or environmental planning which includes one (1) year equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above or two (2) years equal to an Environmental Specialist 2 or above. Two (2) years of the experience must include wetlands delineation, hydrology, soil science or plant science, or natural resource or land use planning.

OR

A Master's degree in one of the above fields AND three years of professional-level experience as required above which includes one year equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above or two years equal to an Environmental Specialist 2 or above.

OR

A Ph.D. in one of the above fields AND two years of professional-level experience as required above which includes one year equal to an Environmental Specialist 3 or above or two years equal to an Environmental Specialist 2 or above.

OR

Two (2) years of professional level-experience as required above as an Environmental Specialist 3 provided a Bachelor's degree involving a major study as listed above has been attained.

The experience as an Environmental Specialist 2 can include assisting in any of the following areas: 1) performing field surveys or studies, 2) responding to complaints involving scientific or technical content, 3) preparing public meetings and hearings, 4) assistance with routine inspections or investigations requiring specialized knowledge of industry processes, pollutant sources or natural processes, 5) responding to routine inquires or requests for technical assistance involving scientific content, 6) special projects that are scientific in nature, 7) conducting routine sampling and testing analyses, interprets data, writing reports 8) performing basic sampling data review, 9) maintaining an environmental data base to support technical projects, 10) providing routine environmental technical and administrative assistance to grant/ contract/ loan recipients of environmental protection projects.

The 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.

Required Position-Specific Skills and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated understanding of wetland and shoreline ecology and biology by independently providing scientific and technical expertise in wetlands and shorelands identification and delineation, functional assessments, development of mitigation plans, and evaluation of project impacts.
  • Demonstrated ability to understand environmental legislation and regulations at the federal, state, and local level by independently reviewing, analyzing, developing and recommending wetland and shoreland policies, guidelines, and regulations to management and other government authorities involved in the administration of the local, state, or federal regulation. Testifying at legal proceedings and public hearings, and negotiating resolution in the development of policies and regulations.
  • Demonstrated ability to review and understand complex wetland regulatory and technical documents by providing technical review of documents prepared to support the development of local and state regulations, and providing the necessary and appropriate follow-up support to supervisors, Program Managers and others.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply negotiation and conflict resolution skills by independently serving as a wetlands and shoreline expert in enforcement actions, hearings and legal proceedings; conducting field investigations, data collection, and analysis; and making recommendations to management and others involved in wetland and shoreline regulation and management.


Desired Qualifications:

  • Education: Coursework leading to a Bachelor's degree or higher should include ecology, botany, biology, hydrology, and soil science. 
  • Professional Certification: Willingness and ability to obtain certification from the Society of Wetland Scientists as a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS). 
  • Work independently: Can be relied upon to achieve positive results with little need for oversight; earns the trust, respect, and confidence of coworkers and customers through consistent honesty, integrity, forthrightness and professionalism in all interactions; logically integrates various ideas, intentions, and information to form effective goals, objectives, timelines, action plans, and solutions.
  • Consulting: Makes decisions and develops options to issues having broad impact; facilitates organizational response to an issue; demonstrates understanding of global perspective and organizational development and behavior; consistently applies principles of fairness, conflict resolution, proactive intervention and negotiation, and group facilitation skills.
  • Research and Investigation: Determines sources of information and methods for informational gathering and analysis; provides guidance on agency investigations; may conduct more complex or sensitive investigations.
  • Analysis and Problem Solving: Reviews and evaluates technical reports, development plans, project applications, federal state and local regulations, and other documents, and provides recommendations for agency decisions to managers; facilitates problem solving process at the organizational level; encourages problem solving skills in others. Problems encountered often have high visibility and liability.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Interaction: Communicates in an effective and professional manner through writing and speaking and is understood by the audience; presents information in formal and informal settings that clearly identifies agency positions; negotiates resolutions to conflicts which seem to be at an impasse; is sought out by others as a communicator in area of expertise.
  • Customer Focus and Business Orientation: Identifies and advocates for changes necessary to better meet customer needs; provides guidance to agency in area of expertise such as wetlands and shorelands resource management.
  • Teamwork: Develops, participates with and facilitates interdisciplinary teams having region-wide, agency wide or statewide impact; demonstrates broad knowledge of the organization's authorizing environment and the team's role within that structure; advocates for positive outcomes.

Special Requirements / Conditions of Employment:
Willingness and ability to occasionally work in excess of 40 hours per week and travel throughout the Southwest Region and less frequently across the state.
Must be able to obtain and maintain a driver's license.



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