Great Lakes Commission

Chesterton, Indiana

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details 70,000
Deadline Jul 19, 2024
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

The Great Lakes Commission (GLC) and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) are seeking an experienced ecologist with conservation and restoration expertise for a shared position between the two agencies. This position will work under a joint GLC and USGS GLSC team to advance specific outcomes in GLC’s Action Plan for a Resilient Great Lakes Basin (Action Plan) and related efforts within GLSC’s Restoration and Conservation (ReCon) Science Branch. Resilience is a priority for the GLC and a key goal of its strategic plan. The GLC and its partners developed the Action Plan to provide a foundation for regional coordination around climate resilience. This position is designed to support coastal ecosystem resiliency efforts and foster the development of strategic tools and practical on-the-ground actions. The work will involve close coordination with a variety of federal, state, and university partners with vested interest in these topics.


The ecologist will primarily be responsible for developing a science-based framework for understanding how to build healthy and resilient coastal ecosystems that can adapt to changing conditions and climate-related stressors.

This work will give special attention to elucidating economic, ecological, and social return on investment of restoration and conservation activities within nearshore and coastal ecosystems; providing rationale for when and where to use nature-based solutions to accomplish climate resilience; valuing ecosystem services; and/or bridging with indigenous knowledge systems where appropriate. [65%]

Other responsibilities include:

  • Support GLC managers in the planning and execution of meetings and workshops on climate resilience and adaptation to promote co-development of priorities and products, identify information gaps, and transfer knowledge and technology among federal, Indigenous, state, provincial, and local partners in the public and private sectors. [15%]
  • Inform the development of a basin-wide system to understand effectiveness of coastal resilience and adaptation approaches and track progress. [10%]
  • Inform GLSC’s science priorities and portfolio development about climate adaptation and resilience and assist in integrating climate adaptation science throughout the Restoration and Conservation Science (ReCon) branch. [5%]
  • Coordinate with other coastal resilience and adaptation efforts, such as the Great Lakes Coastal Assembly, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study, and programs and plans within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service. [5%]


Ideal candidates will have at least a Master of Science degree in a related field and four or more years applied academic or professional experience addressing climate related scientific issues. Additional qualifications include:

  • Demonstrated knowledge and expertise related to restoration ecology and/or climate resilience, adaptation science and decision science, with a strong quantitative background.
  • Understanding of theoretical climate adaptation approaches, such as the Resist-Accept-Direct framework.
  • Understanding of the integration of science in decision-making and adaptive management.
  • Demonstrated experience applying theoretical/technical scientific concepts to practical natural resource management decision-making.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work effectively with academic colleagues and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills and the ability to communicate complex information to diverse audiences.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills.
  • Experience using various communications platforms and tools to collaborate and convey findings.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of internal and external teams.
  • Self-motivated and organized with strong attention to detail.


This is a full-time, two-year term position. The salary for this position is $70,000. Benefits include paid time off, flexible schedule, and medical, dental, and vision insurance.

This position is located at the USGS GLSC Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station (LMERS) in Chesterton, Indiana. LMERS is located within, and shares a close relationship with, the Indiana Dunes National Park. Some telework may be considered. This position requires periodic travel between Chesterton, Indiana, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and occasional travel to meetings and workshops around the Great Lakes region.


Application Process

Applicants must submit a cover letter and resume stating their interest in and qualifications for the position in a single PDF emailed to vacancy@glc.org. Please use the subject line “Ecologist.” All required items must be provided for an application to receive consideration. No phone calls, please.

About the Great Lakes Commission

The Great Lakes Commission is a binational government agency established in 1955 to protect the Great Lakes and the economies and ecosystems they support. Its membership includes leaders from the eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes basin. The GLC recommends policies and practices to balance the use, development, and conservation of the water resources of the Great Lakes and brings the region together to work on issues that no single community, state, province, or nation can tackle alone. Learn more at www.glc.org.

About the USGS Great Lakes Science Center

The USGS Great Lakes Science Center exists to provide scientific information for restoring, enhancing, managing and protecting living resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes region. The GLSC is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has biological stations and research vessels located across the Great Lakes basin. The Restoration and Conservation Science Branch maintains scientific expertise in coastal wetland restoration; wetland and terrestrial plant ecology; invasive species biology and adaptive management approaches; landscape ecology, assessment, and conservation design; microbiological processes and eDNA; terrestrial coastal migration; and harmful and nuisance algal blooms.

Equal Opportunity Employer

The Great Lakes Commission strives to create an inclusive, diverse and non-discriminatory workplace. The Great Lakes Commission is an equal opportunity employer; the Great Lakes Commission complies with applicable federal, state and local laws prohibiting discrimination. It is Great Lakes Commission policy that no person shall be discriminated against, as an employee or applicant for employment, because of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws.

The United States government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service or other non-merit factor.

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Category Ecology, Sustainability
Tags Climate Change