Manager of Scientific Programs

Friends of Ballona Wetlands

Playa del Rey, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $57,000-$67,000 per year based on experience
Deadline May 31, 2024
Required Experience 2 - 6 years


Job Title: Manager of Scientific Programs
Reports to: Executive Director
FLSA Status: Non-Exempt
Hours: Full time 40 hours per week
Salary: $57,000-$67,000 per year based on experience
Application Deadline: May 31, 5:00 PM PDT

Who we are

Founded in 1978, Friends of Ballona Wetlands is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and protecting Los Angeles’ last coastal wetland and educating our diverse community as stewards of nature. We believe that connecting people with the beauty and importance of natural systems can help them make choices that benefit the land and all the species that depend on it.

What we need

We are seeking an experienced scientist who possesses a blend of strategic planning, fieldwork expertise, and effective communication skills. The ideal candidate will be adept at designing and executing field surveys, conducting wildlife monitoring, managing grant reporting, and, working closely with the Manager of Habitat Restoration, developing comprehensive restoration plans. In addition to these technical skills, the ideal candidate will demonstrate strong leadership capabilities, particularly in fostering collaboration with partner agencies, elected officials, and local government stakeholders to shape restoration policy. This role requires a self-motivated individual comfortable working independently in the field, as well as overseeing and mentoring interns and collaborating with the entire staff during large-scale events. Integral to our team is a deep passion and appreciation for environmental conservation, fundamental qualities that drive our mission of preserving and protecting the Ballona Wetlands.

Required Experience and Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in biology or related field is required; Master’s degree is preferred
  • Proficiency in statistical analysis and GIS mapping programs
  • Demonstrated ability to lead, conduct, and train teams in biological field surveys, such as vegetation transect monitoring and mapping
  • Strong foundation in bird identification and nesting surveys, with a keen willingness to expand your knowledge base rapidly
  • Proven track record of project management, meeting deadlines, and providing relevant progress reports
  • Ability to collaborate effectively, prioritize tasks, and manage time effectively
  • Environmental policy experience

Preferred Experience & Skills

  • 5+ years professional experience in the environmental conservation field; advanced education beyond a Bachelor’s degree may be considered as additional work experience
  • Experience in bird banding
  • Familiarity with environmental permitting processes and agencies - California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and California Coastal Commision - and with the regulatory environment in California related to restoration projects
  • Strong scientific reporting and technical grant writing experience
  • Strong public speaking ability
  • Knowledgeable of local flora and fauna

Duties and Responsibilities

Scientific Programs

● Lead the monthly volunteer-supported bird surveys

● Conduct quarterly bird surveys of existing restoration sites

● Conduct nesting bird surveys as needed prior to restoration activities, particularly for special status species

● Participate in annual butterfly and invertebrate surveys

● Lead the Tree Swallow Nest Box project, assist with bird banding projects as needed

● Collaborate with the Manager of Habitat Restoration to:

     ○ Monitor and survey active restoration projects, ensuring accurate data collection and reporting

     ○ Lead habitat restoration vegetation transect monitoring and aerial mapping

     ○ Enter data and supervise intern data entry, conduct quality checks, maintain the database, perform analysis, and write reports

     ○ Facilitate adaptive management of our restoration sites based on monitoring results

     ○ Manage vegetation analyses and reporting for all habitat restoration projects

● Participate and speak at meetings with CDFW, Coastal Commission, and other regulatory and governmental agencies

● Prepare technical reports to support project design and permitting, grant compliance, and communication of habitat restoration project processes and outcomes with stakeholders and the public.


● Organize the Wetland Restoration Principles Coalition in collaboration with our partners and update members and staff as necessary

    ○ Set up quarterly meetings

    ○ Review regional restoration projects and EIRs to provide feedback

● Lead the El Segundo Blue Butterfly Coalition

    ○ Manage the ESB website

    ○ Plan and lead meetings 2-4 times per year


  • Assist with weekend community events such as Community Restoration, Creek Cleanup, Earth Day, Coastal Cleanup Day, Migration Celebration, and others TBD
  • Deliver presentations to partners and community groups on relevant topics


Our benefits include health insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan, vacation, 56 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year, and paid time off for all Friends of Ballona Wetlands recognized holidays.


Position to start ASAP. Full-time, 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday. Must be available for some weekends and evenings.

Physical Demands

The position requires outdoor work in wetland terrain for extended periods of time under inclement conditions, involving activities such as walking, navigating, reaching with hands and arms, and effectively communicating verbally.


All applicants must apply by submitting a PDF resume and cover letter to employment@ballonafriends.org  using “Manager of Scientific Programs” in the subject line. Email submissions only; No phone inquiries.

Deadline for applicant submissions is May 31, 2024 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

Friends of Ballona Wetlands is always eager to diversify its staff and reflect our community. Candidates of diverse backgrounds and perspectives are encouraged to apply. Friends of Ballona Wetlands provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including but not limited to pregnancy), gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation, military or veteran status, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, national origin, age, physical and/or mental disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements Friends of Ballona Wetlands complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Ecology , Wildlife
Tags GIS , Wetland , Ornithology