Marine Ecologist


San Francisco Bay Area, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details DOE
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

WRA’s an employee-owned environmental consultancy. We are a tenacious team of planners, engineers, and scientists, and we aim to leave the lands we love better than we found them. 

Our clients and partners hire us because we’re skilled at navigating through challenging projects involving wildlands, parks, community spaces, and infrastructure. We bring over four decades of expertise, long-standing relationships, and connections to our local communities to make sure that projects are pursued in responsible ways where both people and the environment thrive. 

As an organization, we believe that independence and interdependence are not mutually exclusive. We invest in systems, processes, and employee programs to support our staff’s collective engagement and success. At the same time, we encourage our employees to operate with an ownership mindset, taking responsibility for outcomes and being true to our commitments. While this position includes some fieldwork on a seasonal basis, the primary responsibilities of this position are office-based.

We are actively seeking someone with a marine/estuarine biology or coastal ecology background to support WRA’s marine services, shoreline permitting, and coastal habitat restoration lines of work. If you have experience with and an understanding of coastal or marine biology and you would be excited to apply your skills to the field of state and federal environmental regulatory compliance, we want to talk to you about joining one of our teams. Ideal candidates have a knack for critical thinking, problem solving, and working collaboratively with teams. This position offers real opportunities for advancement, including interfacing with clients and agency staff, public speaking, and staff supervision.

The person hired for this role will need to reside within commuting distance to one of our three Northern California offices (San Rafael, Petaluma, and Emeryville), as periodic site visits and field work will be required. 

In this role, you will work under the direct supervision of project managers to conduct a variety of work pertaining to coastal environmental regulatory compliance, including:

  • Reviewing and analyzing engineers’ designs for impacts to sensitive biological resources (e.g., San Francisco Bay, wetlands, streams, submerged aquatic vegetation, riparian vegetation)
  • Coordinating closely with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists to create maps and other graphics depicting environmental data
  • Reviewing and navigating tidal datums for fieldwork schedules and project designs
  • Conducting surveys by kayak or other small vessels
  • Preparing technical reports
  • Preparing environmental permit applications on behalf of clients
  • Scheduling and facilitating project meetings
  • Assisting other technical staff with a wide array of writing assignments: biological resources reports, aquatic resources delineations, tidal marsh restoration plans, mitigation monitoring plans and annual monitoring reports
  • Occasionally or seasonally conducting a wide array of fieldwork: submerged aquatic vegetation mapping; tidal marsh vegetation sampling; intertidal invertebrate habitat assessments; wetland delineations; invasive marine species identification; marine mammal identification; biological compliance monitoring during nearshore or in-water construction

 To be successful in this role, you will need:

  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in biology, marine or estuarine science, or tidal marsh ecology
  • At least 2 to 4 years of experience conducting field surveys/sampling of natural resources in a coastal or marine setting (e.g., plants, wildlife, algae/seagrass, invertebrates, water quality)
  • Knowledge of the ecology and management of seagrass, marine algae, marine mammals, and/or marine fish
  • Familiarity with laws and policies that regulate aquatic resources in Northern California (pertaining to agencies such as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, California State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Coastal Commission, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • To be physically fit enough to complete rigorous aquatic and terrestrial fieldwork, including carrying heavy equipment and loading/unloading kayaks (field gear provided)
  • To be available for early morning and late evening fieldwork, based on on tides
  • A baseline understanding of Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS)  mapping and analysis
  • Strong technical writing and data analysis skills
  • Resourcefulness, thoroughness, and attention to detail
  • Proficiency with entering and formatting data in Microsoft Excel
  • Proficiency with analyzing and interpreting ecological data for incorporation into technical reports and presentations
  • Proficiency in other Microsoft Office Suite programs (Word, PowerPoint) and G-Suite (Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Drive, Calendar, etc.)
  • A valid driver’s license and reliable transportation (while WRA has fleet vehicles that can be reserved for field use, during busy field seasons a truck may not be available)

WRA has an established internal leveling system for our staff that maps to salary bands that have been informed by market data. Our leveling system is dependent on years of relevant industry experience, education, and the level of responsibility and autonomy at which you’re expected to operate.

We have posted a salary range that corresponds to several job levels that could be appropriate for this position. In your first conversation with our recruiter, we will discuss leveling and compensation with you to make sure that our expectations are aligned. 

*The salary range for this position is $52,000-$84,000.

 Who are we?

WRA’s company vision is “cultivating a sustainable future where people and the environment thrive” and that starts with our staff. We are committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment, and we have developed flexible policies, internal practices, and are investing in programs that prioritize learning and sustainability. We aim to create conditions that allow employees to prioritize their families, lead healthy and balanced lives, and to bring their authentic selves to work every day. We believe that by creating an exceptional workplace, our employees will be able to do their best work and be able to meaningfully contribute to the sustainability of the environment and the communities in which we live.

WRA is an equal opportunity employer, and we are committed to creating a diverse environment. We recruit, employ, train, compensate and promote regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law.


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Category Marine Biology, Restoration
Tags GIS, Permitting, Environmental Consulting