South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project Lead Scientist

San Francisco Estuary Institute

Richmond, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $0

Requisition Number: Requisition # CW_RL-19-1

Posted: August 19, 2019

Position Open Until Filled

About the Position

The primary responsibility for the position will be to serve as the Lead Scientist for the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project’s efforts to restore San Francisco Bay’s intertidal wetlands. This restoration is a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Coastal Conservancy, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to restore and enhance wetlands and other aquatic habitats in South San Francisco Bay from ponds formerly used for industrial salt production. The Lead Scientist will be a primary scientific representative of the Project and will oversee and coordinate single- and multidisciplinary studies conducted by teams of scientists. This is a long-term project requiring consideration of many aspects of San Francisco Bay geography, geology, water use and quality, ecology, hazard mitigation, and habitat conservation. This position will seek to promote and organize discipline-specific and multi-disciplinary, integrated scientific activities throughout the San Francisco Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project area and in the wider Bay Area. The Lead Scientist will provide the leadership to foster collaboration for all science activities and will be responsible for providing leadership in strategic planning, coordination, and management of all scientific programs and activities, and developing partnerships to implement these activities with federal, state, national and international partners.

The Lead Scientist will spend 50% of their time on the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration project and 50% on other SFEI projects/programs within the Clean Water or Resilient Landscapes program.  The other 50% of the position will be determined based on the qualifications of the selected candidate and program needs and might include projects within either the Resilient Landscapes program (ecology, geomorphology, urban greening) or the Clean Water program (nutrients, contaminants, regional monitoring program).

Desired Qualifications

  • PhD and at least 2 years of experience or a Master’s degree and at least 9 years of relevant experience in a related scientific field (ecology, biology, wetland science, environmental chemistry, etc.)
  • Professional knowledge in one or more of the following areas: hydrology, biology, geology, ecology, and geography, and ability to coordinate and direct integrated scientific studies.
  • Extensive knowledge of the geography, biology, geology, ecology, and hydrology of wetlands, and in particular, familiarity with San Francisco Bay wetlands and surrounding areas.
  • Knowledge of the variety of issues to be considered in planning and conducting scientific studies in San Francisco Bay wetlands, including those concerning the water quality, conservation, geology, and ecology of the region.
  • Knowledge of regulations and policies of federal and state agencies, local government, and local organizations concerning the San Francisco Bay and surrounding areas.
  • Ability to build interpersonal relationships with officials in federal, state and local agencies, as well as local and state government, the media, members of local environmental organizations and the general public.
  • Strong leadership skills; ability to work independently to develop, lead, manage staff, and deliver scientific studies and projects.
  • Ability to identify information gaps and anticipate future scientific needs.
  • Experience and success with grant writing for local, state, federal government and private funding and other forms of program development.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to work closely and collaboratively with a multi-disciplinary team and to communicate effectively with a broad range of managers and stakeholders.
  • A team player attitude, a commitment to excellence, and interest and abilities in mentoring entry and mid-level scientists.

Primary Duties

The Lead Scientist is the overall science manager for the San Francisco Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project and will perform the following functions.

  • Generate local, national and international interest, and local, federal, and regional investment in the Project.
  • Ensure Project efforts are credible, legitimate, and relevant.
  • Encourage the best scientists available to work on issues of interest to the Project.
  • Oversee applied studies conducted for the Project to help adaptively manage the restoration actions.
  • Synthesize and interpret scientific studies conducted for the project and beyond the project to help inform the adaptive management process
  • Speak at conferences and run science workshops and symposiums for the project.
  • Identify and foster funding opportunities to support the Project. This will be accomplished in collaboration with the Project Management Team (PMT) that is composed of State Reserve and Federal Refuge Managers, the Coastal Conservancy, and other regulatory and land management agency managers.

About SFEI

SFEI Mission: We deliver visionary science that empowers people to revitalize nature in our communities.

San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which has a 27-year track record of serving local, state, and federal agencies by developing and translating science to measurably improve the health and resiliency of Bay-Delta ecosystems. SFEI is a boundary organization at the interface between science and policy, recognized nationally for our ability to build consensus to support effective environmental decision-making and policy. Over the next five years, SFEI will be implementing our Strategic Plan that will focus on advancing visionary science, harnessing innovative technology and big data, and communicating science to inform, inspire, and empower stakeholders in an effort to fulfill our vision and mission for the Bay-Delta and beyond.

SFEI has 70 staff who represent numerous scientific and technological fields including chemistry, modeling, ecology, wildlife biology, landscape planning, historical ecology, geomorphology, geospatial modeling and analysis, and web development. We are seeking a talented scientist to join a dynamic, supportive, team-oriented work culture that is driven by our vision and mission. We have many long-tenured staff who have built and expanded the foundation of the organization and are looking for a key person to grow with us.

SFEI has three major programs: Clean Water, Environmental Informatics, and Resilient Landscapes.  These programs have multiple focus areas including the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay, the Nutrient Management Strategy, contaminants of emerging concern, the Regional Data Center, aerial drone research, geomorphology, multi-benefit urban greening and design, ecosystem restoration and climate adaptation, urban biodiversity and resilience, and green stormwater infrastructure.

Application Information

SFEI is committed to building a culturally diverse staff, and we strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, and other groups commonly under-represented in environmental science.

San Francisco Estuary Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any kind. We are committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity, and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment.  All employment decisions are based on business needs, job requirements, and individual qualifications.  Qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, including sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental disability, family or parental status, protected Veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.

If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you have the right to request an accommodation if you are unable or limited in your ability to use or access our career center as a result of your disability. To request an accommodation, contact Linda Russio at 510-746-7355 or

Please note that SFEI cannot sponsor an employment visa (e.g., H-1B) to fill this position.

Do not use any third-party web sites to apply for the position. No phone calls please.


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