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Ecological Support Specialist (Environmental Specialist 5)

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Keeping Washington Clean and Evergreen



The Water Resources (WR) program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill an Ecological Support Specialist (Environmental Specialist 5) position. This position can be located in any one of the following offices.

Headquarters Office in Lacey, WA.
Northwest Region Office (NWRO) in Shoreline, WA.
Central Region Office (CRO) in Union Gap, WA.
Eastern Region Office (ERO) in Spokane, WA.

Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station.

Please Note: If the final location of this position is determined to be in our Northwest Region Office (NWRO) in Shoreline, WA. there will be an additional 5% pay increase due to its location in King County. In this instance the salary range will be $6,195 - $8,328 per month.

In this position you will provide expert Ecological support to other departments within Ecology as part of the Operations and Technical Support (OATS) team including evaluation of hydrological and climatological models, and review of fish habitat plans. After evaluation, you will make recommendations that will be used to complete hydropower licensing and grant awards to ensure positive environmental impacts. Additionally, this position serves as the program’s primary point of contact for projects related to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Hydropower licensing/relicensing.

In addition to the technical knowledge needed for this position, the soft skills of facilitation, communication, and cooperation will be vital to your success in this role, as you will be directly involved in discussions between parties with diverse needs to achieve best possible outcomes.

Agency Mission: Ecology's mission is to protect, preserve and enhance the environment for current and future generations.

Program Mission: The mission of the Water Resources Program is to is to support sustainable water resources management to meet the present and future water needs of people and the natural environment, in partnership with Washington communities.

The Operations and Technical Support Unit exists to help the various sections of the Water Resources Program and the Department of Ecology achieve their missions. We are a diverse group of experts that are called upon to provide timely, relevant, logical, and scientifically based answers to the challenges of a changing world. This is accomplished through the interpretation of data, review of business practices, and evaluation of how we can best provide for the needs of the citizens of Washington.

Tele-work options for this position: This position will be eligible for up to a 90% tele-work schedule. Occasional travel and in-person meetings will be required. Applicants with questions about position location options, tele-work, and flexible or compressed schedules are encouraged to reach out to the contact person listed below in “other information.” Schedules are dependent upon position needs and are subject to change.

Application Timeline: This position will remain open until filled, we will review applications on October 09, 2023. In order to be considered, please submit an application on or before October 08, 2023. If your application isn't received by this date, it may not be considered. The agency reserves the right to make a Hire any time after the initial screening date.

Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver,  Long Term Disability & Life Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP),  Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader), Combined Fund Drive, SmartHealth *Click here for more information 


About the Department of Ecology

Protecting Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. Join a team that is highly effective and collaborative, with leadership that embraces the value of people. To learn more, check out our Strategic Plan


Ecology cares deeply about employee wellness; we go beyond traditional benefits, proudly offering:


  • A healthy life/work balance by offering flexible schedules and telework options for most positions.
  • An Infants at Work Program that is based on the long-term health values of infant-parent bonding and breastfeeding newborns.
  • Continuous growth and development opportunities.
  • Opportunities to serve your community and make an impact through meaningful work.


Our commitment to DEIR
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) are core values central to Ecology’s work. We strive to be a workplace where we are esteemed for sharing our authentic identities, while advancing our individual professional goals and collaborating to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations.


Diversity: We celebrate and appreciate diversity; our unique perspectives and abilities enrich us all and lead to innovative approaches and solutions.

Equity: We champion equity, recognizing that each of us need different things to thrive.

Inclusion: We intentionally create and hold space so that we all have meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute to Ecology’s work.

Respect: We treat each other with respect and dignity, acknowledging the inherent worth of our diverse perspectives and lived experiences, even in times of uncertainty and disagreement.

We believe that DEIR is both a goal and an action. We are on a journey, honoring our shared humanity and taking steps to demonstrate our commitment to a vision where each of us is heard, seen, and valued. 






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What makes this role unique?

In this role, you will apply your knowledge of fish habitats and Washington Water Law to projects which could involve multiple stakeholders and Tribes. While listening to the needs of these parties you will be responsible for providing scientifically based, expert recommendations to help achieve outcomes that incorporate everyone’s needs, adhere to all laws, and protect the environment.

What you will do:


  • Manage the Program’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licensing and relicensing activities, including representing the Water Resources Program on adaptive management committees, and by performing technical review of project proponents’ proposals, and analyses.
  • Use expert knowledge to help stakeholders and Tribes go beyond compromises and reach best possible outcomes when participating in licensing negotiations.
  • Apply diplomacy and acute awareness of legal and political issues as the program’s representative in FERC licensing and relicensing processes.
  • Provide technical matter expert review for project evaluation, as well as on guidance documents, forms, and other related materials to support Streamflow Restoration grant solicitations.
  • Work collaboratively within Ecology, and with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and other agencies to coordinate technical project reviews, including evaluations from previous grant rounds to ensure process effectiveness.
  • Support project managers by providing technical matter expert review and input for grant agreements and technical assistance during project development.
  • Support in evaluating the adequacy of mitigation proposals and Reports of Examination related to water right permitting.




Required Qualifications:
Years of required experience indicated below are full-time equivalent years. Full-time equivalent experience means that any experience where working hours were less than 40 hours per week will be prorated in order to meet the equivalency of full-time. We would calculate this by looking at the total hours worked per week, divide this by 40, and then multiply by the total number of months worked. Examples of the proration calculations are:


  • 30 hours worked per week for 20 months: (30/40) x 20 months = 15 months full-time equivalent
  • 20 hours worked per week for 12 months: (20/40) x 12 months = 6 months full-time equivalent

Experience for both required and desired qualifications can be gained through various combinations of formal professional employment, education, and volunteer experience. See below for how you may qualify.

A total of Ten (10) years of experience and/or education as described below:

Professional level Experience in: Environmental analysis or control or environmental planning.

Education: Involving a major study in environmental, physical, or one of the natural sciences, environmental planning or other allied field.

See chart below for a list of ways to qualify for this position:


Possible Combinations.

College credit hours or degree - as described above. 

Years of professional level experience - as described above. 

Combination 1

No college credit hours or degree

10 years of experience.

Combination 2

I have 30-59 semester or 45-89 quarter credits.

9 years of experience.

Combination 3

I have 60-89 semester or 90-134 quarter credits (AA degree).

8 years of experience.

Combination 4

I have 90-119 semester or 135-179 quarter credits.

7 years of experience.

Combination 5 

A Bachelor's Degree.

6 years of experience.

Combination 6 

A Master's Degree.

4 years of experience.

Combination 7     

A Ph.D. 

3 years of experience.


One year of experience as an Environmental Specialist 4, at the Department of Ecology.

Desired Qualifications:
We highly encourage you to apply even if you do not have some (or all) of the desired experience below.


  • Training and experience in fish health, fish habitat, fluvial process, and water availability issues.
  • Experience working with federal permitting.
  • Knowledge of data bases and computer models.
  • Ability to manage workload and meet performance goals.
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary team.
  • Superior communication skills.

Note: Having some (or all) of this desired experience may make your application more competitive in a highly competitive applicant pool.



Supplemental Information

Ecology seeks diverse applicants: We view diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect through a broad lens including race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, military background, language, education, life experience, physical disability, neurodiversity, and intersectional identities. Qualified candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Need an Accommodation in the application and/or screening process or this job announcement in an alternative format?


  • Please call: (360) 407-6186 or email: and we will be happy to assist.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can reach the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.
  • If you need assistance applying for this job, please e-mail Please do not send an email to this address to follow-up on the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile's main page.
  • If you are reading this announcement in print format, please enter the following URL to your search engine to apply:  

Application Instructions:

It's in the applicant's best interest to submit all of the documents listed below. Applications without these documents may be declined.


  • A cover letter describing why you are interested in this position.
  • A resume outlining your experience and education (if applicable) as it relates to the minimum qualifications of this position.
  • A list of three professional references.

Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.  
For Your Privacy:
When attaching documents to your application (such as Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, DD-214, etc.):


  • Please be sure to remove private information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc.
  • Do not attach documents that are password-protected, as these documents may not be reviewed and may cause errors within your application when downloaded.


Additional Application Instructions for Current Ecology Employees:

Please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources.

Application Attestation: 

The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed. 

Other Information:

If you have specific questions about the position, please email Jason Feltner at Please do not contact Jason to inquire about the status of your application.

To request the full position description: email


Why work for Ecology?

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.

Joining Ecology means becoming a part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington State's environment. A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping your health and financial security a priority. We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to life/work balance.

To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at and follow, like or visit us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or our blog.

Collective Bargaining: This is a position covered by a bargaining unit for which the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) is the exclusive representative.   


Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.

Note: This recruitment may be used to fill other positions of the same job classification across the agency. Once all the position(s) from the recruitment announcement are filled, the recruitment may only be used to fill additional open positions for the next sixty (60) days.