Salary: $5,088.00 – $6,838.00 Monthly
Location: Whatcom County – Bellingham, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent
Closing Date: 9/14/2023 11:59 PM Pacific

As a senior biologist, this position independently plans, develops, designs, and directs annual anadromous stock assessment surveys throughout the Nooksack and Samish watersheds, and interprets data from the surveys to estimate or predict stock abundance using statistical methods. Produce reports and engage in regular coordination and communication with WDFW staff, resource comanagers, County and Federal officials, and public stakeholders.

With your experience, you will act as agency expert on Nooksack and Samish salmon, steelhead, and other species issues under the direction of the District Biologist.

You thrive on building collaboration and teamwork, meeting with comanaging tribal biologists to review and analyze reports and findings, and address questions in order to come to agreement on finalization of annual abundance reports.

We are seeking a candidate to serve as representative of the district biologist to attend meetings and field inquiries on fish related issues.


Independently plan, develop, design, direct, and implement salmonid biological assessments and studies in the Nooksack River Basin and Puget Sound Independent Tributaries throughout WRIA 1, WRIA 3, and at times WRIA 2: 

  • District specialist for fish stock and habitat assessment. As a senior biologist, without supervision independently plan, develop, design, direct, and participate in fish stock assessments, considering budgets, crew availability (number of WDFW staff and at times tribal staff), survey reach length, current environmental conditions, weather forecasts, daylight hours, available equipment, priority of work, and landowner relations.
  • Hire, train, and supervise temporary and permanent staff as necessary to complete fish stock assessment needs.
  • Develop, and design spreadsheets and databases to maintain collected data, and train and direct subordinates on data entry and proofing of collected data.
  • After spawning has concluded use collected data to calculate or use statistical analysis to estimate abundance of anadromous stocks that escaped to the spawning grounds and interpret observed changes in abundance from previous years and draft reports on the findings.
  • Organize and assess in-season data to estimate a general abundance trend before spawning periods have concluded. This task is performed on an as needed basis when directed by the district biologist.
  • Review and interpret estimates and generate reports of results.

Agency Nooksack and Samish (including independent tributaries) salmon, steelhead, and other fish species, expert: 

  • Provide information including but not limited to population characteristics, life history, habitat selection, migration, foraging, and spawn timing.
  • Design and implement population assessment studies.
  • Fulfill reporting requirements for salmon, steelhead, bull trout and other fish species.

Agency Nooksack area bull trout expert:

  • Act as agency expert on Nooksack bull trout fish issues.
  • Provide information including but not limited to population characteristics, life history, habitat selection, migration, foraging, and spawn timing.
  • Design and implement population assessment studies.
  • Fulfill reporting requirements for Nooksack bull trout.


  • Work Setting, including hazards:
    • All weather conditions, from dry and hot to extreme cold and snow. Hiking long distances over very difficult terrain both in and out of moving water while carrying up to 25 lbs of gear (up to 12 miles daily). Hazards include strains, sprains, breaks, scratches, lacerations, infections, animal encounters and drowning.
    • Individual must be proficient and comfortable rafting in up to class 3 whitewater.
    • Must be able to drive extended periods to remote field sites or withstand periods of gridlock while navigating city environments Office work may consist of long sedentary periods and eye strain from computer screens.
    • Must be able to negotiate water in emergency situations.
  • Schedule:
    • Generally, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Night, weekend, holiday, and extended workday periods are required at times.
    • Support District Biologist and regional staff during North of Falcon (NOF) by rapidly completing data requests on demand which may result in excess of 8 hours per day of computer work.  Due to the time constraints of NOF, facilitating this duty may require the incumbent to be on-call as directed, working in excess of 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
    • Must be able to work highly unpredictable and irregular schedules at times to prosecute monitoring fisheries. For example, be available by phone to staff from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM to handle emerging situations and act as check-in at the end of the day.
    • Must be able to drive to the work site if the situation warrants it.
  • Travel Requirements:
    • Includes overnight stays in hotels with air or surface travel for meetings and camping for extended field work.
  • Tools and Equipment:
    • Up to 1 hour daily in chest waders.
    • Safely use an axe, handsaw, or combination as necessary to clear trees that have fallen across forest roads that block ingress or egress.
  • Customer Interactions:
    • Regular interaction with other WDFW and State biologists and researchers as well as tribal administration, biologists, and staff; County and Federal biologists and staff; and public utility staff and biologists.
    • Frequently interact with the public at large and will be expected to remain calm and professional during tense and combative interactions with passionate opinionated resource users.


  • Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, wildlife management, natural resource science, environmental science, or closely related field.


  • Three (3) or more years of professional (paid) experience in fish management and/or fish stock assessment.


  • Valid driver’s license.


  • Minimum of three (3) or more years of experience rowing catarafts (pontoon boats) rafts, or drift boats in streams and rivers in Class 3 whitewater.
  • Three (3) or more years of experience directly supervising and directing subordinate staff.


  • Identify all life stages of Pacific salmonids to species.
  • Comfortable working alone or with a partner in remote and isolated environments in all weather conditions and in swift moving water for periods up to 14 hours.
  • Create Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts, formulas and spreadsheets, and perform statistical analyses in Microsoft Excel.
  • Create, review, and edit documents in Microsoft Word.
  • Work in an office for extended periods of time (e.g. 8+ hours per day, five days per week).
  • Locate, handle, and sample salmonid carcasses regardless of severity of state of decay.

Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment:

  • Will be required to perform low level flight duties in fixed wing or helicopter aircraft for redd surveys or other assessment activities. Requires completion of both “basic flight” and “water ditching and survival” training before working aboard small aircraft.
  • Successful completion of agency training and/or certification for assigned watercraft dependent on supervisory direction, position need and training availability.


  • Five (5) or more years of professional experience in fish management or research preferred.
  • Ability to interact and maintain professionalism with colleagues, peers, and the public regardless of intensity of interaction.
  • Three or more years assessing bull trout populations is preferred.
  • Proficiency in hook and line angling for river salmonids preferred.
  • Proficient in R.
  • Proficient in GIS software applications.
  • Must be able to effectively report and/or present results and resource information in writing or verbally.

Application Information

In order to successfully apply for this position, you MUST complete your profile at and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:

  • A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications of this position (Generic cover letter will not be accepted).
  • A current resume. 
  • Three professional references. 

For more information and to apply:

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