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Senior Fishery Scientist – Habitat/Watershed Program Leader

Closing Date: March 16, 2018

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission assists its four governing tribes (Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce) with their management of their treaty fishing rights. A key to ensuring our member tribes have a sustainable fishery is the ability to collect and assess information on the status of anadromous and resident fish populations and their habitats within the diverse watersheds of the Columbia Basin. The position offered is a Program Leader role within the Fishery Science Department’s Habitat/Watershed Science Group.

The Senior Fishery Scientist – Habitat/Watershed Program Leader oversees a team of scientists, biologists, and technicians developing tools and methods to monitor aquatic ecosystem recovery. In this capacity, the incumbent will develop and lead research projects evaluating threats and factors limiting salmonid populations, such as impairment to habitat quantity/quality, land use, climate change and other anthropogenic factors. It is expected the incumbent will develop new and innovative restoration actions/methods that can be implemented at a variety of spatial scales. The incumbent will participate in regional planning processes that provide guidance for recovery and restoration actions, as well as project funding and evaluation. The incumbent must maintain a proven publication record and possess exceptional leadership, problem solving, quantitative, and communication skills. The incumbent acts as a key technical advisor on habitat/watershed issues to the Commission and member tribes. The incumbent and their team will occasionally be asked to provide technical support for administrative and legal challenges to existing or proposed actions impacting aquatic ecosystems and/or other assignments delegated by the Fishery Science Department Manager.

Position Details

  • Department: Fisheries Science
  • Classification: Regular, Full time, (Exempt)
  • Salary/Wage Range: $85,794-$111,530 (Equivalent to CRITFC Grade 13, steps 1-10)
  • Location: Portland, OR

Essential Job Functions

  • Lead Habitat/Watershed Science activities in the Fishery Science Department by developing strategic directions for ecosystem research and restoration efforts in the Columbia River Basin.
  • Coordinate project proposal development and facilitating habitat project operations consistent with the Columbia River Anadromous Fish Restoration Plan of the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama tribes (Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit “Spirit of the Salmon”) and in consultation with member tribes. This includes initiating projects by preparing proposals, statements of work, and budgets.
  • Complete research deliverables for the “Monitoring and Recovery Trends in Key Spring Chinook Habitat Variables and Validation of Population Viability Indicators” Accords Project.
  • Participate in appropriate interagency and regional work groups to advance the science, understanding, and implementation of ecosystem preservation and restoration actions.
  • Participate in regional project solicitation, selection, evaluation, and review processes.
  • Implement and manage projects by developing work schedules, supervising staff, coordinating with tribes and other agencies, and collecting data.
  • Disseminate and present research findings at professional meetings, publications in peer-reviewed journals and other technical publications.
  • Coordinate at a variety of levels from local landowners, watershed councils, tribes, states, and federal officials.
  • Provide technical support to tribal staff and Commission on fish habitat, fish ecology, or stream/river ecology to ensure integrity of scientific principles consistent with the “Spirit of the Salmon” Restoration Plan:
    • Review tribal proposals for habitat or watershed restoration for consistency with hydrological/ecological principles with the “Spirit of the Salmon” Restoration Plan.
    • Provide informal training on land use/water quality/fish habitat interactions and aquatic ecology to tribal staff dealing with fish habitat protection and restoration.
    • Prepare expert testimony and scientific analysis for Commissioners; present this testimony personally in legal proceedings; convey information and interpretation of technical habitat issues to appropriate forums; prepare affidavits as schedules permit addressing ecosystem issues central to the “Spirit of the Salmon” Restoration Plan. Create databases, analyses, or graphic illustrations of habitat issues that link to salmon, sturgeon, and lamprey production. Develop innovative solutions to restoring and evaluating aquatic habitat and clearly present these ideas to policy makers.

Job Requirements/Qualifications

  • A Ph.D. in fisheries, biology, aquatic ecology, or a closely related field. A M.S. degree plus a minimum of 5 years relevant experience may be substituted for the Ph.D. requirement;
  • Extensive field experience in monitoring ecosystem health and changing habitat conditions;
  • Ability to supervise technical teams at all skill levels and communicate effectively with other CRITFC staff/tribal staff, consultants, federal/state staff, and landowners;
  • Superior written and oral communication skills including a demonstrable publication record;
  • Proficiency using computer programs necessary to perform the core responsibilities of the position. These include, but are not limited to: word processing, spreadsheets, databases, various statistical packages (e.g. SAS, R), and GIS software.
  • Familiarity with tribal restoration plans and objectives;
  • Thorough knowledge of aquatic habitat evaluation and monitoring techniques, which includes Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP), Action Effectiveness Monitoring Program (AEM), Aquatic Inventories Program (AIP);
  • Familiarity with techniques to evaluate biotic (snorkeling benthic and drift sampling) and abiotic habitat factors (flow, temperature, substrate) including remote sensing applications;
  • Competency with statistical modeling that includes, but is not limited to general linear modeling (e.g., multiple linear regression, ANOVA, logistic regression), multivariate modeling (e.g. cluster analysis, principle components analysis, multidimensional scaling), structural equation modeling, spatial statistical modeling, and familiarity with life cycle modeling;
  • Valid driver’s license.


This position reports directly to the Manager of the Fishery Science Department. The incumbent will act as the primary supervisor for up to 4 full-time staff, and occasional seasonal technicians, interns, biologists, or fishery scientists. Incumbent will be responsible for coordinating team schedules, work assignments, performance management, time-sheet approval, and annual evaluations.

Working Conditions

Most of the work is sedentary and performed in an office setting at the Columbia River Inter Tribal Fish Commission in Portland, OR. Work assignments are multiple and performed, at times, under severe time constraints. Occasional evening and weekend work may be necessary to meet deadlines. Ability to travel and perform field work is required. Occasional field hitches (e.g. La Grande, OR) lasting up to 8 days may be required. Employee may be exposed to inclement weather and uncomfortable work conditions during travel and fieldwork.

CRITFC Motor Vehicle Policy

The driver operating a CRITFC vehicle or their own private vehicle for business related purposes shall be in possession of a valid, unrestricted current driver’s license, or other operator’s license, as required by law; and be eligible for coverage under CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle insurance policy. Upon request, CRITFC’s Motor Vehicle policy is available to applicants to review the required criteria.

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