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Title: Associate Environmental Scientist
Program: Clean Water
Requisition No. CW-2021-03
Posted: 2021-09-10
Position Description:

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) seeks an associate environmental scientist or engineer to join an interdisciplinary team investigating nutrient biogeochemistry and ecosystem responses in San Francisco Bay. This work will be carried out in support of the San Francisco Bay Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS; see, a multi-year science program studying the impacts of nutrient loads to San Francisco Bay and evaluating potential management actions. Working with regional collaborators, we study the Bay’s biogeochemistry, water quality, and habitat condition using ship-based sampling, high-frequency in situ sensors, bivalves as biosentinels of algal toxins, and coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical modeling. 

The SFEI-NMS team is recruiting for two closely-related positions. In advertising the positions in parallel, our aim is to hire two outstanding individuals whose experience, skills, and scientific backgrounds will best augment and/or deepen the NMS’ capacity within its technical focus areas. The two positions differ primarily in level of experience, with flexibility in the specific technical expertise for each position. The other open position (please see here) requires a higher level of experience and/or education than specified below.

A major focus of both positions will be on the analysis and interpretation of large, rich datasets (e.g., multi-year high-frequency mooring datasets; multi-decade monitoring program data) to gain mechanistic insights into ecosystem dynamics and/or to characterize status and trends in water quality indicators. In addition, one or both of the positions (depending on areas of expertise and experience), will play a major role contributing to on-going and future field work, including managing and expanding the SFEI-NMS moored sensor program, targeted mechanistic field studies, and/or data management including QA/QC oversight and data visualization.

Desired Qualifications:
  • Master’s degree plus at least 2 years of experience or Bachelor’s degree plus at least 5 years of experience in environmental engineering, environmental science, oceanography, or another related scientific field. 
  • Strong quantitative background and data analysis skills using data analysis or statistical software (e.g., Python, R, Matlab).
  • Experience applying those skills to interpret large datasets (high-frequency and/or multi-decade monitoring data) related to water quality
  • Strong communication, presentation and writing skills, and ability to synthesize information.
  • Ability to work well in teams as well as work independently.

In addition, the candidate should have expertise or experience in some of the following areas:

  • Experience with oceanographic instrumentation (e.g. CTD, ADCP, etc.), including deployment planning, calibration, and maintenance.
  • Data visualization experience and skills.
  • Experience with data management, quality assurance, and post-processing. 
  • Understanding of marine/estuarine biogeochemistry, hydrodynamics, ecology, and/or chemistry.
  • Experience with technical project management, organizational skills, and ability to manage multiple projects at once and meet deadlines.
  • Strong meeting facilitation skills and/or experience presenting to/engaging with stakeholder groups.
  • Ability to contribute to, or lead, aspects of field work that may periodically involve working unusual hours (e.g., late nights, early mornings, and weekends), carrying field equipment, and working on boats.

Duties: Several exciting NMS projects are underway, covering a diverse range of topics, and the ideal candidate will have the skills to effectively lead data collection and synthesis projects. Typical duties may include:

  • Identify, compile, and organize field and laboratory data and information from studies within and outside of SFEI. 
  • Analyze datasets using statistical software and open source code (e.g., Python, R suite).
  • Synthesize data from multiple lines of evidence, including both observational and modeling studies, to address key nutrient management issues and develop recommendations for mitigating impacts
  • Write technical reports, journal articles, memoranda, and proposals.
  • Depending on experience and interest, lead various types of field work using standard and innovative techniques, including instrument calibration and maintenance. 
  • Lead projects involving internal staff and external partners.
  • Oversee and provide technical direction on verification/validation (QA/QC) of data and/or instrument calibration and maintenance (depending on skills/experience). 
  • Develop posters and presentations for stakeholder meetings, public meetings and scientific conferences.
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 25-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, 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 the application as a result of your disability you may request assistance. Please contact Linda Russio at 510-746-7355 or [email protected].
For more information on our mission, values, programs, and staff, visit the San Francisco Estuary Institute website.
Please note that SFEI cannot sponsor an employment visa (e.g., H-1B) to fill this position. 

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