Associate Environmental Scientist

San Francisco Estuary Institute

San Francisco Estuary Institute

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2024

Associate Environmental Scientist

  • Location: Richmond, California

  • Program: Clean Water

  • Type: Full-time

  • Experience Level: Mid level

  • Position Type: Permanent

  • Salary: $80,000-$87,750 See details below.

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

Position Description

  • Posted: April 24, 2024

  • First review of applications: May 15, 2024

  • Application closing date: Position open until filled

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) seeks an Associate Environmental Scientist 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;, 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, and coupled hydrodynamic-biogeochemical modeling.

This is a full-time position for a candidate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a pertinent scientific field and work experience (two years for Master’s, four years for Bachelor’s) in water quality, estuarine ecosystems, or a related area. The Associate Environmental Scientist must be able to: (1) oversee the NMS network of moored sensors, (2) coordinate logistics, oversee staff, and carry out field work in an estuarine environment; (3) collect, review and synthesize scientific data and information from various sources; and (4) communicate findings effectively in presentations, reports, memoranda, and scientific journals.

Primary position responsibilities will include:

  • Managing a distributed network of water quality sensors in South San Francisco Bay, including scheduling/training staff conducting field work, coordinating with external collaborators, and tracking budgets and tasks.

  • Coordinating, preparing for, and carrying out field work on a boat in varying weather conditions.

  • Overseeing maintenance and calibration of water quality instruments in the lab and troubleshooting issues as needed.

  • Tracking, compiling, and organizing field and laboratory data and information from studies within and outside of SFEI.

  • Conducting verification/validation (QA/QC), analysis and synthesis of data collected by the NMS.

  • Assisting with writing technical reports, journal articles, memoranda, and internal reports.

  • Assisting in the development of posters and presentations for public meetings and scientific conferences.

  • Participating in meetings among stakeholders, regulators, and permittees.

  • Occasionally lifting or carrying heavy field equipment for short durations.

If you are excited about this role, but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be just the right candidate for this or one of our other roles.


Required Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree plus at least 4 years of experience or Master’s degree plus at least 2 years of experience. Relevant fields include environmental science, environmental engineering, ecology, oceanography, or another related scientific field.

Required Skills

  • Familiarity with environmental chemistry or environmental science, particularly field work, data analysis, and report writing.

  • Experience with project management, ability to coordinate field and lab logistics, strong organizational skills and attention to detail.

  • Ability to lead or contribute to aspects of boat or ship based field work in an estuarine environment. Please note this position will not be expected to captain/operate any vessels.

  • Excellent communication, presentation and writing skills, and ability to synthesize information.

  • Ability to work well in teams as well work independently with general direction from senior scientific staff.

  • Ability to work and maneuver on boats on open water and lift and carry field equipment (up to 50 pounds) for short distances

  • Ability to work long field days (up to 12 hours/day)

  • Valid US Driver’s License.

Preferred Skills

  • Experience calibrating and deploying water quality sensors.

  • Experience troubleshooting scientific instrument issues in the field or lab.

  • Experience with telemetering data.

  • Programming skills (e.g. R, Python) or experience with data analysis would be considered an asset.

  • Experience with or ability to manage junior staff and volunteers.

Salary & Benefits Highlights:

  • This will be an Associate Environmental Scientist position. The anticipated full time salary range is $80,000-$87,750 for this position (Bay Area salary ranges are listed; note that salary ranges for other locations are 10-15% lower depending on location). Salary ranges take into account many factors for making compensation decisions including but not limited to experience, education, internal equity, and organizational needs. We generally do not offer starting salaries at or near the top of the range.

  • Matching contributions to retirement plan (immediate vesting) (403B)

  • Medical Insurance: health, vision, dental with employer and employee contributions

  • 12 paid holidays

  • Vacation days starting at 3 weeks

  • Hybrid workplace: this role involves working 2-3 long field days per month (fully remote applicants will not be considered)

About Clean Water

SFEI’s Clean Water Program is one of the nation’s premier water quality science programs. It anticipates and meets the water quality data needs of policy-makers, resource managers, and the public. It helps the public, regulators, and those who discharge into our waters create more effective policies to ensure the health of the Bay and surrounding areas. The Clean Water Program consists of several programs and initiatives including the San Francisco Bay Nutrient Management Strategy. SFEI is the scientific lead for this program, which seeks to address the most complex and costly issue confronting the wastewater treatment community since the Clean Water Act mandated secondary treatment 40 years ago.

About SFEI

San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which has a 25-year track record of providing robust and innovative science to decision-makers, policy-makers, practitioners, and community members to measurably improve the health and resiliency of Bay-Delta ecosystems. As a boundary organization, SFEI operates at the interface between science and policy, recognized nationally for our ability to build consensus to support effective environmental decision-making and policy. Our mission is to deliver visionary science that empowers people to revitalize nature in our communities.

SFEI employs an interdisciplinary staff of more than 70. Our operations and IT staff are the backbone of our organization and keep everything running smoothly. SFEI has three major programs: Clean Water, Environmental Informatics, and Resilient Landscapes. Our program staff represent numerous scientific and technological fields, including chemistry, modeling, ecology, wildlife biology, landscape planning, historical ecology, geomorphology, geospatial analysis, and web development.

For more information on our mission, values, programs, and staff, visit the San Francisco Estuary Institute website.

Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Employer

At SFEI, we celebrate the diversity of our staff and the places we serve, and recognize the value and strength of diversity. We are committed to growing together and creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. In 2022, SFEI developed and adopted mission and vision statements for DEIJ within and beyond our organization. We also created an action plan which is currently underway. We strongly encourage applications from women-identified people, people of color, and people with other identities commonly under-represented in environmental science. We invite you to share what you like about your professional experience as well as about yourself personally.

San Francisco Estuary Institute is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We are committed to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. 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.

Accommodations Statement

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