Program: Resilient Landscapes

Requisition No. RL-2022-01

Posted 4/14/2022


The San Francisco Estuary Institute is looking for a Senior Tidal Wetland Ecologist and an Ecologist or Physical Scientist


California is entering a transformative period as we start to adapt communities to climate change while maintaining and enhancing the state’s natural resources. The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) provides scientific support to communities, local government, and agencies to plan and implement resilient, ecologically-functional watersheds and shorelines. We make scientific information accessible for decision-makers by bringing watershed science; riparian, wetland, and estuarine ecology; geomorphology; sediment science; and landscape design to local and regional management and planning challenges. We write influential regional documents that inform stakeholders, such as the Adaptation Atlas, Sediment for Survival, and Delta Landscapes. We partner with local governments, community organizations, resource agencies, flood control districts, NGOs, wastewater districts, transportation agencies, land trusts, academic scientists, and others to develop strategies for nature-based adaptation with multiple benefits.


We are looking for several talented individuals to join our Resilient Landscapes Program to work on projects, primarily focused on the San Francisco Estuary, including the Delta, the Bay, and upstream watersheds. We are keen to expand our expertise in tidal/freshwater wetland ecology and biogeochemistry, estuarine and fluvial geomorphology, wetland monitoring (e.g., CRAM), historical ecology, GIS analysis, and technical writing.


The positions offer an opportunity to work with an outstanding multidisciplinary team of scientists on innovative nature-based projects that help improve the resiliency of communities and wildlife to land use change (both historical and ongoing) and various aspects of climate change. Work in this area is expanding rapidly, and we are looking for individuals who can start immediately.

We anticipate filling 4-5 positions with varying levels of experience: a senior tidal wetland ecologist and an ecologist or physical scientist (combined in 1 job announcement), and up to 3 early-career environmental scientists (combined in 1 job announcement); although the exact mix will depend on applicants. Brief descriptions for each position are listed below in italics, with additional details below for the job announcement; please use the application form for the position that most closely fits your background (senior tidal wetland ecologist / ecologist OR early-career environmental scientist).

  • Senior Tidal Wetland Ecologist: The selected candidate will be an expert tidal wetland ecologist (PhD + min 8 years of experience) with strong technical background and a demonstrated ability to lead complex scientific projects and communicate findings to scientific and non-scientific audiences. The position consists of 2 main responsibilities – performing the lead scientist duties for the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) and contributing to shoreline adaptation planning and working on Delta wetland and landscape planning projects.

  • Ecologist or Physical Scientist: The selected candidate will work on and manage applied science projects related to planning adaptation strategies at the landscape and project level, and implementing nature-based solutions including wetland restoration. We anticipate that this position would be set up as a postdoc opportunity for a recent PhD graduate.

  • Early-career Environmental Scientist: The selected candidates will work on applied science projects related to tidal/freshwater wetland ecology (including CRAM), wetland/river/riparian restoration, geomorphology, and/or historical ecology. Candidates will have expertise or experience in GIS analysis and writing.


Senior Tidal Wetland Ecologist Position Description

  • The position consists of 2 main responsibilities: 1) performing lead scientist duties for the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP), and 2) contributing to shoreline adaptation planning and Delta wetland projects.

    • The WRMP role will include coordinating with the WRMP staff, serving as the co-chair of the WRMP TAC to implement the WRMP Science Framework and prioritize monitoring indicators included in the Master Matrix, making decisions related to the monitoring site network, managing technical workgroups, leading collaborative meetings, and managing budgets and work plans for consulting scientists.

    • Shoreline adaptation planning and Delta wetland project responsibilities will include developing adaptation strategies that incorporate nature-based solutions, contributing to studies on cross-sector adaptation, advancing landscape-scale planning that promotes healthy estuarine and urban ecosystems, and advancing multi-benefit projects in complex social and ecological systems. 

  • Years of Experience: PhD with minimum 8 years of experience or Masters with minimum 12 years of experience.

  • Location: Bay Area location preferred due to regional meetings, but willing to consider transition time from elsewhere.

  • Duration: permanent

  • Pay: This will be a Senior Scientist position with an anticipated minimum salary of $105,000/year. Pay and job title will be commensurate with experience.


Ecologist or Physical Scientist Position Description 

  • The position consists of working on and managing applied science projects in San Francisco Bay and the Delta regions focused on helping develop nature-based solutions for multi-benefit landscape management under a changing climate. The work includes leading focused scientific investigations and providing science support for watershed management efforts, tidal wetland restoration projects, and community-level adaptation planning along the Bay shoreline. This requires working closely with multiple project partners and stakeholders to arrive at resilient management measures that support both people and wildlife. 

  • Years of Experience: PhD with minimum 2 years of experience, MS with minimum 9 years of experience.

  • Location: Bay Area location preferred, but willing to consider remote location.

  • Duration: Position may be permanent or lasting 1 year, with the possibility of becoming a permanent position.

  • Pay: This will be an Environmental Scientist position with an anticipated minimum salary of $84,000/year. Pay and job title will be commensurate with experience.


General Qualifications for Both Positions

We seek highly creative and technically-strong candidates with expertise in the ecology of tidal wetland ecosystems (or related fields) and knowledge of San Francisco Bay. We are also interested in project management experience. Specific qualifications include:


  • Strong scientific/technical background and quantitative skills.

  • Desired areas of expertise include familiarity with the San Francisco estuary and its tidal wetland ecosystems, landscape-scale conservation and restoration, nature-based adaptation, ecosystem service quantification, and California wetland restoration science. 

  • Ability to lead large projects, including collaborating with scientific partners, and overseeing staff, budgets, schedules, and deliverables.

  • Experience in community-based planning and approaches to facilitate discussion on shoreline adaptation planning.

  • Excellent communication skills; demonstrated ability to communicate findings clearly in writing and presentations and synthesize scientific information for general and technical audiences.

  • Ability to develop and maintain excellent working relationships with diverse groups of external partners and stakeholders.

  • Experience presenting at professional or academic conferences and to stakeholder groups.


About the Resilient Landscapes Program

SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes Program develops innovative ecosystem restoration and management strategies to re-establish and sustain essential ecosystem functions and services. These strategies are helping integrate natural and human infrastructure to create systems that are more adaptive to climate change and other stressors. We are an interdisciplinary program of approximately 30 scientists (geomorphologists, hydrologists, ecologists), landscape architects, and GIS specialists – we work closely together and collaborate with staff in SFEI's other programs: Clean Water and Environmental Informatics.


About SFEI

SFEI’s mission is to deliver visionary science that empowers people to revitalize nature in our communities. We provide independent science to assess and improve the health of the waters, wetlands, and wildlife, in rural and urban landscapes of the San Francisco Bay, the Delta, and beyond. 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. Our 70 or so scientists and experts deliver data, technology, and tools that empower government, civic, and business leaders to create cost-effective solutions for complex environmental issues – from cleaner water and sustainable communities to climate change.  


In addition to our science mission, SFEI also commits to a mission for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ): to more deeply integrate DEIJ principles into our internal policies and culture, as well as to build and implement a long-term strategy for forging authentic partnerships with diverse organizations and communities, with a particular focus on historically underserved communities. We celebrate the diversity of our staff and the places we serve, and believe that diversity is a strength – as such, we are committed to growing together and creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. We highly encourage applications from candidates from under-represented groups in environmental science, including candidates with disabilities and/or candidates who identify as women, people of color, LGBTQ+, or other under-represented identities.


For more information on our mission, values, programs, and staff, visit the SFEI website www.sfei.org.   


Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Employer


SFEI is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We are committed the principle of equal employment opportunity, and 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.


Application Information

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 our career center as a result of your disability. To request an accommodation, please contact us at 510-746-7355 or admin@sfei.org.


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


SFEI staff are currently working remotely. We are planning to return to a hybrid workplace sometime in mid 2022. In order to protect the health and safety of our staff, SFEI now requires employees who work in the office or in the field to provide proof of full vaccination for COVID-19 or receive a medical or religious exemption.


Please do not use any 3rd party websites to apply for the position. Please do not contact us directly via email or phone.

This position has been filled. Would you like to see our other open positions?