Program: Resilient Landscapes

Requisition No. RL-2022-03 (TriNet No. 9)

Posted: 7/26/2022

Application review: starting 8/12/2022

The San Francisco Estuary Institute is looking for an Urban Ecologist, Managing Senior 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 nature-based solutions. We make scientific information accessible for decision-makers by bringing ecology, watershed science, shoreline science, landscape design, and policy to local and regional management and planning challenges. We write influential guidance documents such as recent papers on the role of cities in regional ecosystems and the relationship between nature access and Covid rates, and synthesize urban ecology science into practical planning guidance such as the popular Making Nature’s City report.  We partner with local governments, community organizations, resource agencies, flood control districts, NGOs, private corporations, wastewater districts, transportation agencies, land trusts, academic scientists, and others to develop strategies for nature-based adaptation with multiple benefits.

We are looking for a talented individual to join our Resilient Landscapes (RL) Program Urban Nature Lab (UNL) to lead the team of approximately 12 technical staff and provide senior support. The position offers an opportunity to work with an outstanding multidisciplinary team of scientists, landscape architects, planners, and designers on innovative projects that help improve the resiliency of communities and wildlife to land use change (both historical and ongoing) and climate change. Work in this area is expanding rapidly, and we are looking for individuals who can start immediately.

Position Description

  • The position consists of two main roles: (1) performing leadership duties for UNL, and (2) contributing at a senior scientist level to urban ecology projects.

    • The Urban Nature Lab leadership role will include the following:

      • Managing UNL (with input from RL Managing Directors and other UNL senior staff), including coordinating workflow, staffing, etc. 

      • Fundraising for UNL, including identifying grant opportunities and preparing applications, networking with potential partners, etc.

      • Guiding the science vision for UNL, in collaboration with RL Managing Directors and other UNL staff, representing the joint vision of the full program and team 

      • Supervising staff

    • The senior scientist role will include the following:

      • Serving as a senior advisor to staff

      • Providing guidance to project managers 

      • Reviewing deliverables prior to submission

      • Providing support for complex scientific projects and communication of findings to scientific and non-scientific audiences

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

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

  • Duration: permanent

  • Pay: This will be a Senior Scientist or Managing Senior Scientist position. The anticipated minimum salary is $106,000/year for a Senior Scientist or $120,000/year for a Managing Senior Scientist. Pay and job title will be commensurate with experience.


We seek highly creative and technically strong candidates with a balance of expertise in urban ecology and team and project management. Specific qualifications include:

  • Strong scientific/technical urban ecology and planning skills and applied science skills.

  • Excellent collaborative team leadership and management skills.

  • Ability to identify and secure necessary funding for the Urban Nature Lab.

  • Desired areas of expertise include urban ecology, restoration ecology, landscape-scale conservation and restoration, nature-based adaptation, ecosystem service quantification, the intersection between nature access and human health, human dimensions in ecology and conservation, and/or community engagement. Knowledge of California ecosystems, plants, and biodiversity is a plus. 

  • Ability to lead and manage complex projects, including collaborating with scientific partners, providing guidance and mentorship to staff, and overseeing budgets, schedules, and deliverables. 

  • Experience in community-based planning and approaches to facilitate discussion on urban ecology.

  • 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 Urban Nature Lab

The Urban Nature Lab, currently a team of approximately 12 staff, uses the quantitative science of nature in cities to guide innovative, ecologically-based urban planning and design. The Lab responds to the growing interest among planners, designers, policy-makers, and the public in gaining the diverse benefits nature can provide to urban communities, and the need for science-based design tools that draw from interdisciplinary research on cities. To create actionable guidance that makes the best available science available to those who need it, our work bridges many topical areas, including: 

  • California ecosystem restoration 

  • Landscape-scale conservation and restoration

  • Landscape change and historical ecology

  • Landscape architecture

  • Urban planning

  • Ecology 

  • Ecosystem services (e.g., heat island effect reduction, human health benefits)

  • Human health links to nature access and connection 

  • Addressing inequity and seeking guidance from stakeholder communities in urban greening and adaptation planning

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   

Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Employer

SFEI is proud to be an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. We are committed to 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, 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 application as a result of your disability. To request an accommodation, please contact us at 510-746-7355 or

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 fall 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.

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