The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities dependent on viable fish and wildlife populations. Each day, WDFW employees facilitate fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities for millions of residents and visitors. WDFW’s employees–field and laboratory biologists, geneticists, research scientists, hatchery professionals, policy experts, fully commissioned law enforcement officers, land stewards, lab technicians, property acquisition specialists, customer service representatives and others work throughout the state. WDFW employees protect and restore critical habitat, strive to facilitate species recovery when necessary, and manage hundreds of fish and wildlife species. WDFW employees maintain nearly a million acres of public wildlife lands. They interpret, apply and enforce state and federal laws and collaborate with stakeholders to protect fish and wildlife resources. Find out more about us and the important work we are a part of at www.wdfw.wa.gov
This recruitment is to fill two (2) permanent, seasonal, full-time Scientific Technician 2 positions in the Fish Program, Science Division, Region 2. The duty station for this position located at the Methow Field Office, 20268 State Route 20, Twisp, WA. Duration of these positions will be eight (8) months, from March 1 to October 31, and March 16 to November 15 on an annual basis.
The main duty of these positions is to assist with operation and maintenance of two smolt traps in the Methow River basin. The data acquired from daily trapping activities and mark/recapture experiments are used as the basis for producing productivity estimates for ESA-listed steelhead and spring Chinook Salmon. Monitoring of PIT tag interrogation sites and participation in spawning ground surveys provide additional population metrics such as adult escapement, survival, run-timing, distribution, and population structure. The data we collect is disseminated within WDFW, and to other resource managers and researchers locally and regionally so that management decisions regarding these ESA-listed populations will be based on the best available science.
Operate rotary screw traps
Ensure proper operation of rotary screw traps including installation and maintenance. Collect juvenile salmonid abundance data for estimating basin-wide natural smolt production. Duties include proper species identification, conducting mark/recapture trials to estimate trap efficiency, participation in PIT tagging efforts, collecting biological information from target and non-target taxa, and entering information into established databases.
Spawning ground surveys
Tasks include: Assist other biologists with spawning ground surveys for spring Chinook Salmon. Surveys are usually conducted independently by walking uneven stream terrain in sometimes remote locations. This task includes sampling salmon carcasses to determine origin, sex, size, and age.
Operate in-stream PIT tag interrogation sites
Tasks include: Install, repair, and maintain in-stream PIT tag interrogation sites. Conduct site visits to remove debris and ensure that antennas are working properly. Repair or replace compromised equipment when necessary.
Assist with other hatchery monitoring and evaluation activities
Tasks include: Assist other biologists with remote PIT tagging via hook and line angling, electro-fishing, seining, etc., collection and spawning of hatchery brood stock, and miscellaneous other duties as required.
The work schedule is typically 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30. During peak work periods, working nights, weekends, and holidays will be required. To ensure continuous trap operation, weekend work usually occurs at least once a month. Travel is required to field locations throughout the watershed to accomplish project duties. Occasional travel may be required to attend meetings, training, or gather supplies from distant locations. The incumbent will interact with supervisors and technicians within unit, as well as professionals from state, federal, county, tribal, and private organizations. There may also be frequent interactions with the public during portions of the year.
A variety of working conditions are experienced during smolt trapping activities. During peak workloads (March-June & October-December), night work, highly variable work schedule, overtime, and cold inclement weather can be expected. It is required that you can navigate a rope-guided boat across the river to access the smolt traps during periods of high water. Smolt traps are floating platforms that experience periods of instability and random movement, and can at times be very icy. There can be times of frequent noise exposure due to the operation of generators and water pumps. The sampling of fish requires the use of anesthesia chemicals (MS-222) as well as concentrated alcohol for sterilization and tissue preservation. Lifting and carrying buckets full of water, sometimes up and down ramps, is necessary. At times, these duties can be very mentally and physically demanding, particularly in the spring during periods of high fish abundance and high river discharge.
Spawning Ground Surveys:
Spawning ground surveys are conducted for spring Chinook Salmon (August-September), and are often performed during periods of hot and dry conditions with prolonged exposure to sun. Most surveys are performed independently by walking uneven and slippery stream terrain for up to 6 miles/day commonly in remote locations. Navigating large and unstable log/debris dams may be necessary during some surveys. Sampling Chinook Salmon carcasses is expected and the use of sharp instruments such as knives and tweezers etc., is required.
Maintaining PIT Tag Interrogation Sites:
Work to maintain interrogation sites can vary from fixing electrical issues to using snorkeling techniques to replace underwater equipment. The replacement of antennas commonly requires the ability to carry large and heavy objects into and out of riverbed locations. A portion of the work will be performed in the water, occasionally requiring the use of snorkeling with drysuits. Travel to some sites may require snowshoes, skis, or the use of snowmobiles.
Other Sampling Tasks:
There will be work performed in a hatchery setting during brood stock collection and spawning activities. Some brood stock collection may be performed at Wells Dam, which requires the use of PPE such as long pants, close-toed footwear, and a hard hat, often during very hot and sunny conditions. Trapping activities at the dam and hatchery create the need for increased safety near exposed raceways and fish ladder facilities. Remote PIT tagging efforts will require proper and safe operation of electro-fishing equipment. Carrying a backpack weighing up to 40lbs while walking uneven and slippery river terrain is required. PIT tagging will be a significant portion of fish sampling duties requiring repetitious use of sharp needles, fishhooks, tweezers, etc.
Tools and Equipment
Basic hand and power tools, computers, GPS units, sampling equipment (CWT detectors, PIT tag readers, etc.). Safety equipment such as PFD’s, hearing protection, and hard hats, etc.
This position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish and Wildlife Professionals (WAFWP). As a condition of employment you must either join the union and pay union dues, or pay the union a representational or other fee within 30 days of the date you are put into pay status.
Graduation from high school or GED, including one year of high school science and two years of experience as a Scientific Technician 1. OR
Graduation from high school or GED including one year of high school science and two years of laboratory or field experience as an assistant to a biologist, chemist, or zoologist.
College course work involving major study in biology, zoology, fisheries, chemistry, natural sciences, or closely allied field will substitute, year for year, for experience, provided the course work includes at least six semester or nine quarter hours of natural science classes.
A Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, wildlife management, natural resource science, or environmental science. Working knowledge and experience identifying and collecting biological data from migratory Pacific salmonids as well as local non-target taxa.
At least three months of experience working with rotary smolt trapping programs. Experience conducting spawning ground surveys. Competency using Microsoft Excel, Word, and Access.
To apply for this position you MUST complete your profile at www.careers.wa.gov and attach the following to your profile before completing the online application:
A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications of this position (generic cover letter will not be accepted)
A current resume (please make it succinct)
Three professional references (personal references do not count as professional)
Answers to the supplemental questionnaire (below)
Please note: Failure to follow the above application instructions will lead to disqualification. E-mailed documents will not be accepted in lieu of attaching your documents to the online profile.
Upon submission of your online application, you will immediately receive a confirming e-mail. You will then be notified via e-mail of your status during the process. In addition to the e-mail notifications, you can check the status of your application at any time by visiting your online profile at www.careers.wa.gov. Due to the high volume of applications that we receive, we ask your understanding and encourage you to use the online process and avoid calling for information.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, and ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, persons over 40 years of age, disabled and Vietnam era veterans and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application process or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2276 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (360) 902-2207.