Natural Resources Specialist Intermediate Ecological Services

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Location: Grand Rapids

Salary Range: $21.45 – $31.29/hourly; $44,788 – $65,334/annually

Job Summary

The Watershed Specialist will serve as part of a regional team to deliver technical expertise and assistance to protect or restore healthy watersheds in Minnesota.  This position is an integral part of a larger effort to systematically and effectively collect, disseminate, and convey advanced scientific information on a watershed basis within a comprehensive framework.  This position exists to apply principles in river ecology to watershed assessments in the northeast region, including assessment of hydrology, biology, connectivity, water quality, and geomorphology.  Analysis of existing GIS layers and valley morphology, drainage network, stream type, stream state or condition, and sediment transport are an integral part of the technical research conducted by this position. The incumbent will collaborate with the local governments, watershed groups and organizations, soil and water conservation district personnel, and other state and federal agencies to provide strategies and alternatives as part of an interagency effort to protect and restore healthy watersheds. The watershed specialist will serve to provide advanced technical assistance to regional staff involved in the overall CWL effort, preparing and implementing watershed assessment plans, including Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) studies and implementation and protection plans, so that DNR expertise to promote and enhance functional and healthy aquatic habitats is effectively delivered.

Job duties include:

  • Technical Assessments: Conduct, and evaluate investigations to provide advanced technical information and assistance to regional and local teams to address water quality impairments, restoration and protection measures, and facilitate effective DNR input so that comprehensive, ecologically-based studies assessing lake and river hydrology in the region are developed.
  • Technical Assistance: Enhance personal knowledge of the watershed-based science that supports healthy aquatic ecosystems and help educate DNR staff and other partner organizations about that science so that internal and external partners are knowledgeable and can actively participate in Clean Water Initiative efforts.
  • Coordination, Communication, and Outreach: Provide technical and planning assistance to internal and external partners, including other Sections and Divisions within the DNR, state agencies, local units of government, citizen organizations, and other participating technical staff in the development of restoration (i.e. implementation) plans that will achieve needed pollutant reductions and facilitate effective DNR input into these planning efforts so that impaired lakes and rivers in the region are restored to health and achieve water quality standards.
  • Administration: In conjunction with the Asst. Regional Manager and Clean Water Legacy Specialist, administer the regional DNR Clean Water Field Team so that primary regional issues are addressed in a scientifically sound manner and the DNR plays an active leadership role in the Clean Water Legacy Initiative.
  • Strategic Support and Planning: Participate in the development and implementation of Clean Water Legacy protection plans for unimpaired waters and facilitate effective DNR input into these planning efforts so that the ecological health of these regional waters is safeguarded from future impairment.
  • Strategic Support and Planning (continued): Coordinate with other partners, both inside and outside DNR, to facilitate the development of practices and science-based policies that support CWL and related DNR resource management goals.

This job may require walking or standing to a significant degree on rough terrain and through dense vegetation, and wading in sometimes swift currents on uneven stream bottoms, often times while carrying equipment.  Work can occur at times during inclement weather (both hot and cold) and require enduring biting insects.


Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, hydrology, conservation biology, water resources management, aquatic biology, fisheries management, fluvial geomorphology, field ecology, landscape ecology, environmental management or closely related field.
  • Two years professional experience (e.g., NR Specialist) initiating, administering, and implementing natural area management, restoration, and watershed protection projects and programs aimed at conserving native biodiversity on forest and/or prairie watersheds at an area or regional level. ** A Master’s degree in the areas listed may substitute for one year of experience.
  • Experience in aquatic biology/ecology, hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, limnology/stream ecology, fisheries, watershed management, and statistics, or their equivalent.
  • Experience working with stream flow databases and the analysis of hydrologic or geomorphologic data.
  • Computer knowledge including spreadsheet, database, and/or word processing skills.
  • Expertise in GIS.
  • Technical writing skills sufficient to prepare and disseminate survey results to a variety of audiences.
  • Well-developed human relations skills to effectively communicate with a wide range of issues, from the non-controversial to the controversial.
  • Must know how to design and implement field survey proposals using available staff.
  • Ability to maintain and operate tools and equipment, such as survey equipment and related field survey tools.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in in civil engineering, hydrology, forest ecology, wildlife ecology, botany, conservation biology, water resources management, aquatic biology, fisheries management, fluvial geomorphology, field ecology, landscape ecology, environmental management or closely related field.
  • Fluvial geomorphology training (particularly Rosgen methodology) and familiarity with survey techniques and use of equipment.
  • Knowledge of the DNR’s organizational structure.
  • Working knowledge of other state and federal resource management agencies, local governmental units, and their respective authority, programs and responsibilities that pertain to land and water resource management.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the goals and objectives of the CWLA and state water rules.
  • Successful participation of the State of Minnesota Star of the North Fellowship program.

Physical Requirements

Occasionally lifting articles such as 50 pound bags and frequently lifting and/or carrying objects such as heavy tools and file boxes. This job may require walking or standing to a significant degree on rough terrain or may involve sitting most of the time with pushing and pulling of arm and/or leg controls.

Additional Requirements:

*This position requires an unrestricted Class D Driver’s License with a clear driving record*

It is our policy that all candidates submit to a background check prior to employment. The background check may consist of the following components:

  • Employment Reference Check
  • SEMA4 Records Check
  • Criminal History Check
  • Education/license verification

Application Details

Why Work For Us

The Department of Natural Resources is proud to operate within a Culture of Respect that provides a healthy, safe, and productive work environment for all employees.  This means that our employees are supportive of a diverse workplace, are respectful to one another and to our customers.  We believe that promoting a Culture of Respect allows our employees to do their best work in support of the agency’s mission.

GREAT BENEFITS PACKAGE! The State of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package including low cost medical and dental insurance, employer paid life insurance, short and long term disability, pre-tax flexible spending accounts, retirement plan, tax-deferred compensation, generous vacation and sick leave, and 11 paid holidays each year.

GRAND RAPIDS is an ideal recreation destination for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, snowmobiling, skiing, and nature watching. The community is also a regional hub for visual and performing arts.

How to Apply

Applicants must apply to the MN Careers website Job ID 27230.

If you are unable to apply online, please contact the job information line at 651.259.3637.


If you have questions about the position, contact Darrell Schindler at or 218.328.8822.