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Fish & Wildlife Biologist 3 - Skagit Area Fish Biologist - Skagit - *13864-21



WDFW Fish Program
La Conner, Washington 

Would you enjoy being responsible for WDFW’s Fish Program’s stock assessment biological activities within the Skagit area? 

As our Senior Biologist, you will independently plan, develop, design, direct, and participate in fish stock assessments, including marine salmon fry abundance assessments.

 This will require you to consider budgets, crew availability, survey reach length, current environmental conditions, weather forecasts, daylight hours, available equipment, priority of work, and landowner relations.

If this sounds like the perfect opportunity for you, then apply today and join the WDFW Team!

*Region 4 Skagit Team conducts steelhead DNA sampling – Photo Credit: WDFW

With that in mind, 

Picture yourself designing projects, conducting surveys by jet boat or low-level flight surveys from helicopters or fixed wing aircraft, and coordinating crews of surveyors. 

This is a dynamic role in which you will lead crews of surveyors and act as the agency expert on Skagit salmon and steelhead abundance, productivity, and harvest. 

With your experience, you will work with WDFW colleagues and tribal comanagers to monitor and manage salmonids and other fishes in the Skagit River watershed. 

You are excited to represent WDFW in discussions and at meetings with co-managing tribes, State, Federal, County and hydropower utility biologists and the public.

We are seeking a candidate who respects and values the opinions of others, creating an inclusive team environment where every member feels they contribute value to the project and WDFW.

Skagit River pink salmon carcass survey – Photo Credit: WDFW

Our Skagit Area Fish Biologist,

  • Independently plans, develops, designs, directs, and implements salmonid biological assessments and studies in the Skagit River Basin and nearby Puget Sound Independent Tributaries.
  • Procures, distributes, and maintains equipment and instruments for stock assessment and fishery monitoring work.
  • Manages and analyzes data including training and directing staff how to perform data entry and proof collected data.
  • Analyzes data to estimate spawning abundances, detect trends, and forecast returns and harvest. Gives reports on findings to tribal comanagers, resource partners, and public. 
  • Organizes and assesses in-season data to estimate general abundance trends to inform fisheries management. 
  • Reviews and interprets estimates and generates reports of results. Material in reports is directly used in fishery catch allocations at the State, Federal, and International scale.
  • Meets with comanaging tribal biologists to review and analyze reports and finding.
  • Writes year-end stock assessment, or specially funded project reports and delivers by deadlines.
  • Provides information including, but not limited to, population characteristics, life history, habitat selection, migration, foraging, and spawn timing.
  • Recommends work windows for HPA projects.
  • Designs and implements population assessment studies.

Work Setting, including hazards:  
  • Field work is performed alone or with a partner in remote and isolated environments in all weather conditions, hiking over very difficult terrain, walking in and out of swiftly moving water, while carrying gear weighing up to 40 lbs. for up to 12 miles daily, up to 14 hours per day in chest waders.
  • Work includes performing low level flight surveys on helicopters or fixed wing aircrafts, and long periods of time on a boat in all weather conditions, rowing catarafts, pontoon boats, and rafts in up to class 2 whitewater.
  • Regular exposure to and handling of live fish and fish carcasses in various states of decay.
  • Long periods of office work, and attending/participating in meetings online and in person.
  • Typically, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 
  • At times, schedule may be highly unpredictable and irregular, and workload demands may require work outside the assigned work hours and adjustment of work schedules.
Travel Requirements: 
  • Camping for extended field work and overnight stays in hotels with air or surface travel for meetings.
Tools and Equipment: 
  • Axe, handsaw, chainsaw, waders, prop boat, and jet boat.
Customer Interactions:
  • Regular interactions with other WDFW, State, County, Tribal, Public Utility, and Federal biologists, staff, researchers, and administrations.
  • Frequent public interactions - must be able to interact and maintain professionalism with colleagues, peers, coworkers, and the public regardless of the intensity of interactions.


Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, wildlife management, natural resource science, or environmental science.


Three (3) years of professional experience in one or more of the following:
  • Fish Management or Research.
  • Wildlife Management or Research.
  • Habitat Management or Research.


Two (2) years of experience as a Fish & Wildlife Biologist 2.

In addition to the above requirements, you will need:
Three (3) years of experience in:
  • Directly supervising and directing subordinate staff.
  • Rowing catarafts (pontoon boats), rafts, or drift boats in streams and rivers up to at least class 2 whitewater.

Please note:
  • Master’s degree in the applicable science will substitute for one (1) year of the required experience.
  • Ph.D. in the applicable science may be substituted for two (2) years of the required experience.
  • Closely related qualifying experience may be substituted for the required education on a year-by-year basis.

  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Motorboat Operator’s Certification Course (MOCC) certified or obtain within first year of employment.
  • WDFW flight training within first year of employment.

Ability to:
  • Differentiate all life stages of pacific salmonids.
  • Interact and maintain professionalism with colleagues, peers and the public regardless of intensity of interaction.
  • Work in an office for long periods of time.
  • Locate, handle, and sample salmonid carcasses regardless of severity of state of decay.
  • Effectively report and/or present results and resource information in writing or verbally.

Proficient in:
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

  • Five (5) or more years of professional experience in fish management or research.
  • Three (3) or more years assessing bull trout populations.
  • Proficiency hook and line angling for river salmonids.
  • Experience operating inboard or outboard jet boats in swift water environments.
  • Proficient in R.
  • Proficient in GIS (Geographic Information System) software applications.
  • Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC) certified.
  • Experience conducting aerial redd surveys.
  • Experience operating jet boats (inboard or outboard) in rivers.

Please note: Failure to follow the instructions below may lead to disqualification.
In order to successfully apply for this position, you MUST complete your profile at 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. 
  • Three professional references. 

On Monday August 9, 2021, Governor Inslee enacted Proclamation 21-14 which requires that all employees of all state agencies not headed by an elected official be fully vaccinated with a recommended COVID-19 vaccine by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment. Fully vaccinated includes the two-week waiting period after the last shot in each series, or single shot, is given. If hired for this or any position at WDFW, you will be required to provide verification of COVID vaccination. A list of acceptable documents to provide verification can be reviewed here. Vaccination acceptable documents link (Download PDF reader) (Download PDF reader)

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s priority during the Covid-19 health crisis is to keep our staff, candidates, and the public safe. We are hiring and encourage you to apply to open positions. We have transitioned to a virtual recruitment process, to include web-based interviews.

All new employees must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form) on their first day of work. If hired for this or any position at WDFW, you will be required to provide documentation proving you are eligible to work in the United States. For a list of acceptable documents, please use the following link:


Learn about our agency and the perks of working for WDFW!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the most talented people in the natural resource field. We celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives and approaches to fulfilling the agency’s mission. We value demonstrated skill in living WDFW values of Accountability, Service, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect, and Empathy (ASPIRE).

WDFW employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), Vacation, Sick, and other Leave*, 11 Paid Holidays per year*, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Long Term Disability & Life Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction Incentives (Download PDF reader), Combined Fund Drive, SmartHealth.

This position is in the bargaining unit represented by the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals and is subject to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employer

To take advantage of veteran preference, please do the following:
  • Email a copy of your DD214 (Member 4 copy), NGB 22 or USDVA signed verification of service letter to
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position, and Vet (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – Veteran)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in
To take advantage of military spouse preference, please do the following:
  • Notify us of your military spouse status by email at  
  • Subject line should include recruitment number, position, and MS (for example: #10155 Biologist 1 – MS)
  • Include your name as it appears on your application in

 Note: Please blackout any PII (personally identifiable information) data such as social security numbers. For further information, please contact us at

As part of WDFW’s efforts to advance respectful and inclusive work environments, the Agency expects inclusivity as part of our professional interactions and communications. Therefore, we want to ensure that all individuals feel welcome, are treated fairly and respectfully. All staff are empowered to fully contribute to serving their work unit, Agency, and the citizens of Washington.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, 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 (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.ns Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (800) 833-6388.

If you are having technical difficulties creating, accessing, or completing your application, please call NEOGOV toll-free at (855) 524-5627 or

*Images shown are Pre-COVID, WDFW Staff follow current COVID Safety Protocol including the use of face masks. 

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