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Conservation Biologist - Fish & Wildlife Biologist 1 - Permanent - *00963-23

 Conservation Biologist
 Fish & Wildlife Biologist 1 (BIO1)
Wildlife Program

 Olympia, Washington – Thurston County
Support WDFW’s mission to “Conserve and protect native fish and wildlife in the State of Washington” by conducting seasonal biological assessments for native, state, and federally listed species and their habitats in the south Puget Sound region. 

Working under the direct supervision of permanent agency biologists this position also works with land managers to create, enhance, and maintain habitat for sensitive prairie and oak associated species.

Taylor’s Checkerspot – Photo credit: Mary Linders

With that in mind, 

Picture yourself, conducting butterfly surveys, and using GPS and ArcGIS for collecting, managing, and analyzing data for reporting. 

This is an opportunity to work under the supervision of a Senior Biologist and grow in your skills in rare species conservation and habitat assessment. 

In this dynamic role, you will organize release and monitoring efforts and train volunteers to assist with restoration and field data collection.

We are seeking a candidate with experience in butterfly and plant identification, especially in Puget Sound grasslands.


Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly - Photo credit: Taylor Cotten
Our Conservation Biologist,

Conducts professional biological surveys:
  • Assists with Reintroduction of Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterflies
  • Conducts Biological Surveys.
  • Collects and downloads data and monitoring equipment. 
  • Captures, handles, and releases adult and/or larval butterflies, surveys for larval nests, and monitors life stage development.
  • Records tabular data on datasheets in the field. Records field conditions and notes. 
  • Lays out sampling grids and release areas at field sites using GPS technology. 
  • Recommends and implements improvements to data collection and management protocols.    
Data entry, database management, and summary reports:
  • Transcribes data from voice recorders and field forms into standardized databases. 
  • Reviews data for accuracy, identifies and corrects errors and inconsistencies, formats data and conducts statistical summary and analyses. 
  • Follows and/or develops prescribed procedures to organize and analyze data. Summarizes methods and findings in writing under the supervision of permanent agency biologists for incorporation into professional reports.  
  • Customizes electronic forms and geodatabases and collects, imports, and manages biological and restoration field data using GIS technology, MS office and other tools.
Conducts vegetation and habitat assessments:
  • Conducts vegetation surveys and habitat monitoring in prairie and oak woodlands under supervision of a senior biologist. 
  • Lays out of sampling grids and conducts habitat assessments. Enters data on iPads and uploads/downloads between GIS and GPS technologies. 
  • Recommends and implements improvements to data collection and management protocols under the supervision of an agency biologist.

Work Setting, including hazards:
  • This full-time position is housed in the Natural Resources Building in Olympia. Work is performed in both an office and field settings in about equal amounts. The work environment is fast paced with changing priorities and deadlines. 
Physical, environmental, or mental demands of key work: 
  • May work independently or as part of a team, tasks can be tedious or highly varied and strenuous. 
  • Field work may occur in wetland, forest and prairie environments in the south Puget lowlands and may require walking through water wearing chest-waders. 
  • Field work often involves walking up to ten (10) miles per day on uneven surfaces while carrying up to 40 lbs in adverse weather conditions. 
  • Essential functions include, but are not limited to: running, walking, climbing, jumping, squatting, twisting and bending for extended periods. 
  • Navigate in unfamiliar and undeveloped areas and in adverse weather conditions.
  • Must be able to negotiate water in emergency situations.
Health, Safety or Administrative Requirements: 
  • Some sites on Joint Base Lewis-McChord may contain unexploded ordnance (live artillery); which requires special training and safety equipment (flak jacket and helmet).     
  • Wildland fire certification requires completion of the Work Capacity Test at the Arduous level. 
  • Safely operate motor vehicles, ORVs and small hand and power tools.
  • Willingness: Willingness and ability to work extended hours as necessary to complete assignments, and to obtain and maintain certification as a wildland firefighter. May include extended travel and evening or overnight trips.
  • Typically, four 10-hr days, Monday through Thursday, year around. Because this position is one member of a field team flexibility is required dependent on the time of year and the task. 
  • Fieldwork is often weather dependent and unpredictable and some weekend/on-call work may be required, as well as work more than 40 hrs. if needed to meet deadlines and/or business demands.
Travel Requirements:
  • Travel to field sites located within fifty (50) miles of assigned duty station and may require occasional regional travel or attendance at evening meetings. 
Tools and Equipment:
  • Employee must be able and willing to drive 4x4 vehicles, operate standard survey equipment, GPS, computers including Microsoft Office, ArcGIS software, iPads, printers, etc. 
  • Employee must be able to use hand and power tools, fire tools and ORVs. 
  • Employee must be able to upload data from monitors and sensors and upload and manipulate data in databases. 
  • Employee must be able to haul and lift heavy equipment up to 40 pounds. When in the office the employee will be required to perform basic functions using standard software (e.g., Microsoft, ArcGIS). 
Customer Interactions:
  • Effective information delivery to the public, project partners, local government officials, and special interest groups (e.g., conservation, recreation, etc.).

Closely related qualifying experience may be substituted for the required education on a year-by-year basis.
  • A Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, wildlife management, natural resource science, or environmental science 


  • Equivalent education/experience. 

  • Ability to coordinate and/or lead technical or nontechnical volunteers and staff. 
  • Proficiency in using GPS, Microsoft Office (especially MS Word and Excel) and ArcGIS software.

  • Valid Driver’s License
  • Current Wildland Fire Fighter Type II certification at the Arduous level from a valid certifying agency, or ability to acquire. (Agency provided)

  • Knowledge of vertebrate and invertebrate biology, ecology and behavior; vegetation and habitat assessment and monitoring methods; principles and procedures of biological research and management.
  • Experience in:
  • Butterfly and plant identification, especially in Puget Sound grasslands.
  • Conducting wildlife and vegetation surveys, especially for invertebrates.
  • Identifying south Puget Sound butterflies by sight in the field.
  • Ability to:
  • Enter data timely and accurately.
  • Synthesize quantitative information and produce detailed method and workflow documents.
  • Analyze findings and formulate recommendations.
  • Estimate distances visually with a high degree of accuracy (nearest 10 cm).     
WDFW requires all employees to be fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. You will be required to provide proof of vaccination as part of the hiring process. Please do not upload your vaccination documentation with your application materials - your vaccination status will be verified by your supervisor before you will be allowed to work. Exemptions may be granted for religious or medical purposes.

Supplemental Information
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. 
  • A writing sample.
  • Three professional references. 

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