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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 523N
Category: Science & Engineering


Is a senior level professional Biologist working under general direction that plans, develops, and designs biological studies, research, resource assessments or resource management and provides the analysis, assessment, and interpretation of the results and preparation of final written reports that have a direct impact on key program decisions.

And one or more of the following: 

Is the biologist who is responsible for all of a Program’s biological activities within an area, within a district; 


Prepares, assesses, and interprets resource information or regulations, regularly involving inter-program or external coordination;


Is the programs independent specialist on issues affecting fish, wildlife, lands, or habitat in a geographic area that may include more than one district or in a focused area. 

Distinguishing Characteristics

Is a senior biologist working under the general direction of a higher level professional involved in Fish and Wildlife biological studies, research, or field reviews. Assignments are more varied in scope (such as consulting with higher level professionals when needed to determine which techniques will be used managing efforts to collect population and morphometric data, or other research), complexity and responsibility than a Fish and Wildlife Biologist 2, will involve project management (such as leading an effort over a period of time to the point of completion or significant milestone, such as overseeing a habitat restoration project of biological inventory for a defined area), and/or are performed independently with limited supervisory oversight.

Typical Work

Inventories biological and physical characteristics on all lands, and develops and implements programs for managing and enhancing fish and wildlife habitats for both game and nongame species; assesses habitat needs for various management species; 

Has conservation and management responsibilities for fish, wildlife, and/or habitat(s); 

Monitors public use and evaluates user needs and potential conflicts with the natural resources and implements programs for managing and enhancing public use; 

In coordination with a higher level professional, determines the appropriate statistical techniques and parameters to be used in assigned research studies; 

Has the principal responsibility for the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, the development of conclusions and recommendations for management, research or mitigation needs, and the preparation of reports; designs and implements fish, wildlife, lands, or habitat protection, enhancement and rehabilitation needs; investigates and determines mitigation requirements to various land use/development projects;  

Provides agency review and comment on projects originating from outside the Department in accordance with environmental law (e.g., State Environmental Policy Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Hydraulics Code, Shorelines Management Act, Growth Management Act, Endangered Species Act, Priority Habitats and Species Act, etc.) Environmental Impact Statements, Forest Practice Applications, Corps of Engineers permits, and Water Right Applications;  

Investigates and prescribes appropriate resource protection requirements on legally mandated permits such as Hydraulic Permit Applications, Forest Practice Applications, Corps of Engineers permits, water rights, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing;  

Directs stock assessment, prediction, escapement, enhancement, harvest management, life history, and mortality studies and formulates regulatory recommendations for management of natural resources; 

Reviews freshwater, marine, or estuarial water-use projects; recommends freshwater or marine construction techniques; formulates land-use policies, rules, and regulations to protect salmon habitat; 

Prioritizes, plans, coordinates, and implements all work in assigned area of responsibility;  

Represents the Department on technical committees; writes and reviews plans; presents study results and serves as witness or before various commissions, review boards, or in court cases; formulates regulatory recommendations for management of fish and wildlife and their habitats;  

May supervise, train, and evaluate work performance of technicians, biologists, or subordinate employees assigned to their area of responsibility;

Plans, directs and evaluates biological studies; 

Serves as Department representative at meetings of a wide variety of citizen organizations; designs and makes presentations; provides information to media; 

Assesses damage to fish and wildlife resources and cumulative effects from toxic spills and other contaminants;  

May manage budget and staffing requirements for area of responsibility; 

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  environmental regulations; stream hydraulics; land management and development; soil conservation; fish and wildlife rules and regulations; complex disputes resolution techniques (e.g., negotiations, arbitrations, court orders); laboratory and chemical tests used for bioassays; principles of harvest management and natural production; lake and stream management; principles and procedures of wildlife, fish and habitat management and biological research; methods of biological data collection, interpretation and presentation; statistical and research theory and techniques; experimental design; population measurement techniques; silvaculture; use of software packages such as GIS, Statistical, Database, and Office.  

Ability to: define research problems and determine extent and type of information needed; initiate plan and design independent experimental research; implement results of research findings; plan, organize and supervise the work of others; resolve complex disputes; develop new techniques and programs in resource management; analyze environmental information to apply solutions, guidelines, and policy to field problems; develop methods of data collection and interpret data; speak clearly and write effectively; train and supervise personnel.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

A Bachelor's degree in fisheries, wildlife management, natural resource science, or environmental science 


Three years of professional experience in fish management or fish research, wildlife management or wildlife research, or habitat management or habitat research. Twelve semesters or eighteen-quarter hours of specific course work is required for certain positions. 

Note: A Master’s degree in the applicable science will substitute one year of the required experience.  

Note: A Ph.D. in the applicable science may be substituted for two years of the required experience. 


Two years as a Fish & Wildlife Biologist 2.

Class Specification History

New Class: Effective 7-1-97
Revised minimum qualifications: 1-11-02
Revised new class code: (formerly 93642) effective July 1, 2007
Revised definition; adopted August 13, 2015; effective August 14, 2015.
Salary adjustment adopted 6/30/2015, effective 7/1/2015.
Revised definition and distinguishing characteristics; adopted May 12, 2016, effective May 13, 2016
(5/19/2016) Revised typical work
Final adopted August 11, 2016, effective August 12, 2016