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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 516G
Category: Science & Engineering


Is the designated representative for scientific policy on multiple national and international committees, councils, and commissions and conducts special assignments at the direction of the Director or Program Director; or is the designated consultant in a specialized area of expertise and

• Provides scientific leadership to and directs a multidisciplinary, multi-jurisdictional research program, or
• Independently conducts research or directs a departmental research team performing research at the forefront of scientific inquiry requiring the development and application of new theoretical, methodological, or analytical concepts, or

Supervises at least one Fish and Wildlife Research Scientist 1 and conducts research studies in a specialized field.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Working under administrative direction positions perform as expert survey and research design and implementation scientists and policy advisor. Direct and oversee scientific methodology development and conduct and coordinate scientific study and research. Interact and make decisions, recommendations, translates and provide results to policy makers. Positions lead and interact on most complex, sensitive and controversial natural resource management issues.

Typical Work

Consults with policy makers and makes decisions, recommendations and translates results of scientific study and research;

Develops and initiates new techniques for management and enhancement of our fisheries resources, such as: sophisticated biological procedures to assess the management of the fisheries habitat; new methods of identifying salmon over their life span; more effective approaches to definition and solution of pollution problems;

Designs methodologically sound research studies; initiates, designs, and implements a series of independent laboratory experiments or analytical program evaluations;

Develops complex computer simulation models using sophisticated statistical, analytical, and economic procedures which result in improved techniques for management of the fisheries resources;

Acts as key consultant to Director on impacts to State resources by competing users on an international, national, or State level;

Consults with all divisions on complex and sophisticated statistical analysis, population dynamics, and computer techniques;

Interacts with other research personnel serving on management teams;

Develops progress reports; authors and publishes research findings; keeps abreast of relevant research developments;

Consults with agency administrative and service staff concerning planning logistics, budget, personnel, purchasing, and other related activities necessary to implement present and proposed research studies;

Performs the duties of the lower levels in the series;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: fishery resources; population dynamics; statistical theory; computer techniques, including simulation modeling; experimental design appropriate to the field; aquatic ecology and fishery habitat requirements.

Ability to: initiate and plan independent experimental research; coordinate research with the needs of the Department; develop methods of data collection and interpret data; recommend how to implement results of research findings; speak and write effectively.

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 Master's degree in wildlife, habitat, or fisheries science, biology, zoology or in mathematics with emphasis on animal population biology or closely allied field.


Four years of professional experience designing, conducting, and supervising multidisciplinary wildlife, habitat or fish-related research studies in addition to three articles published or in press in refereed literature, (two articles must be as senior author, the third article must be as senior or secondary author).


A Doctoral degree with a major in mathematics or statistics with emphasis in animal population or management OR natural resource science or management with an emphasis in mathematics or statistics relative to animal population biology or management.


Two years of professional experience designing and implementing natural resource research in addition to three articles published or in press in refereed literature, (two articles must be as a senior author, the third must be as senior or secondary author).


Three years of experience as a Fish and Wildlife Research Scientist 1.

Class Specification History

New class: 2/15/74.
Revised definition and minimum qualifications, title change (formerly Fisheries Research Scientist): 5/15/81.
Revised definition and minimum qualification, deleted distinguishing characteristics, title change (formerly Fisheries Research Scientist – Senior): 9/14/90.
Revised definition and minimum qualification, title change (formerly Fisheries Research Scientist 2): 6/9/00.
Revised new class code: (formerly 92880) effective July 1, 2007.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, desirable qualifications, salary range adjustment, adopted June 22, 2023, effective July 1, 2023.