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Employment Opportunity: Aquatic Ecologist

Employment Opportunity: Aquatic Ecologist

Status: Full time, Permanent

Reports to: Manager, Watershed Planning Services

Job Summary:
As part of the Watershed Planning and Engineering team, the Aquatic Ecologist is responsible for the implementation of the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s (HCA) aquatic monitoring and habitat rehabilitation programs, and for the assessment, management and distribution of data collected from these initiatives. The Aquatic Ecologist undertakes the aquatic biological evaluation, review and response to planning and permit applications circulated by division staff from the public, municipal partners, consultants and other government agencies. The Aquatic Ecologist works closely with the Terrestrial Ecologist, and also with other HCA division staff and programs to provide advice and expertise in assisting with the implementation of conservation and capital infrastructure projects within HCA’s jurisdiction.

Job Functions and Tasks:

  • Oversee and undertake HCA’s Aquatic Resources Monitoring Program including fish habitat and water quality assessment, fish collection and electrofishing, and surveying for aquatic invasive species and species at risk
  • Oversee management of data, and provide reports and recommendations for the maintenance and/or improvement of the monitoring program and aquatic ecosystems within HCA’s jurisdiction
  • Assess the health and composition of fisheries and fish habitat within the watershed, and identify changes and trends over time
  • Undertake the updating and maintenance of HCA’s Fisheries Management Database, as well as the preparation and distribution of data to the public in response to data requests
  • Undertake the aquatic biological evaluation, review and response to development applications submitted under the Planning Act, Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, Environmental Assessment Act, and HCA’s Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses Regulation (Ontario Regulation 161/06)
  • Plan and oversee aquatic habitat rehabilitation projects, working in co-operation with other HCA staff and external agencies and partners
  • Provide support to HCA’s Terrestrial Resources Monitoring Program, including forest health, vegetation and wildlife monitoring, and invasive species removal and habitat restoration projects
  • Assist in the preparation and review of HCA Conservation Area Master Plans
  • Provide technical review and advice for the design of HCA Conservation Area facilities and infrastructure projects
  • Respond to general enquiries from the public to provide information regarding HCA’s aquatic ecology program and aquatic resources within the watershed
  • Hire and supervise seasonal casual aquatic monitoring staff
  • Represent HCA on various external committees and initiatives when required
  • Other duties as required or assigned


  • A graduate of a university or college program specializing in ecology, biology or related environmental sciences, with at least 3 years of related experience
  • Possess a strong working knowledge of aquatic ecosystems (especially those in southern Ontario), including methodologies and protocols for the sampling, classification, evaluation, and monitoring of aquatic ecosystems
  • Strong identification skills for fish, benthos, and aquatic vegetation
  • Thorough understanding of aquatic habitat restoration and rehabilitation techniques, and experience with the planning and implementation of rehabilitation projects
  • Knowledge and identification skills related to terrestrial ecology would be an asset
  • Understanding of principles and approaches related to hydrology, fluvial geomorphology, natural resources management, and environmental impact assessment, and knowledge of watershed management and land use planning processes
  • Working knowledge of planning and resource management related legislation, regulations and policies including the Conservation Authorities Act, Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement, Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act, and Endangered Species Act, along with practical experience applying this knowledge in the review of development applications
  • Experience reviewing and interpreting technical plans and drawings (i.e. site plans, grading and drainage plans, landscape plans, etc.)
  • Backpack electrofishing certification (minimum Class II)
  • Project management experience, including the preparation of grant funding applications, project proposals, budgets and progress reports
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work effectively with a broad range of stakeholders
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
  • Positive team player capable of self-directed, independent work
  • Ability to work outdoors to conduct field investigations in variable terrain and weather conditions
  • Possess a valid Ontario driver's license
  • Standard First Aid and CPR is an asset
  • Proficient with the use of Microsoft Office software suite including database management (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), and experience working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Working Conditions:
 The Aquatic Ecologist will be based at Woodend, the HCA’s main office location. However, considerable time will be spent in the field on HCA-owned lands and other properties. Working hours will total 37.5 per week, Monday through Friday inclusive with the additional requirement of evening meetings and occasional work on weekends.

Income Level:
 The income for this position is salary classification S7 ($62,037 - $77,547).  Progression will be based on merit and is considered on an annual basis. Yearly cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) may also be considered.

 Hamilton Conservation Authority offers a comprehensive benefits package including health, dental, vision care, health care spending account, life and disability insurance after a 3 month probation period and a defined contribution pension plan after 1 years’ service and a group RRSP.

How to Apply:
Interested applicants should mail or email their resume and covering letter, by 4 pm on Monday July 3, 2017, to:

Hamilton Conservation Authority
PO Box 81067
838 Mineral Springs Road
Ancaster, ON   L9G 4X1
Attention: Human Resources
Email: (please quote Aquatic Ecologist in subject line and send in MS Word or PDF format)

We wish to thank all applicants for their interest, but only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

Accessibility accommodations are available for all parts of the recruitment process; applicants are asked to inform Human Resources for any disability required accommodations in advance.

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