Planning Biologist

Whitehorse, Yukon (CA)
$85,000 - $100,000 plus benefits
Aug 30, 2018
Oct 30, 2018
Adaptive Management
Job Level
Mid level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type

Position: Planning Biologist
Organization: Wildlife Conservation Society Canada
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon

WCS Canada has a new position with our conservation team in Whitehorse for a Planning Biologist.

This new position will be responsible for bringing strong conservation science to land use planning and management processes that are getting started in Yukon. We are looking for someone with land use and conservation planning expertise who has the experience, understanding, and passion necessary to engage effectively with First Nations and other regional actors and organizations so as to realize the best opportunities for collaboration and collective action.

In addition to having a solid understanding of the fish, wildlife, and ecology of this northern region, GIS and spatial modeling skills will be helpful. The person we are looking for must also have excellent communication skills, from writing reports to communicating what can be complicated science to non-scientists in a way that is engaging and compelling. Outstanding organization and planning will be critical to successfully working with a diversity of partners and stakeholders.

Position Title: Planning Biologist WCS Canada Internal
Title: Planning Biologist
Office/Project: Northern Boreal Mountains (NBM) Landscape, Whitehorse, Yukon
Position Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Position Level: SCI 3 or SCI 2
Reports To: Northern Boreal Mountains (NBM) Landscape Leader
Supervises: None
Anticipated start date: December 2018 or early 2019
Application closing date: Open application
Salary range: $85,000 to $100,000, plus benefits 

Position Summary:

WCS Canada is committed to the conservation of fish and wildlife populations and their habitats in the Northern Boreal Mountains (NBM) of Yukon and northern British Columbia. 

The Planning Biologist will be responsible for leading WCS Canada’s engagement in land and water planning and management processes in WCS Canada’s Northern Boreal Mountains Landscape program. This position will lead WCS Canada as a key organization in the region that strategizes, catalyses, and realizes the major conservation opportunities for fish and wildlife that are inherent in the development, formalization, and implementation of land use plans and protected area management plans. The position will require substantial and ongoing liaisons and relationship building with indigenous First Nations, through their respective governments, to explore and act on commonly-held conservation interests. 

Position Objectives:

1) Position WCS Canada as a key non-governmental organization that provides the best available conservation science and biological knowledge, and also policy and regulatory approaches, to land use planning and protected area management throughout the northern boreal mountain region where fish and wildlife populations and habitats are a conservation concern.

2) Engage WCS Canada within land use planning processes mandated by Yukon’s Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) with indigenous peoples, including through the issues and interests, data gathering and analysis, writing, ratification, and implementation phases.

3) Engage WCS Canada with the First Nations governments associated with active planning processes to understand their issues and interests, collaborate with them on topics of mutual concern, and enhance their capacity to engage.

4) Engage WCS Canada with First Nations who intend to act on conservation opportunities within planning processes that lie outside the Umbrella Final Agreement process (e.g., federal protected areas establishment).

5) Engage WCS Canada with other regional actors and organizations with conservation interests in the region so as to realize the best opportunities for collaboration and collective action.

6) Lead WCS Canada’s development and application of new scientific analyses and novel governance strategies (including policy development and social license) that will be influential in achieving conservation across the broader region. 

Principal Responsibilities:

  • Represent WCS Canada in active land use planning processes in Yukon, as mandated by the Umbrella Final Agreement and administered by the Yukon Land Use Planning Council, including preparation and delivery of written, oral, and other presentations to Planning Commissions regarding WCS Canada’s ongoing scientific analyses and policy recommendations, and responses to draft planning documents and other issues.
  • Build partnerships with selected Yukon First Nations’ governments, based on mutual understanding of conservation opportunities and goals in land planning and protected area development and implementation, so as to increase the likelihood of high value conservation outcomes.
  • Stay informed about the status and prospects regarding development and implementation of land and water planning processes in Yukon and northern British Columbia, so as to actively plan for emerging opportunities and needs.
  • Assist selected First Nation governments in the development and implementation of land and protected area plans that contribute to Canada achieving its Aichi targets under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Provide technical support to selected First Nation governments who seek assistance and capacity enhancement in their development and implementation of land and protected area plans.
  • Ensure that the best available conservation science and biological knowledge, and also policy and regulatory approaches, are available to integrate with land use and protected area planning processes to optimize conservation outcomes for fish and wildlife.
  • Lead WCS Canada’s development, with collaborators, of new scientific studies and analyses that provide necessary insights into projected conservation outcomes of different future scenarios (e.g., under climate change) assessed in planning for land and water uses and in management of protected areas.
  • Within WCS, collaborate and share knowledge of land use and protected area planning to support program priorities, strategic plans, and approaches; provide technical and professional advice to other projects and programs when necessary; and, facilitate communication and coordination among projects within the WCS family and between WCS Canada and other institutions.
  • Actively contribute to the field of land and protected area planning in northern Canada by communicating approaches and outcomes though publications, reports, presentations and popular media.
  • Promote the conservation of wildlife and wild lands in Canada within the conservation community, donors, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations through meetings, speaking engagements, media interviews, scientific and non-scientific publications, conferences, strategic meetings, and general communications.
  • Represent WCS Canada at provincial, national, and international conservation meetings.
  • Contribute to the development and management of an annual program budget and work plan for the NBM Landscape Program.
  • Contribute to program fundraising, including proposal writing and grant reporting, as well as identifying government funding opportunities.
  • Contribute to the development of WCS communications materials related to land use and protected area planning, including press releases, newsletters, social media, blog posts, and annual reports. 

Required Qualifications:

  • A passion for the conservation of nature and wildlife.
  • A post-graduate degree (ideally PhD) in the field of fish or wildlife conservation or another field of study related to land planning, protected area management, or renewable resources management and policy development.
  • Experience (ideally at least 3 years) working within land use planning and/or protected area planning processes, mandated by government agencies.
  • Experience (ideally at least 3 years) working on the implementation of land use plans and/or protected area plans.
  • Experience working in a cross-cultural setting with indigenous governments or communities on some aspect of fish and wildlife conservation or natural resource management.
  • Demonstrated success at developing collaborative relationships among partner organizations, and at enhancing social capital through meaningful engagement.
  • Experience in the practice of interpreting scientific information to inform policy development and planning processes.
  • Demonstrated ability to understand the science of conservation biology and protected area designation and management, and to communicate these compellingly to decision-makers.
  • Experience using GIS and other tools for spatial data management and analysis.
  • Ability to work both independently and within a team on multiple projects concurrently.
  • Demonstrated ability to build personal relationships with people of diverse backgrounds and levels of education.
  • Comfort and experience speaking to public audiences.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • High level of personal motivation in a job requiring substantial individual decision-making. 

Ideal Additional Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • A solid understanding of, and set of field experiences in, the aquatic and/or terrestrial ecology of boreal and/or montane ecosystems in north-western North America.
  • Experience in land use planning, protected area management, and working with indigenous peoples acquired in geographic and institutional contexts similar to those in Yukon.
  • Knowledge of the legislative, legal, and policy parameters directing and influencing federal, territorial and First Nations jurisdictions, land claims implementation, and land use planning in Yukon.
  • Experience with spatial conservation-related decision support tools or modeling software, such as Marxan or Zonation, and with scenario analysis.
  • Experience writing for both scientific and lay audiences.
  • Experience engaging non-scientific audiences on conservation science. 

To Apply:

Apply online. Please include a cover letter addressing each of the required qualifications, your cv/resumé, and a relevant example of your written work. Click here.

Position Inquiries: Dr. Don Reid, Northern Boreal Mountains Landscape Leader 1-867-456-7556

About WCS Canada WCS Canada was established as a Canadian conservation organization in July 2004. Our mission is to conserve wildlife and wildlands by improving our understanding of and seeking solutions to critical problems that threaten key species and large wild ecosystems throughout Canada. We implement and support comprehensive field studies that gather information on wildlife needs and then seek to resolve key conservation problems by working with a broad array of stakeholders. We also provide technical assistance and biological expertise to local groups and agencies that lack the resources to tackle conservation concerns. WCS Canada is independently registered and managed, while retaining a strong collaborative working relationship with sister WCS programs in more than 55 nations, including an integrated North America Program. The Wildlife Conservation Society ( is a recognized global leader in conservation and for more than a century has worked in North America promoting actions such as bison reintroduction, pioneering field studies, parks creation, and legislation to protect endangered wildlife.