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Endangered Species Conservation Biologist - Freshwater Mussels

Xerces Society Inc
Oregon 97232, United States
$57033.6-$57033.6/Yearly Salary
Closing date
Apr 9, 2023

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Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type

JOB TITLE: Endangered Species Conservation Biologist - Freshwater Mussels


LOCATION: Based in Pacific Northwest, preferably NW Oregon or SW Washington


COMPENSATION: $57,033.60


JOB START DATE: Approximate start date June 1, 2023





All applications must be submitted via our application website at:

We are committed to creating a more diverse workforce that is welcoming to all employees and the communities we serve. As part of the application process, please be prepared to answer a brief essay question (1,000 characters or less) in which you describe some ways you might help Xerces collaborate with diverse audiences or historically excluded communities in this role.

Xerces is happy to provide accommodations for the job application process if needed. If you need an accommodation to complete the job application process, please email



Come join a team of conservation professionals at the Xerces Society who are dedicated to protecting some of the world's most important animals. We are seeking a motivated expert who can join our team of Endangered Species conservation biologists to support the freshwater mussel conservation program.


At Xerces, we harness the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of the public to implement conservation programs. We take action by helping farms and public agencies develop conservation plans for pollinators and beneficial insects, producing ground-breaking publications on insect conservation, training thousands of farmers and land managers to protect and manage habitat for beneficial insects, protecting endangered species and their habitat, and engaging the public to raise awareness about invertebrates found on farms, forests, prairies, deserts, streams, wetlands, towns and cities. Our methods focus on habitat conservation planning, education, scientific analysis, advocacy, and applied research to conserve invertebrates, such as bees, butterflies, mollusks, and fireflies.



Reporting to the Xerces Society's Endangered Species Program Mussel Lead (Portland, OR office) and working in collaboration with other Xerces Society conservation staff and project partners, the Endangered Species Conservation Biologist will focus on a variety of projects related to freshwater mussel research, conservation and advocacy. The position includes substantial fieldwork in rivers and streams in the Pacific Northwest, which will require the employee to drive a vehicle from their location to field sites as well as conduct snorkel and wading-based surveys for freshwater mussels. The successful candidate will also be adept at GIS analysis and mapping, data analysis, communication, and collaboration in support of the program's conservation goals.


The successful candidate must have prior experience snorkeling and be able to swim, carry 30 pounds using a backpack, walk over uneven terrain, and be comfortable working long hours in the field as part of a team. Prior experience collecting and identifying freshwater mussels, paddling boats such as kayaks, canoes, or rafts, and driving unimproved roads is preferred. Applicants with SCUBA, wilderness first aid, and/or swift-water rescue certifications are also preferred. Successful candidates will be required to pass an in-water safety training upon hiring.


The ideal candidate will also have a strong scientific background, ideally with mollusk expertise, experience managing data in ArcGIS platforms, have excellent outreach and presentation skills, and experience managing projects, developing and conducting field-based research projects, writing management guidance, and contributing to evidence-based species assessments and conservation plans. The ability to work collaboratively and build lasting conservation partnerships with diverse groups of people will be crucial to the candidate's success.



Working as a team with the Xerces Society Endangered Species Program staff, the applicant who fills this position will:

  • During the field season (approximately May – September), spend ~80% of the time outdoors, including weekly multi-day and overnight travel, conducting fieldwork by snorkeling, wading, or boating in rivers and streams of variable sizes, and providing in-person trainings.
  • Coordinate and provide educational trainings on freshwater mussel conservation issues, survey techniques, and species identification.
  • Collect, record, and report data from paper forms and field notes, including completing data entry using electronic spreadsheets.
  • Maintain data in complex databases, including GIS spatial databases and online platforms, and analyze data to identify spatial patterns, habitat associations, and other metrics of conservation interest; communicate those results.
  • Use appropriate communication channels (website, social media, traditional media, email, etc.) to engage and coordinate with colleagues, project participants, partners, and the public.
  • Coordinate with state wildlife agencies to advance conservation of imperiled freshwater mussel species.
  • Respond to requests for information from Xerces Society team members, natural resource agencies, researchers, and the public about conserving freshwater mussels and their habitats.
  • Maintain regular communication with a remotely based supervisor.
  • Engage in other endangered species research, education, outreach, restoration, and conservation projects and campaigns.


STATUS & SCHEDULE: Full-Time, salaried, exempt position, scheduled to work ~ 40 hours/week. Schedule may be flexible and the opportunity for partial or full-time remote work location can be made, depending on job-specific requirements.


BENEFITS: This position includes a generous benefits package including; twelve paid holidays, paid time off accrued at a rate of 1.73 hours for every 30 hours of pay (15 days per year for a 40 hour/week schedule), medical, dental, vision, and prescription drug coverage, the option to participate in a pre-tax flexible spending account for medical and dependent care expenses, short-term disability insurance where not provided under state law, long-term disability insurance, participation in a 401k retirement program with employer contribution match upon meeting eligibility requirements, and a flexible work environment.


TERMS: The Xerces Society is an at-will employer. Nothing in this job description restricts management's right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification form upon hire.


MORE INFORMATION: For more information on the Xerces Society and our programs, please see our website:



All applications must be submitted via our application website at:



The Xerces Society is proud to be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer including disability and veterans. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.



We request priority referral of protected veterans for all openings with our organization. In order to be considered for employment, all applicants for employment with Xerces Society, apply through our Job Board. When referring or being referred as a candidate, including protected veterans, please refer them to this applicant site;



  • Experience conducting aquatic fieldwork in remote locations and prior experience snorkeling.
  • Ability and willingness to work collaboratively with other Xerces Society staff members and with a wide variety of partners, stakeholders, and diverse teams and constituents in a respectful, equitable, and inclusive fashion.
  • Working knowledge of common software applications (e.g., Word and Excel) and ESRI's ArcGIS application.
  • Ability to work in inclement conditions, including heat, cold, rain, and around biting or stinging insects.
  • Ability to follow policies that promote a safe working environment, including making informed, collaborative judgement calls in changing environments.



  • Prior experience with paddling and navigating a boat, such as a kayak, canoe, or raft.
  • Previous mussel survey and species identification experience (training will also be provided to the successful candidate).




  • A Bachelor's degree (Master's degree strongly preferred) in fisheries, wildlife biology, biology, natural resource management, ecology, entomology, or similar.
  • Valid driver's license in the United States and a motor vehicle records check allowing employee to be insured under Xerces corporate liability insurance.



  • SCUBA, wilderness first aid, swift-water rescue certifications.



Be able to perform the following with reasonable breaks and/or reasonable accommodations:

  • Willingness and availability for multi-day overnight travel and camping at remote field sites Monday through Friday during the typical field season;
  • Ability to swim in open and flowing water, conduct fieldwork in flowing water, utilizing snorkeling equipment and techniques;
  • Move and transport supplies, materials, and equipment weighing up to 30 lbs using a backpack for distances up to 2 miles;
  • Work outdoors in the field, including in water, for 8-10 hours per day under potentially adverse weather or field conditions;
  • Frequently traverse across uneven, slippery or rough terrain, slopes, rangeland, agricultural roads and fields, unpaved roads and walkways, and unimproved trails for periods of 8-10 hours;
  • Drive a vehicle for periods of up to 8 hours;
  • Able to paddle a boat such as kayaks, canoes, or rafts;
  • Operate a computer and other office productivity machinery, such as a telephone, copy machine, and computer printer for periods of 1-8 hours.


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