Job Specification

Position Title:
Aquatic Species at Risk Specialist
Job Code:
14026 - Biologist 3 (B/U)
Job ID:
92893
 

Purpose of Position :

To provide specialty expertise in aquatic biology/ecology to support the business operations of the Species Conservation Policy Branch (SCPB) in the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF). To provide biological/ecology expertise, analysis and assessment relevant to the protection of aquatic species at risk and their habitats and to inform the review and approval of project applications for permits and agreements. To contribute to the development of SAR protection, permits/agreements, stewardship program and outreach.

Duties / Responsibilities :

Under the direction of the Coordinator, Fisheries Section, this position requires:

1. Providing specialty expertise in aquatic biology to support the Branch and the effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA), and to contribute to the planning, development and implementation of an integrated cross-cutting SAR science, biology and information program.

2. Leading the identification of information required by branch/ministry management/staff in the scientific specialty area of aquatics biology/ecology to support the development/implementation of branch legislation, policies and procedures, and the ongoing management of SAR programs across the ministry. Determines sources for the best existing aquatic science knowledge/technology available to meet branch/ministry scientific information needs. Conducts environmental scans and aquatic biology/ecology scientific literature reviews, and synthesizes information/data from scientific and resource management literature/data bases, and aboriginal traditional knowledge sources.

3. Providing aquatic biology and ecology expertise and information required by branch management/staff to support the review, analysis and assessment of permits and agreements applications and the issuance of permits, stewardship agreements, and exemption agreements. Prepares and/or contributes to the development of individual species-specific habitat descriptions, regulations, government responses, recovery strategies and briefing documents on aquatic biology and ecology topics for species at risk and their habitats across Ontario.

4. Acting as the branch scientific aquatic expert on project teams, and providing aquatic biology and ecology expertise, advice and support to branch projects/initiatives for the development, review and implementation of SAR practices, standards, protocols, and indices. Conducts and/or participates in case studies and other investigative projects in concert with other team members and in cooperation with other researchers and specialists from other agencies and jurisdictions to collect, analyze and report on current aquatic body of knowledge and provide analysis relevant to each project/initiative, and to ensure the soundness of project plan content, design, and analytical procedures from a scientific aquatic expertise perspective.

5. Leading, conducting and/or participating in the analysis of SAR issues related to aquatic species and their habitats, and providing scientific advice/expertise to Species at Risk Branch for the development of issues management solutions to support branch program planning and decision making.

6. Initiating/maintaining ongoing active liaison and partnerships with researchers, scientific specialists, and experts within the ministry, other government agencies and jurisdictions, and the scientific, academic, and resource management communities related to topics of aquatic biology and ecology.

7. Developing and/or contributing to the development of branch tools/resources to effectively communicate/transfer existing science, knowledge, information and technology related to aquatic SAR populations and habitats to branch and ministry management/staff by preparing reports on the results of literature reviews/data analysis and monitoring/assessment activities, and packaging aquatic species science and information for a variety of audiences to assist branch field practitioners in consultations with their clients.

8. Providing advice and guidance to resource practitioners related to aquatic species populations and habitats, including providing direct technical assistance on the interpretation and management of information (e.g. data definitions, data collection methodologies, field applications), and the measurement/analysis of the impact of different stresses on aquatic populations, ecosystems and their diversity.

9. Participating in cooperative projects/partnerships/initiatives within the branch, with other MNRF branches or divisions and with other government agencies (provincial and federal) and non-government organizations involved in the management of aquatic species at risk in Ontario to provide ongoing scientific expertise, advice and guidance on aquatic SAR populations and habitats.

10. Participating on branch/division/ministry committees as assigned.

Staffing and Licencing :

Ability to travel to attend meetings throughout Ontario

Knowledge :

• Advanced knowledge of current aquatic biological/ecological science theory/principles, and knowledge of principles/practices of aquatic population ecology, physiology and management; aquatic habitat classification; and aquatic monitoring, biometrics and environmental risk to identify aquatic species/habitat scientific information needs, aquatic scientific research/analysis, provide scientific expertise to support the development of policies, programs and issues management strategies of the SAR Branch, and communicate/transfer science, information and tools to ministry staff (e.g. calibration, validation, interpretation and use of monitoring standards and protocols);
• Expert level scientific knowledge of Ontario aquatic species at risk (endangered, threatened, special concern, and extirpated species) and their habitats to act as the primary branch aquatic species scientific resource to management/staff and to conduct scientific research/analysis to provide input to branch policies and programs;
• Excellent knowledge of the government/ministry SAR objectives, and programs related to the protection, conservation, recovery and management of species at risk, and the intent/application of the Endangered Species Act, 2007 and other relevant legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines to provide aquatic biological expertise for the development of specific SAR policies/programs; develop technology, standards, techniques and tools consistent with the needs of resource managers; and conduct/participate in consultation processes with a broad range of stakeholders;
• Knowledge of scientific methods such as aquatic species experimental and sampling design and statistical analysis (multi-variate and trend-thru-time) to provide advice to branch/ministry staff related to the design and implementation of aquatic species science, assessment and monitoring projects;
• Knowledge of stakeholder sectors (e.g. scientific community, waterpower industry, forestry, fish and wildlife, land developers, Aboriginal groups) in Ontario to support consultations and provide aquatic scientific advice/expertise for the development/preparation of species-specific habitat descriptions, regulations, recovery strategies, management plans, government response statements, and permits and agreements;
• Knowledge of computer-based data management, statistical analysis/modeling software programs and analysis techniques to access, create, manipulate and analyze data from large disparate datasets, and to prepare scientific reports/technical papers and presentations.

Skills :

• Scientific research and analysis skills to conduct research/analysis of scientific literature and data bases and contribute biological expertise to the development and completion of individual aquatic species-specific habitat descriptions, regulations, recovery strategies and management plans, permits and agreements, and to provide aquatic scientific expertise to branch management/staff;
• Analytical skills to determine branch/ministry scientific information needs related to aquatic species; research available scientific/technical information to meet those information needs; analyze complex aquatic biological issues related to SAR and their habitats, and provide aquatic scientific advice/expertise to support the development of branch policy, program and issues management recommendations;
• Analytical and problem solving skills to clarify problems; interpret /synthesize data and translate information from scientific studies to specific branch issues, and identify approaches/options to address aquatic population/habitat protection problems;
• Communication and presentation skills to present project/program proposals to clients, partners and ministry staff; transfer aquatic science and technology to field staff; and provide aquatic biology/ecology advice to clients and branch management/staff;
• Facilitation and consultation skills to participate in consultation process to identify client scientific information needs, facilitate cooperation between researchers, clients and partners; and obtain input to branch SAR policies and programs;
• Project management and organizational skills to conduct assigned projects and meet tight deadlines and targets;
• Written communication skills to prepare and/or contribute to scientific summaries/reports, habitat descriptions, recovery strategies, management plans, government response statements, discussion papers, draft policy/regulation recommendations, briefing notes and correspondence.


Freedom of Action :

Job is guided by the provisions of ministry legislation, regulations and policies governing species at risk in Ontario. Job is also guided by principles, practices and methods of scientific research/analysis and environmental risk assessment.

Job exercises independent judgment by acting as the primary scientific expert/resource to branch/ministry management and staff on aquatic populations and habitats. Judgment is exercised by conducting aquatic species scientific research/analysis utilizing scientific literature and data bases, and providing scientific expertise and recommendations to ministry field staff and branch management/staff to support the development and implementation of SAR legislation, regulations, recovery strategies, management plans and government response statements, and to support the research, review and assessment of permits and agreements applications and the issuance of permits, stewardship agreements, and exemption agreements. Judgment is exercised by representing the branch/ministry in consultations across the ministry and with a range of stakeholders across the province.

The job makes independent decisions/recommendations on content of scientific reports and analytical approaches. Job consults with management in situations in which there is a possible conflict with accepted scientific or technical methodology, or the application of legislation/policy is subject to new or unclear interpretation, or the issues are particularly sensitive or potentially contentious.

Work is reviewed by management for sound scientific judgment and overall effectiveness of advice/recommendations.

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