Department of Water Resources Home


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Environmental Services

Dean Messer, Chief

3500 Industrial Blvd.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 376-9699

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001



Environmental Scientist

What is an Environmental Scientist?

Water Quality Sampling A DWR Environmental Scientist is a person who participates in projects that encompass a wide variety of scientific disciplines. Our scientists participate in projects that help protect and enhance the health of California’s diverse habitats. The State’s abundant water resources and their associated aquatic habitats, combined with diverse geography and climates, provide food and shelter for thousands of species of plants, fish, birds, and other wildlife. Competing demands for water supplies are presenting the State with one of its greatest challenges: How to restore and protect the environment while meeting the needs of California’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry, increasing population, and booming economy.

You too can do this...Join the California Department of Water Resources and help shape the Golden State's future and preserve its environment for generations to come.

Electrofishing in Suisun MarshThe Department is one of the largest State agencies and employs many environmental scientists to keep its water storage, conveyance and supply activities operating throughout the State, while complying with environmental laws and regulations. To fulfill such commitments, the staff conducts a variety of studies and projects that are essential to the Department's mission:

To manage the water resources of California in cooperation with other agencies, to benefit the State’s people, and to protect, restore, and enhance the natural and human environments.

Stream Channel Profiling
The choice is yours...
You can conduct field studies such as species inventories, population monitoring, and water quality assessment. Other opportunities include planning and monitoring of habitat conservation areas; assessing sites for the presence and protection of endangered species, or hazardous substance contamination; developing mitigation for project impacts and habitat restoration; investigating fish passage and fish screens; managing exotic species and pests; evaluating and protecting drinking water quality; and working with other State, federal, and local agencies to assure compliance with environmental laws.

DWR offers abundant opportunities for Environmental Scientists, with career locations available in northern, central, and southern California. You’ll work with recognized experts in the field, expand your experience and knowledge, and take advantage of ample training and promotional opportunities.


Your future is here...
Choose a career that is demanding but fulfilling. Choose a career in water with the California Department of Water Resources.

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Example of Duties:

• Gather scientific data from research materials and field observations and analyze the data.
• Develop investigatory and research techniques for surveys.
• Make environmental inventories, assessments, and analyses.
• Apply scientific methods and principles in the identification, research, and solution of problems in the areas of water resource development and maintenance.
• Prepare, review, and process environmental documents required by federal and State laws and regulations to document effects of proposed activities on all areas of the environment.
• Apply for environmental permits and perform assessments for permit compliance.
• Minimize hazardous substance liability and assist in the characterization and remediation of contaminated properties.
• Apply quality assurance/quality control measures for data validation.
• Protect human health and the environment from toxic exposures to hazardous materials.
• Ensure compliance with federal and State cultural resource and historic preservation statutes and regulations.

tagging a fish



Minimum Qualifications:

Entry Level (ESI): Graduation from a college or university with a degree in natural science, physical science, environmental science, or a related field.

A civil service examination is required for Environmental Scientists and is designed to test the competitors’:

Knowledge of:
• basic principles of land and water resources research
• principles of environmental ecology
• statistical methods or analysis
• land-use practices with reference to their general effect on human health and the environment
• effects of waste material and their interactions on the environment


Ability to:
• collect environmental data
• analyze and evaluate data and reach sound conclusions
• analyze situations and take appropriate actions
• establish and maintain cooperative relations and effective communications with local governments and all persons contacted in the course of work
• prepare clear, complete, and technically accurate reports wq wqstaff

Fish Tagging

For more information on a career with the Department of Water Resources, please contact the Department of Water Resources - Personnel Office.