Ecologist, Saline Lakes

Job Locations
US-UT-Salt Lake city
Regular, Full-Time
Job Category
Salt Lake city


The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.


Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.


Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.

Position Summary

The Saline Lakes Ecologist will be a member of the National Audubon Society’s Saline Lakes team, a key part of the Western Water Initiative. The Initiative’s goal is to advance balanced solutions to water use in the West to ensure birds, ecosystems, people and economies thrive. 


The Saline Lakes program focuses on conservation of the network of lakes and associated wetlands in the Intermountain West that provides critically important breeding and stopover habitat for millions of migratory birds and supports local and regional economies. Reporting to the Director of the Saline Lakes Program, this position will help drive conservation outcomes for saline lake ecosystems and the birds that depend on them by analyzing, synthesizing, generating or facilitating development of scientific and hydrologic information necessary to inform priorities, management plans, and policy positions. In addition, s/he will be responsible for building and working with a network of scientific and other colleagues in agencies, academic institutions, conservation organizations and other partners to advance scientific understanding of saline lakes and their associated wetland habitats.


**There is a preference for this position to be based in / around Salt Lake City, Utah office.

Essential Functions

  • Work collaboratively with scientists and experts within Audubon and in the broader Intermountain West region to support and promote science-based saline lakes conservation.
  • Advise and provide assistance to the Director and other conservation leads (including Gillmor Sanctuary, Salton Sea and other locations) on saline lake system ecology and birds.
  • Design and implement or lead analyses of biological, hydrologic, chemical, and physical processes that affect birds in saline lakes and associated wetlands ecosystems at Great Salt Lake and throughout the Inter-Mountain West.
  • Analyze water flow and water management relationships associated with or affecting saline lakes and associated wetlands.
  • Analyze site-based avian count datasets and related measurements of invertebrates, water levels, habitat, pollutants, or other covariates that explain bird use of saline lake and wetlands habitats.
  • Manage consultants and interns as required, to further conservation work in the field or analytical work in the office.
  • Lead or contribute to peer-reviewed publications and grant proposals in support of projects.
  • Engage with the news media, public, stakeholders and others, as requested, to share scientific information about birds, saline lakes, etc.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Advanced Degree in applied ecology, biology, wildlife or natural or environmental sciences, hydrologic, or other natural resource conservation-related disciplines. Knowledge of birds and ornithology necessary. Knowledge of hydrology and hydrologic relationship to environmental and wildlife needs necessary.
  • 2+ years' applied experience preferred.
  • Research experience in the ecology of waterfowl, shorebirds, or other waterbirds and their associated habitats.
  • Direct experience with habitat design, restoration and management, including related infrastructure.
  • Direct experience working with hydrology, water rights, and related engineering preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability and skills for project management and to clearly frame research questions, design studies, and implement analyses.
  • Demonstrated skills in communicating science content to the public and writing scientific papers for technical, as well as diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate with resource managers, scientists and others from government agencies, NGOs, industry and other stakeholders in co-produced analyses, reports/publication, and visualizations.
  • A self-starter, one who can think creatively about connections among birds, places, and people.
  • Ability to work with data and script analyses in R, Python, or another statistical software, is a plus, but not required.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications, as well as excellent GIS skills, particularly with ArcGIS products is a plus.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed, some weekends and evenings required.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion in all aspects of work.

This position is represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).


EEO Statement

The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.

Accessibility Statement

The National Audubon Society endeavors to keep our careers site accessible to any and all users.  If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.

COVID Policy

All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.


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