RAY Conservation Diversity Fellow: Central Puget Sound Natural Resource Specialist

Job Location

Lacey, WA (Temporarily remote)


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Type of Job



$40k baseline salary

Published Date

Feb 2, 2021

About the job

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Inspired by efforts to increase racial diversity in conservation and clean energy, the Roger Arliner Young (RAY) Diversity Fellowship Program aims to increase and facilitate environmentally-related career pathways for emerging leaders of color. The RAY Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship designed to equip recent college graduates with the tools, experiences, support, and community they need to become leaders in the conservation and clean energy sectors—one that, in our visions of the future, fully represents, includes, and is led by the diverse communities, perspectives, and experiences of the United States.

ABOUT National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), West Coast Region, Oregon Washington Coastal Area Office, Central Puget Sound Branch Office

NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. We have five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories, and we work with partners across the nation.

The West Coast Region of NOAA Fisheries works in Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho and the associated ocean waters. The teams at NOAA Fisheries are passionate about conservation and protection of the ocean ecosystems, in particular the fish, whales and turtles that rely on them. We use environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act to implement our mission.

We rely on science to help us answer questions and tell stories that can inspire our partners to make sustainable choices and assist the public in meeting the requirements of environmental laws when it comes to actions like fishing, urban and industrial development and making use of natural resources like wind, oil, solar projects.

We are committed to recruiting and empowering a workforce that reflects our diverse region and embraces multiple perspectives in the pursuit of our mission and the public we serve. A collaborative work environment that gives voice to diverse perspectives is essential for living up to the mission and solving the complexities of modern stewardship and governance.


The RAY Fellow will become a member of the Central Puget Sound Branch and play an integral role in a small team that implements regulations under the Endangered Species Act and Magnuson Stevens Act – Essential Fish Habitat mandate. The Central Puget Sound team members are committed to creating an environment of respect, non judgment and patience. They understand that each individual has unique perspectives, and values new ideas, listening and sharing. The open communication helps to keep each other accountable to these commitments.

Over the past year our team has tackled the creation of a “Puget Sound Conservation Calculator” that can be used to help the public when they are developing structures like marinas, bulkheads and boat ramps to determine their impacts on the environment so that they can also plan to create the right amount of mitigation to offset the impacts. The RAY Fellow will:

● Support research and literature review to ensure best available science and information supports habitat values in the conservation calculator

● Use the conservation calculator on projects under Endangered Species Act review to determine their environmental impacts and benefits

● Support development of education and outreach materials for websites and public workshops

The Central Puget Sound Branch is developing several Endangered Species Act and Essential Fish Habitat reviews and government positions on high profile issues like water quality, aquaculture, and the biological health of sub-populations of Puget Sound Chinook. The RAY Fellow will:

● Research, compile, and confer with the team and colleagues on the findings of scientific/professional literature and the effects on endangered and threatened fish and whale species.

● Assist in the drafting of regulatory documents for Endangered Species Act and Essential Fish Habitat decisions.

● Attend meetings and presentations that showcase NOAA Fisheries’ varied array of conservation efforts and partnerships, including those based on Tribal treaty rights.

The RAY Fellow will gain extensive experience writing, communicating scientific findings, conducting scientific analyses, and learning how these findings are used in environmental regulatory programs. The RAY Fellow will broaden their knowledge of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other federal laws and gain a deep understanding of conservation, protection, and recovery of endangered and threatened species. The RAY Fellow will also have many opportunities to participate in team meetings to share thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. The WCR offers frequent training for all staff to develop both personal and professional skills. The RAY Fellow will become a part of an awesome team that is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion to fulfill its conservation mission.


● Conduct literature reviews.

● Review ESA consultation requests for sufficiency and apply the conservation calculator.

● Learn about current research methods, techniques, and protocols and associated impacts on endangered species.

● Assist with data entry, database management, QA/QC (quality assurance/quality control), and statistical analysis.

● Technical writing opportunities (draft sections of Biological Opinions, technical memos, and outreach materials).

● Web content writing opportunities (e.g., story maps and factsheets).

● If appropriate, conduct site visits to evaluate research projects.

● Participate in staff meetings, virtual coffee hours, and diversity and inclusion discussions.


In addition to the responsibilities at the host institution outlined above, RAY Fellows will spend, on average, 2-4 hours per week (5-10% of work time) on the following:

● Actively communicating and building community with their RAY Fellow cohort and previous RAY Fellows.

● Attending monthly check-ins calls (including 1-on-1 check-ins with RAY program staff and group calls with their RAY Fellow cohort).

● Meeting regularly with mentors both inside and outside the host institution.

● Attending monthly professional development webinars, trainings, and other opportunities to build knowledge and skills.

● Developing a Personal Leadership Plan (PLP) in their 2nd year with the support of supervisor(s), mentors, RAY program staff, and their RAY Fellow cohort. The PLP will serve as a tool for self-reflection, planning, and assessing progress towards professional, personal, and leadership goals.

● Preparing and leading an hour-long end-of-fellowship webinar highlighting their Fellowship experience.

RAY Fellows will also attend:

● A 3-day Orientation Retreat in August 2021.

● A 3-day Mid-Fellowship Leadership Retreat in August 2022.

● At least one other training or workshop with their RAY Fellow cohort.


Eligible RAY Fellow applicants will:

● Come from a racial / ethnic background underrepresented in conservation and clean energy and demonstrate a commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

● Be no more than 1 year out of college and have a Bachelor's Degree by July 2021(we are not considering individuals with graduate degrees at this time).

● Have not had a full-time job in conservation or clean energy.

● Have the ability to work in the United States and commit to the entire fellowship.


▪ A college degree in biology, ecology or environmental studies (or equivalent) by the time of employment

▪ Track record of high achievement.

▪ An interest in the field of conservation.

▪ Demonstrated intellect and leadership.

▪ Effective written and verbal communication skills.

▪ Experience or a strong interest in researching and writing about scientific/environmental topics.

▪ Naturally curious and passionate.

▪ The ability to deal with objections.

▪ Enjoys being involved in several projects and collaborating across teams.

▪ Talented at managing your own time.

▪ Personable, helpful and incredibly organized.


This is a two-year, full-time fellowship (one year with a one year renewal) starting on or after July 15, 2021.


The Fellowship is compensated and sponsored by the Environmental Leadership Program, who offers a competitive benefits package as well as training and professional development opportunities. More details to follow.


To apply for the RAY Fellowship Program, applicants must:

  1. Complete the online application survey on the RAY Fellowship Program website: https://rayfellowship.org/apply
  2. Follow the instructions on the linked application webpage to submit a curriculum vitae or a resume, responses to one essay, one visioning, and one short answer prompt, and a letter of support.

Applications must be submitted to the RAY Fellowship Program no later than March 26, 2021. Transcripts and additional writing samples are not required. Questions about the application process can be submitted to the RAY Conservation Program Manager, Guilu Murphy, via email at guilu@elpnet.org.

NOAA Fisheries is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, handicap, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. NOAA Fisheries is continually seeking to diversify its staff, particularly to broaden opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to achieving diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organization. We recognize that this is not a short-term goal but one that requires a deliberate, sustained effort. Understanding that diversity and inclusion are essential to fulfilling our mission, we will strive to cultivate a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, fairness and belonging. We recognize that employees, supervisors, and leaders at all levels play a critical role in realizing this vision.