Washington Conservation Districts Northwest Area Engineer

Skagit Conservation District (SCD) seeks a licensed professional civil or environmental engineer to direct the natural resources engineering program for the Skagit, San Juan Islands, Whatcom and Whidbey Island conservation districts. The Northwest Area Engineer will identify and develop projects and technical resources to support the natural resource conservation programs of each of the four districts.

Position Status: Full-time, Exempt. Part-time employment may be considered, depending on the applicant’s interests, experience and qualifications.

Location: Mount Vernon, WA, with field work across the four-district area. Remote working arrangements may be considered, pending approval by SCD’s district manager.

Pay Range: $70,000 – $105,000

Opening Date: June 21, 2022

Closing Date: Open until filled.

Job Summary

The Northwest Area Engineer directs an engineering program that supports the natural resource conservation missions of the Skagit, San Juan Islands, Whatcom and Whidbey Island conservation districts. Conservation districts are independent units of Washington State government that are run by volunteer boards of supervisors, and which receive funding through state and local appropriations and special purpose grants. The Area Engineer works with the management and staff of each of the four districts, as well as staff of each district’s conservation partner organizations, to identify, plan, design and implement a broad range of soil, water and habitat conservation projects.

Within the overall guidance of the boards of supervisors of the four districts, the Northwest Area Engineer has broad discretion to identify and develop project opportunities, mentor district staff and staff of partner organizations, and participate in natural resource policy development and implementation stakeholder groups across the four-district area. The strategic mission of Washington’s conservation districts is to provide incentive-based technical assistance to landowners and the public for solving today’s complex natural resource conservation challenges. The Northwest Area Engineer serves a key role in implementing this mission.

Typical Job Functions

While the Northwest Area Engineer has broad professional discretion to develop his or her own work program, typical job functions of the position have included, but are not limited to the following:

  • Work with district staff and staff of non-profit, tribal, government agencies, landowners and other partner organizations to identify and develop opportunities for natural resource conservation projects that address fish and wildlife habitat protection and restoration, non-point source water quality management, soil erosion, agricultural drainage and waste management, and other resource conservation concerns.
  • Develop and manage civil/environmental engineering technical capacity for the districts and partner organizations within the limits of available funding. Participate in grant-writing efforts to obtain funding for specific projects from a wide range of public funding sources, as a means to supplement base funding for the program that is provided by the Washington State Conservation Commission.
  • Manage and complete all stages of engineering project implementation, from feasibility assessment and engineering field studies through design, permitting, construction management and final project reporting.
  • Participate on committees and working groups related to natural resource conservation issues within the four-district area and contribute engineering expertise to support their missions.
  • Complete program management and administrative functions for running the program, in coordination with district management and administrative staff.
  • Participate in training and professional development opportunities.
  • Enjoy working with committed stakeholders and landowners on complex and challenging resource conservation issues in the beautiful forest, farm and shoreline settings of Skagit, San Juan, Island and Whatcom counties.


The scope of responsibilities for the Northwest Area Engineer position is broad and does not lend itself to a comprehensive enumeration of specific knowledge, skills and experience. The following list identifies qualifications that are considered mandatory for the position as well as some others that reflect the type of project work that the Area Engineer is typically involved with.

 Required Education, Experience and Skills

  • Washington State civil and/or environmental professional engineering (PE) licensure.
  • Minimum bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to relevant natural resource management issues.
  • At least five years working experience in the civil/environmental engineering field.
  • Washington State driver’s license.
  • Ability to run a complex program with minimal supervision and limited resources, including taking self-initiative to continually learn new skills; creatively leveraging available resources; representing the four districts to agencies and the public in a professional and mature manner; and creating positive and friendly working relations with district staff and staff of partner organizations.
  • Strong skills and experience in verbal and written communication, organization and program management, and problem-solving.

Desirable Expertise

  • Experience with water resources engineering, agricultural drainage and waste management, aquatic habitat protection and restoration, and soil conservation.
  • Proficiency in civil engineering skills including topographic surveying, use of publicly available engineering computer models, AutoCAD and GIS applications. Ability to continually learn new skills as needed for supporting the work of the districts.
  • Working knowledge of local, Washington State and Federal environmental protection regulations and policies. Experience in applying them to support the design, permitting and implementation of projects.
  • Experience designing and managing public works-type projects; working with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) practice standards; and applying Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Ecology technical guidance and standards are a plus.
  • Experience providing technical mentoring to junior-level staff and working collaboratively with stakeholders and partner organizations that may have divergent interests.

Working Conditions

The Northwest Area Engineer typically works Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Flexible hours may be arranged per the approval of SCD’s district manager. Work occurs in a combination of office and field settings, with approximately 20 percent of the time spent in the field, depending on the requirements of individual projects. The Area Engineer must be able to walk through and work in rough terrain and water features while carrying and using field equipment.


SCD provides the following benefits package:

  • Medical, dental and vision coverage options for employees and their eligible dependents.
  • Vacation accrual begins at eight hours per month and increases based on years of service.
  • Eleven holidays per year, including one personal holiday.
  • Sick leave accrues at eight hours per month.
  • Participation in the Washington State Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).

Application Procedure

Interested persons should submit 1) a current resume, 2) a cover letter describing how their qualifications relate to the job functions of this position, 3) a completed application available on the web page https://www.skagitcd.org/our-staff, and 4) names and contact information of two professional references. SCD will contact references only after interviewing a prospective candidate. Please send the application material electronically to Mr. Bill Blake, SCD District Manager. For more information about the position, please contact Mr. Blake at tel. 360 428-4313 Ext 1017.

The position is open until filled. Skagit Conservation is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Please let us know if you need any accommodation to participate in the application process. Thank you for your interest in this position.