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(2) Senior Water Advisors

Are you a senior-level water professional ready to make an impact addressing Oregon water challenges?   


The Oregon Water Resources Department (WRD) seeks to hire two full-time Senior Water Advisors (Natural Resource Specialist 5 with an underfill option of a Natural Resource Specialist 4 option). As a Senior Water Advisor, you will lead Department efforts to pursue solutions to complex water management challenges in coordination with other Department staff and various interests (i.e., tribes, stakeholder groups, communities, state/federal agencies, the public, etc.). These senior-level staff positions will work on priority statewide issues as well as complex issues in priority basins. For example, one position’s project portfolio will include resolving water rights issues with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and work on bi-state, tri-sovereign issues in the Walla Walla basin.  The other position’s portfolio will include the Harney Basin, which currently faces unique challenges and opportunities in water management. You will be a member of the Planning, Collaboration, and Investments Section within the Director’s Office, reporting to the Manager of the Planning, Collaboration, and Investments Section. Consider joining our team and advancing our mission to practice and promote responsible water management in Oregon! Learn more about the Department.   


What you will do 

As water scarcity and uncertainty increase, the State of Oregon must work with partners to find ways to address complex water management challenges and meet both instream and out-of-stream needs. As an agency expert in negotiating a path forward on water solutions, you will: 

Develop recommendations, pursue water management solutions, negotiate on behalf of the agency, and manage projects on highly contentious or complicated aspects of water management in the assigned basin(s).  

Formulate and execute work plans for basin or agency priority project(s) and basins in a way that is transparent, inclusive, and professional and ensures strong coordination across agency sections and with external partners.   

Collaborate with tribes, state/federal agencies, various stakeholder interests, and the public and use conflict resolution techniques to make meaningful progress on various projects that help achieve the agency’s mission.  

Engage with and build trust and relationships with those who live, work, or have an interest in the areas of the state in which you work.  


What’s in it for you? 

The opportunity to:  

Pursue solutions that modernize management of Oregon’s surface water and groundwater resources and secures Oregon’s instream and out-of-stream water future in the face of increasing water scarcity and uncertainty. 

Find satisfaction in complex, basin-scale work bringing together science, policy, and public engagement to address water management issues.  

Support a sustainable water future for Oregon’s economy, environment, and communities.  

Join an organization with smart, driven co-workers who care about public service, water resources, and their co-workers.  

Work with a team that welcomes new ideas.  


Salary – The State of Oregon conducts a pay equity analysis to determine what pay step within the salary range to offer the successful candidate based on the experience documented in your application. See below for salary ranges.  


NON-PERS ELIGIBLE (Includes most new hires to state government. Employees typically gain PERS eligibility after six months of state service. 


NRS5 $5,936.00 – $9,116.00 Monthly* 


NRS4 (underfill option) $5,396 - $8,292 Monthly* 


PERS ELIGIBLE (Typically current or former employees of Oregon state or local government, public schools, universities, etc.) 


NRS5 $6,350.00 – $9,751.00 Monthly* 


NRS4 (underfill option) $5,771 - $8,870 Monthly* 


*Please note there per the recent SEIU bargaining there will be a cost-of-living adjustment of 6.5% on December 1, 2023, to all union-represented employees.  The rate above does not reflect this increase.    


Other Benefits – We offer a competitive benefits package that includes: 

Exceptional medical, vision and dental plans with employees paying 1-5% of the total premium. 

Leave accrual starting at 8 hours of sick and 8 hours of vacation leave per month, with your vacation leave accruals increasing every 5 years. 

Access to and additional four days of discretionary leave - 3 days of personal business leave and one day of Governor’s Leave to use at your discretion each year. 

Eleven paid holidays per year. 

Membership in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), including a pension and employer contributions to the Individual Account Program.  

Optional benefits (such as term life insurance, long-term and short-term disability, long-term care, health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, enrollment in the Oregon Savings Growth Plan, a deferred compensation program with a wide variety of investment options). 

The opportunity to receive loan forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program  (must qualify). 


The team you will join  

The Planning, Collaboration, and Investments (PCI) Section builds partnerships and incentivizes Oregonians to pursue integrated and innovative solutions for complex water challenges and an uncertain water future. The team works in support of the Department’s mission through adaptive planning, cooperative partnerships, strategic investments, accessible information, and effective coordination. We and our colleagues across the Department are working to implement our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan and live out our agency core values of: 

Integrity – We are accountable for all that we do. We act with honesty and promote transparency. 

Service – We are dedicated to providing outstanding service and treating everyone equitably in our management and stewardship of state resources. 

Technical Excellence – We base our resource decisions on law, science, and expertise. 

Teamwork – We are united in our mission, relying on one another and working together with the communities we serve. 

Forward-Looking – We seek innovative and practical solutions to the water challenges of today and tomorrow. 


Our position on diversity, equity, and inclusion 

The Oregon Water Resources Department is committed to creating a workplace culture that understands and appreciates differences among people and is welcoming and inclusive to all. By fostering fairness and equity in its work culture, the Department strives to improve services for all Oregonians. We acknowledge that not all people have experienced equitable opportunities or fair treatment. We are committed to increasing our awareness and understanding of historic injustices and building a foundation for meaningful change. We value a wide range of professional and lived experiences, and people of underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply. 


What are we looking for? 

We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and that candidate may not meet every one of our listed qualifications. Lived experience may count towards the preferred qualifications listed below. If you are excited about this position, we encourage you to apply. If you are unsure as to whether or not you meet the qualifications of this position, please contact the hiring manager to discuss your application.  


Natural Resource Specialist 5 minimum qualifications:  

Six years of experience in a natural resource program area. At least one year of the experience must be at a technical or professional level performing activities in a natural resource program such as researching and analyzing data, conducting investigations, applying pertinent laws and regulations, or coordinating and monitoring project activities; AND a Bachelor's degree in a natural resource area; 

OR three additional years of related experience. 

A Master's degree in a natural resource area will substitute for up to one year of the required experience. A Doctorate degree in a natural resource area will substitute for up to two years of the required experience.  


Natural Resources Specialist 4 minimum qualifications (underfill option): 

Four years of experience in a natural resource program area. At least one year of the experience must be at a technical or professional level performing activities in a natural resource program such as researching and analyzing data, conducting investigations, applying pertinent laws and regulations, or coordinating and monitoring project activities; AND a Bachelor's degree in a natural resource area; 

OR three additional years of related experience. 

A Master's degree in a natural resource area will substitute for up to one year of the required experience. A Doctorate degree in a natural resource area will substitute for up to two years of the required experience.  


Preferred Qualifications:  

Diplomacy and conflict resolution – You must be able to listen to and communicate with various parties on contentious issues, maintaining solid relationships. When tensions are high or opposing parties seem to have reached an impasse, you can employ conflict management techniques to facilitate resolution. Experience negotiating successfully on complex natural resource management topics is highly desired. 

Understanding of western water law and water management – A working understanding of water law and science is critical to understanding the complex legal, regulatory, and technical aspects of projects and programs, such as negotiation of tribal water rights settlements. 

Critical thinking skills – You have the ability to identify connections and generate ideas for navigating complex problems, evaluating the benefits and risks associated with different courses of action.  

Equity and environmental justice You are informed and engaged with issues of equity and environmental justice and seek to continue to learn and grow in these areas.  

Excellent organization skills You can keep track of project progress, timelines, deadlines, and deliverables, while also coordinating with project partners.  

Self-starter and team player – You possess the ability to work both independently and as part of a team to move projects forward.  

Effective Communication – You are able to communicate with a wide variety of audiences and be able to accurately distill highly technical and complex information (law, policy, and science). 


Working Conditions 

These positions require a valid driver's license and an acceptable driving record.  These positions may work remotely and/or in an office environment on a schedule agreed upon by the employee and supervisor. Overnight travel will be required within the region to attend meetings, develop relationships, learn about the basin and statewide water issues, etc. Overnight travel will be required across the state to attend meetings such as those of the Water Resources Commission, meetings with other Department staff in Salem, and meetings associated with statewide projects assigned to the individual.  Time management is essential as well as excellent interpersonal skills to address various situations that may arise with employees, co-workers, and/or customers. 


Where will you work? 

These senior-level staff positions will work on both statewide issues and complex projects in priority basins.  We are looking to hire individuals whose portfolios will primarily include issues east of the Cascade mountains for their priority projects over the next several years.  More specifically we are looking for one position to be based in northeastern Oregon and one in southeastern Oregon with the following duty station options:


Northeastern Oregon 

Pendleton (preferred) 

The Dalles 


Southeastern Oregon 

Baker City  



Canyon City  

Klamath Falls  



Learn more about the eastern Oregon, home to Pendleton, Baker City several other great eastern Oregon towns, as well as awe-inspiring places. Check out things to do in the Pendleton area or explore outdoor recreation in eastern Oregon as a sample of what eastern Oregon has for its residents.  


OWRD is open to considering a Salem office duty station, if it cannot find high quality candidates willing to be based east of the Cascades and the candidate understands there would be significant travel to northeastern or southeastern Oregon.  Preference will be given to candidates wishing to be based east of the Cascades.   


Applicant screening will begin November 3rd, 2023.  


How to Apply 

 Please ensure to provide a cover letter and resume for full consideration.

Provide a brief (no more than 1 page) cover letter indicating why you are interested in, and a good candidate for the position. 

Provide a resume (no more than 4 pages) indicating your experience pertinent to the required qualifications and desired attributes in this announcement. 


Warning! The Workday system will timeout after 15 minutes of inactivity. 


After You Apply 

Log in to your Workday account before the job announcement closes to see if you have any pending tasks or actions, and make sure to complete these tasks or actions before the job announcement closes. These can be found under the “My Applications” section. 

Be sure to check both your email and Workday account for updates regarding this recruitment. 


Want to Know More? Here's more help! 

Salary - The salary listed is the non-PERS qualifying salary range. If the successful candidate is PERS qualifying, the salary range will reflect an additional 6.95%. Please review the Classification and Compensation page for more details. 

Work authorization – WRD does not offer visa sponsorship. Within three days of hire, applicants will be required to complete I-9 documentation and confirm authorization to work in the United States. If your employment authorization and documentation is contingent on sponsorship now or in the future, you will not meet DAS employment eligibility standards.  

Veterans – Eligible veterans who meet the qualifications will be given veterans' preference. For further information, please see the following website: Veterans Resources, or call Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs at: 1-800-692-9666 NOTE: If claiming veterans’ preference please be sure to check your Workday account for pending tasks or actions under your “My Applications” section.  

Job Announcement - Please save a copy of this job announcement for your reference, as it may not be available for you to view after the job closes. If you have questions about the job announcement, or need an alternate format to apply, please contact

Assessment - If you are selected to move forward in this recruitment, please be aware that the hiring team may incorporate an assessment into the recruitment process. Additional details on the assessment will be sent to those who are eligible and selected to move forward. 

This applicant pool may be used to fill additional vacancies as they occur over the next three (3) months.   


Helpful Links & Resources 

Oregon Job Opportunities Webpage | How to Set Job Alerts 

Workday Applicant FAQ | What You Need to Know to Get the Job 

Pay Equity Information & Resources