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Water Resources Program Manager (EMS Band 3)

Per Governor Inslee’s Proclamation 21-14.2 (Download PDF reader), Washington State employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As a condition of employment, the successful candidate will be required to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination as part of the hiring process, prior to their start date. Requests for medical and religious exemptions will be considered. If you have questions, please contact with “COVID-19 vaccination” in the subject line.  

Keeping Washington Clean and Evergreen

The Department of Ecology is currently looking to fill the Water Resources Program Manager (Exempt Management Service Band 3) position. This position reports to Ecology’s Deputy Director and is located at our Headquarters Building in Lacey, WA. Upon hire, you must live within a commutable distance from the duty station.
We are seeking an experienced leader, strategic thinker, and problem-solver to manage and lead our Water Resources Program. This position represents the Director of Ecology on water availability issues, working hard to find unique solutions that sustain a healthy environment in harmony with a strong economy to ensure sustainable water for people and a healthy environment.
This is an exciting and challenging position for a proven leader. It's an opportunity to become part of a dynamic executive leadership team that engages federal, state, local, Tribal, elected officials and environmental group interests to create innovative partnerships. It is through these partnerships that we pursue our commitment to meeting current water needs and ensure future water availability for people, fish, and the natural environment.
Our Mission at the Department of Ecology is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. 
Program Mission: The mission of the Water Resources Program is to support sustainable water resources management to meet the needs of people and the natural environment, in partnership with Washington communities. 

Modern Work Environment: Ecology employees have some opportunity to telework in combination with working in the office and/or in the field based on position and business need. This position is expected to work in the office/field at least 60% of the time and may telework up to 40% of the time. It is a requirement that while employed by the State of Washington, employees’ primary residence must be within the State of Washington. 
Application Timeline: This position will remain open until filled, with an initial screening date of October 14, 2022. In order to be considered for initial screening, please submit an application on or before October 13, 2022. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.

About the Department of Ecology
Protecting Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. Join a team that is highly effective and collaborative, with leadership that embraces the value of people.

Ecology cares deeply about employee wellness; we go beyond traditional benefits, proudly offering:

  • A healthy life/work balance by offering flexible schedules and telework options for most positions.
  • An Infants at Work Program that is based on the long-term health values of infant-parent bonding and breastfeeding newborns.
  • Continuous growth and development opportunities. 
  • A wellness program that offers education, fitness classes, and an agency-wide fondness for outdoor meetings.
  • Opportunities to serve your community and make an impact through meaningful work.

Our commitment to DEIR
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) are core values central to Ecology’s work. We strive to be a workplace where we are esteemed for sharing our authentic identities, while advancing our individual professional goals and collaborating to protect, preserve, and enhance the environment for current and future generations.
Diversity: We celebrate and appreciate diversity; our unique perspectives and abilities enrich us all and lead to innovative approaches and solutions.
Equity: We champion equity, recognizing that each of us need different things to thrive.
Inclusion: We intentionally create and hold space so that we all have meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute to Ecology’s work.
Respect: We treat each other with respect and dignity, acknowledging the inherent worth of our diverse perspectives and lived experiences, even in times of uncertainty and disagreement.
We believe that DEIR is both a goal and an action. We are on a journey, honoring our shared humanity and taking steps to demonstrate our commitment to a vision where each of us is heard, seen, and valued. 


Who are we looking for?
We're looking for an experienced leader to manage our Water Resources program. In this role, you will serve as a principal advisor, decision-maker and spokesperson in carrying out the responsibilities of the program. Washington has seen increased demand for water supplies to accommodate population growth and economic development. Demand has also been coupled with concern for how climate change will impact water supplies.
What you will be doing:
In this role, you will manage the Water Resources Program to ensure that the regulation, allocation, conservation and protection of the state’s waters are consistent with state laws and achieve the maximum net benefit for the Washington citizens. In addition, you will oversee the Dam Safety Program and Well Drillers Licensing Program to ensure the safety of Washington residents; put policies, procedures, and rules in place to guide implementation of the intent of the statutes, legislative directives, case law, and watershed planning efforts; and represent Ecology's water resource interests with Tribes, local governments, state and federal agencies, the Legislature, business, industry and agriculture and in administrative appeals board hearings, and state and federal courts.
You will manage approximately 165 staff and an operating and capital budget of $333 million and will be responsible for: 
  • Administration and management of surface and ground water resources in Washington. 
  • Leading a team of regional managers making decisions concerning water availability.
  • Overseeing dam safety and well construction across the state.
  • Adjudication of water rights. 
  • Protection and achievement of in-stream flows and consultation with local governments, Tribes, and various stakeholders on rural flow protection in conjunction with rural water supply strategies. 
  • Approval, conditioning, and denial of new water uses, including responsibility to help find means to meet the growing needs for municipal, industrial, agricultural, commercial, residential growth and development. 
  • Initiation, development, and implementation of strategic components of the state's water management goals under state and federal law. 
  • Budget management and policy support for the Office of Columbia River water supply program.
  • Assuring the public is well informed about state water resource issues and programs. 
You will use strategic thinking on complex policy and technical judgment and decision making regarding the management, allocation, and use of all water resources in the state. Decisions made in this role are precedent setting and have significant, long lasting, statewide impact affecting thousands of private individuals, businesses, local governments, and millions of dollars annually.
In this position, you will:
  • Establish cross-program policies, strategic direction, and central coordination of all water resource functions within the agency and put rules and procedures in place to guide implementation of statutes, legislative directives, case law, and water resource standards.
  • Authorize approval of permits, legal enforcement actions, and contract encumbrances.
  • Interpret, develop, and establish broad departmental policies affecting other programs that conduct water resource activities.
  • Negotiate complex interagency agreements affecting resources in the agency.
  • Conceptualize, initiate, develop, and implement strategic components of the state's water resource goals under federal and state law.

A Key Member of Ecology's Executive Management Team

It is critical that this important position maintains the highest standards of personal, professional, and ethical conduct to support the state's commitment to efficient, effective, and accountable government. 
This is a highly visible role with other federal and state agencies involved in environmental management which impacts fisheries, hydropower, land use, and other aquatic related programs. Success in this position requires the use of advanced management, communication, negotiation, and consensus-building skills with high-level, influential elected and appointed officials.
As a key member of Ecology’s Executive Leadership Team, you will:
  • Represent the Director with Federal, Canadian Provincial, Washington, Idaho and Oregon State, local, Tribal and elected officials, the general public, environmental groups, environmental justice advocacy groups, and the business community.
  • Develop credibility as a dependable and accurate problem solver and source of information for local, state, and Tribal leaders.
  • Work with other programs and agencies, Tribal governments, local governments and various organizations to formulate and implement various policies, procedures, guidelines and rules related to Washington's water resources.
  • Make recommendations to the Executive Leadership Team on how to implement programs and develop policies including agency direction for work procedures to ensure responsive service delivery and consistency.
  • Foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and respectful workplace.

Required Qualifications:
A total of eleven years of experience and/or education.
Experience: in professional level management, which includes the following:
  • Five (5) years of professional level supervisory responsibility, including experience-managing supervisors.
  1. Providing direction to mid-level managers and supervisors in scientific, engineering and/or public health fields, which included coaching, training, recruitment, evaluation, and performance.
  2. Providing oversight of a program's diverse functions combining and directing all aspects to meet overall program objectives.
  • A minimum of five (5) years of budget management experience.
  • A minimum of three (3) years of strategic planning experience (annual or biennial based business plan) including the ability to conceptualize and articulate the future direction of a program.
Please note: Experience in each of the areas may have been gained concurrently. 
Education: With a major study in environmental, physical or natural science, environmental studies, engineering, public administration, planning public policy, political science, law, or other related qualifying discipline.
All experience and education combinations that meet the requirements for this position: 

Possible Combinations

College credit hours or degree – as listed above

Years of required experience - as listed above

Combination 1

No college credit hours or degree

11 years of experience

Combination 2

30-59 semester or 45-89 quarter credits.

10 years of experience

Combination 3

60-89 semester or 90-134 quarter credits (AA degree).

9 years of experience

Combination 4

90-119 semester or 135-179 quarter credits.

8 years of experience

Combination 5 

A Bachelor's Degree

7 years of experience

Combination 6

A Master’s Degree or higher

5 years of experience

Special Requirements/Conditions of Employment:
The ability to obtain and maintain a valid driver’s license.
Desired Qualifications:
We highly encourage you to apply even if you do not have some (or all) of the desired experience below. 

  • Experience with senior level key stakeholder relationship development including advanced knowledge of legislative processes and intergovernmental relations. 
  • Experience providing leadership and guidance (not always with direct line authority) to a large number of technical/scientific and/or policy staff. 
  • Knowledge of statutes, regulations, and case law pertaining to water resource management including general knowledge of western water law and Washington’s Columbia River water management program. 
Note: Having some (or all) of this desired experience may make your application more competitive in a highly competitive applicant pool.
Supplemental Information

Ecology seeks diverse applicants: We view diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect through a broad lens including race, ethnicity, class, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, military background, language, education, life experience, physical disability, neurodiversity, and intersectional identities. Qualified candidates from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Need an Accommodation in the application and/or screening process or this job announcement in an alternative format?

  • Please call: (360) 407-6186 or email: and we will be happy to assist.
  • If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can reach the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.
  • If you need assistance applying for this job, please e-mail Please do not send an email to this address to follow-up on the status of your application. You can view the latest status of your application on your profile's main page.
  • If you are reading this announcement in print format, please enter the following URL to your search engine to apply: 
Application Instructions:

It's in the applicant's best interest to submit all of the documents listed below. Applications without these documents may be declined.

  • A cover letter describing why you are interested in this position.
  • A resume outlining your experience and education (if applicable) as it relates to the minimum qualifications of this position.
  • Three professional references.

Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable. 
For Your Privacy:
When attaching documents to your application (such as Resume, Cover Letter, Transcripts, DD-214, etc.):

  • Please be sure to remove private information such as your social security number, date of birth, etc. 
  • Do not attach documents that are password-protected, as these documents may not be reviewed and may cause errors within your application when downloaded. 

Additional Application Instructions for Current Ecology Employees:
Please make sure to answer the agency-wide questions regarding permanent status as a classified employee within the Washington General Service or Washington Management Service. Do not forget to select Department of Ecology as a response to question 2, and type your personnel ID number for question 3. If you are not sure of your status or do not know your personnel ID number, please contact Human Resources.

Application Attestation: 

The act of submitting application materials electronically is considered affirmation that the information is complete and truthful. The state may verify this information and any untruthful or misleading answers are cause for rejection of your application or dismissal if employed. 

Other Information:
If you have specific questions about the position, please email Heather Bartlett at: Heather.Bartlett@ecy.wa.govPlease do not contact Heather to inquire about the status of your application.
To request the full position description: email

Why work for Ecology?

As an agency, our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. We invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism, and accountability.

Joining Ecology means becoming a part of a team committed to protecting and restoring Washington State's environment. A career in public service allows you to help solve some of the most challenging problems facing our state, while keeping your health and financial security a priority. We combine one of the most competitive benefits packages in the nation with a strong commitment to life/work balance.

Ecology employees may be eligible for the following:

Student debt: how working for Ecology can help
The Department of Ecology is a qualifying employer for the Public Service Forgiveness Program (PSLF). See for more details.
To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at and follow, like or visit us on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram or our blog.
Equal Opportunity Employer: The Washington State Department of Ecology is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a working environment that includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation and gender identity diversity. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, persons of disability, persons over 40 years of age, veterans, military spouses or people with military status, and people of all sexual orientations and gender identities are encouraged to apply. Persons needing accommodation in the application/testing process or this job announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 407-6186. Applicants who are deaf or hard of hearing may call the Washington Relay Service by dialing 7-1-1 or 1-800-833-6388.