Watershed Management Specialist

Analyze water samples to help reduce pollution.

What does a Watershed Management Specialist do?

When it rains, water streaks across the land and moves toward rivers and streams. Along the way, this water can pick up an incredible amount of pollution from farms, houses, streets, and businesses. Watershed Management Specialists monitor the level of pollution at the point that runoff enters a river or stream, and work to lower that pollution amount.

A Watershed Management Specialist must spend a significant amount of time walking around bodies of water and taking pollution samples. If you’re a Watershed Management Specialist, you may capture birds and fish, and test them for traces of pollutants. You treat these animals with care, and set them free when you’re done with your testing.

You may also test the plants that line the body of water, documenting everything you notice so you can detect changes over time. Then you write reports to share with state or governmental agencies.

With your findings, you put together plans to help reduce the amount of pollution. You may suggest that more grasses be planted near the water, for example, or that Farmers use a different type of fertilizer for their crops. You may write many, many grant proposals so you can get the money you’ll need to carry out your projects. You’ll come up with ingenious ways to obtain this money, but stop short of begging.

You also conduct classes for local landowners and businesses, telling them about what you found and what you intend to do. You may attend 4H meetings to teach young students why it’s important to protect the watershed, as well as city council meetings to teach adults the same information.