back to capitol job search

Environmental Specialist (210646)

  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Topeka (Full-Time)

Posted: Oct 06, 2023


Job Description:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has an Environmental Specialist opening in Topeka. This is a benefits eligible, grant supported position with a one year term: January 1, 2024 – December 31, 2024. The successful candidate will meet requirements for Environmental Specialist job class and have a positive and team-oriented work ethic and general proficiency with fieldwork and quality assurance principles.  Most work will conform to EPA’s National River and Stream Assessment methodology ( Field work is intensive and is conducted in a team environment; it includes but is not limited to:  Collection of water, algae, macroinvertebrate, and sediment samples; Fish sampling and identification; Physical habitat assessment; Sample collection, preparation, and shipping; Data collection and management; Operation of a small passenger boat; and Driving, sometimes with a trailer.  Office and laboratory work includes: Preparation of site maps and files; Communication with landowners; Data management; Equipment maintenance. Frequent overnight travel is expected and required for this position, especially from May through September (typically as one three-day trip per week, every week). Long field days are the norm, but the workweek is limited to 40 hours.  Hotel and per diem are reimbursed. The employee must be comfortable working in streams and rivers for long periods (in chest waders) and should be able to lift 60 lbs. As part of the team, this employee will help transport heavy equipment, often over long distances and/or uneven terrain. The agency places a high priority on safety. However, field work includes use of fish electroshocking equipment and exposure to environmental hazards such as poison ivy, ticks, wild and domestic animals, deep or swift water, and hot or inclement weather. The candidate must have a driver’s license valid in the state of Kansas to drive a state vehicle.  After hire, the agency will provide required training in Defensive Driving and First Aid/CPR/AED.

Job Responsibilities may include but are not limited to the following:

Field work. Most field work will conform to EPA’s National Rivers and Streams Assessment Methodology, for both wadable and non-wadable (boatable) waterbodies.  The remainder will conform to KDHE methodologies. Work is intensive and physically rigorous. Most is conducted in a team environment. Work includes but is not be limited to the following: Electro fish and/or seine for collection of fish assemblage and fish tissue samples; Assist Principal Fish Taxonomist with field and lab identifications and vouchering; Collect aquatic macroinvertebrate samples and freshwater mussel valves; Collect water, algae, and sediment samples; Use streamflow meters, survey equipment, and water chemistry meters for in-situ measurements; Perform site surveys and physical habitat assessments; Collect GPS data and site photographs and record field data; Drive field vehicles; Trailer and drive/paddle small boats; Transport equipment to and from sites.

Sample, data, equipment, and supplies management. This work may be conducted in the laboratory, shop, or field. It will include but not be limited to the following: Prepare and submit or archive preserved samples; Preserve, label, process, and ship environmental and biological samples; Ensure Chain of Custody on all samples and data handled; Organize, check, and transfer data; Procure supplies in a timely manner to avoid work delays; Ensure safe disposal of expendables; Calibrate, maintain, and repair equipment; Decontaminate equipment as necessary; Pack and unpack field vehicles as needed.

About the Position:

  • Who can apply: Anyone (External)
  • Classified/Unclassified Service: Unclassified
  • Full-Time/Part-Time: Full-Time
  • Regular/Temporary: Temporary
  • Work Schedule: Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm (Flexible schedules available)
  • Eligible to Receive Benefits: Yes
  • Veterans’ Preference Eligible: Yes

Employment Benefits:

  • Comprehensive medical, mental, dental, vision, and additional coverage
  • Sick & Vacation leave
  • Work-Life Balance programs: parental leave, military leave, jury leave, funeral leave
  • Paid State Holidays (designated by the Governor annually)
  • Fitness Centers in select locations
  • Employee discounts with the STAR Program
  • Retirement and deferred compensation programs

Visit the Employee Benefits page for more information.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental, agricultural, or natural sciences/resources and one year of experience in a field of environmental/agricultural sciences or natural sciences/resources.
  • Valid Driver’s License – Incumbent is required to have and maintain a valid driver’s license when operating a state vehicle, a private vehicle, or a rental vehicle for the benefit of the State.

Preferred Qualifications:

Any additional skills, experiences, or qualifications that would be beneficial, but aren’t strictly necessary.

  • Working knowledge of aquatic monitoring.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Biology or related field.
  • Master’s Degree in Ecology, Aquatic or Fisheries Biology, Limnology, Hydrology, or related field.
  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access.
  • Coursework and/or specialized work experience in field and lab identification of at least one group of freshwater biotas (fishes, mussels, aquatic macroinvertebrates, plants, or algae).
  • Working knowledge of water quality sampling methods and instruments.
  • Experience working in freshwater environments, either by wading or boating, and under difficult outdoor conditions.
  • Specialized scientific knowledge in an area relevant to freshwater monitoring and assessment is a plus (hydrology, limnology, statistics, database management, GIS, etc.)

How to Apply:

Specific instructions for applying, which might include submitting a resume, cover letter, list of references, or completing an online application.

  • Please include the Job ID number when emailing.

Job Application Process:  Only applications submitted within our State of Kansas Careers Portal will be considered.

  • First Sign in or register as a New User at
  • Complete or update your contact information on the State of Kansas Careers Portal > My Contact Information page. *This information is included on all your job applications.
  • Upload required documents listed for each specific job posting.
  • Start your draft job application, upload other required documents, and Submit when it is complete.
    • Manage your draft and submitted applications on the Careers> My Job Applications page.
    • Check your email and My Job Notifications for written communications from the Recruiter.
  • Email – sent to the Preferred email on the My Contact Information page
    • Notifications – view the Careers> My Job Notifications page

Helpful Resources at “How to Apply for a Job – Instructions” and “How to Search for a Job – Instructions”

Contact Information:

[email protected]

Salary Range

$ $25.05 to $26.31