back to capitol job search

Environmental Specialist (210647)

  • 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. The surface water monitoring group at KDHE seeks to hire a freshwater macroinvertebrate taxonomist to support Clean Water Act programs and state bioassessment priorities.  The core responsibility is to process and identify 150-200 stream macroinvertebrate samples each year, with most taxa (including midges) identified to the genus level.  Within the first three years of employment, the incumbent is expected to acquire and maintain current SFS certification for eastern taxa in Group 1 (Other Arthropods), Group 2 (EPTs), and Group 3 (Chironomids), with fees covered by the agency.  They will remain abreast of taxonomic revisions and resources and will be responsible for oversight of quality assurance, maintenance of collection permits, management of the reference collection, and joint management of the enterprise level taxonomic database.

This incumbent will also serve as subject matter expert for the agency, working closely with field biologists and other scientists; they may participate in field training as well as methods development.   Depending on the aptitudes and interests of the incumbent, the work may also include stream health assessment for the Integrated Water Quality Report, technical writing, GIS work, statistical analysis, R coding, and/or additional fieldwork.  As the incumbent matures in the position, it is expected that they will also gain expertise with native mussels and be able to serve as a liaison to museums, academic partners, and contractors on all matters related to aquatic macroinvertebrates.

The successful candidate will have an undergraduate degree in biology or a related field (required) and may have graduate degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Systematics/Biodiversity, Entomology, or related fields.  Most importantly, they will have demonstrated aptitude as a taxonomist, along with a strong public service ethic and willingness to work as part of a diverse team.

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

Freshwater macroinvertebrate taxonomy. Serve as the primary macroinvertebrate taxonomist for the surface water monitoring group. This typically involves processing and identifying 150-200 Kansas stream samples each year, plus QA samples, with chironomids slide mounted, taxa identified to lowest practicable level (usually genus or species), and results entered In an enterprise level database. Samples include aquatic and semiaquatic insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Within the first three years of employment, acquire and maintain current SFS certification for eastern taxa in Group 1 (Other Arthropods), Group 2 (EPTs), and Group 3 (Chironomids).

Scientific currency. Maintain in-house macroinvertebrate reference collection, taxonomic reference materials, and accompanying autecology databases and archives. Keep agency records current with ITIS and other accepted taxonomic standards and arrange for ID confirmation with external specialists as needed.  Serve as subject matter expert for the agency and participate in advancing knowledge and development of macroinvertebrate sampling and assessment methods. Submit annual collection reports to external agencies as needed.

About the Position:

  • Who can apply: Anyone (External)
  • Classified/Unclassified Service: Unclassified
  • Full-Time/Part-Time: Full-Time
  • Regular/Temporary: Regular
  • 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:

The minimum level of education and experience required to perform the job.

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science with an emphasis on biology, chemistry, geology, or a related natural science.


  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science with an emphasis on biology, chemistry, geology, or a related natural science.

Licensing & Certification:

  • 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.

  • Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences or related field.
  • Master’s degree in biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, systematics, entomology, aquatic biology, or limnology.
  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access.
  • Proofreading, editing, attention to detail.
  • Data management and statistical analysis.
  • Taxonomic identification of aquatic macroinvertebrates.
  • Scientific field work.
  • Coursework in biological sciences directly applicable to aquatic macroinvertebrate taxonomy/systematics/classification.
  • Demonstrated experience with aquatic macroinvertebrate identification and enumeration.
  • Experience working in freshwater systems and associated sample analysis.
  • Experience working in museum collections or curation.
  • Experience with sampling methods and assemblage-based biological assessment.
  • Additional specialized training and skills are welcome, including but not limited to those such as: database management, statistical analysis, GIS mapping, R coding; water chemistry monitoring; identification of phytoplankton, freshwater mussels, or riparian and aquatic plants; laboratory chemistry or toxicology; fisheries work; program/project management; and technical writing.

Post-Offer, Pre-employment Requirements:

  • Within the first three years of employment, the incumbent will be expected to earn and maintain current certifications from the Society for Freshwater Science for eastern taxa Group 2 (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera), Group 3 (Chironomidae), and Group 1 (Other Arthropods).

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