Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Aquatic Biologist (#20003603)

General Statement

Under supervision, conducts biological, habitat, and water quality monitoring and assessments to meet regulatory objectives and evaluate aquatic resources in the urban waterways impacted by District operations.

Essential Job Functions

Essential job functions are fundamental, core functions common to positions in a classification.  They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class.  Since class specifications are designed to be descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents may complete one or all of the job duties listed or tasks of similar kind not specifically listed here.
  • Assigns, schedules, supervises, and reviews work of subordinates. Recommends hiring, transfer, suspension, layoff, recall, promotion, and discharge.
  • Supervises collections of fish and benthic invertebrates from the waterways in the Chicago metropolitan area.
  • Supervises collection of water and sediment samples in aquatic systems, including the operation of in situ water quality monitors.
  • Supervises laboratory analysis of biological samples collected in the field, including the identification of benthic invertebrates and fish, and weighing, measuring, and examining fish for disease.
  • Supervises laboratory analysis of water samples for chlorophyll.
  • Processes or supervises the processing of field and laboratory data and generates reports.
  • Supervises and participates in applied environmental monitoring projects.
  • Writes reports summarizing and interpreting the results of biological and chemical water quality assessments.
  • Instructs and trains laboratory or field personnel in approved field collection methods, laboratory processing of biological organisms, and data analysis methods.
  • Reviews and comments on local water quality-related regulatory documents with regard to potential impacts on the District.
  • Provides technical support to other departments regarding water quality issues.

Other Job Functions

  • Supervises data entry, verification, summarizing, and statistical analysis of biological and chemical monitoring data.
  • Ensures rigorous maintenance of field collection and laboratory analytical equipment.
  • Initiates purchase orders and work requests as necessary.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Environmental Conditions

May involve exposure to a variety of chemical and biological materials, some of which may be hazardous or toxic. Involves outdoor work and potential exposure to extreme weather conditions. Involves field work in a boat and wading in streams using proper protective equipment.

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Considerable knowledge of the principles, practices, and procedures of aquatic biology and ecology.
  • Considerable knowledge of approved methods for collection of water and sediment samples, including the use of small boats and related equipment.
  • Considerable knowledge of biostatistics.
  • Considerable knowledge of IEPA water quality standards.
  • Skill in the use of personal computers, including spreadsheet and database software.
  • Ability to plan and supervise the work of subordinate staff.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

Minimum Qualification Requirements

Graduation from a four year accredited college or university majoring in biology or one of the biological sciences, and two years of experience in aquatic biology or a closely related field.


Graduate study in biological sciences may be substituted for the required experience on a year-for-year basis.

Promotional Requirement

  • Possession of a bachelor's degree in biology or one of the biological sciences.
  • One year of service with the District as an Assistant Aquatic Biologist, Senior Laboratory Technician, or Senior Environmental Research Technician.
  • Civil service status in one of the foregoing classifications.

CLASS: 20003603; EST: 1/1/2017; REV: 1/1/2019;