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Burns & McDonnell Staff Aquatic Scientist - Environmental Services (Chicago) in Downers Grove, Illinois


The successful candidate will work with project managers in conducting field studies, data analyses, and technical report writing to support environmental permitting projects for industrial, power generation, municipal, and federal clients. We are seeking a versatile and motivated professional with applied technical experience, the ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, and a desire to advance professionally. This individual can sit in either the Downers Grove, IL, or downtown Chicago office.

The Aquatic Environmental Scientist will work within our Environmental Services Global Practice and perform the following duties:

  • Partner with project managers to develop the scope of work for aquatic (e.g. fisheries, aquatic habitat, water quality, hydrographic) as well as some terrestrial (e.g. wetlands, endangered species habitat) field studies.

  • Assist in field data collection, management, and analysis to support environmental assessment and impact studies, hydrodynamic modeling, habitat restoration, and other similar projects.

  • Assist with GIS data collection, analyses, and map production.

  • Assist in the preparation of technical reports and agency permit applications.

  • Coordinate with state and federal agencies to obtain approval of work plans and authorizations to implement the work.

  • Conduct all work in compliance with company and site safety policies.

  • Manage, reduce, analyze, and synthesize large datasets for technical reports and for presentation at industry conferences.

  • Compose high-quality technical reports and permit applications for various regulatory approvals.

  • Stay abreast of developments relative to the discipline including techniques for field sampling and analysis of data.

  • Support preparation of technical proposals.

  • Conduct all work in accordance with company and site safety policies.

  • Other duties as assigned


  • Bachelor's degree in Biology, Environmental Science, Fisheries, Ecology, Natural Resources, Environmental Planning, or a related field from an accredited program. Master’s degree in a related field is preferred.

  • Minimum 4 years of related professional experience is required. Master’s degree can substitute for 1 year of experience.

  • Demonstrated field experience conducting some or all of the following: water quality sampling, biological assessments, habitat assessments, fluvial geomorphology surveys, aquatic sampling techniques (e.g. electrofishing, seining, kick net), or sediment sampling.

  • Proficiency in biological/water quality data analysis and statistics.

  • Basic understanding of environmental permitting requirements and processes for relevant regulations (i.e., Clean Water Act Sections 316, 404, 401, NPDES, Endangered Species Act)

  • Water quality and hydrodynamic modeling (e.g., CORMIX, SWMM, SWAT, Visual Plumes) experience is a plus.

  • Strong research, technical writing, and verbal communication skills.

  • Strong problem-solving skills with initiative to develop creative solutions to changing field conditions or other project challenges.

  • Willingness to assist multidisciplinary teams with related fieldwork such as stormwater compliance, sediment sampling, non-environmental permitting, bird/bat surveys, etc.

  • Willingness to travel with irregular frequency.

  • Must be willing to work effectively independently as well as part of a multidisciplinary team.

  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.

  • Must be proficient in the use of Microsoft software (i.e., Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

  • Ability to safely lift and carry up to 50 lbs and work outside during all types of weather conditions.

  • Valid driver's license required. In addition, must meet standards to qualify for and maintain the Company's vehicle driving privileges as outlined in the Company's Motor Vehicle Safety Policy.

This job posting will remain open a minimum of 72 hours and on an ongoing basis until filled

This job posting will remain open a minimum of 72 hours and on an ongoing basis until filled


Job Environmental

Primary Location US-IL-Downers Grove

Other Locations US-IL-Chicago

Schedule: Full-time

Travel: Yes, 25 % of the Time

Req ID: 242112

Job Hire Type Experienced #LI-JJ #ENS