Seeking GIS specialist / watershed planner

EcoCity Cleveland seeks a GIS specialist / watershed planner to develop a decision support system to help communities evaluate the links between land use changes and water quality. This two-year project will support the Ohio Lake Erie Commission's Balanced Growth Initiative, which is promoting sustainable patterns of land development in the Lake Erie watershed. The ideal candidate will have sophisticated knowledge of the science of watershed protection and extensive experience using GIS to inform community planning processes with diverse stakeholders.

Job responsibilities

This staff person will work with the Balanced Growth Initiative's three pilot watershed planning projects and develop a GIS-based decision support system to assist the designation of Priority Conservation Areas and Priority Development Areas. This system will give a diverse group of local officials and citizens a practical tool based on hard science to facilitate decisions about where it is best to develop if water resources are to be protected and restored.

Specific tasks will include:

  • Provide support for a planning advisory committee, which will be composed of representatives from the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, other state agencies, local planning agencies, and the pilot Watershed Planning Partnerships.
  • Organize a technical advisory committee composed of experts in GIS and water quality (members to be drawn from universities, state agencies, and conservation organizations). This committee will help assure the scientific quality of the decision support system (i.e., that the system actually produces land use recommendations that improve water quality).
  • Attend meetings of Watershed Planning Partnerships and ascertain their needs for information and analysis.
  • Determine what are the right questions. For instance, how can we forecast the number of acres of certain types of development that will likely occur in a watershed in the next decade, and what will be the water quality impacts of development in particular locations?
  • Research available GIS packages for analyzing development impacts.
  • Monitor and learn from other projects that are attempting to link land use and water quality issues.
  • Obtain GIS data on land use and development trends in the Ohio Lake Erie watershed. Focus on readily available data that exist throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
  • Characterize the watersheds and subwatersheds in the Ohio Lake Erie Basin according to their ecological quality and suitability for development.
  • Develop a scientifically defensible decision methodology for assessing the water quality impact of developing in particular watersheds. The methodology should be adaptable to the unique characteristics of different watersheds.
  • Test the system in practice with the pilot projects.
  • Refine the system based on feedback.
  • Package the decision support system so that others can apply it, learn from it, and adapt it for their own watersheds throughout the Great Lakes.
  • Disseminate the system in the most usable format.


  • Masters or PhD. degree in biology, environmental science, ecological restoration, geography, civil engineering or related field.
  • Extensive experience using GIS to solve problems and create planning tools for public officials and citizens.
  • Knowledge of the science of watershed protection. Experience working to restore aquatic ecosystems.
  • Ability to work with groups of diverse stakeholders.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. Ability to explain scientific concepts to the general public.
  • Ability to work independently and think strategically.
  • Ability to travel to meetings throughout the Lake Erie watershed.

Job details

This is a full-time position with salary and benefits (including full health care coverage). Funding comes from a grant from the Joyce Foundation. Work site is in Cleveland. The position will report to the Executive Director of EcoCity Cleveland.

Send resume and references to EcoCity Cleveland, 3500 Lorain Ave., Suite 301, Cleveland, OH 44113, by May 17, 2004 (this date is the initial deadline; applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled).

Equal opportunity employer.



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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2003

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