Restoration Biologist


Restoration biologists provide expertise and guidance in planning and conducting habitat, watershed, and stream channel restoration projects. They monitor endangered species and coordinate conservation activities. Their work allows potentially endangered species to be protected from future harm.

At a glance

Imagine you are standing on a section of vast prairie land that is thriving with biodiversity of both plant and animal species. Just last year, this area and its species were extremely threatened, and you were given the responsibility to bring the area back to life. You have spent hours on the project doing everything from collecting samples to informing the community on the issue. You are very pleased to see the progress the area and its surrounding community has made. As a restoration biologist, you study and monitor species and habitats. You coordinate programs to study threatened ecosystems, and evaluate the ecosystems through research, fieldwork, site visits, and analysis. This is done to identify the need for restoration programs. When restoration is required, you are in charge of managing and evaluating the project.You also prepare reports on pollution reduction activities, conduct research, and work on public awareness programs. Your work is completed in a variety of locations. You spend a lot of time outdoors visiting sites, evaluating ecosystems, and collecting data. Indoors, you spend time in the lab testing the samples you have collected in the field. You also spend time in the office planning projects, preparing progress reports, summarizing data, and managing budgets. You return home every evening feeling fulfilled by the work you have done to restore ecosystems.

Job duties

Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a restoration biologist:
  • Execute project procedures in accordance with standards and regulatory guidelines
  • Plan, manage, and evaluate habitat and species restoration projects
  • Lead restoration projects for forests, watershed, and stream channels
  • Perform research, fieldwork, and analyses
  • Conduct impact assessments and select and develop appropriate restoration prescriptions
  • Coordinate programs and studies on endangered and threatened fish, wildlife, and plant species
  • Prepare reports on remediation and pollution reduction activities

Work environment

Restoration biologists work in a variety of locations including, but not limited to: In the field:
  • Collecting site data
  • Sampling and identifying plant and animal species
  • Communicating with the community
In the office:
  • Developing and implementing techniques to develop restoration prescriptions
  • Planning project
  • Managing budgets
  • Negotiating agreements for environmental restoration
  • Writing reports
In the lab:
  • Testing field samples

Where to work

  • Federal, provincial/territorial, regional, and civic government
  • Natural resource consulting firms
  • Non-government organizations
  • Environmental conservation organizations

Education & requirements

In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as a restoration biologist is a university undergraduate degree. If you are interested in research, a graduate degree is usually required. If you are considering a career in this field, the following post secondary programs are most applicable:
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • Environmental Science
  • Natural resource management
  • Habitat Restoration
Although it is not mandatory to become certified in order to work as a restoration biologist, some practitioners choose to apply for Professional Biologist status. Requirements for this designation vary among provinces and territories. If you are a high school student considering a career as a restoration biologist, you should have a strong interest in:
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • English/ French
  • Chemistry

Salary

A restoration biologist in an entry level position can make between $33,000 and $38,500 per year in Canada. With several years of education and experience, restoration biologists make between $47,300 and $78,500 per year.