Wetland Biologist


Wetland biologists manage and protect wetland resources. They are responsible for implementing wetland conservation techniques, enforcing regulations, and providing consultation on construction projects in wetland sensitive areas.

Man crouching down while standing in a pond to take a water sample

At a glance

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a vast wetland that was once a thriving home to a diverse selection of plant and animal species. Many programs are in place within Canada to preserve existing wetlands, and you are in charge of this one. You will use your knowledge of wetland processes, and begin designing a program to restore the area. You will be involved in everything from observing the area to writing reports on your findings.

As a wetland biologist, you are in charge of creating detailed programs for wetland restoration. You have a good understanding of these ecosystems, as well as the plants and animals that rely on them. This understanding is gained through the research you conduct on wetland processes. You assess habitats, and identify and monitor a variety of species within wetlands. You also work to educate the public on the importance of wetlands, and what they can do to help.

You spend time in a variety of work environments. In the field, you collect data and samples from wetlands. In the lab you analyze the data and samples that were collected from the wetland. In the office you interpret information and develop project proposals, as well as coordinate resources to implement the project. It is a good feeling knowing that you had a large part in many wetland areas.

Job duties

Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a wetland biologist:

  • Create detailed designs for wetland identification, creation, and restoration
  • Perform wetland delineation and habitat assessment
  • Conduct research on wetland processes
  • Monitor research and protected areas
  • Design, identify, and test mitigation procedures for construction projects in wetland-sensitive areas
  • Prepare and review project proposals, applications, and reports

Work environment

Wetland biologists work in a variety of locations including, but not limited to:

In the field:

  • Collecting data and samples
  • Observing plants and animals in wetland areas

In the office:

  • Interpreting information and indicators in the environment
  • Developing project proposals
  • Assessing and assuming risk
  • Coordinating resources to implement projects
  • Writing reports

In the lab:

  • Analyzing samples and data

Where to work

  • Federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government departments
  • Government regulatory agencies
  • Firms in landscape architecture, planning, and land development
  • Conservation organizations
  • Environmental groups

Education & requirements

In most cases, the minimum education requirement to work as a wetland 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
  • Habitat Restoration

Although it is not mandatory to become certified in order to work as a wildlife 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 wildlife biologist, you should have a strong interest in:

  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • English/ French
  • Chemistry

Salary

A wetland 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, wetland biologists make between $47,300 and $78,500 per year.