What Is a Habitat Restoration Engineer?

Habitat Restoration Engineers make ecological alternations to a landscape to return it to a former state, usually for ecological repair or conservation reasons.

What Does a Habitat Restoration Engineers Do?

As human actions, and those of natural events, affect the landscape, it can put enormous pressure on an ecology or wider ecosystem and they become unsustainable in their present state. Habitat Restoration Engineers examine and identify these problems and the potential hazards and damages that they cause. Whether the result of natural processes, deliberate act or accident, they work with other environmental professionals such as biologists and conservationists to redesign landscapes. They do not necessarily work with the individual ecology in isolation, but also consider the wider implications for the land.

They are also involved in the engineering of new landscapes and recreation of ancient landscapes (for example, for tourism such as creating ecoparks). When parcels of land are set aside for conservation, they are involved in the design and implementation of the plan. They will work with a variety of environmental scientists such as ecological planners, geologists, botanists, herpetologists, ornithologists and many more. Where there are monuments or landscapes of historic interest, they will need to take into account the impact on the cultural landscape too.

Effectively, they are landscape planners but with a strong emphasis of environment and design from an ecological perspective.

Where Does a Habitat Restoration Engineers Work?

Habitat Restoration Engineers are a type of environmental specialist working in biotechnology. As such, the usual employment data reflects this particular area. The major employment sector of Habitat Restoration Engineers is scientific and technical consulting services. Organizations such as these work independently and are employed on a contract basis. They will have a range of skills and will allocate teams and equipment to a task. Around one quarter work for technical consulting services.

Almost as many (22%) work in state government. A further 13% work in local governments. Much of their roles will be the same. They will provide conservation advice and services for areas of protected land such as state parks. They may also work in local disaster and accident relief to ensure that the integrity of state owned or managed is maintained. 10% of those qualified in this area work in private engineering bodies. The final 6% work for Federal government, typical for the National Parks Service and as managers and consultants for disaster relief bodies such as FEMA.

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What Is the Average Habitat Restoration Engineers Salary?

According to the BLS, habitat restoration engineers, who fall under the broader BLS category of environmental engineers, earned a median salary of $92,120 as of May 2020. Despite being the employer of the smallest number and proportion of people, the federal government is the highest payer with a median of $110,250. Employees in state government may find lower than average salary with a median of $82,9900.*

Habitat Restoration Engineering Jobs & Job Description

Habitat restoration is a valuable requirement of many ecosystems in the United States. A Habitat Restoration Engineer will design projects and plan to accommodate restoration efforts. Commonly, the requirements for this position are:

  • A Bachelor's of Science degree in environmental engineering or related field of study
  • Ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Capability to work in extreme environmental and weather conditions
  • Capacity to work in an office setting or travel to outdoor field sites
  • Possess excellent computer skills and ability to use databases and specialized software
  • Acquire effective written, oral and technical communication skills
  • Provide site investigation, sampling and analysis to determine restoration plans
  • Produce technical data reports and share information with relevant individuals
  • Capability to use specialized surveying equipment and GPS (Global Positioning System) devices
  • Desire to improve habitat conditions and overall health and wellbeing of our environment
  • Compliance with all local and federal laws and regulations

A Senior Habitat Restoration Engineer requires a specialized skill set and management capabilities. A senior level position will also use some of the skills outlined in the entry-level position. These specialized skills are:

  • A Master's of Science degree in an environmental engineering field of study
  • Experience working in the habitat restoration of various ecosystems
  • Produce computer simulations to predict outcomes of restoration projects
  • Design restoration development projects for various ecosystems
  • Highly motivated to continue to learn new methods and regularly update skills
  • Develop budgets for restoration projects and maintain budget
  • Manage project teams at field sites and analyze project progress
  • Offer recommendations and make changes to projects as necessary
  • Possess strong problem solving skills and able to multitask
  • Provide training to team at field sites and in office; develop training programs
  • Produce presentations to communicate projects to company management and clients

What Is the Job Demand for Habitat Restoration Engineers?

The job demand for environmental specialists is expected to increase by about 4% between 2020 and 2030.* The demand for environmental knowledge in line with national and international legislation will be the main driving force. As businesses and government comply with regulation, demand could increase significantly for Habitat Restoration Engineers. The subtle nuances of our understanding of cultural and natural landscapes, plus the greater understanding of the problems of invasive species means that Habitat Restoration Engineers could be at the forefront of creating new state parks and areas of natural landscape due protection.

Finally, there could be extra demand in ecological entertainment. Ecoparks and tourist attractions dedicated to conservation and research also open to the public is a major growth area in ecology. Habitat Restoration Engineers could be called upon to design and implement ancient landscapes or create public interest parks.

What Are the Education Requirements to Become a Habitat Restoration Engineers?

Habitat Restoration Engineering is a specialist area requiring deep knowledge of a wide range of concepts. The candidate must understand a broad set of environmental sciences including wildlife management and conservation planning in addition to those mentioned previously. A bachelor's degree may be enough for some jobs, but for career advancement and for that extra edge over other applicants, a master's will be necessary. A bachelor's should be enough for lab work and becoming a research assistant. There is no dedicated Habitat Restoration Engineering degree at present. Undergraduates should take ecology or other applied environmental science. Minors should be in math, physics, chemistry and biology ideally.

As Habitat Restoration Engineering is largely an applied science (practical rather than theoretical), the candidate will need project experience. This means an internship during bachelor's study and the involvement of more engaged and independent research with a postgraduate qualification. Masters degrees provide the framework for your future as a planner and researcher.

Habitat Restoration - Related Degrees

What Kind Of Societies and Professional Organizations Do Habitat Restoration Engineers Have?

This niche but vital area has a number of professional bodies:

  • Society for Ecological Restoration: SER has a global mission to restore and protect ecologies damaged by human activity over the last few centuries. They have a number of measures to combat ecological damage and reversing it where possible
  • Center for Watershed Protection: The largest water environment protection body in the US, the CWP ensures that our rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands are clean for future generations. They are a membership organization for professionals
  • National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration: Our largest atmospheric body has a number of specific divisions. One of these divisions is habitat conservation. They join up with other regional and state bodies to ensure protection of the environment

*2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for environmental engineers reflect national data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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