Restoration Biologist

What is a restoration biologist? A restoration biologist works to renew degraded, damaged, or destroyed ecosystems and habitats that have been disturbed by human action and climate change. They provide expertise and guidance in planning and conducting habitat, watershed, and stream channel restoration projects and monitor endangered species and coordinate conservation activities.

At a Glance

Imagine you are standing on a section of vast prairie land thriving with the biodiversity of both plant and animal species. Just last year, this area and its species were extremely threatened, and you were given the responsibility of bringing the area back to life. You have spent hours on the project doing everything from collecting samples to informing the community on the issue. Today, you’re pleased to see the progress the area and its surrounding community have 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.

When restoration is required, you’re 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 and protect biodiversity.

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
  • Collect data and samples of fish, wildlife, and vegetation
  • Develop project proposals and funding applications
  • 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
  • Supervise field crews
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and community leaders on restoration projects
  • Coordinate the approval processes for restoration projects

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

The lab:

  • Identifying, classifying, and preserving marine organisms
  • Conducting analytical research and laboratory experiments
  • Testing and processing samples for potential contamination

Where to Work

There are several places restoration biologists can find employment. These include:

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

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada job board.

Education and Skills

If you are a high school student considering a career as a restoration biologist, you should have a strong interest in:

  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry

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
  • Environmental Science

Although it is not mandatory to become certified to work as a restoration biologist, some practitioners choose to apply for Professional Biologist status. Requirements for this designation vary among provinces and territories.

Our Environmental Professional (EP) designation may prove valuable for a restoration biology career.


Hard/ Technical Skills (skills obtained through formal education and training programs)

  • Statistical analysis
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Technical writing
  • Data management
  • Health, safety, and environmental analysis
  • Risk assessment

Soft Skills (personal attributes and characteristics)

  • Oral and written communication
  • Detail-oriented
  • Stamina and endurance for fieldwork
  • Leadership
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team setting
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Creative thinking

Environmental employers look for professionals who can combine technical knowledge with soft skills. Watch our free webinar “Essential Not Optional: Skills Needed to Succeed in Canada’s Environmental Industry”

Education and Skills

Your Impact

To be successful as a restoration biologist, you understand that what you may fix one day, may be gone the next due to the nature of environmental change. A restoration biologist’s job is to implement preventative measures to avoid further loss of wildlife and plant species. Sometimes this means constantly repeating the same actions.

One of the most significant impacts of restoration biologists is in their contributions to restoring the Great Barrier Reef.

Previously known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef if one of the largest living structures in the world. It covers about 70 million football fields and can even be seen from space.

Over recent years, the increasing number of threats to the Great Barrier Reef have garnered attention. Climate change has led to coral bleaching and drastic weather changes. In addition, land run-off and illegal fishing cause concern about the survival of this natural structure.

Initiatives, such as coral transplants, have been used to help restore the reefs. Slowly we’ve begun to see some positive results. Restoration biologists, in collaboration with other scientists, have taken fragments of surviving coral, grown them in a stable and monitored environment and then returned marine life to its natural environment.

The efforts to restore the Great Barrier Reef illustrate the value of restoration biologists in fighting the effects of climate change and the impacts of human behaviour. As the impacts of climate change continue to worsen, Restoration Biologists are needed more than ever.

Occupational Classification

Individuals employed as Marine Biologists may be classified in one or more of the following occupational groupings:

NOC Code: 2121- Biologists and Related Scientists

NOC Code: 2221- Biological Technologists and Technicians

What is a NOC Code?

The National Occupation Classification (NOC) provides a standardized language for describing the work performed by Canadians in the labour market. It gives statisticians, labour market analysts, career counsellors, employers and individual job seekers a consistent way to collect data, describe and understand the nature of work within different occupations.

The NOC is developed and updated in partnership with Statistics Canada to coincide with the 5- year census cycles. It is based on in-depth occupational research and consultations conducted across Canada, to reflect changes in the Canadian labour market.

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