Wetland Biologist

What is a wetland biologist? A wetland biologist manages and protects wetland resources. To do this they implement wetland conservation techniques, enforce regulations, and provide consultation on construction projects in wetland sensitive areas. Your work in this occupation involves performing environmental field studies, monitoring plants and species at risk of becoming endangered.

At a Glance

Imagine you are standing in the middle of a wetland that was once a thriving home to a diverse selection of plant and animal species. There are many programs in place in Canada to preserve existing wetlands; you’re in charge of this one.

As a wetland biologist, you will use your knowledge of wetland processes to begin designing a program to restore the area. You’ll observe the area and write reports on your findings. When it comes to this wetland, you’re in charge of creating the detailed program for its restoration.

You have a comprehensive understanding of these ecosystems, both with regards to the plants and animals that rely on them. You’ve gained this understanding through your research into wetland processes. You assess habitats and identify and monitor a variety of species within wetlands and you also work to educate the public on the importance of wetlands, and how they can 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.

Job Duties

Duties vary significantly from job to job, but the following list includes typical job duties that wetland biologists might encounter:

  • Create detailed designs for wetland identification, creation, and restoration
  • Perform wetland delineation and habitat assessment
  • Conduct research on wetland processes
  • Design models in response to environmental issues on wetlands
  • Monitor wildlife populations and those exposed to pollutants
  • Design, identify, and test mitigation procedures for construction projects in wetland-sensitive areas
  • Developing long-term monitoring programs
  • Ensure organizations are following/aware of environmental regulations
  • Write grant proposals to fund research
  • Ensuring that wetland remediation programs are being delivered effectively
  • Prepare and review project proposals, applications, and reports

Work Environment

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

The field:

  • Collecting data and samples
  • Observing plants and animals in wetland areas
  • Monitoring species at risk
  • Servicing and testing equipment
  • Monitoring water conditions

The office:

  • Interpreting information and environmental indicators
  • Developing project proposals
  • Writing research papers, academic literature, and scientific reports
  • Coordinating resources to implement projects
  • Preparing presentations and educational workshops
  • Assessing and assuming risk

The lab:

  • Identifying, classifying, and preserving wetland species
  • Conducting analytical research and laboratory experiments
  • Testing and processing samples for contamination

Please note: Fieldwork may place individuals in hazardous locations where they might be exposed to chemicals, infectious bacteria, viruses, and other substances that might pose a dangerous risk and/or cause illness


Where to Work

There are several places wetland biologists can find working. They include:

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

Search for jobs on the ECO Canada job board.

Education and Skills

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

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
  • Environmental Science

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

You may also find our Environmental Professional (EP) designation useful.


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

  • Technical writing
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Environmental data analysis
  • Field assessments
  • Data modelling
  • Environmental management

Soft Skills (personal attributes and characteristics)

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Attentive to detail
  • Oral and written communication
  • Organizational skills
  • Leadership
  • A high degree of autonomy

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

Education and Skills

Your Impact

First, what is a wetland? Wetlands are the bodies of water that fall between aquatic and terrestrial systems. “Terrestrial”, in this context, refers to living organisms that live and grow on land. Wetlands also tend to be relatively shallow bodies of water, developing from precipitation, runoff, or groundwater, and are surrounded by trees, shrubs, and herb-like vegetation.

Statistically, wetlands cover about 14% of Canada’s land area. Through climate change and misuse of resources, wetlands have become scarcer as cities continue to expand.

As a wetland biologist, you bring forth an inter-disciplinary perspective to assess, restore, and manage wetlands. This involves actively participating in urban planning, community engagement, educational initiatives, and advising with policy development and implementation.

Wetlands help prevent water pollution as they clean some of the water we use. Wetlands also act as a filter for pollutants.

As a wetland biologist, you understand the capabilities of wetlands to fight climate change. Wetlands are incredibly essential for maintaining an equilibrium in the environment.

In this role, you research and monitor changing water levels to indicate whether there are problems with the wetlands or with other water sources. You also monitor fluctuations in the number and variety of species living around the wetland as these are useful indicators of potential crises.

Wetlands are the habitat for a vast array of wildlife. They act as a vital ecosystem for many species in Canada, providing shelter to eat, sleep, and reproduce. Wetlands are becoming a scarce resource and wetland biologists help sustain them. Their expertise in this field of study, helps restore the ones that are damaged.

Wetland biologists assess these areas from an ecological, social, and economic perspective. They realize that all these factors must be considered to ensure that they are being utilized to their full potential without putting species, and the wetland itself, at risk.

Occupational Classification

Individuals employed as wetland 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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