Permit Writer (Environmental Specialist 3)

Washington Department of Ecology
Union Gap, WA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Protecting Washington State's environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. If you want to join a highly effective, collaborative team in exciting work dedicated to managing a sustainable water supply in Central Washington, this may be the position for you.

The Water Resources (WR) program is currently looking to fill a Permit Writer (Environmental Specialist 3) position, located in Union Gap, WA.

The Permit Writer position performs the following tasks in Ecology's Central Region. Independently investigate water right applications, change applications, and permit extension requests.  Write Reports of Examinations and making recommendations of approval or denial of those Water Right Applications. Independently investigate request to extend development schedules on Permits and Water Rights Change Authorizations and recommend approval or denial of extension requests. 

We are looking for applicants that possess excellent people and communication skills, are self-motivated, enjoy problem solving, and are open to new ideas. Creativity, positive energy, and the ability to work both independently and as a team also are pluses. 

As an agency, our mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment for current and future generations. We invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism and accountability.

To learn more about The Department of Ecology, please visit our website at and follow, like or visit us on LinkedInTwitterFacebookInstagram or our blog.


Agency Mission:  Ecology's mission is to protect, preserve and enhance Washington's environment and to promote the wise management of our air, land and water for the benefit of current and future generations. 
Program Mission: The mission of the Water Resources (WR) program is to manage water resources to meet the current and future needs of the natural environment and Washington's communities.

Some of the key work activities of the Permit Writer position are:

  • Accepts Proof of Appropriation and Construction forms and reviews forms for completeness or requests additional information.
  • Reviews water right permit extension requests relating to above mentioned forms and makes recommendations to management on extensions and/or cancellations of permits.
  • Communicates with water right holders and water right applicants in writing, over the telephone, and in person to gather necessary information and provide water right holder on options and outcomes of permit recommendations.
  • Testifies before the Pollution Control Hearings Board and/or Superior Courts in support of water right permit decisions. 
  • Investigates and writes water right permit decisions; After an application has been accepted, performs field investigation, prepare the public notice, field maps and aerial photographs, drafting notices to the Water Transfer Workgroup, evaluation of projects for SEPA requirements, and gather additional information from various parties, including Tribes, WDFW, Department of Health, consultants, conservation district and water right holders.
  • Writes clear, concise, Reports of Examination (ROE) that exhibit a clear understanding of water law and the details of the application. The ROEs should be written to be logical and easy to read, to allow the reader to quickly and clearly know the recommendation and decision. 
  • Makes complex decisions regarding technical water right data pertinent to applications for new water rights and/or change applications. 
  • Assists with routine field inspections and collection of necessary information and field data, and preparation of reports.
  • Testifies before the Pollution Control Hearings Board and/or Superior Courts in support of water right permit decisions. 

This position accomplishes......
Multiple duties all geared towards providing the public with certainty over their water rights – application processing, customer service, creating superseding water rights documents, reviewing the work of consultants, and processing some trust water conveyances.

This position solves......
All kinds of problems related to water rights. One of the key qualities we are looking for in applicants is their ability to problem-solve. Some examples center on water right compliance issues, questions on the validity and extent of water rights, and a wide variety of questions posed by the public.

Interesting aspects of this position.....
This is a very dynamic field involving laws over 100 years old to present day case law, managed with modern-day technology, concerning a vital natural resource. There is huge potential to develop one's career in gaining a robust knowledge of water rights, water law, water management, hydrogeology, and GIS, as well as working internally with many experts in the field and externally with several other agencies.
This recruitment will remain open until filled. The initial screening will be January 6, 2020.  In order to be considered for the initial screening, please submit an application on or before January 5, 2020. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.

Please do NOT include your salary history. Wage/salary depends on qualifications or rules of promotion, if applicable.

Required Qualifications:

A Bachelor's degree involving a major study in environmental, physical, or one of the natural sciences, environmental planning or other allied field AND two (2) years of professional level experience in environmental analysis or control or environmental planning.

Additional qualifying experience will substitute, year-for-year, for education.   

A Master's degree in one of the above fields will substitute for one (1) year of the required experience.


A Ph.D. in one of the above fields.


One (1) year of experience as an Environmental Specialist 2 at the Department of Ecology.

Special Requirements / Conditions of Employment:

Must possess a valid driver's license.