Water Quality Data & Policy Associate Specialist

About the Organization

Heal the Bay is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to making the coastal waters and watersheds of Greater Los Angeles safe, healthy and clean. We use science, education, community action, and advocacy to fulfill our mission. We educate people about the undersea wonders of our local Santa Monica Bay, the causes and impacts of local water pollution, the need for an improved resilient water supply, and what everyone can do to make a difference. We reach over 150,000 people every year through our Heal the Bay Aquarium, beach cleanups and community outreach programs.

Clean beaches and rivers are critical for public health and our economy in southern California. For over 25 years, Heal the Bay has been a powerful advocate for cleaning up polluted rivers and beaches and maintaining high standards that protect public health for recreational users of our local waters. Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card (BRC) and NowCast systems are well-known and scientifically robust tools for communicating water quality problems to decision-makers and the public, and our new River Report Card (RRC) will serve a similar purpose for the LA River and other freshwater recreation sites.

California’s diversity is one of its greatest strengths. Heal the Bay is committed to creating and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment that respects all individuals regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, or age. We are focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse team of employees, fostering a positive environment where inclusive behaviors are the norm, prioritizing our work through an equity and inclusivity lens, and embedding accountability for diversity throughout the organization. We are committed to creating an environment where all employees are included, are treated with dignity and respect, and are in a position to contribute to our success.

Position Description

The main goal of this position is to equip the public with the information they need to protect themselves from harmful pollution. The Associate Specialist is responsible for day-to-day management of Heal the Bay’s Beach Report Card, NowCast, and River Report Card programs. The Beach Report Card (BRC) provides beachgoers with a weekly A-F letter grade at nearly 700 West Coast beaches. The River Report Card (RRC) provides visitors to approximately 30 freshwater swimming holes throughout L.A. County with a weekly color-coded grade. The NowCast system uses a set of statistical models calibrated on years of environmental and bacteria data to provide daily water quality predictions for over 20 California ocean beaches. The Specialist obtains and analyzes bacteria data, updates the Beach Report Card and River Report Card grades weekly, and helps produce the annual reports for each program. Additionally, this position will support any maintenance and expansion of the website and mobile app that broadcasts BRC & RRC grades and NowCast predictions as necessary.

 This position provides support for field and laboratory work for summer River Report Card sampling and mentorship of students.

 The Associate Specialist is also responsible for tracking, analyzing, commenting on, and advocating for water quality protection and improvements related to recreational waterbodies, at the state and local levels, focused on bacterial pollution, sewage spill protocols and notifications, and riparian habitat. The Associate Specialist represents Heal the Bay’s positions at public meetings, hearings and other forums and participates in recreational water quality stakeholder groups and coalitions. The Associate Specialist develops and maintain relationships with beach managers, agencies, government staff, advocacy groups, scientific researchers and other environmental stakeholders.

 In addition, the Associate Specialist will participate in Heal the Bay campaigns, and education & outreach work. The Associate Specialist position will report to Heal the Bay’s Data Specialist in the Science, Policy & Outreach Department.

Essential Job Functions include:

  • Manage the day-to-day aspects of the Beach Report Card (BRC), NowCast, and River Report Card programs;
    • Understand historical and technical aspects of all programs including sampling methodology, field and lab work, modeling;
    • Update QAPP and implement QA/QC procedures;
    • Collect data and manage databases necessary to calculate weekly BRC & RRC grades and calibrate and run NowCast models;
    • Calculate weekly BRC & RRC grades;
    • Provide technical and writing expertise for Beach Report Card, freshwater monitoring reports, and other technical reports; lead writing of annual BRC and RRC reports;
  • Manage Beach Report Card web and mobile app platform and River Report Card website;
    • Publish regular BRC grades on the BRC platform and RRC grades on Heal the Bay’s River Report Card website;
    • Monitor beach closures, sewage spills, rain advisories, and other alerts at beaches/rivers around California, and update alerts on the website;
    • Monitor website and mobile app for correct display of data and bugs;
    • Aid in transitioning the BRC and NowCast programs to a new web-based data platform;
    • Assist with implementing a new methodology for RRC and BRC grades.
  • Assist with summer Stream Team/River Report Card Program;
    • Help hire, train and mentor summer student water quality monitors;
    • Help set Stream Team work schedules and ensure shift coverage;
    • Conduct occasional field and laboratory work to assess bacteria levels in freshwater areas during summer months as needed;
  • Lead on policy and advocacy work for recreational water quality
    • Track, analyze, comment on, and advocate for water quality protection and improvements related to recreational waterbodies, focused on bacterial pollution, sewage spill protocols and notifications, and riparian habitat;
    • Represent Heal the Bay’s positions at public meetings, hearings and other forums; participate in water quality workgroups, TACs, watershed and river coalitions, including LA River;
    • Track polluted west coast recreational waters on ongoing basis and work with staff scientist(s) and stakeholders to advocate for improvements in site specific water quality issues;
    • Maintain, cultivate and establish relationships with recreational water quality monitoring agencies in Washington, Oregon, and California;
    • Create and maintain relationships with government staff, advocacy groups, scientific researchers and other environmental stakeholders;
    • Engage in AB 1066 (Bloom, 2021) implementation by making recommendations to the California Water Quality Monitoring Council for a definition of a priority freshwater recreation area and elements of a statewide monitoring program; work towards new legislation to require that inland recreational waters are regularly monitored;
  • Work closely with other Heal the Bay staff on inter-departmental projects and programs;
  • Participate in Science and Policy department meetings;
  • Coordinate with communications team for BRC/RRC/NowCast public outreach and media requests.

Preferred Experience/Skills

  • Passion for Heal the Bay’s mission and environmental and public health in southern California;
  • Bachelor’s degree or above in Environmental Science, Biology, Public Policy, or a related discipline;
  • Background in water quality and coastal policy; understanding of relevant laws, regulations, and policies; knowledge of policy-making processes; and experience with local issues relating to coastal and marine environments;
  • Strong interpersonal and oral communication skills, with public speaking experience;
  • Strong writing skills, with policy analysis or advocacy writing experience preferred;
  • Excellent organizational, analytical and project planning skills;
  • Strong problem solving skills;
  • Ability to work independently and cooperatively as part of a team;
  • Proven ability to work under pressure, multitask and meet deadlines;
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office (e.g. Word, Excel and Power Point), with CRM Salesforce experience a plus;
  • Coding experience with Python, R, or similar languages a plus;
  • Ability to travel throughout the Los Angeles area with occasional trips to Sacramento or other locations throughout the state;
  • Some evening and weekend work is required
  • Must have access to reliable transportation

If you don’t meet all of the preferred skills above, you are still encouraged to apply and will be considered based on diverse and equivalent skills and experience.


This is a full-time, non-exempt position starting at $23.00/hour depending on experience, with appropriate state and federal taxes withheld.


Dental, medical, health insurance, and vacation benefits are included as part of employment. Heal the Bay will cover 90% of benefits. In accordance with California Labor Law, employee will be eligible to receive up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year, after completing 90 days of employment. All Heal the Bay recognized Holidays will be compensated in accordance to time worked.


Full-time, 40 hours per week. Participation in some weekend and evening events, as well as regional and statewide travel, may be necessary. We are currently working on a hybrid schedule with some remote and some in-person requirements. Heal the Bay offers a dynamic work environment with highly motivated colleagues including other staff and volunteers.

To Apply

Click here to SUBMIT your cover letter and resume.

Review of applications will be on a rolling basis with position to be filled as soon as possible.

Additional information:

Beach Report Card website: https://beachreportcard.org/

River Report Card Website: https://healthebay.org/riverreportcard/

2022 Annual Reports: https://healthebay.org/beachreportcard2022/

Heal the Bay is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status and we strongly encourage applications from individuals that reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County.

Heal the Bay complies with AB 1008, the Fair Chance Act, during the hiring process. Once a conditional job offer has been made the candidate will be asked to complete a Live Scan criminal background check. A thorough assessment of conviction history will be considered including: the nature and gravity of the criminal history, the time that has passed since the conviction, and the nature of the job the candidate is seeking.