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Career Opportunity

Chief Natural Resource Specialist - Rec and Parks (3421)

Recruitment: RTF0130693-01122437

Published: March 16, 2023


Antonio Archuleta -

Apply using SmartRecruiters, the City and County of San Francisco's application portal Learn More

Department: Recreation & Park Commission
Job class: 3421-Chief Natural Resource Specialist
Salary range: $95,472.00 - $116,038.00
Role type: Permanent Civil Service What does this mean?
Hours: Full-time
Exam type: Position Based Test
Rule: Rule of 3 What does this mean?
List type: Combined Promotive and Entrance


Announcement amended to reflect a new filing deadline.

About the Recreation and Park Department
Amid a dynamic and ever-evolving urban landscape, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department stewards one of the premier urban park systems in America.  San Francisco recently became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park.  Considered by San Franciscans to be one of the City’s most popular and effective public agencies, our Department manages and maintains more than 225 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces in San Francisco, including two outside of city limits: Sharp Park in Pacifica and Camp Mather in the High Sierras. Our 4,100- acre system includes 25 recreation centers, 9 swimming pools, 5 golf courses and numerous athletic facilities, including sports courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and gymnasiums. Included in the department’s responsibilities are Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Marina Yacht Harbor, the Palace of Fine Arts, and TPC Harding Park golf course.

More than 2,000 talented individuals are part of our team, from gardeners, foresters, and recreation leaders to park rangers, custodians, electricians, painters and more. Our core mission, as it has been throughout our history, is to provide opportunities for San Francisco residents and visitors alike to gather, play, learn, relax, and enjoy nature in the city.

About The Natural Resources Division
The Natural Resources Division is a branch of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (SFRPD) responsible for managing the city’s natural areas. Its mission is two-fold: to preserve, restore, and enhance remnant natural areas, and to develop and support community-based site stewardship of these areas. Some of our natural areas includes Bayview Hill, Corona Heights, Glen Canyon, Grandview Park, John McLaren Park, Lake Merced, Mount Davidson and Twin Peaks. Learn more about our Natural Resources Division by visiting:

Role description

Under supervision of the Natural Resources Manager, this position directly supervises a team of Natural Resource Specialists engaged in the management and maintenance of natural resource areas, ecosystems, native plant communities and wildlife habitat. The essential duties for this position include, but are not limited to:

  1. Supervises the daily activities of Natural Resource Specialists, Gardeners, Apprentice Gardeners, Public Service Assistants, and volunteers engaged in assessing, monitoring, maintaining, conserving and augmenting natural ecosystems including wildlife and native plant habitat; initiates and controls habitat restoration, ecological restoration and wildlife enhancement projects; conserves intact ecosystems; and manages natural resources;
  2. Prepares and submits budget requests for supplies and equipment; inspects natural resources to determine work needed, requests and directs the work of subordinates, and maintains records of natural resources and other operations;;;
  3. Determines plant composition for appropriate restoration of native ecosystems, wildlife habitat and rare and endangered species conservation; Identifies local native plants in all stages of lifecycle and understands the natural habitat requirements for native species to correctly collect seed and restore habitat; Collects seed and propagates hundreds of local native plant species for habitat restoration projects; Identifies, monitors and controls invasive species in all life stages using Early Detection and Rapid Response techniques to minimize impacts on surrounding native plant communities;
  4. Conducts, studies, inventories, surveys and monitors rare plant and animal populations, habitat health and diversity, and endangered species populations; and utilizes spatial database, mapping technology, and other databases to monitor animal and plant communities and populations.
  5. Practices methods and procedures to identify erosion of soils on steep slopes, addresses major and minor landslides and gullying in intact native ecosystems, and constructs and maintains trails;
  6. Supervises landscape cleanup and general maintenance activities, including litter removal, illegal dumping and encampment cleanup;
  7. Trains staff, trainees and volunteers by preparing and conducting training in the use of maintenance equipment, garden tools, pesticide application equipment, and the care and management of natural resource areas; provides safety training; and enforces work procedures, policies, and methods of operation. May be required to prepare educational material and make presentations related to park maintenance and/or the conservation of natural resource areas;
  8. Writes memoranda, reports and completes work orders by drafting memos and letters, filling out requisitions for supplies, materials and services; and completing incident reports, employee evaluations, and other reports. This may include researching and recommending use of new products and equipment, ordering plants and /or estimating cost of jobs;
  9. Makes public contact in person or in writing; responds to issues/complaints brought up by individuals, community groups, volunteers, advisory committees, commission, police, and other groups;
  10. Provides information by participating in work groups in charge of short and long-range parks planning, landscaping and restoration. This may include scheduling repairs or renovations at appropriate times; and
  11. Performs additional duties as required.

Nature of Work
The Natural Resource Specialist workload is mainly a field position with very little time spent indoors in an office setting. This position may be required to address emergencies outside of regular work schedule, including weekends and holidays.

How to qualify

1. Four (4) years of professional experience in the conservation and management of natural ecosystems, native plant communities and wildlife habitat; AND

2. Possession of a valid California driver license; AND

3. Possession of a Qualified Applicator’s Certificate (QAC) or a Qualified Applicator’s License (QAL) from the State of California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

Completion of coursework in Biological Sciences, Natural Resource Management, and Earth Science from an accredited college or university may substitute for up to eighteen (18) months of the required experience. Thirty (30) semester / forty-five (45) quarter units equals one (1) year.

Three (3) years of professional gardening experience may substitute for up to one (1) year of the required experience.

Verification of Education and Experience
Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. All work experience, education, training and other information substantiating how you meet the minimum qualifications must be included on your application by the filing deadline. Information submitted after the filing deadline will not be considered in determining whether you meet the minimum qualifications. More information can be found at:

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

What else should I know?

Contact: For questions about this position or how to apply, please contact Antonio Archuleta at

Selection Procedures

Behavioral Consistency Questionnaire (Weight: 100%): 
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be provided a Behavioral Consistency Questionnaire will be provided via email. Candidates will be evaluated on their relative knowledge, skill and ability levels in job-related areas. Candidates must achieve a passing score on the Behavioral Consistency Questionnaire in order to be placed on the confidential eligible list in rank order according to their final score. A passing score must be achieved on all examination components in order to be placed/ranked on the resulting Eligible List. Candidates will be placed on the eligible list in rank order according to their final score.

Eligible List/Score Report: 
A confidential eligible list of applicant names that have passed the civil service examination process will be created, and used for certification purposes only. An examination score report will be established, so applicants can view the ranks, final scores and number of eligible candidates. Applicant information, including names of applicants on the eligible list, shall not be made public unless required by law. However, an eligible list shall be made available for public inspection, upon request, once the eligible list is exhausted or expired and referrals resolved. The eligible list/score report resulting from this civil service examination process is subject to change after adoption (e.g., as a result of appeals), as directed by the Human Resources Director or the Civil Service Commission. 

Eligible List Duration: The duration of the eligible list resulting from this examination process will be of 12 months, and may be extended with the approval of the Human Resources Director. 

To find Departments which use this classification, please see

Certification Rule: The certification rule for the eligible list resulting from this examination will be Rule of Three Scores. Additional selection processes may be conducted by the hiring department prior to making final hiring decisions.

Upon approval of the Human Resource Director (see Civil Service Rule 111A.26.5), the eligible list/score report resulting from this announcement may be used by other departments that also use this classification or a similar classification. To find other Departments which use this classification, please see

Exam Type: Combined Promotive and Entrance

Additional Information Regarding Employment with the City and County of San Francisco

Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Race and Social Equity Statement
We believe that parks and open space in San Francisco provides the opportunity to model equitable access for all.  With this belief, San Francisco became the first city in the United States for which 100% of its residents live within a ten-minute walk of a park. The Recreation and Park Department’s goal is to close the gaps and improve equity and access to quality parks and open space, and recreation activities for historically marginalized communities.  

We envision a department that proactively infuses racial and social equity in its internal operations.  With a multi-disciplinary team of talented individuals - gardeners, recreation leaders, park rangers, custodians, craft shop personnel, park and recreation managers and more, the department is committed to doing its part to provide equitable access to parks and programs for all the communities we serve to enjoy, as well as foster a work environment where our differences are celebrated, and everyone has what they need to thrive regardless of their race, age, ability, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or country of origin.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT:  All City and County of San Francisco employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Someone is fully vaccinated when 14 days have passed since they received the final dose of a two-shot vaccine or a dose of a one-shot vaccine. Any new hire must present proof of full vaccination status to be appointed. Any new hire who will be routinely assigned or occasionally enter High-Risk Settings, must provide proof of having received a COVID-19 booster vaccine by March 1, 2022, or once eligible.

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.