The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 1, 2013
Unusual California state government jobs: Coho recovery coordinator

fall2010_030.JPGThis is the fourth installment in our series on California state employees whose jobs don't immediately come to mind when you think of government work.

Name: Scott Bauer

Job Title: Staff environmental scientist, Coho recovery coordinator, Department of Fish and Wildlife

Number of years working with state: 14

What does a typical week in the life of a environmental scientist look like?
Well, I am supposed to do things like help people apply for permits because salmon are an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act. ... What I am really doing is research is on marijuana cultivation and what they are doing to Coho salmon. There are possible 8,000 (marijuana) sites (in Northern California) which means there are a million or more marijuana plants and they are diverting waters from streams, (so) ... I am trying to tell people that this fish is going to go extinct due to marijuana cultivation. ... There are only a few of us in the state who are working on this really huge issue.

What is the most extraordinary or interesting thing that has happened while you were on the job?
I was almost attacked by a mountain lion. I had a mountain lion come within 20 feet and was going to pounce on me. I did what I was supposed to do -- I got big and shouted at it and then it just calmly walked away. ... It was so close that I could pet it. That is probably the most interesting thing that happened to me on the job.

How did you come to be an environmental scientist?
I started working with the California Conservation Corp in 1998, 1999, doing fish habitat restoration, and I got hired by Fish and Game in 2005 to do timber harvest review. Then this job came up and I had a lot of experience doing fish habit restoration and permitting ... and here I am at a great job.

Is there anything you want people to know about your job?
I think I would like people to know we (state scientists) are all hard-working and dedicated people who do our best to serve the public (and) ... give the people their money's worth.

Helicopter Fire Pilot
Seed Botanist

PHOTO: Scott Bauer. Courtesy of Department of Fish and Wildlife/Trevor Tollefson.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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