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People of the Restoration Center

Jason Lehto

Habitat Restoration Specialist: Seattle, Washington

I work in Seattle, Washington, as part of the Restoration Centerís Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program and the Community-based Restoration Program. I work mainly in northwest states like Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska assisting with damage assessments and restoration planning and implementation.

What is it that you like most about your job? The thing I like best about my job is its mission. I get real satisfaction from the fact that Iím helping to restore damaged and degraded habitat. I also like how diverse the job is. Iím always learning new things, and Iím challenged everyday.

What is the hardest part of your job? I think that the hardest part of my job is that we are always trying to balance competing demands. Trying to find a middle road that will be acceptable to all parties in a project can be very difficult and frustrating at times.

How long have you been with the Restoration Center, and what interested you in working for NOAA? I have worked for the Restoration Center for 3.5 years. I wanted to work here because of the Centerís mission and the diversity of projects with which we are involved.

What advice would you give young people thinking about becoming a habitat restoration specialist? I would recommend trying to find one or two places or positions that interest you and map out a few paths to get there from the beginning. Find out what education, skills, and experience you need to make you competitive, and work towards that goal.