Associate Director, Freshwater Conservation: Audubon Society

Job Locations US-NM-Santa Fe
Type Regular, Full-Time
Job Category Government Relations/Public Policy
ID 2017-3365
City Santa Fe State/Province NM


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action. By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive. And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level. What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 22 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country. Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Position Summary

Reporting to the Audubon New Mexico Director of Conservation and collaborating with senior conservation leaders on Audubon’s Western Water Team and in the Washington, D.C. policy office, the Associate Director of Freshwater Conservation will lead New Mexico’s efforts to develop and implement policy, market-based, restoration and strategic engagement strategies to protect and restore natural ecosystems for birds and other wildlife and their habitats on New Mexico’s major rivers and tributaries, with a focus on the Rio Grande and Colorado River Basins.

Audubon’s Western Water vision is to take actions to achieve a reliable water supply for birds and people throughout the West. With its partners, Audubon aims to stabilize and increase populations of priority birds in the West by advancing balanced water management policy solutions, implementing on-the-ground restoration projects, and involving our network of members, volunteers, and chapters in meaningful activities.

The Associate Director will play a critical role as an ambassador of Audubon, representing the organization with policy makers, Tribal Nations, community members, conservation leaders and other important stakeholders to advance freshwater conservation, inform stakeholder opinions and decisions, and harness the power of grassroots movements.

The initial focus of the Associate Director of Freshwater Conservation position (~ 12 months) will be on the most time-sensitive opportunities, which include:
Oversee the strategic planning, and implementation of a five-year campaign in support of an Audubon-led Rio Grande Program with conservation outcomes, activities, and key deliverables in integrated water management and policy, environmental flows and water transactions, habitat restoration, science & research, Audubon network and stakeholder engagement and education.
Develop a successful funding package to implement a water leasing pilot program in the Middle Rio Grande and lead implementation of the project activities.
Represent Audubon’s interests and develop productive relationships with basin stakeholders in a 3-year WaterSMART Rio Grande Basin Study with the goal of achieving integrated water management and optimization of a limited water supply benefiting people and nature.
Shape and lead critical water policy and engagement campaigns with New Mexico Pueblos and Tribal Nations that are critical to a comprehensive solution of Rio Grande water management benefiting tribal lands, people and birds.

Essential Functions

Aligned with Audubon’s overall Western Water conservation goals and strategies, oversee the strategic implementation of the Rio Grande Program and New Mexico water policy program that results in the organization’s increased capacity to achieve the conservation of priority birds and their habitats.
Work closely with the Audubon New Mexico Executive Director and the Director of Conservation to identify resources and help raise private and public funds to support freshwater conservation strategies and programs.
Provide real time content and work collaboratively with Audubon science, policy and communication teams in the state, region, and nationally and engage New Mexico’s four Audubon chapters, to both tap into and increase network capacity.
Develop productive relationships with key state-elected and agency officials/leaders, as well as the New Mexico Congressional delegation and state and federal agencies critical to Audubon goals.
Recruit and manage freshwater conservation staff, interns, consultants, volunteers and a freshwater advisory task force.

Qualifications and Experience

Bachelor’s Degree in water resources, environmental science or related field required. Master’s or Juris Doctorate Degree strongly preferred.
Minimum 5-7 years’ progressive experience in natural resource conservation and water resource management, strategic planning and project management working in the government or non-profit arena.
Demonstrated track record of success with conservation and policy strategy implementation required with a preference for knowledge and experience in water management and policy in the Rio Grande and Colorado River Basins, water transactions, agricultural production, river restoration and/or climate change impacts on water supply and demand.
Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to develop effective partnerships with funders, conservation organizations and agencies and build relationships with key leaders within these institutions.
Experience working in an entrepreneurial environment, and demonstrated experience in growing a sustainable and well-funded program at a national nonprofit or federal agency.
A self-starter who is able to prioritize multiple simultaneous projects and complete work with minimal supervision while meeting deadlines; experience leading teams and managing diverse stakeholder coalitions preferred.
Willingness and ability to travel regularly across the state and elsewhere as needed, some weekends and evenings required.
Proven management of a team. Capacity to work easily and effectively with a wide range of people, build relationships, be diplomatic, and exhibit sensitivity to and understanding of the dynamics of a complex organization.
Proficiency in conversational Spanish preferred.
Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications and web-based applications required.
A commitment to Audubon’s mission of conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat and the ability to communicate the mission, goals, and programs effectively to partners, government officials, donors, and the public.