Director of Land and Water Management

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Lansing, Michigan, USA 🇺🇸


Lansing, Michigan, USA


Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. 

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. Whether it’s career development, work/life balance, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all of our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued.

Although you’ll see requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Passion, innovation, and diversity are all key components to advancing our Mission and we encourage you to apply.


Within Michigan, The Nature Conservancy manages a portfolio of 33 preserves encompassing over 60,000 acres, as well 33 conservation easements across an additional 6,500 acres. Our Director of Land and Water Management will be responsible for guiding a program with the goals of: 1) maintaining TNC’s lands and waters in exemplary ecological condition, and 2) leveraging the Chapter’s lands and waters to influence and inspire conservation well beyond our property boundaries, including engagement of strategic partners and public users.


The Director of Land and Water Management oversees ecological management and restoration for resilience and ecosystem function on Michigan’s lands and waters where TNC holds a legal interest, as well as contributing to conservation efforts state-wide. Responsibilities include oversight and authority for priority setting, planning, budgeting, project management and implementation, standard setting, legal monitoring, and data management. This position leads ecological management and restoration activities to advance the Michigan Chapter’s strategic goals, manages a team of talented field staff, and coordinates with TNC staff across the state and the Midwest to set priorities and implement projects.

The ideal candidate creates and cultivates collaborations with other organizations to define and implement priority projects and promotes ecological management for resilience on TNC legal interests and other priority conservation lands in the state. Finally, the Director will ensure that TNC’s preserves play a role in connecting people with nature. This position reports to the Associate State Director and is based out of Lansing, MI.

The compensation range begins at $78,500 and is commensurate with skills and experience.


  • Ecological management, restoration, and stewardship: Strategically manage and restore habitats and ecosystem processes on Conservancy lands and waters, as well as priority sites on partner lands. Collaboratively set priorities with the Chapter’s Conservation Team and develop and implement preserve management plans. Oversee management and restoration projects including wetland and hydrological management, invasive species control, forest and early successional habitat management, and vegetation planting and monitoring in a variety of habitat types. Develop restoration and monitoring plans, manage projects, and share results with peers and partners. Prepare contracts and ensure they are executed as intended and completed on time. Serve as a resource to chapter conservation staff on issues and activities relevant to field work. Participate in regional-scale prioritization and planning to manage for resilience. Make site visits and advise protection staff on stewardship, ecological management, and liability considerations of potential protection projects and transfers of properties to other conservation entities. Assist with easement baseline reports. Maintain preserve infrastructure (e.g., trails, parking lots, kiosks, buildings), manage public use and use of preserves for marketing and outreach. Ensure Chapter follows Land Trust Alliance Standards and follows TNC policies and guidelines for stewardship practices. Ensure that use of restricted funds meet donor intent and Chapter priorities.
  • Strategic partnerships and leverage: Develop relationships and strategic partnerships with state and federal agencies, NGOs, academic and local communities, and private and public property owners/managers. Serve as liaison to these entities, influencing management and restoration strategies at appropriate scales.
  • Engage people with nature: Leverage preserves to connect people with nature and increase TNC’s visibility. Set up preserves to provide safe, welcoming, and positive visitor experiences and improve access where possible. Provide preserve related content for social media and other digital platforms.
  • Team leadership and supervision: Lead a team of full-time and seasonal stewardship staff, encouraging a collaborative dynamic of learning, innovation and problem solving. Manage performance reviews, objective setting, and professional development, and ensure the team follows field safety standards and protocols. Ensure that field staff actively integrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice practices across our work. Seek and secure opportunities to gain efficiencies by exploring options to deploying staff, contractors, and volunteers and seeking technologies to streamline monitoring and stewardship.
  • Legal compliance and operations: Coordinate and oversee annual monitoring of easements and preserves. Strategically deploy and direct field staff, gather and review monitoring reports, and with data manager ensure completion by deadline. See that encroachments and boundary marking and maintenance are addressed promptly and ensure that land use activities/practices are consistent with restrictions and other legal requirements, often in consultation with legal staff. Review requests for approval/interpretation of reserved rights and activities by easement landowners and assess potential impacts to conservation values. See that infrastructure, equipment, vehicles, and other assets are inventoried and protected against loss.
  • Fundraising: Identify fundable projects, develop public and private grant proposals, and support development staff to cultivate donors through activities like leading engaging virtual and in-person field trips. Prepare regular written updates on accomplishments for donor and grant reports, newsletters, and other publications.


  • BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in conservation practice, or equivalent combination of education and experience, specifically related to land and water management and public use of lands and waters.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including staffing, workloads and finances under deadlines.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.                                        
  • Experience negotiating.
  • Experience in securing public and private funds for conservation projects.  
  • Must have valid Drivers’ License.


  • Experience with a variety of habitat types (terrestrial and aquatic), climate resilience and adaptation, and monitoring, evaluation and learning.
  • Track record of public and private grant and/or fundraising, including identifying and cultivating prospective funding sources. 
  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 7-10 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in relevant disciplines and regions.
  • Ability to develop practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives or related field.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Politically savvy.


The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including; health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan including employer match, accrued paid time off (including annual, personal, and sick leave), life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work wellness benefits. Benefits may be subject to generally applicable eligibility, waiting period, contribution, and other requirements and conditions.  Learn more about our benefits at We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellness, and flexibility needs of the people we employ.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


To apply for job ID 50479, submit your cover letter and resume by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on November 11th, 2021. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact [email protected].

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to [email protected] with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.