Project Manager (Water Program)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Sacramento, CA, USA 🇺🇸


Sacramento, California, USA

Location negotiable between Sacramento and San Joaquin Valley. This role will require frequent travel to the San Joaquin Valley. 


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.


As a member of TNC California’s Water Program, you would work with a matrixed and multidisciplinary team to conserve natural ecosystems while advancing a resilient and sustainable water future for California. A primary focus of this position is to advance our Strategic Restoration strategy, which aims to restore and protect arid habitat for rare and endangered species in the San Joaquin Valley, particularly on lands that are transitioning out of agriculture as part of regional efforts to reduce groundwater overdraft. There is a limited window of time to influence the land use transition underway in the San Joaquin Valley so that it results not in a haphazard and fragmented pattern of fallowed ag lands but rather in a configuration that can allow for significant restoration, species recovery and multiple co-benefits to neighboring communities. In this role, you will be daily navigating the complicated world of San Joaquin Valley water, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, endangered species conservation, solar energy development, and the diverse set of stakeholders present in the Valley. In this context, you would be developing projects and representing TNC to ensure nature’s needs are being met alongside the needs of other stakeholders. You would work closely with the program and science leads for the strategy, as well as members of TNC’s other internal teams responsible for acquiring and stewarding lands, advancing renewable energy, and engaging in state and federal policy. You may serve as the principal contact to landowners, state and federal agencies, other conservation organizations, and donors, as needed.


The Water Project Manager will help build out the Strategic Restoration portfolio of work by 1) leading internal analyses to assess acquisitions and investments that would catalyze San Joaquin upland species recovery and, in some cases, low environmental impact solar energy development, 2) identifying and evaluating potential acquisition and project sites, 3) coordinating closely with external partners to implement projects and explore emerging opportunities, 4) managing the development of restoration plans for project sites, and 5) identifying and pursuing relevant public and private funding to implement San Joaquin upland habitat restoration projects. All of these functions will be done in close coordination with the project team. As the team member most often at project sites and close to the ground, the Project Manager will be traveling to project sites and speaking with landowners and agency representatives regularly. This person will also represent TNC at public meetings and workshops at local and regional venues. This role requires frequent, in-person presence at project sites in the San Joaquin Valley, Covid-19 safety protocols permitting. Candidates not based in the San Joaquin Valley should be prepared to travel up to 50% of the time.


  • Lead the development of internal-facing analyses to identify candidate properties and project sites
  • Gather input from core and matrixed team members to inform the development of analyses, projects, and proposals.
  • Manage day-to-day engagement with landowners, external partners, public agencies, and funders.
  • Manage contracts and supervise contractors who are providing scientific or practical/restoration services in support of the project.
  • Lead multi-disciplinary internal teams, most likely of peers rather than direct reports, to develop key project components and deliverables.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with existing and new project partners.
  • Understand and navigate California water policy and politics.
  • Manage contractors and teams to develop and implement restoration plans.
  • Develop and manage budgets for projects and grants.
  • Manage all stages of a restoration project including project siting, negotiation, funding, permitting, contracting, implementation, and reporting.
  • Scout out, prepare, write, and manage public grants to support the project, including effective engagement of public funders in all stages of the grant process.
  • Support the Development team in raising funds from individual and foundation donors by providing material and meeting with team members or donors to talk about the project.
  • Coordinate and communicate with TNC’s renewable energy teams regarding low-impact solar development in the San Joaquin Valley.
  • Be able to represent in a general way the work of the Water Program and TNC’s renewable energy strategy.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.
  • May need to travel to project sites in the San Joaquin Valley up to 50% of the time.
  • Frequently make independent decision based on analysis, experience, and context.


  • BA/BS degree and 5 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience in managing multiple projects and timelines.
  • Experience negotiating.                    
  • Experience developing partnerships (partners, community, government).
  • Experience supervising contractors and/or leading teams.
  • Valid California driver’s license.


  • Spanish fluency in speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Experience with upland habitat management or restoration.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing, and implementing restoration plans.
  • Demonstrated experience with land acquisition.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in San Joaquin Valley agriculture and water management.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrated experience writing and managing public grants. 
  • Politically savvy.


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 50474, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 PM EST on November 8, 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.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development