Sustainable Water Project Manager

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Sacramento, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we strive for a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, including all 50 United States, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond




California’s Water Program is working towards a sustainable water future that integrates nature’s water needs to create a more resilient and dynamic water supply for people. The Sustainable Water Project Manager leads a range of projects to support the Sustainable Water Management (SWM) Team within the Water Program. The SWM Team is advancing strategies to improve instream flows, achieve sustainable groundwater management and strategically retire and restore upland habitat. This position leads existing and emerging initiatives within and across the strategies, as well as represents the Conservancy with key partners and audiences across the state. 


The Project Manager will use their skills, experience, and relationships to deliver results for ecosystems and species in California. As part of a multidisciplinary team, this position leads and supports projects across and within the strategies, with an initial focus on outreach to and engagement with external stakeholders. Outreach entails building strategies, tactics, metrics, and team expertise to effectively influence partners to take specific desired actions, such as implementing projects to enhance instream flows, incorporating groundwater dependent ecosystems into groundwater sustainability plans and testing restoration opportunities on idled farmland. This includes identifying and resolving science gaps, developing compelling messaging and advancing policy to compel action. In addition, this position will help demonstrate and replicate innovative pilot projects to provide instream flows for migrating salmon. The responsibilities of this position will evolve over time, as emerging projects gain momentum. To be successful, we seek a candidate with strong project management skills, a proven communicator who can engage with diverse audiences across a range of media, and an adaptive and independent learner who can lead projects through uncertainty.


  • Leads and manages teams through various phases of project development, ranging from project inception to completion
  • Engages with a variety of internal and external teams and partnerships to deliver priority conservation outcomes
  • Develops and manages annual work plans, including aligning individual objectives to accomplish plan objectives
  • Develops and manages budgets
  • Leads teams to identify and develop tools, papers and products that advance our strategies.
  • Influences diverse stakeholders to take actions at various geographic scales, from local communities to statewide entities.
  • Develops local capacity to enable successful replication of projects of approaches, including building adequate financial, scientific and management capacities to sustain successful programs without the Conservancy’s engagement long-term.
  • Identifies emerging opportunities to advance the Conservancy’s mission and SWM strategies
  • Identifies potential funding sources. Develops funding proposals. Leads reporting to funders.  
  • Assesses and manages areas of potential risk and uncertainty.
  • Supports teams, as needed, as a project manager or team contributor.
  • Manages contracts in accordance with applicable policies and procedures.


  • BA/BS degree and 5 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing complex and/or multiple projects, including staffing, workloads and finances under deadlines.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience negotiating.


  • Multi-lingual and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 5-7 years’ experience in conservation practice or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and/or plans.
  • Supervisory and/or leadership experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Politically savvy.
  • Knowledge of California water issues, especially as they pertain to nature and/or agriculture, preferred.
  • Experience using social media for influence, preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience in fundraising, preferred.




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