Local recruitment: Executive Director

Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

Durham, NC, USA 🇺🇸

The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association (ECWA) seeks a new Executive Director to lead the organization in its mission to protect Ellerbe Creek and its tributaries in Durham, NC. ECWA is both a land trust and a watershed protection non-profit. We envision a clean and healthy creek supporting both people and wildlife. We protect, restore, engage, and advocate so that Ellerbe Creek is an asset for all citizens of Durham. The Executive Director will lead ECWA’s dedicated staff to maintain and grow its programs and partnerships through engagement with watershed stakeholders to protect and manage ECWA-owned conservation lands, address Durham’s stormwater issues through innovative projects, and engage the community in the effort.   â€‹

Desired Start Date: April 17, 2023

About the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association

ECWA is the primary watershed organization in Durham, NC. Its community-based approach to healing urban waters is unique in the Triangle area and is becoming recognized nationally, as interest in urban watersheds has quickly expanded and intensified. The position will lead a team of seven staff members who work with dozens of partners and hundreds of volunteers to protect and steward creekside lands; clean up Durham’s water through innovative, nature-based approaches; and engage the community in these efforts. 

​As a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, ECWA is both a land stewardship and an urban watershed management organization. Established in 1999, ECWA has organically and steadily grown from a few volunteers in one local neighborhood to become a key player in ensuring that Ellerbe Creek is an important asset to the watershed, its surrounding neighborhoods, and the City of Durham at large. ECWA envisions a living creek connecting human and natural communities in Durham. 

Our assets include dedicated board members and volunteers; 420 acres of protected land throughout the watershed, including five publicly accessible preserves, with hiking trails and educational signage, and an equivalent set of non-public (or not-yet-public) preserves; community events that raise both money and awareness; stormwater management projects; and professional staff and consultants, who develop and share these assets in a sincere, inviting way. We challenge ourselves not only to identify the historical exclusion of people who are important parts of the demographic and economic reality of our service area, but also to change the way we operate by building capacity through partnerships in all parts of the watershed.

Position Responsibilities

The specific responsibilities of the Executive Director position are detailed in the full position description. These responsibilities include the following general duties for the organization: 

  1. Organizational leadership and communication
  2. Planning and budgeting
  3. Fundraising and development
  4. Board and committee relations
  5. Staff oversight
  6. Operations management

​Experience, Skills, and Qualifications 

The following characteristics are expected for this position: 

  • Five or more years of experience supervising technical and administrative staff, preferably in a nonprofit or government environment, with a proven history of effective staff development of diverse team members
  • Successful budgetary management of at least $200,000 annually 
  • Exemplary fundraising experience that regularly meets or exceeds goals 
  • Experience crafting fundraising strategies and soliciting gifts from individuals, businesses, and foundations
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent administrative, leadership, and managerial skills
  • Ability to lead a dynamic nonprofit while engaging a diverse community
  • Desire to work collaboratively, and ability to delegate responsibility appropriately
  • Ability to create and implement strategic plans designed to improve the waters of and public appreciation of Ellerbe Creek
  • Demonstrated success in networking and partnership building
  • Self-starting: little need for supervision; capability for working based on general Board direction
  • Ability to travel to represent ECWA at professional conferences

The following characteristics would also be beneficial in applicants for this position: 

  • Bilingual in English/Spanish
  • Environmental degree or similar life experience in an urban watershed environment
  • Comfortable spending time outdoors to work with donors, land owners, and volunteers
  • Watershed management experience in an urban environment 
  • Existing knowledge of the NC Triangle area and Durham in particular

Salary and Benefits

Salary for this full-time position will be $75,000-$80,000 based on experience (especially fundraising experience), education, and qualifications. Benefits at ECWA are 100% employer covered health insurance, participation in a 401(k) retirement plan, and 240 hours of PTO per year (includes vacation and “sick time”).

​Application Process

Please submit your cover letter and professional resume to Jordan Thomas at  jordan@ellerbecreek.org  with “Executive Director” in the subject line by March 13, 2023. 

​The Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer and has a strong, growing emphasis on diversity of all kinds in its workforce. ECWA prohibits any discrimination in carrying out its mission on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status. This includes all programs, projects, events, and all other activities sponsored by ECWA.  People including but not limited to people of color, women, LGBTQ-identified people, and formerly incarcerated individuals are especially encouraged to apply.

Posted on February 13, 2023




IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development