Associate Director, Rivers and Coastal Wetlands

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

California, USA 🇺🇸

Job ID: 53176

Location: California

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular


Location is negotiable within California. 



The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Grounded in science, we develop innovative solutions to the world’s toughest environmental challenges so that people and nature can thrive. Our work is guided by our values, which include a commitment to diversity; respect for people, communities, and cultures; and a collaborative, bipartisan approach. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world. 

The California Chapter is TNC’s largest state program and one of the largest, most dynamic conservation organizations in the country. With approximately 230 employees, from financial analysts and fundraisers to ecologists and economists, we are currently invested in 14 strategies to address the biggest challenges facing California and the world, including numerous community-based projects designed to increase the pace, scale, and effectiveness of conservation. Over the past six decades, we have protected 1.4 million acres, 5,000 miles of streams, and 3.8 million acres of ocean habitat in California and off the coast. 

The California Chapter believes that we are most effective when we are embedded in our state’s communities, politics, media, and environmental issues. For this reason, and to reduce our carbon footprint when meeting in person, all staff live in California, including those in a home office.

Finally, we are passionate about the middle ground in American politics and life. The hallmark of The Nature Conservancy is its “big tent” approach, engaging people across the political and ideological spectrum to find solutions that last. We ask all employees to embrace this critical strategic position of our organization.


The Associate Director for the Stewardship Rivers and Coastal Wetlands Team oversees all aspects of protection, science, stewardship, and partner and community relations for multiple large geographic areas and complex projects across California, supports TNC’s conservation planning work for stewardship Statewide, and leads certain complex Statewide stewardship projects focused on rivers and coastal wetlands.

The Associate Director provides technical and program support to Conservancy field operations.  They serve as the principal contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations, and the academic community.  They establish the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within their area of responsibility, define conservation priorities within their area of responsibility, lead and manage a team which implements conservation efforts, and build strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field.  The Associate Director develops key partnerships with public & private organizations to identify and resolve technical issues and to widely communicate solutions and best practices, develops innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools, and frameworks to address the natural system needs, and engages local community support for local conservation efforts.  They negotiate complex and innovative solutions with government agencies and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities and develop and implement conservation strategies. Frequent travel domestically and/or internationally, evening and weekend hours. May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.   


Are you looking for a career to help people and nature? Guided by science, TNC creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that people and nature can thrive together. 

We’re looking for someone who is passionate, motivated problem-solver. The Stewardship Team in California is committed to operating a climate-resilient, financially sustainable system of protected areas that maximizes retention of priority biodiversity, produces replicable models of best practice in stewardship, fosters strategic relationships, and drives innovation at the forefront of conservation, restoration and science. As the Associate Director for the Rivers and Coastal Wetlands team, you will oversee and manage a large portfolio of protected lands across the state focused on riparian forests and coastal beaches, dunes and wetlands. The intention of this team is to bolster biodiversity through committed habitat management that considers current and future climate scenarios, improving access to nature for underserved communities, and demonstration of best practices in large-scale habitat restoration situated in a working lands context (e.g. within timberlands and agricultural farmlands). As the leader of this team, you will have the opportunity to seize upon lessons from multiple project areas to scale our work more quickly and efficiently. You will collaborate with colleagues with broad expertise across systems and with diverse focal species (e.g. riparian birds and anadromous fish). The Associate Director is responsible for numerous complex budgets with several public and private funding sources, as well as supporting fundraising via grant writing and cultivation of donor relationships. This is an exciting opportunity to leverage a large, protected lands estate for conservation.


  • BA/BS degree and 7 years’ experience in conservation practice or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Fundraising experience, including identifying donor prospects and donor cultivation
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including managing finances and coordinating the work of other professionals and partners.   
  • 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.


Each person who works at TNC contributes to our goal of protecting nature for future generations. Another one of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe feel that their unique contributions are valued. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “You’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.” To learn more, head to YouTube to hear stories from staff or visit Glassdoor.  

We’re proud to support the health and wellbeing of the people we employ. We offer a competitive, comprehensive benefits package that includes healthcare coverage, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, and other benefits that support work-life balance. 

If you’re interested in working with us, please apply—we’d love to hear from you.


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.


The expected salary range for this position is $82,000 – $115,000 and depends on geographical location and experience.


To apply for job ID 53176, submit your materials (resume and cover letter) online by using the Apply Now button at by 8:59 PM PST on April 9, 2023. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

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 with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.

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 with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures. 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 orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law. 





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development