Water Program Policy Specialist (Arizona)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Phoenix, AZ, USA 🇺🇸

Job ID: 53257

Location: Arizona

Full/Part Time: Full-Time

Regular/Temporary: Regular


Phoenix, Arizona, USA


The mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we develop innovative, on-the-ground 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 and respect for people, communities, and cultures. From a rewarding mission to career development and flexible schedules, there are many reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want to know more? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube   to hear stories from staff or visit  Glassdoor.

One of TNC’s primary goals is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that employees around the globe have a sense of belonging and feel that their unique contributions are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our mission by hiring and engaging a diverse staff that reflects the communities in which we work. Recognizing that people bring talent and skills that have been developed outside the scope of a job, we take a holistic approach to recruitment that considers life experience in addition to the professional requirements listed in our postings. Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote a popular saying at TNC, “you’ll join for the mission, and you’ll stay for the people.”


Arizona based (preferably in the Phoenix area), the AZ Water Program Policy Specialist is a member of the Arizona Water Program working to develop and leverage strong partner relationships in high priority conservation areas in Arizona with indigenous groups, research organizations, governments, corporate business sector, community organizations, national affiliates of international conservation and development organizations, etc.

The Arizona Water Program implements a diverse set of projects ranging from surface water irrigation efficiency projects, integrated water management with rural communities and watershed condition improvements.  The Water Program also supports collaborative efforts to engage local communities, tribal entities, state and federal agencies and landowners to implement projects, strategies and management actions that will enhance long-term water security for ecological resources and water users. 


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. Come join TNC and apply today!


The AZ Water Program Policy Specialist works closely with Arizona Water Program staff, Arizona’s Director of External Affairs and other Conservancy professionals to form a partner leverage strategy for Arizona to achieve objectives established through conservation area plans. Will provide specialized guidance in forming, maintaining, developing existing partnerships with scientific/research institutions, governments, community groups, NISP consortia, indigenous organizations, NGOs.  Position helps to raise funds for overall functional initiatives and/or specific projects, by providing input for proposal writing, negotiating with bilateral and multilateral agencies, corporate business sector and cultivating donors, as needed.

 A.  Support Local and Regional Policy (approx. 50% of time)

  1. Support water project work in Northern and Southern Arizona.
  2. Engage with diverse groups of stakeholders including agricultural water users, elected officials, tribal governments, municipal and county employees, and state and federal agency employees.  This may be through meetings that are convened and managed by Specialist, participation in meetings managed by others or through one-on-one meetings.
  3. Provide direction and support in relationship management at the regional scale.
  4. Provide policy guidance for project implementation based on direct knowledge or by seeking input from professional sources. 
  5. Develop tools such as policy statements and written reports for TNC or in collaboration with one or more partner or stakeholder.
  6. Initiate, negotiate and formalize, with support from Arizona Operations staff, formal agreements such as Memorandums of understanding.

B. Support Statewide Policy (approx. 40% of time)

  1. Supports fundraising efforts for overall Water Program initiatives and/or specific projects by providing input for proposal writing, negotiating with bilateral and multilateral agencies and the corporate business sector, and by cultivating donors as needed and collaborating closely with Arizona’s Development staff and Grants Specialist.
  2. Develop and update annual water policy agenda for Arizona Water Program of The Nature Conservancy.
  3. Manage relationships with state and federal based conservation and other interest groups that influence water policy. 
  4. Supports cross-cutting communication and coordination within TNC and with partners by convening in multi-party stakeholder meeting, attending meetings and direct communications.  Document agreements through written meeting reports or other forms as appropriate.

C. Other (approx. 10% of time)

  1. Participates in Water Program, Conservation, AZ Chapter, Division, Regional, and TNC meetings, trainings, etc. as required.
  2. Works according to TNC’s and Arizona’s established SOPs and business processes.
  3. Participates in Water, Conservation, AZ Business Unit, Divisional, Regional and TNC-wide meetings, trainings, etc.
  4. Completes administrative tasks such as expense reports, timecards, performance self-evaluations, etc. accurately and in a timely manner.
  5. Occasional travel including overnight throughout Arizona for meetings, staff retreat, etc. and occasionally in U.S. for trainings, etc.
  6. Occasionally work long hours, weekends, or holidays.
  7. Lift, carry, and move 25 pounds. 
  8. Other duties as assigned


  1. Support program objectives by working in a complex matrix organization environment and works collaboratively within a cross-functional interdisciplinary team.
  2. Develop water policy agenda with input from AZ Water Program staff, External Affairs and other TNC professionals.
  3. Document and formalize agreements through development of memorandum of understanding, shared policy statements and written reports.
  4. Supports regional collaborations in key project areas to improve long-term water management to benefit communities and ecological resources.
  5. Manage contractors to develop scientific, legal or strategic documents to support conservation initiatives resulting from or in support of stakeholder engagement processes.
  6. Provides policy guidance for project implementation including NEPA requirements and water quality permitting requirements through direct knowledge or by coordinating with professional sources to apply knowledge of conservation practices.
  7. Develops relationships and works effectively with indigenous communities, corporate, government, and non-governmental organization partners.
  8. Participates in negotiations for complex, high profile or sensitive agreements in collaboration with conservation practitioners.
  9. May supervise administrative and professional staff with responsibility for performance management, training and development. Responsibility and accountability for meeting departmental strategic goals and objectives.
  10. Makes strategic decisions based on analysis, experience and judgment.
  11. Responsibility and accountability for meeting departmental strategic goals and objectives. 


  • Bachelor’s degree and 4 years’ experience in the functional field, or equivalent such as advanced degrees in legal or policy fields.
  • Experience in water policy related to surface water, groundwater, water quality and/or NEPA clearances.
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders and engaging groups of stakeholders to develop consensus around sensitive issues.
  • Basic understanding of Arizona water law and Colorado River water management
  • Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple complex projects and ensuring program accountability.
  • Communications experience including preparing and presenting project proposals and developing written communications.
  • Experience negotiating with other agencies, companies, private parties or related entities.
  • Experience using Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.
  • Current driver’s license.
  • Youth certified (within initial 30 days; annually thereafter).


  • Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural experience appreciated.
  • Master’s degree preferred
  • Working knowledge of current trends in relevant discipline.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication, negotiating and organizational skills.
  • Understanding of and relevant experience in the culture of the country/region.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the functional needs and practices of the pertinent region.
  • Supervisory experience, including setting objectives, managing performance and career development coaching.
  • Ability to make sound decisions based on analysis, consultation with others, experience, and judgment. 


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and partners, we impact conservation around the world! 

TNC offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, a 401(k) plan with an 8% employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on nature.org/careers.

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports of the health and well-being of the people we employ.


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 nature.org/careers. 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 https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/careers/recruitment/ 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 53257, submit your current resume and cover letter online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/ by 11:59 PM EST on May 1st, 2023. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact applyhelp@tnc.org.

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.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.

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 applyhelp@tnc.org 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.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role committing to being equitable across groups and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development