Executive Director

Siuslaw Watershed Council

Mapleton, OR, US

The Siuslaw Watershed Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, protection and stewardship of the Siuslaw Watershed. For more than 20 years, since 1995, the Council has worked with a diverse group of landowners, stakeholders, partners, industries and agencies to improve and protect our watershed.

The Siuslaw Watershed Council is not just about land and water, but about our community too. We help community members fund and carry out conservation and restoration efforts on their land. We form partnerships with industries, government agencies, and organizations to conduct vital research and restoration efforts to improve watershed health including water quality and native fish populations through informed collaborative decision-making processes. We also provide educational opportunities for the community and serve as a valuable informative and referral resource.

Our Council, like many, formed largely to collaborate across jurisdictional lines in standard natural resource management and to bring together disciplines to a consensus-based watershed scale approach to management. A watershed-based approach brings together a multidisciplinary and multijurisdictional partnership to address problems we face together.

Without a watershed-based approach, restoration, conservation, and salmon recovery is nearly impossible. In Oregon, emphasis has been placed on councils to lead voluntary efforts toward salmon recovery under the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.

The Siuslaw watershed boasted a salmon run comprised of an average of 250,000 salmon returning each year in the late 1800’s, which decreased to less than 500 salmon in 1997. The potential for recovery here is high, with a strong diverse partnership of 10 organizations working together to restore habitat across the coastal watershed without dams and with a large amount of public lands managed for the restoration of salmon and spotted owl habitat. If salmon can be saved anywhere, it’s here, and you can lead a team of dedicated folks at the Siuslaw Watershed Council to ensure salmon can thrive here!

The Organization is comprised of 8 employees including a full time restoration crew which works primarily in the field to restore lands and assist community members in planting riparian native species, monitor habitat conditions, and work with project partners to complete salmon spawning surveys, juvenile salmon surveys, and passage studies. There is a Programs Manager who oversees monitoring initiatives including project effectiveness and water quality monitoring, and manages the Native Plant Distribution program and the crew. A Watershed Restoration Projects Manager oversees the restoration program at the watershed council including estuary wetland and instream restoration projects. An Education and Outreach Coordinator is continuing a 25-year-old field -based watershed studies program for local schools, adding new curriculum and additional partners. A Financial Manager assists in council operations and fiscal tasks including coding invoices and preparing funds requests to grantors, assists in fundraising and outreach initiatives.  We also host regular community education gatherings to inform the public about various environmental issues present in our area, developed with feedback from our membership about what they’d like to learn about.

In 2019 we secured $1.6million in grant funding to support our mission. Throughout 2018 and 2019 our organization spent nearly $2million in contracted services which supported 15-18 local jobs annually and supported our local economy. The Executive Director will be leading strategic approaches to securing funding for the organization, including private fundraising in addition to grants from local, state and federal sources as well as private foundations.

Partnership and collaboration is a vital component of our organization. We are the chair of the Siuslaw Coho Partnership, comprised of 10 organizations including federal, state and local governments, NGOs, land trust, and two sovereign tribes, who are all working together to restore salmon habitat in the Siuslaw and Coastal Lakes Watersheds. The Executive Director will be tasked with coordinating efforts to engage and bring together partner organizations and community members toward common initiatives.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion is a central pivotal area that our organization and partnership is working to develop as a component of our entire program of work. We recognize first and foremost that we stand on stolen land, and that we owe the abundance of resources in our watershed to the stewardship and management by the indigenous communities for millennia. Today, we celebrate our local tribal government partnerships and their resolute commitment here. We also recognize that conservation work has left out the voices and needs of marginalized communities through time, and that we must put in the work to engage all members of our community to holistically steward and manage our resources in an equitable fashion. The next Executive Director will be charged with incorporating Diversity, Equity and Inclusion into all aspects of our work, and will need to engage the full spectrum of our community.

The Executive Director is the Chief Operating Officer for the organization. The Executive Director leads a team of highly experienced professionals each impressively skilled in their work area. The Executive Director works with a dedicated Board of Directors to develop and articulate the mission, vision, goals, and values of the organization, and create the structure, policies and procedures necessary to achieve the mission of our organization.

The Executive Director leads and manages a range of restoration, monitoring, education and community programs and keeps programs current in the context of changing environmental conditions and knowledge and to meet community and Siuslaw Coho Partnership needs within the context of the SWC’s strategic plan (which is in the process of being updated), and the Siuslaw Coho Partnership’s strategic action plans. The Executive Director develops and manages large budgets with public and private funding sources, sustains capacity, evaluates effectiveness, implements continuous improvement, and manages the organization to adapt and improve, maintaining fidelity to mission and fiscal discipline.

The Executive Director sees the big picture, thinks strategically, and identifies and tracks details. The Executive Director must build consensus while honoring, including, and respecting opposing viewpoints, and be able to effectively navigate issues that may be divisive at times.

Candidate Qualifications:

The successful candidate will bring: 

  • 5 years of experience working in the natural resources field with increasing responsibility and management of personnel. This should include working with diverse stakeholders and interest groups to involve varying viewpoints on natural resources management. Experience should include knowledge of habitat restoration project implementation and monitoring, specifically for salmon and other aquatic species.
  • Experience leading a team including the hiring and coaching of employees, and leading interdisciplinary partnerships with diverse stakeholders from multiple levels of government, tribal, and NGO partner members on sometimes divisive topics or decisions.
  • Experience managing program budgets, grant writing and reporting, and the ability to identify funding needs and secure funding in order to complete projects and in order to fund administrative and programmatic needs for an organization.
    • Being a small nonprofit organization, the Executive Director will be tasked with securing funding to sustain all aspects of the council’s operations, and will work with team members to write and secure grant applications and work with the Board to fundraise unrestricted and restricted private donations and business sponsorships to the Council.
    • The Executive Director is also tasked with ensuring the organization is compliant with relevant grantor agencies requirements including insurance coverage, bylaws, diversity, equity, and inclusion, etc.
  • Experience and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a central tenet of conservation and community engagement work.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills with a willingness and excitement for public speaking and engaging with donors, funders, and community leaders.
  • Experience with natural resource, land use, environmental protection, watershed management, and community engagement best practices.
  • Experience working with a nonprofit board and engaging in board development and engagement.

The Successful Candidate will:

  • Facilitate the Siuslaw Coho Partnership to secure funding and implement projects to recover salmon populations in the Siuslaw and Coastal lakes watersheds.
  • Invigorate community members, staff and volunteers to care for our shared lands and waters of the Siuslaw and Coastal Lakes.
  • Creatively share the goals of the Watershed Council and Coho Partnership to the PNW region through tools developed over the past few years including a film series and dynamic storymaps.
  • Maintain financial stability of the organization through diversifying funding sources, private fundraising and grant writing.
  • Listen to and learn from diverse voices and perspectives. Foster relationships with individuals and groups not previously involved in community-wide programs, to increase participation and representation, and improve social and cultural responsiveness.
  • Provide leadership to the Watershed Council staff, board, volunteers and to the Siuslaw Coho Partnership, holding everyone accountable for actions and tasks.
  • Provide thoughtful and reflective feedback on employees’ performance.
  • Develop annual operating budget for the council, and report to the Board of Directors monthly for council operations and fiscal management.
  • Develop policies and procedures for the Council in collaboration with employees and board members.
  • Earn media attention through traditional and nontraditional media outlets through paid and non-paid means.

To Apply: 

The Siuslaw Watershed Council is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer – we encourage members from any community to apply including communities of color, indigenous people, womxn and LGBTQIA individuals.

To be considered for this opportunity:
Submit a well-organized cover letter no longer than 2 pages addressing your qualifications and experience related to this position and how you would lead the organization to continued growth, financial stability and success.

Submit a resume which is clear, concise and defines current and past work experience and duties as related to this position detailing the length of tenure at each position.

Submit your application materials in a PDF document to [email protected]

Applications accepted until position is filled, first review of applicants will take place on April 1, 2020

Compensation and Benefits:

The Executive Director is a regular salaried exempt position which may require working more than 40 hours some weeks. This will include some evening and weekend commitments. The Executive Director serves at the pleasure of the Board of Directors. The salary is at the discretion of the Board of Directors at a range between $48,000-$60,000 per year depending on experience. The SWC offers a 401k retirement program with a 3% match after 6 months of service and offers health insurance coverage on the first of the month after the date of hire. The SWC offers paid vacation and sick leave in addition to 9 paid holidays per year.




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