Conservation Associate Director (Puget Sound-Columbia Basin)

American Rivers

Bellingham or Seattle, WA, US

TITLE:   Conservation Associate Director, Puget Sound-Columbia Basin

CLASSIFICATION:   Associate Director I

DEPARTMENT:  Conservation

WAGE CATEGORY:  Nonexempt or Exempt

REPORTS TO:  Director, Rivers of Puget Sound-Columbia Basin

LOCATION:  Bellingham or Seattle, Washington


Named one of the best groups to support by “Outside” magazine, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 350,000 members, supporters, and volunteers. American Rivers maintains a positive work environment with a culture of learning, support and balance. For more information please visit

At American Rivers, “rivers connect us” is more than just our tagline. Rivers connect all people, refreshing our bodies, renewing our spirits, bringing life-giving water, economic opportunity and recreation to our communities.  And rivers do so with no regard to race, ethnicity, social and economic status, where we worship, or who we love.  We owe it to the rivers we love and the people we serve to act in this same spirit; to foster diversity, equity and inclusion and justice in all that we do. To that end, we will build a robust, powerful and diverse movement for the conservation of rivers and water resources that is truly representative of the communities across the country. We will honor the values and needs of those communities most impacted by environmental inequities and injustices. And we will strive for an organizational culture in which people of all identities — particularly those who traditionally have not been included — feel valued and have the power to influence change.


With support from the Puget Sound-Columbia Basin Director, the Conservation Associate Director (“Associate Director”) will lead American Rivers’ river protection work in Washington state and hydropower work in both Washington and Oregon. The Associate Director will provide leadership in campaign strategy development and implementation, coalition building, and media and communications work to protect and defend the region’s wild rivers and public lands, with a primary focus on building broad-based support for new protective designations in Washington’s North Cascades. They will engage in hydropower licensing processes; coordinate efforts on public lands management planning; respond to serious threats to high-value rivers; and assist in other projects and campaigns. The Associate Director will conduct grassroots and grasstops outreach; interface with elected officials, Native American tribes, federal and state agencies, other relevant stakeholders, and the media; assist with fundraising; organize events; and supervise interns and volunteers. A key member of the Puget Sound-Columbia Basin team, the Associate Director also will work with American Rivers staff based in other regions, participate on internal teams including our River Protection Community of Practice, and engage with our communications and government relations teams.


  • Lead American Rivers’ engagement in a coalition seeking to secure new Wild and Scenic River and Wilderness protections on public lands in Washington’s North Cascades with a primary focus in the Nooksack River basin.
    • Provide leadership and strategic direction for the coalition.
    • Build support for durable river and public land protections from community leaders, residents, business owners, watershed groups, recreation groups, hunters and anglers, private landowners, agricultural producers, as well as local, state and federal elected leaders and Native American tribes.
    •  Develop campaign outreach materials including web content, social media content, brochures, fact sheets, action alerts, maps and sign-on letters. Organize outreach events.
    • Generate earned media in the form of news stories, editorials and guest opinions.
  • Engage in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower licensing proceedings in Washington and Oregon.
    • Review and file comments on license application documents, water quality certifications, etc.
    • Represent American Rivers on hydropower project implementation and relicensing workgroups and committees.
    • Participate in the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a consortium of national, regional, and local conservation and recreation organizations working to protect and restore rivers through on the ground projects and policy initiatives.
  • Effectively communicate place-based river conservation values and river protection goals to elected leaders at the local, state and federal levels.
  • Develop and implement multi-faceted strategies to build broad-based support for long-term protection of Washington’s rivers and public lands.  
  • Develop and implement media and online strategies to build popular and political support for our river conservation efforts.
  • Build working relationships with Native American tribes and resource management agencies.
  • Monitor and engage in Wild and Scenic River management issues and land management plan revisions, Comprehensive River Management Plans (CRMPs), and Wild and Scenic eligibility assessments.
  • Assist with fundraising efforts including but not limited to drafting letters of intent, grant proposals and grant reports.
  • Represent American Rivers at conferences, meetings, press events, public events, in written communications, and in regional Most Endangered Rivers (MER) and River Cleanup activities.
  • Develop durable partnerships with the outdoor recreation industry- boating, hunting, fishing, etc. – to support American Rivers’ priorities in the region.
  • Identify future river protection campaigns including but not limited to new Wild and Scenic designations, flow protection, and riverside land protection and restoration.  
  • Collaborate and coordinate with American Rivers’ staff in other regions and who serve on other relevant teams including our Wild and Scenic Rivers Team and the River Protection Community of Practice.    
  • Work with Puget Sound-Columbia Basin Director and Government Relations Director to ensure that annual goals and objectives are being met and regional field work is integrated with national work.


  •  Strong passion for protecting and defending the Pacific Northwest’s rivers.  
  •  Three years of experience working in a community organizing and/or advocacy role in the natural and/or cultural resources field, OR bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, natural resources, political science or related field and two years of work experience.  
  • Familiarity with the political and social dynamics in the Pacific Northwest.  
  • Familiarity with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and FERC hydropower licensing processes.  
  • Initiative, coupled with creative and strategic thinking, sound judgment, and dependability. Astute political judgment essential.  
  • Strong writing and public speaking skills.  
  • Well organized and able to meet deadlines.  
  •  A team player with solid interpersonal skills.  
  • Experience writing grant proposals, reports, and other fundraising activities desired. 
  • Willingness to travel and occasionally work hours including evenings and weekends.  
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.  
  • Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission and core values. 

SALARY AND BENEFITS:  The salary range for this position is $48,000 – $52,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. Full-time employee benefits include health, dental, and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time. 

APPLICATION PROCESS:  Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume at   Deadline to apply is May 25, 2020.  No phone calls please. 

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply





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