Associate Director (California River Conservation)

American Rivers

CA, United States 🇺🇸

TITLE: Associate Director, California River Conservation
CLASSIFICATION: Associate Director II
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
REPORTS TO: Central Valley Program Director
LOCATION: Flexible during COVID-19 pandemic; However candidate must be prepared to work in office in Sacramento or Berkeley or home office in the Central Valley.


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 annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® and National River Cleanup® campaigns. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., 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

American Rivers embraces and celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do. Rivers Connect Us is more than just our tagline. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities, and we seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that each individual brings to our work provides perspectives, experiences, and competencies which are critical to our effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.


The vision of the Central Valley Program is to restore vibrant rivers across California’s Great Valley that provide access to clean rivers for all residents, support healthy aquatic and riparian ecosystems, and support local economies. Restoring river connections to natural floodplains will revitalize fish and wildlife habitat, protect communities from flooding, increase groundwater recharge, and enhance quality of life for residents of the valley. Creating and expanding existing river parks will increase access to our Central Valley rivers and build greater public support for protecting these essential elements of the California landscape. American Rivers is building its capacity to take best advantage of interrelated forums – such as the Central Valley Flood Management Plan, the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – to restore Central Valley fish and wildlife habitat, improve water supply security, and protect communities from flooding.


The Associate Director for California River Conservation is an integral member of the Central Valley Program. The Associate Director develops and implements projects to protect and restore rivers and floodplains in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River and Delta system, promotes equitable access to and management of Central Valley rivers, and cultivates a river stewardship ethic among California decision makers. The Associate Director manages multiple river restoration projects in the Central Valley and helps expand our program to equitably improve water quality and river access for all communities in the region. Additionally, the Associate Director advances American Rivers’ core values of diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) by pursuing opportunities to increase engagement and collaboration with communities of color in the Central Valley.

Project management is paired with policy work, including supporting integration of river and groundwater management through groundwater recharge in floodplains, supporting effective implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and improving the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan. This work is highly collaborative and performed in partnership with conservation groups, agencies, universities, and community-based organizations.

The position will report to the California Central Valley Program Director and is an active member of the American Rivers Conservation Program.


  • Lead development and implementation of river and floodplain restoration projects in the Central Valley, including partner engagement, overseeing multiple consultants and subgrantee teams, developing scopes of work, budgeting, contracting, invoicing, and public outreach.
  • Increase engagement of communities of color both in existing and future restoration projects and policy work in the Central Valley.
  • Promote and develop river-related projects that help remedy environmental injustices in the Central Valley
  • Integrate climate change effects into project and policy work; communicate climate change effects and accommodation actions for river management and restoration in the Central Valley.
  • Identify and evaluate new opportunities for restoration and multi‐benefit river management in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, including urban parkways.
  • Develop fundraising proposals for restoration projects and write reports to funders.
  • Collaborate with Central Valley team to troubleshoot project hurdles and review environmental documents, draft comments and advocacy letters to shape river management projects, programs and policies.
  • Identify and communicate solutions to technical, policy and political challenges to improved river restoration and management in the Central Valley, including analysis of local, state and federal laws and policies.
  • Represent American Rivers in public planning forums to promote floodplain and river restoration and multi-benefit floodplain management.
  • Collaborate with the American Rivers National River Restoration team.


  • Minimum of five years of experience working in fields of natural resource management or ecosystem restoration, with an understanding of relevant state and/or federal policy. Graduate degree in natural resources science, policy, and/or management combined with three years of experience also acceptable.
  • Demonstrated experience in natural resource project management including environmental permitting, developing work plans and budgets and implementation of river restoration projects.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills for both technical and general audiences.
  • Experience in community engagement and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. See American Rivers’ DEI plan.
  • A team player with excellent interpersonal skills, a good sense of humor, positive attitude, and ability to work effectively among a wide range of perspectives.
  • Initiative, coupled with creative and strategic thinking, and willingness to engage in collaborative processes with diverse interests.
  • Willingness to travel frequently to Sacramento and other parts of Central Valley.
  • Familiarity with GIS analysis and cartography and high competence with Microsoft Office.
  • Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission and core values.


The salary range for this position is $65,000- $75,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. Full-time employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time, including a paid sabbatical following seven years of full-time employment.


Applications are due by December 11, 2020.  Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to  No phone calls please.