Three Rivers Waterkeeper (3RWK) is a nonprofit environmental and education organization whose mission is to protect the water quality of 125 river miles of the Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio Rivers. This is done by patrolling the rivers with the Waterkeeper boats, monitoring water quality, evaluating incidents of pollution, reviewing permits, supporting community education, and holding polluters accountable to clean water laws. The Pittsburgh region has a historic legacy of environmental issues that have not only altered the geographic landscape, but has also created vulnerable populations and continued to impact them.
3RWK is a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international coalition dedicated to protecting and restoring our world’s waterways. Like the Waterkeeper Alliance, 3RWK envisions drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. 3RWK was formed in 2009 and is presently rebuilding after a period of operating without a paid staff. As part of the rebuilding effort, 3RWK is embarking upon a strategic partnership with the Pittsburgh Water Collaboratory, University of Pittsburgh Environmental Law Clinic, and the Mountain Watershed Association (a Waterkeeper peer organization). The organizations recently adopted a three-year collaborative strategic plan.
“Data shows that women and minority candidates often hesitate to apply for a job because they may not meet all of the qualifications listed. Our job descriptions are general overviews, not a mandatory comprehensive list. If you feel passionate about our efforts and believe that you have the skills to contribute to the growth of our organization, we want to hear from you!”
The Waterkeeper serves as the eyes, ears and voice of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers. This staff person leads as 3RWK’s river protection advocate and on-water spokesperson. One of the Waterkeeper’s primary roles will be to implement the collaborative strategic plan as it relates to river patrol and public engagement. Under the guidance of the Executive Director, the Waterkeeper will assist in developing public programming and executing River Watch, 3RWK public engagement program. The Waterkeeper will pilot and oversee maintenance the organization’s patrol boat. The Waterkeeper should have the knowledge, passion, and experience needed to support strategic partnerships, communicate with the public, and advocate on behalf of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers.
3RWK River Patrol
• Regularly patrol the watershed via both land and water - documenting, reporting, and addressing pollution issues.
• Implement baseline water quality sampling campaigns in collaboration with strategic partners.
• Respond to pollution complaints by patrolling, contacting appropriate authorities, and advising citizens.
• In close collaboration with the Executive Director and organizational partners, determine existing and potential threats to the river, advocate for compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
• Advocate for the cleanup of pollution sources by working with local citizens, media,
businesses, partner organizations, and governments (including local, state, and federal
● Work closely with the Mountain Watershed Association (Youghiogheny Riverkeeper) to bring more awareness, advocacy (and resources) to the region’s rivers.
● Manage Maintenance of patrol boat(s), truck, and associated equipment.
● Support and collaborate with University of Pittsburgh, and other academic institutions, faculty and students working on research and litigation consistent with the 3RWK mission and the shared vision of the strategic partners.
● Implement and run the RiverWatch volunteer monitoring program.
Volunteer Coordination and Community and Public Relations
● Is responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, and retaining Volunteers to effectively support volunteer operations and to ensure compliance with regulations.
● Maintain records of all recruitment and retention activities.
● Prepares reports and other documents to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of the volunteer program as requested.
● Serves as the primary on-water spokesperson and public advocate pertaining to water quality issues of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers.
● Support 3RWK’s social media presence by capturing photos and videos that highlight conditions and uses of the Three Rivers.
● Work closely with the Executive Director to develop media relationships and pitch stories related to water quality and in celebration of the rivers, and the development of marketing materials and campaigns.
● Offer environmental education programs at regional events and tabling opportunities.
Fundraising and Administration
● Support the Executive Director in developing program budgets and increasing memberships
● Advocate for stronger policies and practices to protect water quality in the rivers, including writing comment letters, participating in collaborations and coalitions when beneficial.
● Manage data necessary to properly track river patrol activities and inform comment letters, legal action, etc.
● A basic understanding of aquatic ecosystems, watershed issues, regulatory issues, and the local factors that influence water quality on the Three Rivers and their tributaries.
● Self-starter who produces high quality work, with attention to detail.
● Experience and familiarity with water quality testing techniques, protocols, and equipment.
● Professional knowledge of boating operations and inland waters; A minimum PA Boating Safety Certification required (or ability to obtain within 30 days after start date).
● Bachelor's degree preferred in Environmental Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, or related field from an accredited college or university. All qualified candidates will be considered.
● Strong public communication skills, with the ability to clearly and effectively articulate complex issues and technical information to a broad audience.
● High-energy, maturity, leadership, and ability to function in a team-oriented environment and as an independent staff person.
● Flexibility and an understanding of the nature of non-profit work.
● Ability to work nights and weekends, especially during special events.
● Commitment to the mission of Three Rivers Waterkeeper.
● A valid PA Driver’s license, reliable transportation, and a clean driving record.
● Ability to travel to day and evening meetings and presentations throughout the region.
● Ability to carry field and event equipment up to 50 lbs.
● Ability, or willingness to learn, to take a boat in and out of the water, put onto a hitch, and navigate a trailer.
Our staff and Waterkeepers are the heart of our mission, and we are committed to pursuing the principles of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) as we move forward to a more equal and empowering future as an organization. We aim to create and sustain a workforce that reflects the hundreds of global communities we strive to protect in our fight for clean water, and welcome applicants from diverse backgrounds to apply to join our team!