Associate Director (CA River Restoration) via Idealist

American Rivers

Various, CA, US



The Associate Director, CA River Restoration will help American Rivers implement exciting new projects to protect and restore floodplains in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river and delta system, promote opportunities for Central Valley communities to recreate on Central Valley rivers, and promote a river stewardship ethic among California decision makers. American Rivers has recently secured funding for several important projects that will contribute to flood safety, habitat restoration and improved water management. In addition, several projects are pending with state and federal funding sources. The position will report to the program Director and will work closely with the numerous organizations the California office has partnered with, including other conservation groups, government agencies, universities and communities. In addition to project management, the Associate Director, CA River Restoration will contribute policy and technical expertise to our efforts to restore Central Valley floodplain functions and reform flood management policy at the state and national level.

American Rivers’ vision is to restore vibrant river corridors across the Central Valley to solve two of the region’s most persistent problems – devastating floods and declining fisheries. Expanding floodways will restore fish and bird habitat, protect communities from flooding, improve reservoir flexibility and associated water supply reliability, and enhance the quality of life for residents of the valley. American Rivers is building its capacity to take best advantage of two interrelated forums – the Central Valley Flood Management Plan and the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan – to restore Central Valley fish and bird habitat, improve water supply security, and protect communities from flooding.


· Help develop solutions to technical, legal and political challenges of expanding flood bypasses on the lower San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers.

· Assist with implementation of floodplain restoration projects in Central Valley, including partner engagement, budgeting, contracting, invoice tracking, public outreach etc.

· Identify, map, describe and evaluate new opportunities for floodplain restoration and multi‐benefit flood management projects in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, including reservoir re‐operation.

· Conduct analysis of local, state and federal laws and policies to identify changes necessary to expedite flood management reform in the Central Valley.

· Conduct research, including literature reviews, interviews with issue experts and stakeholders, and data collection.

· Review plans and environmental documents. Draft comments and advocacy letters to shape river management projects, programs and policies.

· Draft fundraising proposals for restoration projects and writ quarterly reports to funders.

· Conduct quantitative analyses as needed (Excel‐based modeling and data analysis).

· Represent American Rivers in public planning forums such as the Central Valley Flood Protection Planning process and the State Water Resources Control Board’s update of the Bay Delta Plan to promote floodplain restoration and non-structural flood management strategies.

· Coordinate with the American Rivers National River Restoration team.


· Graduate degree in natural resources management or environmental engineering; or an appropriate combination of education and at least 5 years of relevant experience.

· Demonstrated experience in project management, permitting, and/or implementation.

· Experience leading watershed management or river/creek restoration projects/programs.

· Experience developing work plans and budgets.

· Good written and oral communication skills.

· Experience working with flood control agencies on permitting restoration projects in flood control channels in California.

· Proven experience of successful fundraising for restoration and watershed stewardship, particularly demonstrated success obtaining state and federal grant funds.

· Understanding of California water law and policy.

· Experience with quantitative modeling, particularly hydrology and hydraulics.

· Proficiency in and enthusiasm for using social media to shape public opinion.

· GIS analysis and cartography.

· Multi-media and/or graphic communication experience or skills a plus.

· A team player with excellent interpersonal skills and a good sense of humor.

· Initiative, coupled with creative and strategic thinking.

· Willingness to travel frequently to Sacramento and other parts of the Central Valley.

· Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission.


The location for this position is flexible: Berkeley, Nevada City, Sacramento, or home office in the Central Valley.

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

How To Apply

[email protected]

Applications will be considered immediately. Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to: [email protected] with “Associate Director, CA River Restoration” in the subject line. No phone calls please.


Full‐time employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time.