Long Island Sound Soundkeeper

New Haven, CT, United States 🇺🇸

Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound and Soundkeeper, two leading advocacy groups, will be joining forces to support this full-time Soundkeeper advocate position dedicated to protecting and restoring Long Island Sound. Re-launching this important boat-based position on the Sound is the goal behind the planned merger of Soundkeeper, Inc. into CFE/Save the Sound.

This is a rare opportunity for a qualified, motivated, and talented advocate to become the on-the- water watchdog, spokesperson, and champion for the Sound, supporting our organization’s mission to protect and restore Long Island Sound. This position is a platform for continuing a legacy of advocacy achievement.

Save the Sound identifies and eliminates water pollution sources through community engagement and where necessary, legal enforcement. Our water quality team uses water monitoring, and data analysis and publication, to identify and prioritize pollution reduction goals and targets. Save the Sound engages our supporters in completing nature-based projects that restore our rivers and coast, and provide green and resilient neighborhoods that help protect our families from flooding. The Soundkeeper will report directly to the Director of Save the Sound, with a home office of 900 Chapel Street, New Haven, and begin working under CFE/Save the Sound in mid-July.

Job Description:

The Soundkeeper will seasonally spend ten to fifteen days a month on the water and in the field aboard the patrol vessel making patrol circuits around the Sound, working out of home ports in lower Fairfield County and the mid Connecticut coast. Key elements of this patrol work will include:

  • Documenting fecal bacteria and nitrogen based water pollution levels, sources and symptoms, in coordination with our water quality team; and coordinating follow up to fix the pollution with our legal department;
  • Bringing traditional and social media attention to newsworthy events on the Sound whether bad (e.g. sewer overflows, fish kills) or good (e.g. the return of porpoise or whales to the Sound), in coordination with our communications team;
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the Sound, writing and delivering public comments on relevant topics at the local and state level in CT and NY;
  • Accompanying and engaging our major supporters directly on the Sound and with our work; in coordination with our development team; and
  • Engaging and developing positive collaborative working relationships with potential local allies as well as respectful working relations with local political leadership

The majority of the Soundkeeper’s time will be invested in direct advocacy and coalition building to further our strategic Long Island Sound restoration and protection goals. Examples of this work will include:

  • Clean up the Sound: Rallying community support to reduce fecal bacterial pollution at the worst polluted beaches and to slash nitrogen pollution that is destroying the ecological fabric of priority bays and harbors in coordination with our water quality, membership, and legal teams. Recruiting and training local watchdogs to report sewer overflows and other water pollution issues.
  • Restore the Sound: Build on existing networks to enact conservation measures and regulations that will allow critical forage fish species, such as river herring and menhaden or bunker fish, to rebound, so that game fish, wildlife, and our legacy of abundant fish and wildlife return to the Sound. Highlight associated coastal restoration projects.
  • Invest in the Sound: Promote nature-based and clean water investments in the Sound and our rivers that will produce clean water, help protect our neighborhoods from flood risks associated with climate change, and bring back a healthy web of fish and wildlife to the Sound by advocating for funding and policies primarily before Connecticut state agencies and the Connecticut legislature, while supporting New York-based advocacy.

Qualifications: Passion for restoring iconic coastal areas and direct advocacy interest and experience. Outstanding oral and written communication skills, including strong oral presentation skills and experience with public speaking required. Deep experience and knowledge in the safe operation and maintenance of 20’ to 30’ vessels, marine engines, and related mechanical systems required. Preferred educational requirement: Training and knowledge in marine biology or ecological science. While an undergraduate degree in related fields is preferred, this can be substituted through direct hands-on observation and knowledge earned by the equivalent time spent fishing, oystering, clamming, in the marine trades, or boating. The ideal candidate will have extensive experience on the water, operating vessels, and knowledge and experience on the Sound. Strong working knowledge of visual social media platforms desired. Passion for and experience in commercial or recreational fisheries a plus. We are looking for an inspired leader who can recruit allies, is an excellent communicator, and will galvanize support and be a respected voice for the Sound. Must be a team player who can collaborate with advocates, scientists, and attorneys on staff and in other organizations.

To apply, please submit a cover letter with salary requirement, (3) references, and a resume to Valerie Wormely-Radford at [email protected]. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the new Soundkeeper is hired.