Upper Sangamon River Watershed Manager

, IL, US

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The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.


To reach the ambitious soil health and nutrient loss reduction goals that the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC) has set for 2025, The Nature Conservancy seeks a dynamic, self-starting Watershed Manager to lead and motivate local and state level partners to quickly take coordinated on-the-ground action. While focused on the Upper Sangamon River watershed in east-central Illinois, the expectation is that partnerships and approaches will be directly transferable and quickly replicable in other watersheds and statewide. The 2-year, first phase of work in the Priority Watersheds will be focused on understanding landscape challenges, forming strategic coalitions, delivering ground and stakeholder assessments, setting up protocols/methods to track adoption, prioritizing acreage for investment, and setting the stage for much faster implementation in years 3-9. Funding for this position is secured for two years, through the first phase of this project.


The Upper Sangamon River Watershed Manager provides partnership coordination, development of conservation programs and incentives, and outreach to key grower groups, farmer advisors and local partners and agencies. Reporting to the Illinois Agriculture Program Director, the Watershed Manager will work closely with Illinois Conservation and Government Relations staff, North American Agriculture and Corporate Engagement Staff, and MRCC Watershed Managers in Iowa and Nebraska. Essential Functions are grouped by the project outcomes:

Prioritization & Monitoring Assess current activities in the Upper Sangamon watershed by local partners, identify key players and gaps for achieving MRCC goals. Identify needs or opportunities (existing projects/partnerships) for environmental outcome monitoring (short and long term) to measure and calibrate overall program effectiveness for the watershed. Identify and assess relevant existing watershed nutrient management and related action plans. Coordinate/liaison with local watershed partners the watershed modeling efforts for the watershed completed by the MRCC.

Agricultural Management Practice Assessment Understand the geography and characteristics of growers in the region: best management practice (BMP) adoption rates and critical barriers to adoption. Identify partners for outreach and trusted advisory networks and conduct outreach. Work with growers and partners to design cost-share and incentive programs for BMP adoption and implement the programs.

Assess Financial/Policy Needs for Achieving Project Goals Identify which funding mechanisms are best suited for the different practices needing to be adopted. (e.g. short-term philanthropy and public financing and impact investing options). Identify funding needs and solutions- design proposals or business cases for solutions to engage the MRCC partners in the watershed actions. Identify opportunities for policy interventions/advocacy at county, state and federal levels.

Statewide Relationship and Interactions at State and Regional Level Using the watershed activities as a foundation, partner at the state level to develop programs and actions that achieve the MRCC goals in partnership with statewide programs and initiatives.


● Gain cooperation from outside parties to accomplish program goals. ● Financial responsibility may include working within/managing a budget to complete projects, negotiating and contracting with vendors, assisting with budget development, and meeting fundraising targets. ● Ensures program compliance with internal policies and external requirements. ● Under minimal supervision, makes independent decisions based on analysis, experience and context. ● May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


● BA/BS agriculture or natural resources degree and 5 years’ experience in agriculture, natural resource management or related field or equivalent combination of education and experience. ● Experience negotiating complex agreements. ● Supervisory experience. ● Experience communicating with the public and/or media both in writing and verbally. ● Experience using applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Web Browsers.


● Knowledge of agricultural practices, conservation practice, and soil or aquatic science. ● Ability to explain conservation practices to technical and non-technical audiences ● Knowledge of current trends and practices in agriculture, conservation, and land management. ● Completing tasks independently with respect to timeline(s). ● Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural or cross cultural experience appreciated. ● Excellent communication skills via written, spoken and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.


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The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of men and women of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

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Job Title: Upper Sangamon River Watershed Manager

Location: Illinois

Job ID: 45385

Regular/Temporary: Regular

Full/Part Time: Full-Time