Watershed Forest Manager

Boulder, CO, United States 🇺🇸

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. One of our core values is our commitment to diversity. Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

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.


The Watershed Forest Manager directs the strategic planning to mitigate wildfire impacts to priority watersheds on public and private lands in Colorado. The position includes responsibility for integrating forest restoration and watershed protection goals, with the elements of the National Cohesive Strategy, to address forest restoration needs at the watershed scale. This is a cost-share position between the U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region and The Nature Conservancy in Colorado. The position will be managed and supervised by The Nature Conservancy and located in the Colorado Field Office in Boulder. Work objectives will be co-developed by the USFS and TNC.


The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Rocky Mountain Region have been working together for the last several years to develop and implement cross-boundary partnerships in critical watersheds along the Front Range of Colorado. These partnerships are focused on bringing multiple stakeholders together to accelerate forest restoration and reduce risks of wildfire for critical water infrastructure and wildland-urban interface communities. Current watersheds of shared focus include the Upper South Platte, Blue River, and Monument Creek. Activities underway in these watersheds includes landscape-scale analysis and prioritization, environmental planning, landowner outreach, community fire response coordination, and hazardous fuel removal on both public and private lands. The Watershed Forest Manager will focus on the following elements:

  • Strategic Watershed Planning:  Facilitate watershed-level, collaborative, strategic planning with partners to prioritize landscape-scale, coordinated forest and watershed treatments for public and private lands;
  • Water Fund Partnership Coordination:  Deploy the Water Fund governance structure, tools, and best practices to organize existing partnership efforts in the focus watersheds, working with partners to adapt the model to meet local needs and interests;
  • Resource Analysis: Identify resource needs and resolve capacity gaps for implementation of strategic projects, considering existing and new sources;
  • Integrated Marketing, Outreach, & Engagement: Develop innovative, comprehensive messaging and outreach materials to local, state, and national audiences;
  • Strategic Partnerships Development:
    • Identify opportunities for expanded participation and engagement of downstream beneficiaries, including strategic engagement of urban, water, and outdoor recreation stakeholders; and
    • Participate in emerging watershed collaborative groups to scope strategic opportunities for future water funds, and provide expertise and support to export the water fund model and best practices.

The Watershed Forest Manager will broaden the constituency in Colorado for nature-based solutions for water and economic security, including the Upper South Platte, Blue River, and Upper Monument Creek Watersheds. She/he will convene, facilitate and lead working groups to support the landscape restoration and freshwater strategies, and to develop, plan and fund projects to carry out the strategies. They will do so by providing meaningful ways for diverse partners and stakeholders to engage in the strategies and their implementation.

As one of the members of TNC Colorado’s Forest & Fire Program, the Watershed Forest Manager will collaboratively develop and implement a landscape restoration strategy that integrates recreation, water, fire, forest and land management planning, along with climate change adaptation. This strategy will include analysis that describes the assets at risk and potential avoided costs for water users.


  • Build a broad coalition of partners, collaborators, supporters and funders including: government agencies, community groups, other conservation organizations, foundations, academic institutions, local businesses, and/or the public. 
  • Develop a plan with clear milestones towards establishing Water Funds, or comprehensive watershed restoration, in the Upper South Platte (1st priority), plus the Blue River & Upper Monument Creek (exploratory) Watersheds. 
  • May interact with and support the scoping and development of other TNC and USFS projects and programs (particularly water funds) throughout Colorado and North America.
  • Mobilize stakeholder support through innovative outreach and marketing.
  • Work with public and private funders to build additional support for the projects and program of work.
  • Identify and facilitate key partnerships with public and private organizations and community leaders in order to effectively implement strategies and to widely communicate solutions and best practices.
  • Engage a diverse group of people, including government officials, board of directors, government and legislative staff, partner organizations, and the public, to develop and implement collaborative, nature-based solutions.
  • Facilitate meetings, groups in collaborative planning and implementation of shared USFS and TNC goals.
  • Coordinate multiple projects with several variables, sets and meets deadlines, and manages grants, budgets and timelines.
  • Resolve routine problems independently, and consult with supervisor to develop plans for resolution of unusual or complex problems.
  • May act as a resource to others to solve problems.
  • Initially supervises no staff but may help plan and direct the work of contractors, volunteers and interns.
  • May occasionally work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • BA/BS degree in natural resources or environmental science or policy or related field and 5 years’ experience in conservation projects for not-for-profit, government or conservation practice in a related field.
  • Strong demonstrated verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • Experience in designing, implementing and directing multiple projects and initiatives with strong organizational skills and attention to follow up.
  • Experience facilitating diverse groups of professionals in different disciplines (e.g. scientists, policy, marketing, and philanthropy) to collaboratively achieve shared goals with tangible outcomes.
  • Experience in partnership development and negotiations with diverse organizations (such as communities, government, utilities, non-profits, corporations, etc.); experience with high-level conservation, and policy contacts.
  • Experience work ingbetween non-profit environmental organizations and federal land management agencies.
  • This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employment will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


  • Graduate degree in forestry, water resources, planning, ecology, or related natural resource field, and 5-7 years’ experience in conservation practice.
  • Experience working in or with local governments and/or community based organizations; demonstrated leadership ability in diverse community setting.
  • Experience working in or with federal and/or state agencies that manage land or water; demonstrated ability to influence agency budgets, priorities, and projects.
  • Knowledge of Colorado Front Range forest & fire issues and context. 
  • Track record of taking initiative and desire to take on increasing independence and responsibility.
  • Experience related to water supply or natural infrastructure including financial or economic analysis.
  • Knowledge of fire ecology, economic valuation, and current trends in valuing nature and natural infrastructure policy and practice.
  • Experience working in interdisciplinary teams.
  • Experience preparing and presenting project proposals, negotiating, and/or working in partnership with other organizations in a collaborative and advisory capacity.
  • Experience utilizing communication and presentation skills persuasively to diverse groups.
  • Experience in, or strong familiarity with, international conservation strategies, projects or programs.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.” Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at www.nature.org/careers.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


To apply to position number 45801, submit resume (required) and cover letter separately using the upload buttons. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday, October 29, 2017.

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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.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.