Policy Manager (Saline Lakes Program)

Audubon Society

Salt Lake City, UT, US


Now in its second century, Audubon is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Audubon’s mission is engaging people in bird conservation on a hemispheric scale through science, policy, education and on-the-ground conservation action.  By mobilizing and aligning its network of Chapters, Centers, State and Important Bird Area programs in the four major migratory flyways in the Americas, the organization will bring the full power of Audubon to bear on protecting common and threatened bird species and the critical habitat they need to survive.  And as part of BirdLife International, Audubon will join people in over 100 in-country organizations all working to protect a network of Important Bird Areas around the world, leveraging the impact of actions they take at a local level.  What defines Audubon’s unique value is a powerful grassroots network of nearly 500 local chapters, 23 state offices, 41 Audubon Centers, Important Bird Area Programs in 50 states, and 700 staff across the country.  Audubon is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).

Position Summary

The Saline Lakes Policy Manager, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be a member of the National Audubon Society Western Water Initiative team. The Initiative’s goal is to advance balanced solutions to water use in the West to ensure birds, ecosystems, people and economies thrive. The Policy Manager will be part of Audubon’s program focused on the Saline Lakes of the Intermountain West. This network of lakes provides critically important breeding and stopover habitat for millions of migratory birds and supports local and regional economies.
S/he is responsible for key policy efforts and governmental affairs functions for the Saline Lakes Program.  As part of the Saline Lakes leadership team, s/he will report to the Saline Lakes Program Director and collaborate with senior conservation policy leads for Western Water and Federal Policy to further develop the policy agenda on issues impacting saline lakes. The Policy Manager will also advocate on behalf of Audubon to local, state, and federal government officials, including agency staff and appointed and elected officials.

The initial focus of this policy/government affairs position (during the first 24 months) will be on the most time-sensitive opportunities, which include the following two focus areas:

  1. In coordination with the Saline Lakes Program Director, existing staff and regional partners, secure the best policy outcomes for birds and people around the Great Salt Lake by implementing a strategy to improve water quality or quantity, or both.
  2. Help to shape critical water policy and engagement campaigns in such places as Lake Abert, Oregon; the Lahontan Valley, Nevada; and additional priority saline lakes sites that are critical to a comprehensive solution for people, agriculture and birds. 

The Policy Manager will be remotely based in the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area until the Saline Lakes office is established. Candidates should also include a cover letter when applying to this position.


Essential Functions

  • In collaboration with the Director, develop and coordinate policy priorities for the Saline Lakes Program at federal, state, and local levels with particular focus on Utah, Nevada and Oregon.
  • Play an essential role in developing and implementing Audubon’s policy goals, objectives, and advocacy strategies for priority issues, and advise internal staff on potential legislative and administrative priorities, opportunities and risks.
  • Stay abreast of legislative and local affairs impacting Audubon’s conservation agenda.
  • Collaborate with Audubon’s National Policy team on water and conservation related issues, advancing both short-term and long-range federal policy goals in collaboration with the Western Water team.
  • Develop productive relationships with key elected and agency officials and staff.
  • Research and frame public policy positions, including development of briefing papers, talking points, comments, submissions and other written materials, and efforts to advance those externally.
  • Oversee planning and implementation of key policy campaigns.
  • Help manage and work effectively with consultants retained for lobbying, policy work, or other technical expertise.
  • Provide real time content in support of Audubon policy objectives for web and social media platforms; be active in the communication and dissemination of Audubon objectives and successes in the policy arena.
  • Serve as an articulate, enthusiastic and visible ambassador for Audubon, engaging key stakeholders including government officials, major funders, business leaders and the media to advance conservation efforts.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in political science, public policy, natural resources or related field required (Master’s degree strongly preferred), as well as 3-5 years’ progressive policy experience working in the government or non-profit arena. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, and experience working in, federal, state, and local governmental processes.
  • Keen understanding of current policy trends in the West and key regions for the Saline Lakes Program (including Utah, Nevada and Oregon) related to water, climate change, wildlife, land conservation, agriculture, land planning, and growth and economic development, and experience applying this knowledge to policy advocacy and implementation strongly preferred.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability synthesize and interpret technical information for various audiences.
  • Superior relationship-building and interpersonal skills, including demonstrating a proven ability to: collaborate successfully with colleagues across an organization to develop conservation strategies; work easily and effectively with a wide range of people; act diplomatically while exhibiting an understanding and sensitivity to the dynamics of a complex organization.
  • Experience in working in partnership with a network of local chapters and invested grassroots leaders is a plus.
  • Willingness and ability to travel frequently, and attend events as needed on weekends or evenings.
  • Passionate about environmental conservation and a recognition that balanced solutions for water are important to ensure that birds, ecosystems and people thrive.
  • A commitment to Audubon’s mission of conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat and the ability to communicate the mission, goals, and programs effectively to partners, government officials, donors, and the public.