Project and Research Specialist (Ecosystems - Water)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

San Francisco or Sacramento, CA, United States 🇺🇸

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

  • Apply excellent organizational, communication, and planning skills in preparing correspondence and reports, responding to requests for information, and helping to coordinate activities among staff members.
  • Build relationships and regularly consult with public agencies, academics, NGOs, landowners, and other stakeholders to glean information and insight relevant to program goals.

  • Conduct analyses to support EDF’s and partners’ water information and other water advocacy efforts.

  • Attend meetings and events that may span across the Western US, and represent EDF and the Western Water Team with professionalism and integrity.

  • Actively develop technical and professional documentation including reports, memorandums, fact sheets, blog posts and brochures for general and specific audiences on other potential topics of focus. When precedents are not available, independent judgment is required to develop innovative and creative ways to develop products.

  • Participate as a team member on other projects and programs, contributing expertise, project coordination support, and/or outreach support commensurate with the successful candidate’s specific capacities

  • Manage specific project tasks such as outreach to potential partners, developing work plans and timetables, and managing project work and deliverables. This will likely include:

    • Schedule and attend project team meetings and work with the Senior Manager to ensure that internal and external team members are on track towards key goals and deliverables

    • Work with other team members to track and record progress towards project milestones and provide input on plan adjustments when needed

    • Work with the Senior Manager and Western Water’s Communications team to plan workshops, trainings, and other outreach events that reach and have an impact on key audiences

    • Provide research and written support for reports to funding partners, and for outreach and training materials that demonstrate the value of key water information projects to potential end users 

  • Monitor the latest developments on relevant water information systems policy, legislation and applications, provide team with regular updates on relevant activities, and identify new opportunities for collaboration with additional stakeholders.

  • Research and review the latest literature on moderately complex technical topics related to design and application of information and decision support systems for land and water management, including the development of water budgets, trading programs, system conservation programs, and other related efforts. Synthesize and disseminate this information for program partners and EDF staff and leadership.

  • Research and potentially test other water information and decision platforms and look for opportunities to leverage other parallel efforts to help meet project or program goals.


  • BA or BS in engineering, hydrology, ecology, agriculture/working landscapes, environmental sciences, geography, resource economics, computer sciences or other related field is required. MA or MS is preferred.

  • 1-3 years of relevant experience, ideally with some focus or proven proficiency in one or more of the following areas:

    • Applied data, information and/or decision support systems for natural resource management

    • Sustainable agriculture

    • Water management, particularly related to the agricultural sector

  • 1-2 years of research and/or project coordination experience

  • Proficiency in web-based computer applications and standard desktop-based software, including Microsoft Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word

  • Ability to work with large, diverse teams on complex problems or projects

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interface well with people from various backgrounds and to represent the team in a highly professional manner

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented

  • Research, analytical, and writing skills required in order to gather and summarize data for reports, develop solutions to various problems, and prioritize work

  • Demonstrated initiative and problem solving skills

  • Willingness and ability to travel occasionally, primarily to other western states


This position will ideally be located in CA, either in the Sacramento or San Francisco office, but flexible based on the right applicant fit.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant’s qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.