Executive Director

Deschutes River Conservancy

Bend, OR, United States 🇺🇸

The Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC), based in Bend, Oregon, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1996. The mission of the DRC is to restore stream flow and improve water quality in the Deschutes Basin. The DRC brings together tribal, irrigation, environmental, hydropower, and federal, state and local government interests in a consensus-based forum to work toward these goals. 

The DRC achieves its mission through financing and implementation of on-the-ground projects and transactions using voluntary approaches to ecosystem restoration. The organization’s strategic focus falls into two major program areas: irrigation infrastructure and market-based transactions.  

Irrigation Infrastructure Improvements
In the area of irrigation infrastructure improvements, the DRC provides technical support for the instream transfers of the conserved water associated with the projects. The project management and implementation role for infrastructure improvements is handled by irrigation districts. For small to medium-sized projects, the DRC plays an important role in project financing, and in large-scale piping projects that responsibility resides primarily with the irrigation districts. In all respects, the DRC advocates for district modernization and infrastructure improvements that facilitate instream flow enhancements. 

Voluntary Market-Based Transactions 
Market transactions and infrastructure improvements are complementary and are conducted in an integrated strategy. In the case of market transactions, the DRC plays a major implementation role. This includes technical support and innovation as well as program design, financing, and project execution.

Collaboration and cooperation are essential components of all DRC enterprises and projects. The DRC facilitates partnerships with landowners, local governments, watershed councils, irrigation districts, and other interested citizens. 

The organization is governed by a 15 person board of directors representing seven interests and is managed by a full-time Executive Director with eight employees and a $2.1 million budget. 

To further expand its ability to accomplish its mission, the DRC is looking for an 
Executive Director to provide strategic leadership and financial resources for an entrepreneurial, market-based conservation organization. 

Job Description 
The Executive Director is responsible for developing a strategic direction for the organization that can be supported by a consensus of the seven distinct interests represented on the DRC board of directors. In accordance with this consensus strategy, the Executive Director directs the staff to carry out the initiatives, programs and projects approved of the Board of Directors.  

The Executive Director oversees all organizational aspects and is directly responsible for the development and execution of an operations plan – an articulation of the capacity and cost structure needed to deliver DRC program services and a revenue strategy to sustain and grow the organization over time. The Executive Director holds direct responsibility for fundraising and may be supported by development personnel as 
deemed necessary. 

The Executive Director elevates the DRC’s public communications and media presence. He or she builds a collaborative enthusiasm for Basin restoration and the DRC strategy amongst DRC’s partners, including local municipal staff and boards, other non-profit organizations, donors, local agricultural, business and industry representatives, water utilities, legislators, and State, Federal and Tribal government agencies. 

Key responsibilities include:

  • Strategy development and organization of an operations plan, including a fundraising program to support the DRC programs.
  • Developing markets for water transactions in partnership with irrigation districts.
  • Building a community of investors, private companies, non-profits, foundations, and public agencies to finance conservation efforts at a scale to achieve streamflow objectives and to develop institutional capacity to finance long-term restoration.
  • Partner with irrigation districts to develop new investment models for irrigation infrastructure upgrades and water marketing transactions.
  • Board of Directors governance, relations and internal communications.
  • Day-to-day operations and financial oversight, including budgeting and reporting review.
  • Program development, policy creation and oversight.
  • Foster an internal environment of teamwork and cooperation.

Successful candidates will have demonstrated experience, skills and accomplishments in the following areas: 

  • Strategic and operations planning.
  • Program development and financing, including creating development programs, and conservation finance capabilities.
  • Senior leadership in the private and/or non-profit sectors
  • Excellent interpersonal and communications skills, including public speaking
  • Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of stakeholders

Experience and skills in the following areas will be to the candidate’s advantage:

  • Water rights transactions
  • Familiarity with agricultural, natural resource and environmental issues
  • Contacts and connections in the Central Oregon Community

Additional Information 
The Deschutes River basin is one of the most ecologically diverse in the Northwest with mountains, valleys, and plateaus on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range. The natural beauty of the region attracts retirees, tourists, and new businesses that play a pivotal role in the area’s economy. Rivers and streams in the Basin support world-class recreational fisheries. The mountains are richly forested. Abundant water and sunshine continue to sustain the agricultural economy. 

Population growth and economic change are at once a concern and an opportunity with respect to the Deschutes Basin’s unique natural resources and quality of life. The Executive Director will play a key role in helping to sustain the quality of life in the Deschutes Basin for future generations. 

Salary minimum $110,000 and commensurate with experience. Benefits package 
includes health and retirement contributions. 

Application Process 
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and references electronically to the DRC Search Committee: [email protected]

Learn more about us at: www.deschutesriver.org

Download a pdf of this description

Download a pdf of the Executive Director Position Description

June 1, 2018 
The DRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.