Senior Outreach Specialist (Ecosystems - Water)

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Boulder, CO, USA 🇺🇸

San Francisco, CA, USA 🇺🇸

Austin, TX, USA 🇺🇸


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 700 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 where innovation and results are a way of life.

EDF envisions a world in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected to the environmental challenges we face and are engaged in creating durable, equitable solutions. We seek talented candidates who share our Core Values of Respect, Results, Innovation, Optimism, and Integrity, and support our Commitment to Diversity.  


The Water team is dedicated to developing water policy and management solutions that balance water supply and demand and increase the resilience of water systems that support communities and ecosystems. We strive to build a more equitable world in which no community bears a disproportionate burden, and in which all communities have water access to meet their physical, social, economic and cultural needs.

The team has established a reputation as a trusted and credible partner with diverse stakeholders, governments, and water agencies; expertise in groundwater challenges and solutions; and as an advocate for transformational change in water policy and practices that incorporate ecosystem and environmental justice goals. The work currently is focused within California, the Colorado River Basin and Texas, with active exploration of new work in other domestic U.S. and international locations

Overall Function

The Senior Outreach Specialist will advance the priorities of the Western Water team with emphasis on efforts designed to broaden access to critical data and decision support tools that enable more sustainable water and land management practices across the Western U.S. and beyond. This position will initially be primarily focused on work related to a data platform, OpenET, developed by EDF, NASA, the Desert Research Institute, and others, which makes satellite-based measurement of consumptive use from vegetation, including from irrigated agriculture, more accessible.

The successful candidate will report to and work closely with the Senior Manager, Water Information Systems, and will actively engage with the OpenET Team and a broad range of stakeholders in deliberate, organized efforts to accelerate progress on some of the most important water and agricultural information needs in the US West and other geographies. The Senior Specialist will serve a critical coordination function between and among EDF Water Team, OpenET team members from other organizations, and collaborators on water data and information work threads in an adaptive way to advance the refinement and application of OpenET and to address critical water supply problems leveraging the data from OpenET. In collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, the Senior Specialist will develop meaningful outreach, perform research, plan trainings and events, produce reporting materials, organize forums that help demonstrate the value of improved information for decision-making and ensure the sustainability and impact of such information platforms and related management practices for the coming decades.


  • Develop and project manage engagement opportunities with OpenET partners, stakeholders and end users to build awareness, understanding and trust about appropriate use and applications of OpenET, including:
    • Design and co-host recurring webinars
    • Organize outreach events that include assisting with the design, planning, and implementation of occasional in-person workshops and trainings, including preparing the agenda and materials, developing an invitation list, managing the budget, etc.
    • Help compose regular written communications, including, for instance, newsletters and website materials
  • Coordinate outreach with other relevant efforts in Western Water related to water accounting and management, like the Water Trading and Accounting Platform.
  • Build relationships and regularly consult with important allies and cooperators, including representatives in public agencies, academics, NGOs, landowners, and other stakeholders to gather insights and advance program goals.
  • Develop technical and professional documentation including web content, 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.
  • Help manage aspects of the OpenET project, including:
    • Review sub-grant applications and reports from project partners and manage consultant contracts.
    • Work with Senior Manager to update and track the various OpenET budgets based on new funding and partner needs.
    • Work and collaborate with partners to track and report progress towards project milestones and with Senior Manager to make work plan adjustments as needed.
  • Help set agendas and co-host regular management meetings to ensure key decisions and challenges are discussed in a timely manner.
    • Help draft reports to funding partners.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Participate as a team member on other projects and programs, contributing expertise, project coordination, and/or outreach support.
  • Attend meetings and events that may span the Western U.S. and represent EDF and the Western Water Team with professionalism and integrity.
  • Participates in advancing EDF DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values
  • As applicable, provide user support and limited analysis related to end uses of the OpenET platform, and/or to internal EDF studies related to trends in ET for areas of interest.
  • Additional relevant responsibilities as assigned.


  • BA or BS in engineering, hydrology, ecology, agriculture/working landscapes, environmental sciences, geography, resource economics, computer sciences or another related field is required. MA or MS is preferred.
  • At least 4 years of relevant experience, or at least 2 years with advanced degree, 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.
    • GIS and spatial mapping / analysis.
    • Project management.
  • 2-3 years of research and project coordination experience.
  • Proficiency in web-based computer applications and standard desktop-based software, including Microsoft Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word.
  • Demonstrated 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, with a high degree of comfort making presentations to large audiences.
  • 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.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds
  • Willingness and ability to travel occasionally, primarily to other western U.S. states.

LOCATION: The position could be based in one of EDF’s Boulder, CO, San Francisco, or Austin, TX offices or as a remote/work from home situation in the western U.S.  The employee must have convenient access to a major airport.  Consideration will be given to locations that enable in-person meetings with the supervisor and team members in light of program goals and the importance of promoting team cohesion and mutual support.

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.