Associate Director of Headwaters Conservation

American Rivers
Nevada City, CA, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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TITLE:  Associate Director of Headwaters Conservation

CLASSIFICATION: Associate Director II


DEPARTMENT:  Conservation

REPORTS TO: Director, California Headwaters Conservation

LOCATION: Nevada City, CA


Named one of the best groups to support by “Outside” magazine, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® and National River Cleanup® campaigns. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 350,000 members, supporters and volunteers. American Rivers maintains a positive work environment with a culture of learning, support and balance. For more information please visit

American Rivers embraces and celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion in all that we do. Rivers Connect Us is more than just our tagline. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities, and we seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field.  Each individual brings life experiences, knowledge, innovation and talent to our work, providing perspectives, experiences and competencies that are critical to our effectiveness.


The Associate Director of Headwaters Conservation builds partnerships and manages projects to improve watersheds in the Sierra Nevada. The Associate Director helps develop and oversee a range of innovative projects primarily focused on meadow stream restoration, improving forest health and forest roads, green infrastructure and other conservation efforts in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River (SSJ) Basin. Our approach is to implement on-the-ground projects that catalyze partnerships and policies to achieve river conservation at the regional and state-wide scale. The Associate Director will also contribute to fundraising and other internal needs of the region, including strategic planning, and will join a team of eight staff in American Rivers’ regional office in Nevada City, California, a thriving small town in the Sierra Nevada foothills. 


  • Collaborate with state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, non-profit partners, and private interests to accelerate restoration and improve watershed management policies and practices in California.
  • Manage river restoration projects. This will include managing subcontractors and project budgets, coordinating partners, reporting to agencies and funders, completing permits, leading outreach activities, and identifying opportunities to scale up successes. 
  • Troubleshoot restoration project hurdles and identify and implement broadly-applicable solutions that advance the restoration field.
  • Identify and develop restoration projects that build capacity, accelerate progress, engage new partners and expand the impact of the river conservation field.  
  • Monitor project outcomes. Collect and analyze data on restoration project performance, communicate successes and lessons learned to diverse audiences including rural landowners, state and federal decision-makers, corporate and foundation funders, and others.
  • Work with the SSJ-basin grants team. Contribute to the development and writing of proposals and develop new innovative and catalytic projects.
  • Participate in SSJ basin and headwaters program strategic planning. Strive to improve the existing programs and identify new opportunities.
  • Conduct outreach activities and help develop media that build awareness about American Rivers and the value of healthy rivers to California and the country.
  • Represent American Rivers at conferences, press events and other public events.  


The successful candidate will demonstrate through professional background, experience, and recommendations, strong skills in the following areas: 

  • At least five years of relevant experience or an advanced degree with a minimum of three years of relevant experience.
  • Innovative thinker with excellent organizational ability and demonstrated experience meeting deadlines, setting priorities and working in a self-directed manner in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to develop complex partnerships, proposals, budgets, and strategies that will accelerate river restoration and conservation in California.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills.
  • Experience managing projects with multiple partners.
  • Understanding of watershed processes and water resource issues.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. 


The salary range for this position is $54,000-$66,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. American Rivers offers full-time employees a generous benefits package that includes health, dental and life insurance; four weeks of paid vacation plus paid holidays, and a retirement plan. 


Please submit your resume and a cover letter to  

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply