Director of Freshwater & Marine

Austin, Texas
Jul 17, 2017
Aug 27, 2017
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time, Permanent
Salary Type


The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 69 countries, all 50 United States, and your backyard.  Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.  One of our core values is our commitment to diversity.  Therefore, we are committed to a globally diverse and culturally competent workforce.  Visit to learn more.



The Director of Freshwater & Marine leads the Texas Chapter’s water program; a comprehensive freshwater, coastal, and marine conservation strategy in the state. S/he reports to the Texas State Director and serves as a member of the executive leadership team. The Director manages an interdisciplinary team of scientists, conservation practitioners and project managers. S/he provides strategic leadership and manages the coastal/marine and freshwater conservation work and establishes overall water conservation priorities and major initiatives for the state. S/he aligns the Texas Chapter’s water work with that of The Nature Conservancy’s Global conservation and North American priorities.   

Recent and major accomplishments for the Freshwater & Marine Program include the construction of two ambitious oyster reef projects and the launch of the Texas Water Explorer. The oyster reef restoration projects, a 40-acre reef in the Galveston Bay and a 45-acre reef north of Corpus Christi, help us get closer to the goal of restoring fully functional marine habitats in the Texas coastal region. The Texas Water Explorer is a robust online tool that centralizes information about freshwater in Texas and helps manage water in a way that ensures the state will have adequate supplies into the future. Texas is a national leader in oyster reef restoration as a coastal resilience and marine biodiversity strategy.


The Director of Freshwater & Marine develops and leads best practices, provides training, project management, and analyses to best implement organizational measures of success. The Director establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner in the area of freshwater and coastal/marine conservation in Texas internally and with external partners. S/he represents The Nature Conservancy to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations, donors, and the academic community.  S/he builds strategic, scientific and technical capacity in the field, develops key partnerships with public and private organizations in order to identify and resolve technical issues and to widely communicate solutions and best practices, and develops innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools, and frameworks to address the natural system needs.  S/he engages the local community and key influential support for local, chapter, and global conservation efforts, negotiates complex and innovative solutions with government agencies, major institutions, and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities, and develop and implement cutting edge conservation strategies in a high-profile geography. S/he helps advance the mission of The Nature Conservancy and serves as a high level TNC representative.


  • High level management and leadership responsibility for 6+ staff members.
  • Leads internal teams and external partnerships.
  • Responsible for developing funding priorities, developing and managing a complex budget with multiple funding sources.
  • Serves as part of the leadership team and provides thoughtful input into the chapter’s strategic initiatives.
  • Works closely with other conservation teams, science staff, and external affairs to develop and advance freshwater and coastal/marine strategies.
  • Responsible for meeting departmental strategic goals and objectives.
  • Provides expertise on a variety of freshwater and coastal/marine issues including conservation of groundwater-dependent ecosystems, water management, water storage, water rights, climate change and coastal resilience.
  • Develops strategies that will benefit people and align with the Conservancy’s Global Cities Initiative.
  • Develops effective partnerships with federal and state agencies, scientific and academic institutions, environmental groups, and other public and private organizations engaged in freshwater protection or coastal/marine protection and resilience.
  • Identifies and manages public awards including opportunities related to the BP oil spill funding.
  • Knowledge of government award compliance requirements.
  • Designs, implements, and directs complex and diverse projects, encompassing multiple programs and coordinating the work of other professionals, inside and outside the organization.  Incorporates cross-disciplinary knowledge to support program objectives.
  • Highly diversified work involves participation in the formulation and evaluation of broad policies and/or long-term programs, or making decisions, which typically have broad organizational impact.
  • May work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances.                                                                                                                               
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, ambiguous information, experience and context.
  • May require frequent travel domestically and some internationally, and evening and weekend hours.


  • BA/BS degree and 12 years’ experience in environmental policy, marine science, ecology, or a similar discipline, conservation practice, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience designing, implementing, and directing complex or multiple projects of strategic importance, including managing finances, supervising multidisciplinary professionals and coordinating the work of partners while meeting deadlines.  
  • Experience working with current trends and practices in relevant discipline(s) and geographic regions.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, leading, setting objectives and managing performance.
  • Experience in partnership development with non-profit partners, community groups and/or government agencies.   
  • Experience networking with high level conservation contacts.
  • Experience working with methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives.
  • Experience conceiving and implementing strategic and creative initiatives.
  • Experience negotiating multilateral agreements and contracts.


  • Master’s degree and 12 years’ experience in environmental policy, marine science, ecology, or a similar discipline, conservation practice, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs. 
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Experience working as part of a fundraising team including strategy, program funding needs and identifying donor prospects.
  • Politically savvy.
  • Bilingual (Spanish speaking) appreciated.