Program Director – Columbia Basin

Portland, Oregon
Nov 29, 2017
Jan 28, 2018
Ecology, Restoration
Job Level
Senior level
Employment Type
Full time
Salary Type


For the last 15 years, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has partnered with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to coordinate resources and strategies to increase tributary flows in parts of the Columbia River Basin (Basin) which have the highest potential to restore anadromous and resident fish. The program has been incredibly successful – securing an additional 10 million acre feet of water instream for fish – the equivalent amount of drinking water for 5 Western states over 6 years. To achieve the goals of the program, NFWF works with states, non-governmental entities and willing landowners to secure and dedicate water instream.  NFWF is looking for a Program Director to administer this exciting effort and to direct NFWF’s broader Columbia Basin Program (CBP) that executes other types of complementary habitat implementation projects to maximize NFWF’s results and overall habitat restoration and conservation impact.

Working out of NFWF’s Portland, OR office, the Program Director, Columbia Basin will oversee and lead the strategic development and implementation of a multi-disciplinary conservation program.  S/he is responsible for developing strategies and program priorities, fundraising and partnering with other entities to leverage existing funding, managing applicable funding sources, interacting with program funding partners, grantees and consultants, directing NFWF’s Columbia Basin team, coordinating and managing proposal review panels, providing technical assistance to grantees, setting effective performance measures, and closely coordinating program efforts with the Director, Western Water Program, Western Regional Director and other Foundation staff.



  • Lead and design CBP conservation strategies, including implementation of effective flow and habitat monitoring strategies and protocols.
  • Oversee programmatic and fiscal administration of the CBP.
  • Leverage program funds by bringing in additional resources to implement the CBP.
  • Oversee the grant solicitation, grant review and grant award processes, including facilitating grant review committees and evaluating proposed projects under approved criteria to determine ecological significance and innovation.
  • Manage CBP flow and habitat restoration proposal review processes.
  • Assist in the development of NFWF’s Western Regional Office’s flow and habitat restoration programs and coordinate the CBP into that effort.
  • Coordinate program implementation and strategic development with the primary funding partner, Bonneville Power Administration, as well as other current and future public and private funding partners in the Columbia Basin.
  • Communicate with BPA, Northwest Power and Conservation Council, NOAA-Fisheries and US Fish and Wildlife Service staff and others regarding CBP flow and habitat projects.
  • Lead TAC meetings, present flow and habitat projects on the current slate and provide input on the relevancy and importance of projects.
  • Review and comment on proposals that occur in CBP priority areas or the Pacific Northwest and/or incorporate flow and habitat projects that are submitted to other NFWF programs or brought to NFWF for review by other funding entities.
  • Work with consultants and CBP staff on incorporating the CBP procedures and metrics with other NFWF processes and programs.
  • Serve as spokesperson for NFWF’s Columbia Basin Program and engage with the public, current and potential program partners, stakeholders and key decision makers, including appointed and elected officials and tribal partners.
  • Ensure appropriate assistance to grant recipients to comply with requirements of the CBP, including flow and habitat project criteria, environmental compliance and agency approval.
  • Identify new geographies in which to coordinate habitat restoration projects within, or complimentary to, the current CBP targeted watersheds. 
  • Utilizing the success of the CBP, seek other private, federal and non-federal funding opportunities to maximize the potential results of restoring anadromous and resident fish in the Columbia Basin through flow and habitat restoration projects.
  • Participate in the development of program outreach materials and meeting agendas.
  • Respond to written and verbal inquiries from CBP grant recipients regarding CBP flow and habitat projects.






  • Advanced degree in ecology, environmental science, hydrology, law, policy, resource management, or the equivalent education and experience preferred.
  • At least 8 years’ experience working with/for government agencies and/or nongovernmental organizations on issues related to water and natural resource management.
  • Detailed knowledge of flow and habitat restoration efforts and relevant cultural, economic, legal and technical factors, and federal contracts & budgets. 
  • Excellent written & oral communication and supervisory, organizational and people skills.
  • Experience leading complex negotiations, building consensus, and managing conflict among diverse partners, agencies and stakeholders.
  • Experience raising funds for projects and programs through foundation, corporate, and government sources.
  • Experience in, and knowledge of, the Pacific Northwest – especially as it relates to flow and habitat restoration.
  • Ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a rapidly changing and sometimes conflict-laden environment.
  • Ability and flexibility to travel.