Senior Conservation Policy Analyst

Washington D.C.
Salary Range: $74,100-$100,000
Aug 21, 2018
Oct 21, 2018
Employment Type
Full time, Permanent
Salary Type

Location: Headquarters, Washington, DC
Department: Center for Conservation Innovation
Supervisor: Director, Center for Conservation Innovation


The senior conservation policy analyst is an integral part of the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) in the Washington, D.C. headquarters, helping develop and implement cutting-edge conservation initiatives. CCI focuses on making implementation of laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) more effective and efficient at preventing extinctions and accelerating the recovery of imperiled species. This work covers nearly every aspect of the ESA, including recovery planning, listings, permitting, candidate species conservation, federal and private lands conservation, and state-federal partnerships. In each of these areas, we are applying and expanding cross-disciplinary approaches to find new, creative, and practical solutions to both long-standing and emerging conservation challenges.

The senior conservation policy analyst plays a lead role in conducting data analysis and technology and policy development relating to imperiled species and habitat conservation. He/she is an expert at gathering, managing, analyzing, and communicating non-spatial data with an eye towards informing policy decisions. He/she must be an energetic self-starter driven by opportunities to help apply science and policy to the design and implementation of creative and practical solutions to conserve endangered species in North America. Experience overseeing, contributing to, or implementing key components of endangered species programs is required, as is managing interns and entry-level staff. 


  • Provide leadership on science and policy analysis and communication to support CCI’s goal of finding creative solutions for conservation. The senior analyst’s responsibilities include the following: data gathering and analysis; publishing analysis and policy recommendations in peer-reviewed journals; developing and implementing creative but pragmatic strategies for new CCI projects; developing web applications and other data exploration tools; training analysts and data specialists in CCI; and collaborating with internal and external partners on projects. The focus of projects includes accelerating recovery, improving recovery planning, creating incentives for state wildlife agencies and private landowners to help recover species, and increasing the transparency and accountability of ESA incidental take permitting and consultations. 

  • Support data gathering and analysis needs for CCI’s work on defending the ESA against legislative and regulatory attacks and on increasing ESA appropriations. This work will include analyzing ESA expenditure reports, lobbying for increased appropriations, and providing research and analysis support for ESA defense. 

  • Supervise interns and help CCI staff with their data research and analysis questions. 

  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: PhD or equivalent terminal degree in conservation biology, environmental science, environmental policy, or another field that is directly relevant to conservation of imperiled species.

  • Experience: 7+ years of experience in research and policy analysis regarding wildlife conservation or environmental policy. Experience with science and policy matters involving endangered species conservation at a state wildlife or federal natural resource agency or department is helpful. 

  • An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.

  • Other: 

  • The ideal candidate will have advanced data gathering, management, and analysis skills using R, python (plus pandas, scikit-learn, or other libraries), or other open source programming languages. Intermediate knowledge of a geographic information system software, such as ArcGIS or QGIS, is highly beneficial.

  • The ideal candidate will be an expert or exhibit a long-standing and deep interest in a domain that complements the skills of the CCI team. Examples include marine or plant biology, environmental psychology, conservation governance, or software engineering.

  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills. Proven ability to quickly and accurately analyze environmental policies and communicate the assessments clearly and concisely for non-technical audiences in plain English. 

  • High aptitude for solving complex environmental problems and creative thinking. Strong attention to detail. Demonstrated ability to follow through on tasks and meet deadlines. 

  • Working knowledge of the Endangered Species Act and related regulations and policies. Familiarity with other federal and state natural resource and administrative procedure laws, and with the environmental policy development process within the Executive Branch of the federal government. 

  • Working knowledge of the principles of conservation biology.

  • Experience successfully managing people on quantitative research projects.

  • Experience working alone and as part of highly collaborative teams. 

  • Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills and ability to work independently and as part of a team. Self-starter with a flexible nature who knows when to seek direction.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 


  • General office working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.


  • This position requires occasional travel.


  • Up To $100,000 


  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures.  We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.


Interested applicants should email a completed application, a letter of interest, resume, and self-edited writing sample (up to 15 pages) to Please reference Senior Conservation Policy Analyst in your subject line. 

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.

All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs