Freshwater Conservation Manager


Central or Eastern Iowa (IA)


The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 30 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. Visit to learn more.



The Freshwater Conservation Manager has lead responsibility for implementing an integrated freshwater program in Iowa, with emphasis on sustainable conservation of two priority agriculture-dominated watersheds: the Iowa-Cedar Basin and the Boone River watershed.  Key components of the program include: 1) Securing exemplary conservation in the Iowa-Cedar River Basin, the Boone River watershed, and other potential watersheds as a platform for leveraging watershed-scale conservation in other priority watersheds;  2) Participating in various statewide freshwater initiatives and policy issues; 3) Expanding and catalyzing public and private partnerships for conservation outcomes including potential development of payment for services programs (‘water funds’); 4) Working with the Conservancy’s Great Rivers Program to support conservation efforts and key priorities for the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.  Work includes collaborating with public agencies and diverse partners to develop and implement on-the-ground projects and practices that address altered hydrology, water quality and loss of floodplain connectivity to achieve conservation goals as well as societal needs including flood risk reduction, water quality improvements and a sustainable agricultural economy.  This position supervises TNC’s Boone River Project Director, and is supervised by the Director of Conservation Programs.

The Freshwater Conservation Manager:

  • Positions the Conservancy as a leading resource for freshwater conservation in Iowa
  • Plays a leadership role in defining and implementing freshwater conservation priorities and strategies and integrating these into overall conservation goals and priorities in Iowa.
  • Serves as project lead for the Iowa-Cedar River Basins and works closely with Lower Cedar Project Director to integrate freshwater conservation with Lower Cedar Valley conservation efforts.
  • Develops key partnerships with public and private organizations and other stakeholders to achieve collaborative solutions for ecologically relevant watershed management
  • Builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field, with special emphasis on flow regimes and nutrient issues in agricultural landscapes.
  • Helps inform freshwater policy work
  • Works with government agencies, landowners, and policy makers to develop a comprehensive framework for conservation, water quality and water use,
  • Engages local community support for local conservation efforts
  • Coordinates with other TNC programs in the Great Rivers Program and the Mississippi River Basin sharing lessons learned and informing TNC freshwater work from on-the-ground efforts in Iowa
  • Supervises Boone River Project Director
  • Preferable location in Central or Eastern Iowa
  • BA/BS degree and 5 years’ experience in freshwater conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience communicating with the public and diverse groups both in writing and verbally.
  • Experience in partnership development (landowners, other organizations, government agencies, community leaders, scientists, etc.).
  • Experience in developing and implementing natural resource conservation policy.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including staffing, workloads, and finances under deadlines.
  • Experience in written and verbal communication.
  • Grant writing experience.
  • Supervisory experience.


  • Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of progressively responsible experience in freshwater conservation, including on-the-ground project work, multi-stakeholder collaborations, and interaction at the regulatory/policy level.  Master’s degree in natural resource or conservation-related field strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans
  • Knowledge of aquatic ecology, conservation biology, hydrology, and hydro-geomorphology
  • Knowledge and experience of current trends and practices in freshwater/environmental flows and sediment/nutrient issues
  • Ability to achieve practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for targeted conservation purposes
  • Ability to work collaboratively with diverse partners, policy makers, and stakeholders to achieve conservation outcomes at both the project and statewide levels
  • Ability to work effectively as part of  dynamic conservation team, and to effectively manage project staff, budgets, and contractors for successful conservation outcomes
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively through concise, compelling written, spoken, and graphical means in English
  • Experience in all aspects of project management and finances, including securing grant funds
  • Successful experience in developing diverse partnerships for conservation outcomes, including ability to work with elected officials and decision makers.
  • Demonstrated experience in Microsoft Office including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Experience with GIS software, ArcMap a plus.
  • Valid U.S. driver’s license and safe driving record are required to operate Conservancy-owned vehicles to perform job duties.


This position requires a valid driver’s license and compliance with the Conservancy’s Auto Safety Program.  Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered “high risk drivers.”  Please see further details in the Auto Safety Program document available at

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee’s motor vehicle record.


The Freshwater Conservation Manager may work in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, on difficult and hazardous terrain, and under physically demanding circumstances. These conditions may:

  • require occasional physical exertion and/or muscular strain
  • present occasional possibility of injury
  • require long hours in isolated settings
  • occasionally require evening and weekend hours
  • require travel, usually within Iowa

The Nature Conservancy offers competitive compensation, 401k or savings-plan matching for eligible employees, excellent benefits, flexible work policies and a collaborative work environment. We also provide professional development opportunities and promote from within. As a result, you will find a culture that supports and inspires conservation achievement and personal development, both within the workplace and beyond.



To apply to position number 40830, submit resume and cover letter as one document. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 8, 2013.

Failure to complete all of the required fields may result in your application being disqualified from consideration.

You must click submit to apply for the position. You may select save for later if you prefer to create a draft application for future submission. Once submitted, applications cannot be revised or edited.

If you are experiencing technical issues, please refer to our applicant user guide or contact

If you have questions about the position, please contact Chelsea Carter at (515) 244-5044.


The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The successful applicant must meet the requirements of
The Nature Conservancy’s background screening process.

Eastern or Central, Iowa
The Nature Conservancy
Chelsea Carter