Policy Director, Western Water

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Washington, DC, United States

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30+ days ago

The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.
Position Summary:
The Policy Director, Western Water will lead and define policy efforts and government affairs functions to advance Audubon’s mission and bird conservation objectives within our Western Water Initiative as part of Audubon’s national strategy for Water Conservation. Reporting to the Senior Director of Western Water, they will serve as a part of the Western Water team and work in collaboration with other national, regional, and state policy and program staff and external partners.

The Policy Director will be a leader implementing the Western Water Initiative’s vision for transformative water policy solutions. The Policy Director will mobilize an effective conservation network of hundreds of thousands of Audubon members and other supporters; and build and maintain working relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, including the coalition of NGOs focused on the Colorado River basin, federal legislative offices and officials, and federal and/or state agencies. Audubon is committed to turning pragmatic policy ideas and science-based solutions into real protections for birds and the places they and we all need to thrive.

Audubon envisions a livable and equitable future in the West, particularly in the face of climate change. We strive for rivers, wetlands, and lakes to be resilient, sustain habitat, and support water reliability for birds and people. Birds tell us there are essential freshwater-dependent habitats throughout the West—these include the rivers of the Colorado River Basin; Great Salt Lake, Salton Sea, and dozens of other saline lakes; the Rio Grande; as well as tributaries, wetlands, and groundwater connections to essential waterways.

Audubon’s Western Water team, with dedicated staff in 5 western states and Washington D.C., is working to align habitat protection and restoration in the places birds need, with improved water supply reliability for communities and solutions that help to address historic injustices in water allocations. With mega-drought conditions persisting into a third decade and climate change increasingly impacting water supplies and habitats in the West, there is an urgent need for durable water solutions that are both inclusive and equitable.
The ideal candidate is a skilled, strategic thinker who works well in coalitions, with in-depth experience and knowledge of water issues in the West, wildlife conservation, environmental and/or climate policy.

About this position:

**There is a strong preference is for this position to be based in Washington, D.C.

**In order to be considered for this opportunity, please provide a cover letter.
Essential Functions:
  • Develop and oversee the effective implementation and day-to-day efforts of Audubon’s Western Water policy agenda in D.C., working closely with Audubon staff to align the program with the organization’s strategic priorities.
  • Co-lead and coordinate a multi-organizational coalition for federal funding and policy focused on the Colorado River Basin.
  • Coordinate the efforts of policy staff working across the West on federal, regional and state water policy initiatives.
  • Serve as an ambassador for Audubon, engaging key stakeholders including government officials, major funders, and other leaders to advance conservation efforts. Participate in lobbying activities in Congress, as well as federal and state administrative branches and agencies, to advance conservation objectives.
  • Stay abreast of federal and state legislative and administrative affairs and decisions effecting Audubon’s agenda and its constituents, particularly as they pertain to water and the Colorado River, a priority focus area.
  • Raise the profile and visibility of Audubon as a leader in conservation policy efforts; build creative and enduring alliances and partnerships to support Audubon’s policy efforts in D.C. and across the region.
  • Collaborate with Audubon’s D.C. government affairs and policy teams and Audubon’s relevant lobbyists and consultants on all Western Water related policy issues and develop strong and effective working relationships with staff across the Audubon network.
  • Work with communications and policy staff around communications and digital organizing that supports Audubon’s Western Water policy conservation priorities and issue campaigns to include writing public policy position documents, fact sheets, articles, newsletters, and press releases and social media posts.
  • Promote an organizational culture and structure that fosters cooperation, communication, collaboration, teamwork, equity and trust.
  • Collaborate with Audubon’s development team to identify, cultivate donors and foundations, as appropriate.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Minimum of a Bachelor's degree in political science, natural resources, or related field and 10 years’ experience in policy, grassroots advocacy, wildlife conservation, public service or related field required. Experience in water policy, water conservation, and/or wildlife related issues is preferred. Equivalent combination of advanced education and experience will also be considered.
  • Successful track record working in federal governmental processes, especially with congressional members and committees, and with federal agencies.
  • Keen understanding of current policy trends in water in the West related to wildlife management, climate change, land and water conservation, Indigenous law, with experience applying this knowledge to policy advocacy and implementation strongly preferred.
  • Exceptional leadership skills with the proven ability to work effectively in a team-based environment.
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills with the ability synthesize and interpret complex information for various audiences. Comfort with presenting and engaging others in public-speaking events is also necessary.
  • Demonstrated experience overseeing complex or multiple projects through to success, including meeting project deadlines, financial goals, and coordinating the work of key staff and partners.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and build, and lead coalitions.
  • Thorough understanding of how advocacy, communications, and grassroots engagement components effectively work together.
  • Willingness to aid in fundraising efforts as needed.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed, some weekends and evenings required.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and computer technology.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion in all aspects of work.
  • A commitment to Audubon’s mission of conservation of birds, other wildlife, and their habitat and the ability to communicate the mission, goals, and programs effectively to partners, government officials, donors, and the public.
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
Accessibility Statement:
The National Audubon Society endeavors to keep our careers site accessible to any and all users. If you would like to contact us regarding the accessibility of our website or need assistance completing the application process, please contact Accommodations@audubon.org. This contact information is for accommodation requests only and cannot be used to inquire about the status of applications.
COVID Policy:
All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.