Senior Ecologist and Stewardship Manager

Job Location

Santa Rosa


Type of Job



Starting at $87,000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Aug 25, 2021

About the job

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Sonoma Land Trust

Job Title: Senior Ecologist and Stewardship Manager

Reports To: Stewardship Director

Status: Exempt

Last Revision: August 2021


Want to play your part in protecting our Sonoma County from the impacts of climate change? Ready to roll up your sleeves to help achieve tangible results on the ground? Want to be part of a talented, deeply committed and national award-winning conservation organization? Then please read on!


Sonoma Land Trust (SLT) seeks a passionate and experienced systems ecologist with an advanced degree in an ecosystems-focused discipline and with significant experience in applying scientific solutions in the field. Join our dedicated band of conservation practitioners and help us navigate the rapid changes brought on by climate change, including tackling wildfire, drought, biodiversity loss and community safety.


The Land Trust serves a diverse audience with broad cultural heritages, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders and orientations. We encourage applications from candidates who reflect and value the audiences and populations we serve.



The Senior Ecologist will lead our important work addressing the challenges of climate change in Sonoma Valley and throughout the county. They will lead our work on nature-based solutions that bolster the resilience of our natural and human communities, focusing on wildfires, wildlife corridors and natural lands management.


The successful candidate will drive key conservation strategy decisions using the latest science, as well as identifying areas of future applied science research that SLT will need to advance biodiversity and climate resilience in Sonoma County. Over time, the position will be central to growing our ecological science resources and staffing, and leading the development and implementation of science and nature-based solutions for the protection and enhancement of essential ecosystem functioning in Sonoma County.


General Duties

The Senior Ecologist and Stewardship Manager will implement on-the-ground management and restoration on SLT preserves in Sonoma Valley and on Sonoma Mountain. The position will require practical experience in natural resource management and grassland/forestry/stream enhancement and restoration, as well as infrastructure maintenance, contracting, invoicing and grant administration. The ideal candidate has the ability to both do and teach these skills and will supervise preserve management staff.

The Senior Ecologist and Stewardship Manager should possess excellent communication skills in various settings and audiences to explain our work and advocate with decision-makers and stakeholders for nature-based solutions.


Primary Responsibilities

Lead the management and restoration of SLT’s Sonoma Valley and Mountain Preserves

o Develop and implement management plans, including biological and cultural resource assessments, infrastructure evaluation and natural resource planning activities.

o Identify and develop key restoration activities to further SLT’s strategic plan.

o Supervise preserve management staff, interns and volunteers.

o Ensure the completion of annual workplans and successful day-to-day operations of assigned preserves and properties.


Lead SLT’s Living with Fire Program

o Collaborate with staff and partners to advance the expansion of the Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative into new regions, developing new approaches as necessary.

o SLT lead on Sonoma Valley Wildlands Collaborative.

§ Manage CAL FIRE, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and future grants.

§ Manage working relationship with partners and CAL FIRE.

§ Identify and pursue funding opportunities for ongoing and future work.

o Collaborate with SLT project managers to ensure appropriate defensible space, building hardening and forest management activities are implemented and maintained.


Advance the research, habitat protection and restoration work in and around the Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor

o Identify and develop opportunities for further research into Sonoma Valley’s forest and wildfire ecology, wildlife corridor and habitat enhancement.

o Work to close the gap between the recreation and wildlife protection perspectives.

o Develop and oversee research and applied science regarding understanding and reducing impacts of human recreation on wildlife behavior.


Regional Planning, Engagement and Coordination

o Lead the development and implementation of regional conservation land management projects consistent with SLT conservation strategies, AND collaborating with agencies and partner organizations.

o Support acquisition staff and partners to define and implement landscape-scale regional conservation strategies; evaluate potential land acquisition projects including prioritization, site assessment and evaluation.

o Provide information and advice to landowners, public land managers and the community on beneficial conservation management strategies and practices.


Essential Qualifications

· Advanced degree in an ecosystem-focused discipline, such as wildlife biology, forest ecology or fire ecology.

· Minimum of 5+ years of conservation lands management, wildlife conservation and/or applying nature-based solutions with focus on ecosystem functionality.

· Knowledge of fire ecology and experience with prescribed burning, vegetation management/fire fuel reduction and/or defensible space projects.

· Demonstrated experience managing complex projects and budgets.

· Demonstrated experience in budgeting, invoicing, contracting, grant management and grant writing.

· Excellent communications skills in person and via digital (e.g. Zoom) platforms.

· Experience cultivating and maintaining good working relationships with local and state government agencies.

· Demonstrated ability to work effectively with challenging partnerships and multi-party collaborations.

· A recognition of and commitment to serving all of Sonoma County’s diverse communities.

· Valid CA Driver’s License required.


Preferred Skills and Experience

· Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and similar common computer software.

· Proficiency with GPS data collection and with ESRI ArcGIS Pro software.

· Experience using hand tools and mechanized equipment, such as weed whackers.

· Spoken and/or written Spanish language skills.

· Ability to write and edit persuasive materials, such as funding proposals, white papers, reports, letters of inquiry, interim reports, stewardship materials and other collateral information.


About Sonoma Land Trust

Sonoma Land Trust works in alliance with nature to conserve and restore the integrity of the land with a focus on climate resiliency. The organization is also committed to ensuring more equitable access to the outdoors. Since 1976, the nonprofit Land Trust has protected nearly 58,000 acres of scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Sonoma Land Trust was the recipient of the 2019 Land Trust Alliance Award of Excellence and is accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. The Land Trust has also been named one of the Best Places to Work by the North Bay Business Journal. For more information, please visit

We are passionate about building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable working environment that is representative of the communities we serve. We know that having varied perspectives leads to better outcomes to solve the complex problems of conservation, climate change and environmental justice in Sonoma County.


Schedule, Salary & Benefits

Position is 40 hours per week. Salary range starting at $87,000 and commensurate with experience. Benefits include generous employer contributions to medical, dental and vision insurance plans. Employer contribution of 5% to 403(b) retirement plan after 1 year of service. Paid time off includes 15 paid holidays, 2−4 weeks of vacation based on tenure, and personal and parental leave in accordance with SLT policies and procedures.


To apply please email your resume and cover letter to


Sonoma Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We strive to create a diverse and inclusive organization and encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, national or regional origins, sexes, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, gender identities, military or veteran status or other status protected by law.