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Western Water Policy Specialist

Job Location

Flexible within the Western US


Type of Job




Published By

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Published Date

Feb 8, 2022

About the job

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The Western Water Policy Specialist supports The Nature Conservancy’s conservation goals through collaborating and coordinating with TNC’s government relations and conservation teams within the western Divisions, State Business Units and Strategic Programs, in particular the Colorado River Program. The focus of this position is on federal and state policies and funding related to water management and water scarcity, taking into consideration the many ways water scarcity directly impacts TNC’s varied policy priorities on climate change, agriculture, watershed management, drought, forest health issues and the associated impacts on people and communities, including Indigenous People, landscapes, and communities. Working closely with the Division’s Senior Policy Advisor, the Divisions’ Business Units, and the Colorado River Program, this position plays a key role to influence federal policy and further The Nature Conservancy’s mission. This position reports to the Western US & Canada Division (WUSCD) Senior Policy Advisor.



The Western Water Policy Specialist works with an interdisciplinary team in planning, implementing, and coordinating TNC’s strategies to influence federal and state policies on water management and water scarcity. S/he collaborates with TNC’s Business teams, Government Relations teams, Conservation and Science staff to further internal conservation goals and strategic plans. Duties include regular and frequent contact with federal agency and legislative officials and staff on matters pertaining to agency and legislative actions. S/he builds and facilitates internal networks, coordinating meetings, agendas, and presentations. S/he develops strategic partnerships with relevant agencies to influence the outcome of policy initiatives at the federal and regional levels and advance the organization’s conservation agenda.



· Serves as a liaison between different parts of TNC’s structure in support of western water goals, including Western US state business units, Colorado River Program and other strategic programs, and the DC-based federal policy and government relations team, in coordination with the Senior Policy Adviser for the WUSCD.

· Synthesizes mature and emerging conservation projects developed by business units and strategic programs to shape critical priorities for policy advocacy and funding at the federal level.

· Supports policy development, advocacy, and implementation of a variety of federal legislative measures related to water scarcity, including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Farm Bill, among others.

· In coordination with others, fosters relationships with key federal agency staff at all levels to influence water policies, including regional offices of the Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, US Dept. of Agriculture, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

· In collaboration with TNC state business units and the Colorado River Program, leads advocacy efforts related to federal regulations on drought and water scarcity through direct contact with federal executive or legislative branch officials and staff, and drafting and submitting comment letters and other strategic communications.

· Educates and presents to key TNC constituencies such as Boards of Trustees, donors, NGO partners, and media as needed.

· Financial responsibility may include working within/managing a budget, contracting with consultants, assisting with budget development.

· Ensures program compliance with internal policies and state and federal lobbying laws and regulations.

· Will need to gain cooperation from individuals or groups (inside and outside the Conservancy) over whom there is no direct authority in order to accomplish program goals.



· Bachelor’s degree and at least 4 years related experience or equivalent combination.

· Experience with Western water issues and policy, particularly related to drought resilience and water scarcity.

· Experience working directly with federal agency officials, legislators, and their staff, including researching, developing, and presenting materials on complex water issues.

· Fluency in English.



· Experience with Western water legal framework and multi-state water compacts.

· Experience with climate change policy.

· Experience with Tribal water resources and management.

· Experience developing and implementing federal policies, including federal funding/grant programs.

· Experience working with NGOs, advocacy groups or coalitions on water-related issues.

· Multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural experience.

· Master’s degree appreciated.

· Familiarity with social and economic conditions in the Western US.

· Experience coordinating work in a decentralized organization and working across interdisciplinary teams.

· Outstanding written and oral communication and organizational skills.


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