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Feb 15 / BARD CEP

Lower Cedar Project Director-Letts, IA

Organization: The Nature Conservancy

Position Title: Lower Cedar Project Director

Location: Letts, IA

Hours & Compensation: Full time

Application Deadline: March 21, 2014.


Job Description:

The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Since our founding in 1951, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 117 million acres of land and 5,000 miles of rivers worldwide — and we operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. We have more than 1 million members and dedicated staff working in all 50 United States and more than 30 countries around the world — we are everywhere you want to be!

Basic Qualifications

  • BS/BA and 5 years experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience in partnership development (landowners, other organizations, government agencies, community leaders, scientists, etc.).
  • Experience negotiating complex agreements with diverse stakeholders.
  • Experience or training with current trends in conservation, land management and natural resource preservation; experience in applying this knowledge to define and achieve conservation priorities.
  • Experience managing complex or multiple projects, including heavy workloads and managing budget/finances under deadlines.
  • Experience in written and verbal communication.
  • Grant writing experience.
  • Supervisory experience


The Nature Conservancy seeks an enthusiastic individual to provide vision and leadership for our Lower Cedar Valley project. The Lower Cedar Valley located in southeast Iowa is a biologically rich region of the state and is an area of active TNC acquisition and management with current land holdings of over 2,400 acres. The Nature Conservancy and our partners are working together to protect and restore the unique floodplain habitats and to better understand the role floodplains play in flood risk reduction and water quality improvements. There is significant opportunity to grow and develop the project and to establish The Nature Conservancy as a leader in the region. The work is fast-paced, challenging and highly rewarding and the position provides a unique opportunity to join the high caliber, results-oriented Iowa program.

The Lower Cedar Project Director will lead all aspects of protection, community relations and science in the Lower Cedar Valley. S/he serves as the principle contact to government agencies, other conservation organizations, foundations and the academic community.

Specific functions of the position include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishes the Conservancy as a major conservation partner within the Lower Cedar Valley, providing a leadership role for our work in the region.
  • Defines conservation priorities and facilitates actions for the Lower Cedar.
  • Leads efforts to expand our community outreach and to broaden the constituency for conservation in the region.
  • Works closely with the OU stewardship staff to develop and test conservation practices on TNC preserves and utilize the preserve as a catalyst for broader conservation in the region.
  • Works closely with OU freshwater staff on strategies and collaborative conservation within the Iowa-Cedar River Basin.
  • Participates in and provides leadership with partner teams to support and improve conservation efforts
  • Works closely with Philanthropy and OU leadership staff to engage the local community leaders and potential donors to build a broad conservation constituency in the project area.
  • Builds strategic, scientific, and technical capacity in the field, including facilitating and managing contracts; writing grants and working with development staff to raise funding for projects.
  • Develops key partnerships with public and private organizations in order to identify and resolve technical issues and to widely communicate solutions and best practices
  • Develops innovative scientific methods, analyses, tools and frameworks to address the natural system needs
  • Engages local community support for local conservation efforts
  • Negotiates complex and innovative solutions with government agencies and landowners to conserve and protect natural communities including the use of conservation easements, fee title acquisition, and other protection tools or strategies
  • Drafts conservation easement documentation and terms, coordinates real estate acquisitions, and other duties related to land transactions.
  • Provides support for state-wide initiatives as needed.


  • Bachelor’s degree and 5-7 years’ experience in conservation practice or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Demonstrated experience influencing, developing and implementing conservation policy and plans
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in applied ecology and conservation and the region
  • Developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes
  • Knowledge of methods and standards of biodiversity information systems and initiatives
  • Ability to motivate people, including those not under direct supervision, and to set goals and lead efforts
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs
  • Managing time and diverse activities under deadlines while delivering quality results
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English
  • Demonstrated experience in grant writing.
  • Successful experience in developing, directing and managing multiple projects.
  • Successful experience in partnership development (partners, community, government, etc); political savvy.
  • Proven interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills.
  • Self-motivated, self directed and able to work with minimal supervision.


  • Diagnoses complex problems and identifies creative solutions
  • Manages and prioritizes tasks from multiple sources
  • Designs, implements, and directs complex and diverse projects, encompassing multiple programs and coordinating the work of other professionals, inside and outside the organization. Incorporates cross-disciplinary knowledge to support program objectives
  • Negotiates complex agreements, sometimes in political environments
  • Develops and implements creative ideas to improve overall performance in conservation strategies
  • Formulates, evaluates, and decides broad organizational policies and long-term programs


  • Ensures program accountability and legal compliance
  • Assesses decisions’ potential impact on colleagues’ work, public image, scientific credibility and financial and legal standings
  • Makes decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous information and accepts associated risks
  • Makes independent strategic decisions frequently based on analysis, experience and judgment
  • Makes strategic decisions based on analysis, experience and judgment.


  • Hire/manage full-time, seasonal and/or volunteer staff.
  • Responsible for developing budget, operating within guidelines, and controlling costs. Has authority to modify budget based on changing circumstances.
  • Responsible for ensuring that public and private funds are raised to meet program needs, including grant writing and working closely with Development staff.
  • Develops long-term strategies and achieves strategic goals and objectives
  • Builds cooperation from outside parties to accomplish program goals


  • Builds cooperative relationships and collaborates with diverse groups, including land owners, conservation partners, government officials, donors, board members, and the general public, to recruit support for the Conservancy and publicize Conservancy efforts
  • Commands attention, changes tactics midstream as necessary, and manages group processes during presentations or discussions
  • Ability to speak with and in front of varied audiences on scientific topics and the Conservancy’s mission
  • Ability to establish excellent working relationships with outside partners, state/local/federal agencies, land managers, private landowners and the academic community.
  • Work effectively in high-tension situations and maintain composure under pressure. Diffuses high-tension situations comfortably
  • Ability to articulate lessons learned regarding conservation initiative successes and failures
  • Ability to simplify and explain complex scientific data to general audiences


The Lower Cedar Project Director 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
  • require frequent travel domestically
  • require evening and weekend hours

How to apply:

For more information and to apply, please and search for job ID#41915 in the keyword search. Deadline to apply is March 21, 2014.The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


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