TITLE: Associate Director, Southwest River Protection Program
CLASSIFICATION: Associate Director I
WAGE CATEGORY: Exempt         
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
REPORTS TO: Director, Southwest River Protection Program
LOCATION: Durango, CO. Other strategic cities in the Southwest U.S. will be considered.


American Rivers believes that a future of clean water and healthy rivers for everyone, everywhere is essential. Since 1973, we have protected wild rivers, restored damaged rivers and conserved clean water for people and nature. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., and 300,000 members, supporters and volunteers across the country, we are one of the most trusted and influential river conservation organization in the United States, delivering solutions for a better future. Because life needs rivers. For more information, please visit www.americanrivers.org.

At American Rivers, we embrace and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do. Rivers Connect Us is more than just our tagline. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities. We seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that each individual brings to our work provides perspectives and competencies which are critical to our effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.


The Southwest River Protection Program works to conserve and defend the most ecologically and culturally important, free-flowing river systems in the Southwest United States. Working with Tribes, local and state partners, federal officials, scientists and the public, we create durable, creative and collaborative river protections for people and wildlife across Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

With support from the Southwest River Protection Program Director, the Associate Director will manage and support multiple, place-based projects to protect and restore rivers and public lands in the Colorado River and upper Rio Grande basins. The Associate Director will assist in campaign strategy development and implementation, public lands policy and planning, responding to serious threats to high-value rivers, and work to build and maintain long-term coalitions and partnerships. To accomplish this, the Associate Director will conduct grassroots and grasstops outreach activities; interface with elected officials, Native American Tribes, regional water leaders, federal and state agencies, relevant stakeholders, scientists and the media; organize outreach events; manage contracts; and supervise interns, volunteers and contractors. An important member of American Rivers’ Colorado Basin team and River Protection team, the Associate Director will work with American Rivers staff across the country, participate in both our River Protection Community of Practice and Wild and Scenic Rivers Team, and engage with our communications and government relations teams.   


  • Work with the Director, American Rivers staff, Tribes, local communities, conservation partners and officials on a suite of place-based conservation initiatives supporting rivers, wildlife, and cultural and community resilience in the Colorado River and Rio Grande basins in AZ, CO, NM and UT.
  • Manage projects, contracts, contractors, interns and volunteers in order to accomlish our work.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of strategies to build broad-based support for the protection of high-value, free-flowing rivers in the Southwest U.S.
  • Assisting in creating and supporting diverse, durable coalitions and partnerships that include Native American tribes, local conservation and recreation organizations, hunters and anglers, businesses, community leaders, private landowners, agricultural producers, scientists, and local, state and federal elected leaders.
  • Lead the development of campaign outreach and communications materials including web and social media content, brochures, fact sheets, action alerts, maps and sign-on letters to build popular and political support for our river conservation efforts.
  • Organize outreach events across the region, including the annual Wild Rivers Film Tour and other creative public events.
  • Represent American Rivers at outreach events, conferences, meetings and in written communications.
  • Assist in drafting letters of intent, grant proposals and grant reports.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with American Rivers’ staff in other regions and serve on relevant teams including our Wild and Scenic Rivers Team and River Protection Community of Practice.


  • Deep familiarity with the political, social and cultural dynamics of the Southwest U.S.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with team members and partners, including Native American Tribes, local communities, conservation groups, landowners, state and federal agencies, and congressional staff.
  • Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission and core values, with demonstrated experience upholding diversity, equity, inclusion and justice values, and a strong passion for conserving rivers in the Southwest U.S.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including public speaking and writing.
  • Three years or equivalent experience working in community organizing and/or advocacy roles in the natural and/or cultural resources fields.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently, take initiative, manage projects and meet deadlines with creativity, dependability and limited direct supervision.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, and to occasionally work evenings and weekends.
  • Knowledge of natural resources and public lands policy, collaborative processes and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, preferred.
  • Experience fundraising, writing grant proposals and preparing donor reports, preferred.
  • Degree in environmental studies, natural resources, political science, conservation or related field preferred.


American Rivers offers a friendly, flexible and collaborative culture of passionate river conservationists in a creative, fast-paced environment. The salary range for this position is $50,000 – $60,000 annually depending upon qualifications and experience. Full-time employee benefits include health, dental, and life insurance; a retirement plan, training budget, sick leave, 11 paid holidays and four weeks of paid vacation.


Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume and list of three references at: https://americanrivers.bamboohr.com/jobs/

Deadline to apply is July 15, 2021. No phone calls please.

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.