Associate Director of River Restoration

TITLE: Associate Director of River Restoration
CLASSIFICATION: Associate Director
DEPARTMENT: Conservation
WAGE CATEGORY: Full-time, Exempt
REPORTS TO: Northwest Region Director
LOCATION: Puget Sound Area, Washington, USA

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American Rivers is championing a national effort to protect and restore all rivers, from remote mountain streams to urban waterways. Healthy rivers provide people and nature with clean, abundant water and natural habitat. For 50 years, American Rivers staff, supporters, and partners have shared a common belief: Life Depends on Rivers℠.

American Rivers centers the ongoing work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all that we do. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities, and we seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that everyone brings to our work provides perspectives, experiences, and competencies which are critical to our effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.

With a 50 State Strategy and Regions across the country, American Rivers’ Northwest Region serves Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Regional programs include: riverscape restoration – dam removal and floodplain restoration; hydropower reform; and wild & scenic river and public lands protections.   


The Associate Director of River Restoration will support American Rivers’ efforts to restore riverscapes through dam removal in the Northwest Region. We are looking for candidates who can lead a coalition of land managers, State and Federal agencies, other NGOs, and Tribal Nations in Washington State to develop a dam removal pipeline for the Stillaguamish and Snohomish Basins through process-based river restoration approaches that balance ecological and social values as well as feasibility considerations. The pipeline framework will be built collaboratively with partners at the basin scale and will assist in identifying project sponsors and can also be used to advance future efforts in other Puget Sound basins and build regional capacity for identifying, prioritizing, planning, and delivering multi-benefit dam removal projects.


  • Support dam removal and river restoration efforts in the Northwest Region.
  • Co-lead with AR staff and partners development of a dam removal pipeline.
  • Effectively communicate dam removal approaches and benefits to a wide array of audiences including Tribes, scientists, community-based organizations, landowners, and the public, using a variety of mediums, including but not limited to traditional and social media, public and professional conference presentations, and potentially through published reports or papers. Represent American Rivers at conferences and other events.
  • Regularly respond to requests for assistance on dam removal and potentially other river restoration-related opportunities.
  • Fundraise in partnership with American Rivers staff for the dam removal program.
  • Be an active teammate with the American Rivers Northwest Region Team and the National River Restoration Team, engaging in team meetings, collaborating with colleagues on project ideas and approaches, working with team leaders to develop, refine, and implement effective restoration strategies, and participating in team retreats and other related activities.
  • Work will involve travel in the Puget Sound and Northwest Region for partnership meetings, site visits, etc., as well as traveling nationally for conferences, trainings, and retreats as needed.
  • Some aspects of the job description may be tailored to fit the specific skills and interests of our selected applicant and may include other duties as needed.


  • Thorough understanding of rivers and riverscape restoration, including demonstrated experience developing and/or managing river restoration projects.
  • Watershed assessment and project prioritization experience, including sociological, economic, and ecological considerations.
  • Experience with fundraising, including strong writing skills and attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated partnership building experience.
  • Knowledge of western water issues, and dam removal community of practice.
  • A team player with strong interpersonal and leadership skills, as well as the ability to work well with a diverse range of people. Experience working with multicultural communities, including engagement of Tribal nations and organizations, BIPOC, and Latino communities.
  • Strong organizational skills and demonstrated experience meeting challenging project deadlines.
  • Ability to manage budgets and project tasks.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including public speaking and the ability to effectively communicate with partners and agency representatives.
  • Demonstrated strength in critical thinking, judgment, and dependability.
  • Must show initiative, coupled with creative and strategic thinking.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in river restoration or an appropriate combination of education and relevant experience in a related field.
  • Four-year college degree in natural resources with training in hydrology, geomorphology, biology preferred. Proficiency in using Excel and ArcGIS Pro.


Anticipated salary range for this position is $62,000 to $71,000. Full-time and full-time equivalent employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, short and long-term disability plans, a retirement plan, and generous leave time.


Apply through BambooHR. Please include a Cover Letter with your submission.

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

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