TITLE: Senior Director, Policy and Government Relations
REPORTS TO: Senior Vice President, Conservation
LOCATION: Washington, DC


Named one of the best groups to support in 2017 by “Outside” magazine, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 355,000 members, supporters and volunteers. American Rivers maintains a positive work environment with a culture of learning, support and balance. For more information please visit www.americanrivers.org.

American Rivers embraces and celebrates 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, 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 each individual 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.


The Senior Director for Policy and Government Relations (PGR) serves in a leadership position at American Rivers.  The Senior Director is responsible for the development and implementation of short and long term legislative and policy goals in support of the organization’s strategic plan.  The Senior Director is a primary spokesperson for American Rivers among elected officials and their staff, government agencies, river activists, civic and community leaders, and other key constituencies.  The Senior Director is responsible for representing American Rivers before Congress and administrative agencies and serving as a principle liaison to other national advocacy organizations. The Senior Director is responsible for PGR division compliance with all relevant American Rivers policies and procedures; maintains accountability standards and ensures adherence with the organization’s core values, mission and strategic plan.


  • Raise the profile of American Rivers among key policy makers and constituencies.
  • Develop in consultation with the President, Senior Vice President of Conservation (SVP) and the Vice President (VP) for River Conservation Strategies overarching legislative, policy and advocacy strategies and goals that support and enhance our policy, field, and conservation practice work. This includes linking our national and regional policy advocacy and ensuring strong integration of and communications across the American Rivers’ Conservation Department.
  • Implement PGR strategy, prioritizing work to match organizational resources and working in close collaboration with SVP and VP.
  • Prepare reports and analyses as needed on PGR division performance against goals for the SVP, the President and Board committees.
  • Represent American Rivers before Congress, federal agencies and state governments on issues such as conservation finance, appropriations, water resource policy, river protection and restoration, climate adaptation, and other priority legislative and administrative initiatives.  Responsibilities include reviewing testimony, testifying before relevant committees, building relationships with Members of Congress staff, and providing comments on executive branch agency proposals.
  • Direct organizational actions in strict compliance with federal lobbying and election laws.
  • Develop and successfully manage division budget, allocating resources to match annual priorities.
  • Work with division and Advancement staff to create funding strategies for legislative priorities that provide stable, long-term funding for the organization as whole. Work with SVP and VP and other departments to integrate funding strategies and individual funding proposals at the department and organizational level.
  • Serve as a principle liaison with other national conservation groups, including the Green Group and the Partnership Project.
  • Work collaboratively with other staff to utilize Board members, donors, coalitions, networks, and other key relationships to expand funding and maximize opportunities to affect legislation and ensure the implementation of policies that protect and restore the nation’s rivers.
  • Work with SVP, VP, and policy and communications staffs to develop media and web-based strategies for specific conservation goals.
  • Supervise direct reports, work with direct reports to develop individual and division-wide work plans, and hold staff accountable for compliance with organizational policies and procedures.
  • Provide exemplary leadership within the Conservation Department and the organization as a whole, setting and upholding the highest standards of professional excellence, personnel management, organizational compliance, and personal integrity.
  • Lead division staff to work in an effective, collegial, and integrated fashion with other divisions, departments, and offices.


  • Advanced degree and at least 12 years of relevant legislation and policy experience with progressively increased responsibilities and roles or an appropriate combination of education and experience with at least 15 years of relevant experience.  Experience working on Capitol Hill, either as staffer or lobbyist, preferred.
  • Excellent personnel management skills, including the ability to inspire excellence, clearly communicate expectations, mentor staff, build and maintain morale, and recruit and retain talented staff.
  • Proven experience and a dedicated commitment to supervising and supporting staff.
  • Demonstrated ability to work on teams with diverse perspectives, values, and identities.
  • Proven ability to develop policy and legislative strategies, set priorities, delegate responsibilities, ensure accountability, and allocate resources effectively.
  • Working knowledge of federal agencies, laws, and policies dealing with use and conservation of natural resources, particularly the Clean Water Act, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other conservation laws.
  • Working knowledge of federal budget process, including preparation of administration budget request and congressional budget and appropriations processes.
  • Excellent time, budget, and organizational management skills, including demonstrated excellence in setting and achieving goals.
  • Ability to represent AR effectively before foundations, major donors and public officials.
  • Outstanding communication skills (media, written, verbal and public speaking) and the ability to effectively represent American Rivers to a diversity of audiences.
  • Team player with excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in promoting the goals and objectives of the organization.
  • Willingness to register as a lobbyist.
  • Deeply held commitment to American Rivers’ mission of protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Full-time and full-time equivalent employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time.


Applications will be considered immediately. Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter at https://americanrivers.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=37  No phone calls please.

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.