Healthy Rivers Program Manager

Posted 7 months ago

POSITION TITLE: Healthy Rivers Program Manager
REPORTS TO: Colorado Basin Program Director
LOCATION: A Colorado River Basin state (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY). Position will be based out of your home office.

Salary and Term: $55,000 to $70,000/year for a Full Time / 1 FTE (40 hours/week), exempt position with comprehensive benefits including: medical, dental, and vision health insurance; 403b retirement savings plan; vacation and well-being leave; employee assistance program; life insurance; technology stipend; and paid holidays. Support for this grant-funded position is secured through May 2024. Beyond that date, the position is contingent upon securing additional funding.

POSITION SUMMARY: River Network, a nationally focused nonprofit organization (approximately 20 staff working across the country, a $3M annual operating budget, and 30+ year track record) seeks an individual to support its efforts in the Colorado River Basin to improve the practice of river conservation planning and advance our efforts to increase adoption of Integrated Floodplain Management practices.

The Healthy Rivers Program Manager will help advance the health of western rivers at several scales: by providing watershed science support to local coalitions as they assess and plan for their rivers; by hosting trainings and field days for statewide peer learning networks; by advancing the practice of integrated floodplain management within the wider Colorado River Basin; and by sharing knowledge and experience with River Network’s national network.

The position will have (or build) effective professional relationships with a diverse array of watershed coalitions, resource management agencies, floodplain managers and watershed scientists, and will leverage those relationships to engage and increase the capacity of regional and local partners in river and floodplain planning.

ABOUT RIVER NETWORK: River Network envisions a future of clean and ample water for people and nature, where local caretakers are well-equipped, effective and courageous champions for our rivers. River Network’s mission is to empower and unite people and communities to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain all life. Visit to learn more about our current priorities. Our headquarters are in Boulder, Colorado and we have staff located in communities across the U.S. We are committed to embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in all areas to achieve our mission – explore our core values and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, our explanation for why equity, diversity an inclusion are the foundation of our mission, and our principles for equitable and inclusive work. Through our programs, we seek to connect with all communities and increase the impact of their efforts to secure clean and ample water. Through our internal practices and external leadership, we seek an inclusive workplace culture that attracts and retains diverse staff, board, members, and supporters. Find information about our financials here (annual reports, financial statement, 990).


Watershed Science Training and Technical Support

  • Provide science support to river health collaboratives, initially in Colorado’s Yampa River and Douglas County areas, with expansion into new rivers in the Colorado River Basin over time. Mayinclude managing and conducting river health assessments, overseeing contractors and volunteers, and analyzing and reporting river health data to lay audiences using GIS, story maps, data visualization tools, etc.
  • Participate in designing and hosting learning opportunities (webinars, field trips, etc.) for the Colorado Stream Management Plan Peer Learning Network on topics related to river health assessments, establishing environmental flows, conservation priority setting, and other relevant topics.
  • Support statewide efforts to improve the quantity and quality of Stream Management Plans (SMPs) in Colorado by working with state agencies and NGO partners to develop and share best practices, prioritize locations for new SMPs and contribute to the widespread adoption of recommended tools and methodologies for river health assessments and environmental flows.
  • Identify opportunities to replicate River Network’s success in watershed planning capacity building beyond the state of Colorado.

Integrated Floodplain Management Program Design and Development

  • Design and lead the development of new programmatic work that provides training and capacity building support to watershed organizations, local government land use and hazard mitigation planners to advance wide-scale adoption of integrated floodplain management (IFM) in the CO River Basin. The goal of this new work will be to advocate for and support community initiatives to take river freedom space into consideration by adopting best practices in community land use planning. This will likely entail:
    • Utilizing previously conducted research (available upon request) as well as additional research and interviews with practitioners across the western US to define the barriers and practical interventions needed to better implement river “freedom space” practices in local land use planning;
    • Acting as an advocate for IFM as a proven strategy for river resiliency through media stories, active participation in professional associations and cultivation of opportunities to address target audiences such as land use planners, floodplain managers and watershed coalitions;
    • Developing tools, resources and trainings that will help communities adopt IFM practices into their policies that will reduce future degradation to the river corridor and floodplains;
    • Building partnerships to pilot the provision of technical and capacity building support to a few locations identified as ripe opportunities to test and refine our approach and utilize that experience to design a capacity building program that can be scaled up.
  • With River Network philanthropy staff, proactively seek out and develop new opportunities to fund watershed and floodplain capacity-building and collaboration.
  • Coordinate with our staff working on Resilient Communities to understand and identify opportunities for program integration.

Outreach and Communications

  • Write content for newsletters, websites, blogs and training sessions in collaboration with River Network’s Marketing and Communications Manager.
  • Attend and present at agricultural, river science, land use planning and watershed management events and conferences.
  • Support River Network’s efforts through national trainings, our on-line community and River Rally to widely share the tools and practices successfully deployed in the Colorado River Basin.


  • Demonstrated ability to work independently (i.e., managing a complex work load by defining and tracking both your own tasks and the contributions of others; comfort with remote work culture; adept at balancing being self-directed and contributing to a team).
  • History of working in, preferably building or leading, collaborative conservation efforts among diverse stakeholders, including watershed restoration planning, land conservation planning, hazard mitigation planning, etc.
  • Knowledgeable about concepts related to river health assessments, stream form and function, and floodplain management in mountain and/or desert environments.
  • Experience developing scientific/technical content and presentations for a lay audience to communicate concepts of ecosystem function and restoration activities.
  • Commitment to River Network’s vision and mission, and to our core values of strength, mutual respect, integrity, balance, growth and inclusion.
  • Excitement to travel to project sites in Colorado (average 2-3 days/month), other Western states (average 2-3 times per year); and attend the annual River Rally conference and 1-2 staff retreats/yr. This position may be required to travel up to 15% of the time, including overnight and day trips. Must have valid driver’s license and personal vehicle (all travel is reimbursed).
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent education and at least 5 years professional work experience in a relevant field (e.g., floodplain management, watershed science)
  • Must have knowledge of Microsoft Office, specifically Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Google Suite, specifically Google Documents, Sheets and Slides.


  • History of working with local government land use planners and familiarity with floodplain policies, rules and regulations and federal funding mechanisms.
  • Experience designing and implementing trainings or field workshops.
  • Experience managing contractors and/or volunteers.
  • Familiarity with GIS, data visualization and statistical software packages.
  • Demonstrated history of successful grant writing.
  • Familiarity with and understanding of the issues at the intersection of water and equity.

TO APPLY: Send your resume and cover letter as one combined document to by or before February 25, 2022 with the Program Manager position as the subject. References, work samples, simulations, and questions will be part of the selection process. No phone calls please. The successful applicant must also meet the requirements of River Network’s background screening process. Consistent with our values and our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion as stated above, River Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all employees.

Job Features


$55,000 to $70,000

Apply directly via the instructions above.

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