TITLE: Associate Director for Policy, Southwest Regional Program

CLASSIFICATION: Associate Director I


DEPARTMENT: Conservation

REPORTS TO: Conservation Director, Southwest Regional Program

LOCATION: Denver or a remote office within CO, NM, UT, AZ

EFFECTIVE: December 2021

APPLY FOR THIS POSITION: https://americanrivers.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=86

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 Region is shaped and distinguished by its rivers, whether rivulets sourced in Rocky Mountain snowfields or in the desert harshness where temperatures climb at the border with Mexico. The Southwest Regional Program works to protect, restore and conserve the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers and their tributaries.

Water scarcity has always dictated the rhythm of life in the Southwest.  Today, American Rivers and our partners across the West advocate for southwest rivers through community-based programs, collaborative strategies to support agriculture and municipalities, and policy and legislative opportunities. Working with Tribes, local and state partners, federal officials, scientists and the public, we create durable, creative and collaborative solutions for people, communities, agriculture, recreation and the environment across the arid southwest.

With support from the Conservation Director for the Southwest Regional Program, the Associate Director will engage on policy at the local, state and federal levels and advocate for policies that protect and restore rivers, their headwaters and public lands in the Colorado River and upper Rio Grande basins. The Associate Director will work closely with AR staff and partners to strategize, develop and advocate for policies, legislation and other mechanisms that protect and restore rivers, wetlands and their surrounding lands.  To accomplish this, the Associate Director will monitor legislation and policy at the federal and state level (in CO, NM, UT and AZ); develop and advocate for equitable river conservation policies; research and identify innovative and equitable policy solutions and opportunities to protect and restore rivers; develop and build relationships with water stakeholders, non-traditional partners and government officials, among others; conduct grassroots and grasstops outreach activities and organize engagement events. The Associate Director will work closely with the American Rivers government relations team and conservation staff across the country and engage with our communications and development teams.  


  • Work with the Conservation Director, Southwest Region Team, 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.
  • Provide research, policy analysis and strategic direction in support of equitable policy priorities for protecting rivers and riparian lands, restoring rivers, wetlands and headwater areas and other natural resource policy priorities.
  • Manage projects, contracts, contractors, interns and volunteers in order to accomplish our work.
  • Assist in the development and implementation of strategies to build support for equitable river conservation across the Southwest U.S. (including restoration activities, protection opportunities, etc.)
  • Participate in and grow 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 to achieve collaborative, equitable river conservation outcomes.
  • 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 support for river protection, restoration and associated policies.
  • Organize outreach and engagement events across the region.
  • 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’ government relations staff, colleagues in other regions and serve on relevant internal teams


  • Familiarity with the political, social and cultural dynamics of the Southwest U.S., including current issues and challenges related to water management and drought.
  • Familiarity with Southwest Water Laws and policies, funding resources, and Colorado River management frameworks.
  • 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.
  • Understanding of government policies, affairs and public administration at the state and federal level.
  • Experience working with and communicating effectively with a wide range of people with diverse experiences and viewpoints.
  • 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 Southwestern rivers and landscapes
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, including public speaking and writing.
  • Five years or equivalent experience working in policy development, community organizing or advocacy roles in the natural 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 innovative water management strategies, preferred.
  • Experience fundraising, writing grant proposals and preparing donor reports, 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 $60,000 – $75,000 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, four weeks of paid vacation, paid sabbaticals every seven years, and a 3% retirement match.

APPLY FOR THIS POSITION: https://americanrivers.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=86

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