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Conservation Program Manager

For Vermont River Conservancy

About Vermont River Conservancy (VRC)

Vermont River Conservancy is a vibrant and growing team of staff, board members, volunteers, and donors, all working together to protect special lands along Vermont’s waterways. Back in 1995, central Vermont volunteers founded VRC when they saw that more and more “no trespassing signs” were cutting communities off from their beloved rivers. Addressing this challenge head-on, VRC protects public access to popular swimming holes, fishing and boating accesses, gorges, and waterfalls, ultimately improving the lives of people who rely on Vermont rivers for recreation, hunting, and angling. Today, with more than a quarter century of experience protecting Vermont rivers, VRC continues its commitment to public access work while adding new conservation programs to address climate change by conserving and restoring  floodplains and river corridors, and working with community leaders statewide to re envision individual towns’ and cities’ relationship to local rivers.

Summary of Position

The Conservation Program Manager will be integral to securing future protections for lands along Vermont’s waterways. They will initiate and manage conversations with communities, landowners, partners,  state agency staff and conservation donors, and will have primary responsibility  implementing land  conservation methods to secure new land protections at a watershed scale – from headwaters to river corridors to village and town riverfronts. The work includes statewide travel and  time in the field as well as the possibility of overseeing seasonal support staff and/or volunteers to achieve program goals. This is a “people person” role for someone who’s excited to be part of VRC’s dynamic staff and eager to build relationships with landowners and partners, yet also has high attention to detail to ensure timely project completion and high quality documentation. The ideal candidate will have experience with land trust tools such as conservation easements, baseline documentation, site assessment, and  GIS – although VRC recognizes that many qualified candidates may not have prior experience with all the skills, qualifications, and abilities included below. Candidates who feel they would thrive at VRC and who meet some portion of the criteria below are welcomed and encouraged to apply.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

The Conservation Program Manager helps ensure the success of completed  and developing  conservation projects across Vermont with primary responsibility for two VRC Programs:  1) Conservation Easement Stewardship and Monitoring and 2) River Corridor Easement Design and Implementation.

Easement Monitoring
● Become familiar with VRC easement language and procedures. Review memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with partnering state agencies, and draft and submit annual reports to partners in compliance with MOUs.
● Maintain VRC conservation data including maintenance of Landscape database, updating GIS data as needed, and maintaining easement stewardship files.
● Recruit, train, and manage seasonal field interns and/or volunteers to meet stewardship and monitoring goals.
● Serve as a primary contact with landowners to assess and manage landowner requests or questions, develop interim and final management plans - where required by easement, and annually review management plans for compliance.
● Schedule annual site visits and ensure all site conditions, updated maps, and photographs are recorded in VRC stewardship files and database. Record any potential easement violations, discuss appropriate response(s) with Executive Director, and respond to violations if and when necessary.

Conservation Protections via Land and Easement Acquisitions
● For VRC’s flagship River Corridor Easement Program, support development and implementation of multi-year strategy, goals, and geographic priorities in close coordination with VRC Executive Director and other staff.
● Review mapping, river corridor plans, and tactical basin plans to identify prospective projects.
● Connect with state agency officials, partner organizations, community leaders, and landowners to gain leads on specific project sites and to determine project feasibility.
● Develop objectives, timelines, action plans, and detailed budgets to implement priority projects. This may include multiple site visits and landowner conversations; documentation via project overviews, draft easements, photographs, and baseline assessments; coordination with legal and surveying consultants; invoice coordination; manage final document signing and recording.
● Regularly connect with state agencies and other funders throughout project implementation including possible site visits, documentation and compliance with funding requirements.
● Oversee completion of baseline documentation reports (BDR) for all new acquisitions, ensuring BDRs comply with industry standards and best practices, and that documentation is recorded with VRC and appropriate parties.

Additional Program Support
● Use geographic information systems (GIS) software to meet VRC program and development needs, leveraging mapping to shape VRC strategies and priorities, document individual projects, and to illustrate VRC’s vision and impact to funders and partners.
● In coordination with Executive Director and Development Director, build relationships with current and potential state, private, and federal funders, including participation in funder meetings, researching emerging funding opportunities, drafting grant proposals and reports, and timely completion of grant deliverables.
● Report project budgets to Deputy Director and review with Deputy Director on a quarterly basis.
● Throughout each project, share photos, maps, and stories with VRC staff that can be used for website, social media, email, and other communications. In close coordination with VRC staff, draft press releases and serve as a liaison to media as needed.

Qualifications / Abilities
● Commitment to the mission of VRC.
● Ability to represent VRC in a clear and professional manner through excellent written and verbal communication.
● Deep intuition and perception to understand and respond to landowners’ interests and needs in ways that foster strong relationships and create connection to VRC’s goals.
● Working facility with GIS software and familiarity with Landscape database.
● Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, particularly as it relates to land conservation and access.
● Ability to work independently and potentially remotely while still functioning as an integral member of a strong team.
● Ability to set priorities while managing a variety of tasks and deadlines.
● Strong attention to detail to ensure accurate documentation.
● Experience creating and tracking project budgets with multiple funding sources and multiple contractors.
● Experience in managing governmental grant programs.
● 2-3 years experience in management level position.
● Master’s degree or equivalent experience in a related field.

Vermont River Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of candidates in this search. For more information about Vermont River Conservancy, visit www.vermontriverconservancy.org.

Feb 18, 2022
Mar 07, 2022
The position may be located anywhere in Vermont. Statewide travel will be required. Presence at VRC’s main office in Montpelier as necessary (average one day per week).
$58,000 - $62,000 (depending on experience)
To Apply: Please send a cover letter and resume in .pdf format to Shannon Knowles: shannon@vermontriverconservancy.org with subject line: “Application for Conservation Program Manager.” The position is open until filled. Vermont River Conservancy will beg