Watershed Science Director

South Yuba River Citizens League | Nevada City, CA

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Posted Date 9/06/2020

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL – pronounced circle) was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect the South Yuba River from dams. Ultimately, SYRCL won permanent protections for 39 miles of the South Yuba River under California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. People Can Save a River is SYRCL’s guiding principle. Since our founding, SYRCL has defended the Yuba River time and again. Today, SYRCL is the central hub of community activism to protect, restore, and celebrate the Yuba River watershed. With 37 years of achievements, 3,500 members and 1,000 active volunteers, SYRCL is doing great things for the Yuba watershed. SYRCL is a leader from the Sierra headwaters to the lower Yuba River for addressing statewide and regional issues – challenging new dams, recovering endangered species, addressing climate change and drought, water security, water quality, forest health, and education and engagement within our community.



SYRCL’s interdisciplinary Watershed Science team works to ensure a healthy and resilient watershed through diverse restoration, monitoring, and water quality projects. Overseeing a team of nine, the Watershed Science Director brings scientific expertise to shape our vision for a healthy Yuba River watershed. This person will develop projects with staff and partner organizations; implement program goals, strategies, and work plans; and oversee deliverables such as scientific reports and other media. A strong presence as a scientific spokesperson in the local and the scientific community, as well as experience obtaining and managing large grants will also be expected.

Current projects include meadow restoration targeted at improving hydrology, biodiversity and carbon sequestration; floodplain restoration projects targeted at improving salmonid and riparian habitat; mine remediation and monitoring for sediment and mercury; invasive species removal targeted at reducing fuel loads and impacts in riparian areas; forest health work targeted at landscape scale habitat restoration and climate resiliency; and water quality monitoring to investigate trends and issues across the Yuba watershed.

As a community-based organization, public engagement is key to our work and is used to inform our scientific priorities and on the ground management actions. The Watershed Science team contributes to policy, advocacy, legal, communications, and education work organization-wide. This position will lead scientific engagement and build relationships with researchers in academia, government, and NGOs, while staying involved with our community.



Provide vision and leadership for SYRCL’s Watershed Science Program including river, stream, forest and meadow restoration, effectiveness monitoring, and water quality data collection with the goal of protecting and restoring the Yuba River watershed.

Conduct scientific research in a relevant area of expertise and develop a long-term set of collaborations to implement research findings for the health of the watershed

Supervise and develop SYRCL’s Interdisciplinary Watershed Science Team, currently consisting of seven FTE plus two AmeriCorps members, providing direction on project timelines, goals, and objectives.

Develop and implement annual program and project goals, plans, and budgets.

Participate on the organization’s Leadership Team and help guide a positive culture for the organization.

Fundraise for a program with an annual budget of $1-$2million through identifying grant funders, writing proposals, and ensuring scientific validity of outputs.

Work collaboratively with federal, state, academic, local partners and contractors to develop and implement projects, maintaining existing relationships and fostering new ones.

Provide oversight and analysis support for data collected and report on findings through reports, peer reviewed journal publications, and presentations as appropriate.

Design and develop protocols and monitoring plans for specific projects in collaboration with staff and other scientists.

Maintain strong relationships with academic, government, and NGO scientists and researchers; attend and present at scientific meetings with an eye for interdisciplinary science that engages stakeholders.



An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a substitute for the specific education and experience listed below.

Advanced degree in an environmental, biological, ecological, or physical science, or a related field.

Experience in watershed science, restoration, fisheries, botany, ecology, geomorphology, or a related discipline.

Desire to continue in scientific research within the context of managing watersheds in collaborative partnerships.

Ability to supervise, coordinate, train, develop, evaluate and motivate program staff.

Proven experience obtaining and managing state and federally funded grant projects.

Effective leader with strategic vision and excellent judgment that combines scientific knowledge with political savvy.

Ability to build consensus, develop effective coalitions, and collaborate with diverse interests.

Ability to manage multiple, complex projects in varying stages of development under time constraints with minimal supervision.

Strong collaboration, time management, organizational, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills, and a track record of working effectively across race, gender, sexual orientation, and other social identities.

Skills and interest in developing and implementing restoration projects from conception to completion, including design, permitting, implementation, assessment, and adaptive management.

Computer skills required including proficiency with Word, Excel, and skills to become competent in R and GIS.

Possession of a properly registered and insured personal vehicle, and a valid California Driver’s License.



Work Environment:

Ability to perform under general office working conditions and variable outdoor working conditions.

The position requires regular travel within the watershed and often to Sacramento.

Requires working some nights and weekends.


Physical Requirements:

Able to work on a computer including sitting at a desk for extended periods, reading on a computer screen, and manual dexterity to operate a keyboard.

Able to speak clearly on the phone and in person and be understood by others.

Able to hike long distances over variable terrain.

Able to occasionally lift objects weighing up to 40 pounds.



Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Preference will be given to applications received by September 27. We recognize this is a challenging time for hiring, both for the organization and candidate due to COVID-19. First contact will be a phone screen interview; finalists will be invited to video call panel interview. Anticipated start date will be December 1, 2020. Applicants will be expected to provide two to three writing samples and participate in a timed writing exercise.



Salary and benefits are competitive with other Northern California non-profit conservation organizations; salary is commensurate with experience plus paid time off (PTO) and 100% individual health insurance benefits.



This position is open until filled and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Submit your cover letter and resume electronically at https://syrcl.bamboohr.com/jobs/. No phone calls, please


Job Category
Local Government
Career Level

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