The National Wildlife Refuge Association is hiring!

Do you have land management, wildlife or ecology experience? Are you interested in working with the National Wildlife Refuge Association? Check this out! 

Position Description

Beyond the Boundaries – Program Manager – Western US


The National Wildlife Refuge Association is a non-government organization dedicated to supporting strong funding, good policy, broad public engagement and innovative conservation programs to advance the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and specifically the National Wildlife Refuge System.


NWRA’s Beyond the Boundaries program is a place-based program that seeks to position national wildlife refuges as catalysts and leaders in achieving collaborative landscape-scale conservation objectives on the ground.  This involves working closely with Refuge staff, local landowners, local communities, conservation groups, and other public agencies, in an effort to find common interests and leverage multiple programs for maximum conservation impact.


In the Western US, NWRA is currently working in three major focus areas:

  1. The Greater Hart-Sheldon region of Southeastern Oregon and Northern Nevada.  Anchored by two large refuges, Hart Mountain Antelope Range and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, this region is critically important to sage-obligate species, and especially breeding populations of greater sage-grouse.  NWRA is working with public agencies, a coalition of NGO partners, and will be reaching out to private landowners and communities to help form a multi-faceted conservation vision for a 3 million-acre in-tact landscape.
  2. Rangewide Greater Sage-Grouse Solutions: NWRA is working with the Service on conservation strategies both on refuges and beyond refuge boundaries to help prevent a listing of the greater sage-grouse, which may include specific projects and outreach in Wyoming.
  3. The Bear River Watershed of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.  Here, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently established a new Bear River Watershed Conservation Area, where the Service may purchase conservation easements outside of current refuge boundaries.  The new Conservation Area offers a framework for coordinating many partners and programs in this important watershed.


Position Description

The Program Manager-Western US will work as part of a small conservation programs team that is collaborative, action-oriented, and results-driven.  This is a position for a seasoned individual who has worked on complex land conservation and community-based conservation efforts in the past, experience working with federal and state agencies, and understands the balance between building genuine trust and solid relationships while also moving a conservation initiative forward.


The Program Manager will be the primary implementer of NWRA’s western-based collaborative conservation programs.  The position reports to the Vice President for Conservation, and the Program Manager will work with the Vice President for Conservation to set quarterly work plans that advance the objectives of an annual work plan. 

Position Location

This is a remote or field-based position to be located in the Western US.  There is flexibility in location and office configuration, however the Program Manager must be located within close distance of a major airport and must be willing and able to travel. 



Major Areas of Responsibility


Program Management and Coordination:

1. Greater Hart-Sheldon Initiative:  NWRA is working with federal agencies, local and regional NGOs and private landowners to advance a collaborative conservation plan.  The Program Manager will serve as the primary coordinator for this initiative, will help develop and implement a communications plan, will coordinate activities among the partner groups, and may manage subcontractors. (65% time)


2. Rangewide Sage-Grouse Solutions: NWRA is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify key sage-grouse habitat areas where the Service can play a significant role in supporting the species and avoiding an endangered species listing.  Project development is underway in Wyoming and Nevada. (20% time)


3. Bear River Watershed Conservation Area: The Program Manager will work with other NWRA staff to help create the framework for a long-term working partnership to implement the Bear River Watershed vision. (10% time)


Program Support and Administration:

The Program Manager will contribute reports, blogs and written blurbs for NWRA communications, grant proposals, fundraising efforts as needed and appropriate.  Program Manager will also help identify and develop new program areas over time. (5% time)



Specific Job Responsibilities


Overall, the program manager will be expected to:

-          Build and maintain good working relationships with USFWS staff, including at the local level with refuge staff, Partners program staff, and other program staff as relevant (such as joint ventures, LCCs, etc); build and maintain good relationships with regional refuge system staff.

-          Build good working relationships with agency partner staff at the local, state and regional levels as applicable (NRCS, BLM, DOD, state agencies),

-          Build good working relationships with NGO partners, local landowners and community members.

-          Participate in existing local coalitions and provide guidance on making these groups more effective and inclusive.


  1. Greater Hart-Sheldon Initiative

In 2013, 2014, and 2015 the majority of the Program Manager’s time will be dedicated to developing and advancing this effort to create a new Collaborative Conservation Area that uses many tools to balance habitat protection, working lands and multiple recreational uses.  Responsibilities include:

-          Building relationships with US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other federal and state agency local and regional staff and facilitating communication and coordination around common interests;

-          Coordinating the activities of the Greater Hart-Sheldon Coalition, a small group of grant-funded NGOs that includes the Oregon Natural Desert Association, Friends of Nevada Wilderness and NWRA.  The program manager will manage the Coalition’s activities, including arranging monthly conference calls and quarterly meetings, coordinating partner roles and action items, serving a local outreach role in the involved communities and ensuring that feedback is incorporated in the Coalition’s efforts, helping to develop and implement strategic communications and campaign plans, and providing program support for the coalition as needed.

-          Working with NWRA colleagues and close partners such as Partners for Conservation to deepen relationships with local landowners and engage landowners and managers in the conservation area planning process

-          Identify and advance on-the-ground collaborative projects that can help bring stakeholders together, build trust, and accomplish conservation goals.

-          Prepare briefing materials and communications for use at state, regional and national agency and political levels


  1. Rangewide Sage-Grouse Conservation Solutions

Under supervision of VP, work in close cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leadership and local staff to identify actions that might be taken in primary sage-grouse habitat to help secure populations and reduce the likelihood of an endangered species listing.  This will include:

-          Identify conservation strategies in Wyoming where the Service/National Wildlife Refuges might play a catalytic role through either collaborative projects with private landowners or interagency cooperation

-          Overall, build good communications and partnership with both public agency and private landowner partners, and in some instances likely corporate and industrial interests.


  1. Bear River Watershed

-          Help the FWS to establish steering committees and working groups to help create systematic coordination among public agencies and NGO partners, with the goal of clearly communicating/coordinating opportunities, priorities, and collaborative projects in this newly created Conservation Area. Agencies will include NRCS, US Forest Service, BLM, state wildlife agencies in 3 states, state agricultural agencies in 3 states.

-          Work with the FWS to identify and advance conservation easement acquisitions, donations, or habitat improvement projects in high-priority habitat areas

-          Support NWRA advocacy to secure public funding for conservation easement acquisitions and support philanthropic fundraising for NWRA efforts.




  • 6+ years of experience in project management and leadership in multi-stakeholder collaborative conservation context
  • Academic credentials and/or work experience in ecology, wildlife and land management, conflict resolution or human dimensions – familiarity with sage-steppe ecosystems and issues a plus
  • Experience, understanding and credibility working with public agencies with a preference for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Familiarity with public lands issues and fluency with federal conservation programs across multiple agencies
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Excellent organizational and leadership skills
  • Self-reliant with ability to exercise sound judgment and decision-making in a changing environment



Characteristics of a Successful Candidate

  • Comfort and credibility serving as a bridge between diverse conservation interests, public agencies, private landowners, and NGOs across the full political spectrum
  • Excellent listener
  • Ability to be part of a collaborative team while working across a dispersed geography
  • Political sophistication and ability to convey credibility and confidence
  • Poise, presence and good judgment
  • Results oriented, comfortable moving a project and process from beginning through middle to end



Salary range $75-85,000 plus a full health and benefits package


To Apply

Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2013


The application package should include a concise resume of experience with emphasis on demonstrating evidence that the candidate meets both the required qualifications and characteristics of a successful candidate listed in this position announcement.


Please submit applications (in pdf form if possible) by email to Anne Truslow at [email protected]


The National Wildlife Refuge Association is an equal opportunity employer

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