Wetlands Watch is seeking a full-time Policy Program Manager or Director to help promote nature-driven climate adaptation strategies statewide and beyond. We seek an experienced and creative environmental policy professional to work on a range of issues associated with developing, influencing, and implementing policy responses to the impacts of climate change, specifically sea level rise, recurrent flooding, and increased rainfall intensity. Specifically, this position will support our efforts to protect Virginia’s wetlands laws and the no-net wetlands loss policy, in the wake of the recent US Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA. Wetlands Watch participates in climate change planning and policy at all levels of government, working locally on land use and regulatory decisions, statewide on shoreline regulations and resilience plans, and nationally on “localizing” federal programs. This position will support Wetlands Watch’s role as a leader in Virginia, working through existing partnerships convened by the Virginia Conservation Network and others.



Wetlands Watch is a statewide environmental non-profit in its 23rd year of working where land, communities, and water meet to conserve nature in a changing climate. We have 7 staff and an office in Norfolk, VA. We are one of the only conservation groups in the country working at the local government level to implement climate change adaptation measures on a community scale.

We are an innovative boundary organization that brings academic strategies, scientific findings, and policies for addressing the impacts of climate change to the decision makers at the front lines of the impacts – local government staff and community members. We also inform those upper level academic and government activities with the needs of front line decision makers. We operate in networks and develop partnerships to advance our goals and maintain a collaborative approach to problem solving.


The Policy Program Manager/Director will work closely with the Executive Director, in partnership with staff contributing to existing policy, planning, and outreach initiatives. In addition, the Policy Program Manager/Director may develop their own projects to advance the mission of the organization. The hire will work in our Norfolk office, with flexible remote work available. The individual should expect to spend significant time in Richmond and is expected to travel across the state of Virginia and within the U.S., as required. 

As part of our organization, you will:

  • Create a comprehensive policy agenda for each level of relevant government (local, regional, state, and national) that supports the mission and goals of the organization. 
  • Help lead Virginia’s climate resilience work, operating within existing partnership frameworks. 
  • Advance Wetlands Watch’s “Wetlands Migration Planning” (formerly managed retreat planning) program. 
  • Develop and lead a program to ensure the implementation of climate change and adaptation considerations in Virginia’s natural resource and land use regulations. 


Applicants must have legal and/or policy experience in the nonprofit, educational, governmental, or related sector. Applicants should have a college degree, or higher, in a field related to adaptation (environmental disciplines, policy, law, planning, engineering, landscape architecture, communication, etc.). Applicants applying for a director position should be strong fundraisers and/or grant writers with a proven track record of leading many grant supported projects. Additional areas of experience that will elevate an applicant include experience with Virginia environmental policy, local government planning and zoning, wetlands migration, shoreline management, natural resource protection, and green infrastructure. Proficiency with basic technology is expected; some experience in graphic design, data visualization, and website development would be helpful. 

The job requires the ability to operate independently in a professional atmosphere that encourages creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. The position requires the ability to plan and execute a program within the organization, and manage grants, budgets, and collaboration with other staff. The Policy Program Manager/Director will be required to travel for multiple days at a time, operating independently out of home or our Norfolk office, and have access to reliable transportation.

Our ideal candidate is:

  • Outgoing, self-motivated, and able to work independently
  • Knowledgeable about natural and nature based climate change adaptation practices
  • An analytical thinker, detail oriented, and highly organized with strong time management skills
  • Proficient in translating complicated, technical information to the general public 

This position will be designated as a Manager or Director, depending on the level of experience of our final candidate. This is a rare opportunity to develop expertise in the emerging policy/natural resource field of climate change adaptation, with freedom to innovate and excel in a supportive, collaborative organization. We work at the cutting edge of this field and want someone who can help us stay there!



  • Position has compensation in the range of $50,000-$70,000/year, expenses reimbursed, with health insurance, retirement support, and flexible time off. 
  • Mileage, travel, supplies, and normal office expenses in performance with job responsibilities will be reimbursed by Wetlands Watch with appropriate documentation. Mileage reimbursement will be at current GSA rates. Cell phone costs will be partially compensated.
  • Computer and IT needs (software, etc.) will be provided as needed and justified. 
  • Professional development is encouraged and supported financially.


This posting was released on October 18th. While the application is rolling, applicants are encouraged to apply by November 15th. Please direct questions and applications to: Mary-Carson Stiff, Executive Director, mc.stiff@wetlandswatch.org, 757-376-1364

Applications should include a cover letter clearly articulating relevant experience, resume, and brief writing sample (it can be anything!).

Website | Director’s Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube 

Wetlands Watch is an equal opportunity employer. We consider qualified applications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, marital status, disability, pregnancy, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected class. We are committed to building justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in our organization and our community of practice.