TITLE:  Science Program Director


DEPARTMENT:  Conservation           


REPORTS TO: Vice President for Conservation Strategies

LOCATION:  Washington, DC. Candidates wishing to be based elsewhere may be considered under exceptional circumstances.


Named one of the best groups to support by “Outside” magazine, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® and National River Cleanup® campaigns. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 350,000 members, supporters and volunteers. American Rivers maintains a positive work environment with a culture of learning, support and balance. For more information please visit www.americanrivers.org.

At American Rivers, “rivers connect us” is more than just our tagline. Rivers connect all people, refreshing our bodies, renewing our spirits, bringing life-giving water, economic opportunity and recreation to our communities. And rivers do so with no regard to race, ethnicity, social and economic status, where we worship, or who we love. We owe it to the rivers we love and the people we serve to act in this same spirit; to foster diversity, equity and inclusion and justice in all that we do. To that end, we will build a robust, powerful and diverse movement for the conservation of rivers and water resources that is truly representative of the communities across the country. We will honor the values and needs of those communities most impacted by environmental inequities and injustices. And we will strive for an organizational culture in which people of all identities — particularly those who traditionally have not been included — feel valued and have the power to influence change.


The Science Program’s mission is to ensure that American Rivers’ conservation work is guided and informed by current scientific understanding and to recognize and undertake opportunities for American Rivers to engage as a leader in river conservation science externally.

A key facet of this role is to ensure that American Rivers’ work is guided by clearly articulated and measurable conservation goals and that progress towards achieving those goals is tracked, interpreted and shared. In addition, the Director of the Science Program is responsible for leading the effort to ensure that climate science informs all our river conservation work as outlined in the 2020-2024 organizational Strategic Plan.


  • Provide advanced and highly specialized scientific expertise and serve as a resource and scientific adviser to American Rivers staff.
  • Oversee data collection, visualization, and interpretation to track the conservation impact of the organization.
  • Engage deeply with Conservation staff on projects requiring scientific expertise.
  • Work with Conservation leadership and staff to ensure that climate science informs all American Rivers’ work and that the organization is engaging in relevant and critical climate adaptation and mitigation work.
  • Review and synthesize literature for application to conservation.
  • Provide support for federal policy efforts.
  • Oversee and engage American Rivers’ Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC)
  • Convene experts and mobilize broader scientist network, as needed, to increase knowledge and advance organizational goals.
  • Represent American Rivers at scientific conferences and other forums, as needed.
  • Serve as a member of the Conservation Strategies Group leadership team.


  • Advanced degree in environmental science, ecology or related field and five or more years of relevant experience in academia, conservation, natural resources management, etc.
  • General understanding of subject areas relevant to river conservation (e.g., aquatic ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, fisheries biology, climate change, and related topics).
  • Aptitude for learning and willingness to familiarize yourself with and synthesize scientific findings outside of your primary area of expertise.
  • Interest in promoting science-based decision-making.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including the ability to translate science for non-scientist audiences.
  • Demonstrated ability and interest in sharing applied river science successes broadly through social media and engaging in relevant networks and conferences.
  • Demonstrated excellence in leadership, strategic and critical thinking, time management, sound judgment, and dependability.
  • Ability to work both independently (with minimal direct supervision) and collaboratively to advance the organization’s goals.
  • Personal commitment to American Rivers’ mission.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Experience writing grant proposals and other fundraising activities is desirable.
  • Experience tracking, interpreting and sharing conservation metrics and progress towards achieving conservation goals. 


The salary range for this position is $63,000- $73,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience. Full-time employee benefits include health, dental and life insurance, a retirement plan, and generous leave time.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter at https://americanrivers.bamboohr.com/jobs

No phone calls please.

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply