Water Quality Monitoring Program Manager – Rivanna Conservation Alliance (Charlottesville, VA)
November 3, 2021
The Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide the community with a set of tools and programs specifically designed to help clean and protect the Rivanna River and its tributaries. Our Vision: A healthy Rivanna River and watershed that benefit an engaged community. Our Mission: Working with the community to conserve the Rivanna River and its tributaries through water quality monitoring, restoration, education, and advocacy.
RCA is dedicated to using sound scientific methods to monitor and report on the health of the Rivanna River Watershed and is a regional leader in community science. RCA’s volunteer-based biological and bacterial monitoring programs are certified by Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) at the highest level (Level III). RCA’s data are used side-by-side with VADEQ’s data to support official water quality tracking and decision-making at all levels of government.
RCA works with and is supported by a strong network of partners, including local governments, resource management agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Additionally, RCA works with scientific experts through its Science Advisory Committee, who advise the monitoring program and support special projects. RCA’s monitoring work is integrated into its education, conservation, and restoration programs, and RCA’s staff members frequently collaborate and work closely as a team.
The Monitoring Program Manager oversees RCA’s water quality monitoring efforts and manages and supervises the activities of more than 100 dedicated volunteers. The Program Manager is responsible for:
- Overseeing and participating in the collection, management, and quality assurance of biological, bacterial, and physio-chemical water quality data;
- Submitting and reporting collected data to agencies, local partners, and the public through written reports, presentations, and database uploads;
- Recruiting, training, and working with volunteer community scientists;
- Working with the Executive Director to strategically lead the Monitoring Program, including helping secure program funding, writing grant proposals and reports, planning program activities, and developing program budgets; and
- Coordinating with partners, RCA staff, and the Science Advisory Committee on special projects, outreach and education activities, and other RCA priorities and major events.
Data collection and reporting:
- Implement data collection and management efforts in the field, lab, and office for RCA’s biological, bacterial, and physio-chemical monitoring programs.
- Submit annual benthic data directly to VADEQ and upload annual bacteria data to the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative’s Data Explorer webpage.
- Share water quality information and monitoring results with partners, community groups, and other stakeholders through written, verbal, and online communications.
- Oversee development and assist in the writing of the annual Stream Health report and other technical reports as needed.
- Ensure quality control of all benthic and bacteria data to maintain Level III status with the VADEQ.
- Update and develop Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) as needed.
- Work with database consultant to develop and maintain the Access benthic database.
- Recruit new volunteer water quality monitors.
- Train, certify, and recertify volunteers in Level III techniques through workshops, supervised field monitoring experiences, and competency evaluations.
- Maintain positive working relationships with volunteers of different backgrounds and ages. Organize continuing education activities and appreciation events to promote volunteer rapport and retention.
Program planning and development:
- Work with RCA’s Executive Director on Monitoring Program planning, strategizing, and fundraising.
- Under supervision of Executive Director (as needed), write monitoring grant proposals and create program budgets.
- Write grant reports and updates for funders.
Outreach, education, and special projects support:
- Participate in meetings with partners and make public presentations about the program.
- Coordinate RCA’s Science Advisory Committee (SAC) to solicit technical guidance and support for RCA’s monitoring efforts and special projects.
- Coordinate and help carry out targeted monitoring efforts and special projects, including RCA’s 2021-2022 fish passage road-stream crossings assessments project.
- Support RCA’s education, restoration, and conservation programs, where monitoring is integrated into or informs the work.
Additional Monitoring Program activities oversight and support (tasks to be carried out primarily by other RCA staff, interns, and volunteers):
- Schedule and coordinate volunteer activities.
- Track and enter volunteer hours into database.
- Organize and maintain lab and field equipment.
- Communicate about the program through newsletters, social media, and other communication pathways.
- Share information about the program through tabling and other public events.
- Support the program through other tasks as needed.
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE REQUIREMENTS
- A science background is required. B.S. degree in environmental science, biology, chemistry, ecology, or related field and a minimum of 3 years of relevant work experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience, is required. M.S. degree is a plus.
- Knowledge of or willingness to be trained in aquatic macroinvertebrate identification.
- Knowledge of or willingness to be trained in bacteria (E. coli) sampling techniques.
- Basic knowledge of water quality issues.
- Experience with Microsoft Office suite. GIS experience is a plus.
- Experience working in a nonprofit setting and/or as part of a team is a plus.
- Experience managing and/or motivating volunteers is a plus.
- Ability to use personal vehicle to drive to sampling locations with field equipment is required. Mileage will be reimbursed at federal mileage rate.
DESIRED PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS
- Ability to develop and maintain rapport and effective working relationships with volunteers, staff, community partners, and the public.
- Ability to communicate effectively orally and through writing.
- Ability to work independently and schedule time in an efficient manner.
- Willingness to work hard, maintain motivation and focus, and be flexible and creative to complete tasks and projects even when challenges arise.
- Willingness to be a team player and pitch in to support other RCA staff and needs where possible.
The nature of this position requires, on occasion, travel to remote locations where access may involve walking through brushy areas, clambering on stream banks, and walking on slippery rock surfaces. The ability to sit, stand, walk, reach with hands and arms, carry monitoring equipment, stoop, climb, and crouch in outdoor settings is required. Ability to withstand outdoor discomforts, including inclement weather is required.