Conservation Director


The McKenzie River Trust seeks candidates for a full time Conservation Director staff position. The Conservation Director leads the development and implementation of McKenzie River Trusts Conservation Plan. This including oversight of all aspects of the Trust’s land protection and land stewardship programs. The Conservation Director supervises conservation staff members and works closely with the Executive Director and other members of the management team to integrate conservation objectives in the Trust’s outreach, fundraising, and organization work-plans. The Conservation Director represents the Trust in collaborative partnership that further land, water, and community conservation efforts throughout western Oregon. The successful candidate for this position will be one who brings a deep commitment to land and water conservation, a supportive approach to team leadership, and a strategic mind for collaborative community efforts. 

You can download the full position description by clicking the button below, or read further for full details. 

Position Title: Conservation Director

Reports to: Executive Director

Status: Full-time, exempt

Compensation: Annual Salary $70,000 – $90,000 DOE

Benefits: SIMPLE IRA plan with up to 3% matching employer contribution, employer paid medical and dental, 10 paid holidays, 10 vacation days (first year, increasing annually)

Organizational Background:

Since 1989, the McKenzie River Trust (MRT) has helped people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon. From the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, MRT envisions a future in which conservation lands are at the core of community efforts to sustain clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and diverse natural resource economies. We work at the intersection of ecological systems and human community needs to ensure the health of both in the face of changes in climate and land use. MRT protects over 7,000 acres of land through purchase and conservation easement. Grounded in science, we work collaboratively to heal, restore, and enhance regionally important natural systems, and connect people to places they care about. MRT is based in Eugene, and in 2021 we will open our first field office on the central Oregon coast.

Key Responsibilities:

Land and Water Conservation

  • Work with Executive Director, Lands Committee, and Board of Directors to set the strategic direction and conservation priorities that position McKenzie River Trust as a trusted, relevant conservation partner in the region.
  • Oversee the development of annual conservation workplans that build upon the objectives and goals of the Trust’s strategic framework, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ), and climate plans.
  • Help develop innovative solutions to land, water, and other community resource challenges.
  • Steer organizational resources for land acquisition, stewardship, and disposition.
  • Support team assessments of new projects for their conservation value, stewardship, and funding needs.
  • Ensure the integration of McKenzie River Trust’s conservation efforts by coordinating plans, activities, budget and resource needs with organization-wide capacities and functions.
  • Oversee the refinement, implementation, and maintenance of the record keeping system for transactions in compliance with Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices and McKenzie River Trust policies.
  • Ensure conservation program accountability and compliance with internal policies and procedures and with external (donor/legal) requirements.

Leadership and Staff Management

  • Serve as a member of the Trust’s management team and helps grow and guide the organization.
  • Directly supervise the Stewardship Manager, Land Protection Manager, Restoration Projects Manager, Volunteer Programs Manager and Land Steward. Support their growth and shared leadership.
  • Establish an environment that embraces Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice initiatives and promote safe and healthy working conditions.
  • Encourage and sustain an environment of commitment, cooperation, open communication, trust, and professionalism.
  • Support board members and other volunteers’ orientation, leadership growth and engagement.

 External Relations

  • Establish and maintain effective external relationships with government, business, tribal and non-profit leadership to achieve large scale conservation outcomes across the region. 
  • Participate in collaborative conservation efforts with regional partners including watershed councils, soil and water conservation districts, state and federal agencies, universities, and others.

Fund Development

  • Support the Executive Director and Philanthropy staff in securing private funding for conservation and organization-wide initiatives, including grant preparation, private donor cultivation, events, and tours.
  • Recruit new land and financial donations for conservation operations.
  • Identify and help prepare grants for conservation projects and programs.

Budget and Finance

  • Coordinate with the management team to develop annual budget elements.
  • Monitor and manage costs to annual budget.


  • Extensive professional experience in conservation, including land and water acquisition, habitat restoration, property stewardship, and landscape scale planning.
  • Demonstrated supervisory experience in motivating, leading, setting priorities, and managing performance of a multidisciplinary staff.
  • Successful experience developing meaningful partnerships with a wide variety of governmental and nongovernmental organizations to accomplish tangible and lasting results at all scales of conservation.
  • Proven ability to manage multiple projects and develop creative solutions to complex
    conservation challenges.
  • Demonstrated ability to fundraise for land acquisition and operations from foundations and private individuals.
  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in conservation science, natural resource management, landscape architecture, law, non-profit management, or related fields. Advanced degree preferred.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in conservation.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

The Director of Conservation will work from the McKenzie River Trust office in Eugene and from the field throughout our service area in western Oregon. Some tasks may require significant physical exertion, being outdoors in all weather conditions and on difficult and sometimes hazardous terrain.  A valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and good driving record is expected.  Some weekend and/or evening work will be necessary.  Work is often fast-paced, demanding of time, and requiring attention to multiple projects with deadlines. 

We have a commitment to cultivating an inclusive work environment and provide equal opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, color, age, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic disposition, neurodiversity, disability, veteran status or any other protected category under federal, state and local law. In accordance with the American with Disabilities Act, it is possible that requirements may be modified to reasonably accommodate disabled individuals. However, no accommodations will be made which may pose serious health or safety risks to the employee or others or which impose undue hardships on the organization. The McKenzie Trust maintains its status as an at-will employer.  

On Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice:

Having invested in staff training in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ) for several years, we are currently crafting a DEIJ commitment statement and plan. For over 30 years, the McKenzie River Trust (MRT) has pursued our mission by focusing on habitat diversity and health, river dynamism, and wild landscapes. But we need to more explicitly acknowledge that people and communities have been and continue to be part of these ecosystems, and that the helping people part of our mission compels us to ensure that our work benefits and engages all people, not just some. Bringing DEIJ values to bear in our work will support us in maintaining the landscape-scale vision required to address climate resilience and community resilience as we work to maintain the ecological integrity of western Oregon’s landscapes. We have work to do. We encourage all candidates, particularly those with diverse backgrounds in culture, education, and professional experience, to apply for this position.