We're Hiring a Director of Protection

Join our team as the Director of Protection

The McKenzie River Trust (MRT), an Accredited Land Trust based in Eugene, Oregon, seeks an experienced, passionate conservation professional to lead its land and water protection efforts in western Oregon.


To Apply:

Please prepare a resume and cover letter describing your interest addressed to Joe Moll, Executive Director. Send your letter and resume, combined into one PDF no longer than 3 pages total, via email to jobs@mckenzieriver.org with Director of Protection in the subject line of your email. 

Please note: Applicants’ materials are redacted for personal information during the initial review to reduce the potential of bias by hiring managers. Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of a background check. McKenzie River Trust is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. For more information about us, please visit mckenzieriver.org

Hiring Timeline and Process:

The position will remain open until filled. MRT typically conducts a remote interview first via video conference, follow up interviews in person, a writing exercise, and then a final meet and greet with the staff in person, before a formal offer is given. The MRT hiring processes can take up to two months. The Hiring Manager will keep applicants informed of the process throughout.

Position Title: Director of Protection

Reports to: Executive Director

Status: Full-time, exempt

Compensation: $85,000 – $105,000 annual salary

Benefits: Supportive benefits package including employer-paid health, dental, vision, short term disability, and life insurance. MRT offers a competitive PTO package starting at 3 weeks of paid vacation, 2 weeks of paid sick leave, and 10 floating holidays per year. MRT offers a Simple IRA retirement benefit with up to a 3% employer match contribution.

Summary of Position:

Serving as a member of the senior Management Team and supervising acquisition team staff, the Director of Protection is responsible for overseeing McKenzie River Trust’s conservation real property transactions and all land and water protection strategies. The Director of Protection serves as the lead for fee, transfer, and conservation easement projects within the Trust’s service area; oversees the evolution and implementation of land protection strategies that support the goals of the Trust’s strategic plan; helps to prepare regional conservation plans; completes land and water acquisition projects; coordinates with multiple public and private conservation partners; and secures funding to support projects. Additionally, the Director of Protection develops and manages internal systems to optimize team performance and achieve the Trust’s strategic goals.


Key Responsibilities:

Organizational Leadership, Strategy, and Management

  • As a member of the Trust’s Management Team, develop and ensure implementation of the Trust’s strategic plan.
  • Provide vision, oversight, and leadership for innovative conservation strategies for the Trust’s land and water acquisition priorities within our service area.
  • Ensure coordination between acquisition program activities and other program areas.
  • Represent the Trust at periodic events, interacting with donors, funders, and members of the public.
  • Serve as a primary staff contact for the Board of Directors Lands Committee.

Land and Water Acquisition

  • Serve as the lead negotiator in complex real property transactions and mentor acquisition team members in this role.
  • Lead internal coordination of all aspects of acquisition project evaluation, development, and implementation. Proactively work with stewardship and other program staff on project due diligence and planning.
  • Lead external coordination with relevant agencies, organizations, and stakeholders.
  • Develop a comprehensive knowledge of the region’s geography, communities, and land ownership profiles to advance the Trust’s conservation goals.
  • Provide oversight and review of all land transactions for the Trust board’s approval and to ensure compliance with accreditation and grant reporting requirements. Ensure accurate and complete records are maintained for all acquisition transactions.
  • Cultivate acquisition team awareness and competency of land and water conservation techniques, best practices, and new opportunities by researching and sharing reports and news, attending public forums, and identifying and participating in training opportunities.
  • Represent and serve as a spokesperson for the Trust in various local, regional, state, and national efforts related to policies affecting land and water conservation.

Public and Private Fundraising

  • Work closely with the Director of Development to maintain working relationships with public and private funding partners and expand the network of financial supporters for the Trust’s land and water conservation programs.
  • Assist with the development of grant applications and private donor gift strategies.

Relationship Building and Partnership Development

  • Cultivate and steward relationships with key community stakeholders including watershed councils, state, county, and city staff and officials, regional land conservation professionals, Tribal representatives, and government agency employees.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with landowners and land and water professionals throughout our service area.


  • Lead and mentor a strong acquisition team.
  • Prepare annual goals, work plans, and budgets for the acquisition team and with each team member for personal objectives and performance evaluations.
  • Conduct regular individual check-ins for direct reports and chair regular team meetings.
  • Review and approve documents including critical correspondence, purchase agreements, contracts, escrow instructions, and conservation easements.
  • Assure compliance with accreditation requirements including creating and instituting related processes and documentation.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Sought

  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree in natural resources management, conservation, law or another related field of study and/or applicable experience.
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in land and water conservation, real estate, or related experience.
  • Experience with all aspects of land and water conservation real estate negotiation, due diligence, and transactions for fee title acquisition, conservation easements, and leases.
  • Knowledge of current tax and conservation laws.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
  • Experience in team support and supervision.
  • Ability to publicly represent McKenzie River Trust, its mission, and core values.
  • Ability to work productively with diverse groups of people including co-workers, landowners, rural stakeholders, Tribal members and government agency staff.
  • Ability to work under pressure with tight deadlines.
  • Experience with project budgets, accounting, and fundraising.
  • Comfortable working independently while managing multiple complex projects.
  • Problem-solving and organizational skills with attention to detail and record-keeping.
  • Competent with standard computer software, including MS Word, MS Excel, internet and email.
  • Familiarity with lands and waters of western Oregon.
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license and be able to drive.
  • Willingness to take on work outside of the immediate job description when in the best interest of the Trust.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort:

The Director of Protection will work across field sites in Lane County, Lincoln County, and Douglas County and from an office based in Eugene, Oregon. Some tasks will require significant physical exertion, being outdoors in all weather conditions and on difficult and sometimes hazardous terrain. Some occasional weekend and/or evening work will be necessary. Travel throughout the service area will be a regular course of business. MRT offers mileage reimbursement at State of Oregon rates for personal vehicle use and has a small fleet of vehicles that at times may be available.

The McKenzie River Trust is committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and providing 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 Americans with Disabilities Act, 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 River Trust maintains its status as an at-will employer.

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 ownership 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 our work is centered in the upper Willamette River Basin, but we also carry out work in the Umpqua, Siuslaw, and coastal river basins. In 2021 we opened our first field office on the central Oregon coast.

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. 

Applicants’ materials are redacted for personal information to reduce bias by hiring managers. Please do not reach out directly to MRT staff members, allow us to contact you regarding the next steps in the hiring process.