Position Opening: Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority Project Coordinator

Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority

Announcement Date: 03/03/2017
Application Closing Date: 03/22/2017
Anticipated Date of Hire: 04/15/2017

Winneshiek Soil and Water Conservation District seeks a self‐motivated, experienced Watershed Project Coordinator to implement the Iowa Watershed Approach project for the Upper Iowa River Watershed administered through Winneshiek County. The project will address areas of environmental concern that may include but are not limited to flood reduction, nutrient loading, sedimentation, and other hydrologic, soil conservation and water quality issues for the Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority (WMA). The ideal candidate will have experience in watershed planning and/or project management, an ability to interpret scientific concepts clearly and proficiently, and a demonstrated capacity to work with diverse stakeholder groups, including local public officials, NGOs, landowners, farmers, businesses, and the general public.

Position Summary:

The project coordinator will serve as the primary point of contact for the Iowa Watershed Approach program in the Upper Iowa River Watershed. The multi‐faceted nature of this program will require that the successful candidate have a diverse skill set and the ability to coordinate multiple activities with overlapping deadlines. The successful candidate should be well‐versed in watershed planning and management concepts, have the technical capacity to interpret water resource data and information, and strong communication skills.

The employee will manage and coordinate, as needed, the implementation of flood resiliency conservation projects and associated conservation planning, information and education outreach programs, and other related activities essential to the IWA, the WMA and its membership. The coordinator will also work with Northeast Iowa RC&D as they develop a WMA disaster resiliency watershed plan for the watershed. The project coordinator will be closely involved with overseeing a variety of activities. Specific tasks may include:

  • Stakeholder engagement: The project coordinator will in many respects be the face of the IWA program in the Upper Iowa River Watershed. In order for the program to be successful, there must be support from all levels of watershed stakeholders including city and county government, landowners, residents and businesses, agricultural producers, concerned citizens, non‐governmental organizations, and the many partners that are involved with the IWA program statewide and locally. To that end, the project coordinator will research, plan, and implement an information and education outreach program to raise awareness about the IWA program, encourage participation in the planning process and the implementation of practices.
  • Implementation of the watershed management plan: The project coordinator will perform professional and technical duties to advance the goals of the watershed management plan. These duties will include implementing the information and education outreach plan and assisting with the implementation of best management practices designed to increase flood resilience in the project area. The coordinator will work one‐on‐one with producers and other decision makers to facilitate adoption and implementation of the practices identified in the watershed management plan. The coordinator will also help landowners navigate the process of signing up for cost‐share assistance through the IWA program.
  • Project evaluation: The coordinator will evaluate project activities on an ongoing basis, working with local partners and stakeholders to prioritize current and future project activities. Use current technology and tools, such as GIS, to identify resource needs and identify innovative solutions. Utilize monitoring and measurement techniques to evaluate progress toward meeting project goals and implementation of solutions. Assist the WMA in identifying other potential flood reduction and water quality programs and assisting in applying for funds through those programs.
  • Overall project coordination: The IWA program will have multiple activities on‐going throughout the five‐year program. The coordinator will oversee efforts to collaborate with appropriate agencies, groups, and individuals that can affect the success of the project. The coordinator will plan and lead group meetings as well as one‐on‐one meetings with project sponsors, WMA members, local cooperators, and various WMA stakeholders. The project coordinator will help with organizing and publicizing meetings, will maintain a clear understanding of project timelines and budgets, and will be the point of contact for IWA program partners, as well as contractors and consultants hired to work on different aspects of the program.
  • Project Reporting and Administration: The coordinator will provide administrative support and manage the project to maintain quality control and maximize involvement of local advisors, WMA members and staff of program partners. Work with project advisory groups and WMA members to complete annual plans of operations and budgets for the project. Work with the project administrator on completing and submitting all required financial and progress reporting documents in accordance with IEDA and HUD contract deadlines.

Applicant Qualifications:

The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated professional with strong communication skills and an ability to take the initiative on watershed outreach, project coordination, and implementation of conservation projects. The Coordinator will need to be flexible and willing to take on new tasks and responsibilities as program opportunities evolve. The position requires a conscientious individual who will provide follow‐through on all areas of responsibility.

The Coordinator must have knowledge of ecosystem and watershed concepts, watershed planning, water resource issues, flood mitigation programs and strategies, and watershed improvement practices. Some experience with habitat restoration or agricultural conservation practices, volunteer management, community engagement, environmental education, and/or outreach is also required. The Coordinator must be able to communicate clearly and effectively with a broad range of individuals. The position requires a college degree in Environmental Science, or a related discipline, and relevant job experience in the watershed management field. A working knowledge of basic state and federal agricultural conservation programs and successful grant writing experience is preferred.

Position Information:

This is a full‐time position that will be in effect over the remaining 4‐5 years of the Iowa Watershed Approach program. The successful applicant will be housed in the Winneshiek SWCD office and will adhere to the employment policies and benefit system of the SWCD. Primary work hours will be during normal business hours (Monday ‐ Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm), however, early morning, evening and weekend work, with occasional overnight trips, will be regularly required throughout the year to meet with local leaders and boards of political subdivisions, watershed committees, conservation districts, interested stakeholders, various state and federal agencies, and to attend trainings. The successful applicant must have a valid driver’s license.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Competitive salary commensurate with education, experience and skills.
  • Supportive communities and partner organizations
  • Benefit package including sick/vacation time, paid holidays, and retirement.

Application Process:

  • To apply, please submit each of the following via email to Paul Berland, Project Administrator, Northeast Iowa RC&D
    • cover letter
    • resume
    • writing sample
    • three professional references
  • The writing sample should be from a newsletter, press release or other outreach piece, or a technical report on relevant environmental issues. If not available, another piece may be submitted that conveys the applicant’s ability to clearly interpret the natural world to the general public.
  • Submit all four pieces together no later than March 22, 2017 to:
    Paul Berland
    pberland@northeastiowarcd.org
    563‐864‐7112

Winneshiek SWCD does not discriminate against any qualified employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, familial status, physical or mental disability. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, or familial status.

WMA Project Coordinator Position – Upper Iowa River WMA (PDF)