Wild Rivers Advocate

WildEarth Guardians Remote
advocate advocate rio director basins people health dams wildlife advocacy management collaborate education
December 3, 2022
WildEarth Guardians
Santa Fe, NM

Position Summary: 

WildEarth Guardians seeks a full-time Wild Rivers Advocate in our Wild Rivers Program to play a leading role in our efforts to protect and restore Western rivers, particularly the Colorado River and Rio Grande. The Advocate is a policy advocate and organizer who will build a movement to protect the headwaters of these two key river systems, including by leading organizing and policy advocacy efforts challenging new dams and out-of-basin water diversions. The Advocate supports collaborative efforts to achieve Guardians’ vision of clean water, healthy flows, and resilient communities, but is also an uncompromising advocate for Living Rivers. The Advocate will work primarily within the Colorado River and Rio Grande Basins in Colorado and New Mexico. 

The Wild Rivers Advocate works closely with the Wild Rivers Program Director to rethink archaic water management and policy of the past and move to a new future of Living Rivers across the American West. The majority of the Advocate’s work will be centered within the Rio Grande and Colorado River Basins, leading Guardians’ efforts to stop new dams and out-of-basin diversions that threaten endangered aquatic and riparian species, healthy river flows, and downstream communities. A key responsibility of the Advocate is to develop allies, build grassroots support, engage with agricultural and other communities and mobilize voices for protecting clean water and healthy flows in the Colorado River and Rio Grande. 

The Wild Rivers Advocate will report to the Wild Rivers Program Director and will work closely with the Program Director, other Guardians’ staff,  and external partners to implement existing strategies–as well as develop new strategies–to protect clean water, healthy flows, and resilient flows in the Rio Grande and Colorado River within the States of Colorado and New Mexico.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities: 

  • Collaborate with the Wild Rivers Program Director to develop, prioritize, refine, and implement strategies to achieve the goals and vision of Guardians’ Colorado River campaign, with the primary objective of preventing the construction and expansion of new dams and/or out-of-basin water diversions in the headwaters of the Colorado River.
  • Collaborate with the Wild Rivers Program Director to develop, prioritize, refine, and implement strategies to meet the goals and vision of the Living Rio campaign, with the primary objective of protecting healthy flows, as well as riparian and aquatic habitat, within the Rio Grande Basin in southern Colorado and New Mexico.
  • Coordinate and organize support for reforming existing water law and policy and promoting living rivers and headwaters protection policies in Colorado and New Mexico, including providing testimony, creating education and outreach materials, and supporting interaction with members of the Colorado and New Mexico legislatures and administrations, and members of Congress.
  • Build and maintain relationships with Colorado River and Rio Grande Basin stakeholders within the States of Colorado and New Mexico, including playing a leadership role in coalitions to advance program goals.
  • Organize public outreach events, training, and field trips (e.g., river clean ups, float trips, rallies, etc.) to engage and activate vocal public support for living rivers and headwaters protections, and to inspire and build Guardians’ membership base.
  • Communicate our work to the public, our members, and the media (e.g., press releases, email alerts, blogs, interviews, live streaming, social media), in close collaboration with Guardians’ Communications team.
  • Assisting with preparing information for litigation when necessary.

Skills & Knowledge: 

Strategic vision, passion for rivers conservation, and a demonstrated ability to work collaboratively to achieve long-term goals are essential for this position. Additional preferred qualifications are listed below. However, we don’t expect you to meet every single qualification. We seek the right person, not a checklist of qualifications, and welcome candidates who show similar or alternative qualifications. Please apply if this job feels aligned with your passions, whether or not it feels like your resume checks all the boxes. We want to invest in your professional development, and we look forward to discussing with you where your strengths are as well as where you are hoping to learn and grow. We also enthusiastically encourage people of color, persons with disabilities, women, LGBTQ+, and candidates with diverse lived experience to apply.

  • Passion for protecting and restoring rivers of the American West.
  • Strong relational skills (including ability to connect with and build coalitions with diverse stakeholders) and knowledge and understanding of communities and cultures in the Colorado River and/or Rio Grande Basins in Colorado and New Mexico.
  • Creative, self-starter with proven ability to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Commitment to community organizing and ability to work constructively with grassroots partners, including commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of Black, Indigenous, people of color and low-income people to empower their communities and to participate directly in changing public policies.
  • Strong moral compass and ability to stand against the tide.
  • Strong organizational skills and an ability to succeed in a fast-paced environment with a full workload where it is necessary to balance multiple tasks and deadlines.
  • Integrity, kindness, sense of humor, and a healthy sense of outrage.

Additional preferred skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Three or more years of campaigning or grassroots organizing experience with demonstrated results.
  • Education and/or experience working with and empowering communities.
  • Knowledge of and experience with regional, state and basin-wide environmental policy and politics (water and river policy a bonus).
  • Scientific literacy and a genuine interest in learning more about the hydrology, ecology, and water management in the Colorado River and Rio Grande Basins.
  • Strong written and verbal communication, including the ability to communicate in understandable terms to the general public regarding complex science and policy matters.
  • Spanish or Native language skills are a bonus.


$55,000 - $65,000, DOE 


WildEarth Guardians offers a flexible and generous benefits package for staff. Benefits for full-time staff include 100% medical and dental employee coverage paid for by the employer, vision, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan with a 3% match after 2 years of full-time employment, paid and unpaid health and family leave, a sabbatical policy, sick leave, three weeks paid vacation to start, and fourteen holidays including 5 floating holidays to be taken at any time. Benefits are prorated for part-time employees to correspond to the employee’s schedule: holiday, vacation, sick time, 403(b) retirement plan with a 3% match after 2 years of full-time employment. Part-time employees are not eligible for health coverage or sabbatical leave.

Equal Opportunity Employer

WildEarth Guardians is an Equal Opportunity Organization and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, family/marital status, religion or other protected classes. We strongly encourage applications from historically excluded communities.

ADA Statement

WildEarth Guardians committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals. In keeping with our commitment, WildEarth Guardians, will take the steps to assure that people with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. Accordingly, if reasonable accommodation is required to fully participate in the job application or interview process, to perform the essential functions of the position, and/or to receive all other benefits and privileges of employment, please contact [email protected].

About WildEarth Guardians

Founded in 1989, WildEarth Guardians is a west-wide environmental advocacy organization headquartered in Santa Fe, NM. The organization has offices in Denver, CO, Missoula, MT, Boise, ID, Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, and Tucson, AZ, as well as several remote staff. We have a 33-year history of securing durable environmental protections that preserve endangered species and other wildlife, advance pioneering supply-side climate policy, ensure living rivers and protect public lands. We do this by pursuing innovative and sustained legal campaigns, bold and creative policy and legislative solutions at both the state and federal levels and by mobilizing grassroots and grasstops constituencies. All this work is in service of our mission to protect and restore wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health in the western U.S.

For more information, please visit www.wildearthguardians.org. 

To Apply

Please apply for the Wild Rivers Advocate position by providing a cover letter and resume through the web application on our website. Cover letters should communicate the applicant’s heartfelt commitment to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West. Applicants are encouraged to tell us who they are as human beings, why they care about this work, and why they are interested in this position.

No telephone calls, please. If you require assistance applying to this opportunity, please email [email protected]

Deadline to Apply: 

Deadline for application submission: 12/05/2022.

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