Careers

Position Title: Municipal-Agriculture Partnership Specialist

Department: EPIC – Water Quality Partnerships

Location: Iowa

FLSA Status: Exempt, Salaried

Employment Status: Regular, or Independent Contractor Arrangement for established professional

ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW

Sand County Foundation (SCF) is a national nonprofit working at the intersection of agricultural and environmental improvement. We research and demonstrate conservation strategies that make economic sense for landowners, and advance conservation policy improvements.

The Environmental Policy & Innovation Center (“EPIC”) is fiscally sponsored by SCF. EPIC’s mission is to build policies that deliver spectacular improvement in the speed and scale of conservation. EPIC focuses on a narrow set of strategies: improving policies that allow private sector funding or stewardship to expand or supplant public or charitable conservation work; transforming government policies to focus on what matters – outcomes; and eliminating the organizational barriers that prevent public agencies from adapting to 21st century solutions.

POSITION SUMMARY

This new position will conduct outreach to Iowa municipalities and other regulated industries to show how engagement in watershed partnerships to achieve nutrient reduction goals can increase their operational flexibility and lower their costs. Watershed partnerships connect upstream farmers with regulated downstream communities to produce outcomes for cleaner water, reduce the risks of flooding, and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Success will be measured by the number of Iowa municipalities or industries that enter into agreements with the State to utilize the watershed strategy and the amount of public and private funding directed at watershed improvements that result. Four or five Iowa municipalities have already signed agreements with the Iowa DNR to do watershed work. Among those, and the new cities that participate, the position will also help connect their staff with farmer groups and other organizations that can produce and quantify reductions in the run-off of nitrogen, phosphorous, sediment or other pollutants of concern. A wide array of creative opportunities to build out watershed partnerships and relationships offers the chance to think outside the box, develop new funding streams through grants and new partnerships, and make a dramatic difference in water quality and management in Iowa. An emphasis of this position includes coordination and support for watershed coordinators and city personnel establishing watershed-focused work.

This position will report to the Director of Water Quality Partnerships, and will proactively engage with municipal leaders and staff, conservation organizations, state and local agencies, and the business community to fulfill the goal of increasing the number of cities and towns investing in better farm practices upstream.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Develop an understanding of Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy, Iowa’s nutrient reduction exchange, and the tools that Iowa relies upon to quantify and verify nutrient reduction from land management practices.

2. Familiarize yourself with the four or five municipalities who have already entered into agreements with the Iowa DNR and meet with key individuals from those jurisdictions, as well as leaders in the Iowa League of municipalities.

3. Meet with city staff and wastewater directors to introduce the idea of watershed partnerships, and support efforts to obtain nutrient reduction compliance through watershed work.

4. Connect them with legal support from the Director of Water Quality Partnerships to draft Memoranda of Understanding between the municipality and Iowa DNR.

5. Coordinate project outreach and education activities including presentations, webinars, and publication material to scale up project impact and increase the number of participating cities over two years.

6. Provide the Director of Water Quality Partnerships with regular reports of progress and assist and generating reports for Sand County Foundation and EPIC, including keeping a running tally of the number of credits recorded in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Exchange.

7. Complete other duties and tasks as assigned.

ESSENTIAL QUALIFICATIONS

1. A track record of past success in public education, outreach or sales among public and private entities.

2. At least four years of experience with municipal or state government, water utilities, or land and water conservation agencies.

3. Be a persuasive, fact-based and dynamic communicator to a variety of stakeholders and audiences, but especially with city personnel, engineers and farmer groups.

4. Experience working independently and within a team environment, with a single-minded focus on the overall outcomes of the project – namely cleaner water and a healthier environment in Iowa.

5. Enthusiasm and passion for the mission, goals, and core values of SCF and EPIC.

6. Willingness to travel to project sites, with minimal (<5%) overnight travel. Valid driver’s license required.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

1. Familiarity with local, state, and federal (i.e., Farm Bill, IDALS) conservation programs.

2. Demonstrated ability to recognize and develop innovations that advance conservation outcomes through collaboration and partnerships.

3. Facilitation skills including high levels of patience and perseverance, and the ability to use diplomacy to diffuse difficult situations amongst project partners and stakeholders.

4. Ability to plan and achieve goals, think analytically to solve problems, along with a strong drive for achieving measurable land and water quality outcomes.

5. Recognized performance (awards, etc.) among a company or agency for achieving rapid growth in sales or productivity.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

SCF is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist workplace. We are committed to creating a workplace where people from all social identities and backgrounds feel welcome and can thrive. We believe that rich diversity makes us more innovative, competitive, and creative, which helps us better serve our sponsors, collaborators, and communities.

COMPENSATION AND TERM

SCF currently has two years of funding for this position. We are working to secure longer-term support in order to continue and expand the program. SCF can offer excellent benefits and an opportunity to participate in an annual bonus program. The salary and benefits packages will be determined based on applicant’s skills and abilities, as well as interest in working full time or part time.

APPLICATION DEADLINE AND SUBMISSION

Applications will be reviewed beginning July 10, 2021, but the position will remain open until filled. Submit a cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, and contact information for three professional references to apply@sandcountyfoundation.org.

With this opportunity is the potential for growth; we encourage candidates to incorporate into their cover letter a statement explaining how their innovative ideas, personal strengths, and unique skillsets could be integrated into SCF’s efforts to complement our mission and program goals. The cover letter is also an opportunity to summarize how past education or work experience fits within the stated essential and preferred qualifications. For specific questions regarding the position, please email Bartlett Durand at bdurand@sandcountyfoundation.org.

expand_less