California Programs Director

The Freshwater Trust

Sacramento, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details 95,000-115,000 DOE
Required Experience 7+ years

Expected Start Date: August 2022

Who we are: The Freshwater Trust (TFT) is a non-profit leader in watershed analysis, restoration/conservation program design, and implementation. Our team members are building tools and creating and testing new solutions that will help to create resiliency in our rivers. With a mission of preserving and restoring freshwater ecosystems, our approach is driven by science, data and results (see our Core Values).

With headquarters in Portland, OR, TFT employs 50+ team members across Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California. We currently have three physical offices in Portland, Ashland, OR and Sacramento, CA. Our team members range in background and skillset; teams include a philanthropy and fundraising team, communications team, science and analytics team, restoration team, legal team, finance team, and administrative and systems support.

Position Description: This position directs, oversees and supports multiple program deliverables, timelines and budgets and is responsible for compiling and communicating the necessary information and data within the organization to ensure operational function of the California implementation teams. The California Programs Director will be responsible for the management of complex multi-benefit surface and groundwater restoration programs and will supervise the California implementation teams. This position will serve as a key client contact for select programs and associated funding opportunities. This person will be a member of the Production Management Team, which is responsible for the management of production deliverables, capacity, timelines, pipeline and budgeting, as well as integrating internal data streams, and will represent California implementation programs and personnel in this context. They will help forward strategic organizational objectives and work continuously to align the implementation team with organizational direction.

Position Responsibilities:

  • Maintain a comprehensive understanding of TFT’s existing program goals, systems, and tools
  • Direct and inform decision making in the CA programs staff to meet TFT’s objectives. Specifically:
  • Work with project managers, implementation staff, and analysts to chart and adaptively manage implementation program strategy, help the California team prioritize work focus and resourcing of implementation activities, and associated projects or programs
  • Ensure timely, on-budget, high-impact project implementation that aligns with organizational impact and financial expectations
  • Oversee project managers, work to retain and grow talent, conduct performance evaluations for direct reports, support task prioritization and handle personnel issues as needed
  • Oversee implementation projects, programs and initiatives, including but not limited to: task delegation/tracking; program progress tracking and milestones; timeline management; deliverable management; procurement compliance review and sign-off; and budget management
  • Act as a client contact for select implementation programs
  • Work closely with the Senior Director of Programs to develop and pursue funding opportunities that build or enhance the impact of existing programs and are aligned with organizational “learning lab” strategy in target basins.
  • Closely collaborate with both TFT’s Finance & Administration department and Science & Analytics team to identify opportunities for improved operations, collaboration, and integration.

Desired Skills and Qualifications:


  • Commitment to effective program management and tracking scopes, schedules, and budget
  • Quick learner and problem solver with the ability to adapt to new processes and contexts
  • Relational & collaborative:
  • Excels in building trust and working with others to achieve multiple benefits
  • Management style that attracts, retains and grows talent within the Implementation team
  • Ability to form and maintain strong cross departmental and cross disciplinary relationships


  • Excellent communicator (written/verbal), facilitator and manager. Able to translate information between diverse individuals or interests with varying background. Able to summarize and synthesize project, program and personnel needs and priorities while also building understanding, buy-in and alignment of team members
  • Strong people- and time-management skills with ability to be flexible and responsive to changing priorities
  • Capacity to proactively juggle multiple tasks and competing priorities within a high-energy environment
  • Ability to evaluate details in bigger-picture context of organization priorities
  • Problem-solving mindset


  • Advanced degree in natural resource management or policy, water resources, natural sciences or related field
  • Experience with project or program management, including direct senior staff supervision, project set-up and scope development, and budget oversight
  • Working knowledge of freshwater ecosystems, including water quantity and quality, agricultural BMPs and conservation actions
  • Strong experience and understanding of water management challenges, policies and politics in California

Seeking Perseverant, Creative and Energetic Candidates Who:

  • Have a passion for the mission and values of The Freshwater Trust.
  • Exhibit professionalism, confidence, intellectual curiosity, and resilience.
  • Are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and hold legal authority to work permanently in the US.


  • Competitive salary based on experience.
  • The Freshwater Trust believes in investing in our employees, their health, and future through our benefits offerings. Our total rewards package includes full health and dental coverage, automatic retirement employer contributions, commuter benefits and cell phone reimbursement. Because we are all in, we value getting out, and support our staff with 5 weeks of paid time off plus over 10 paid holidays per year. We also offer perks such as staff retreats, sabbatical for full-time staff after seven years, and professional development opportunities.

Interested candidates from historically underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply. The Freshwater Trust is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its selection of candidates for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, disability, age, military service, family medical history, legal source of income, gender identity, political affiliation, or family leave obligations. ADA accommodations will be provided upon request.

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.