Director, Federal Lands

Defenders of Wildlife

Washington, DC

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $110,000 - $122,000
Required Experience 7+ years


Director, Federal Lands Program leads Defenders of Wildlife’s work to increase wildlife habitat protections and advance imperiled species recovery on federal lands, including the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Forest System, the National System of Public Lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Department of Defense (DoD) lands.  The Director is responsible for advancing Defenders’ conservation mission on federal public lands in accordance with our strategic plan, conservation priorities and campaigns. The position directs the program’s multi-faceted strategies to defend and secure new conservation protections, initiatives, policies and laws for at-risk species on federal lands. 

Responsibilities include supervising Federal Lands Program staff members; working closely with federal land management agencies to improve wildlife and habitat management; coordinating relevant environmental community advocacy efforts; directing, coordinating, and/or assisting Defenders’ advocacy efforts to influence legislation, regulations, agency policies, and land management plans; providing support to Defenders’ staff on federal lands policy and relevant issues, including strategic litigation, when necessary; and serving as Defenders’ representative for federal lands with external interests. Working closely with the Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs, Vice President for Land and Habitat Conservation and other leadership, the director is committed to advancing organizational vitality and DEIJ goals and objectives. 


  • Develop Defenders’ positions on legislative and administrative proposals affecting federal lands. Facilitate coordination with Government Relations on developing new and responding to proposed legislation.
  • Direct Defenders’ advocacy efforts and major campaigns to protect and restore habitat on federal lands and waters, to thwart and oppose policies and actions that threaten at-risk species on federal lands, and to hold the federal land management agencies accountable to their legal obligations, including under the Endangered Species Act and other laws.
  • Supervise the Federal Lands Program staff by developing workplans, setting priorities, supervising work, and evaluating performance.
  • Facilitate collaboration with other conservation program and external affairs staff to accomplish goals and objectives.
  • Serve as Defenders’ representative on federal lands to department and agency officials and represent Defenders in public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, coalitions, and in general communications with public officials, legislators, the media, Defenders’ membership, the donor community, and the general public.
  • Research, write, and/or supervise the development of white papers, memos, blogs, reports, Websites, publications and other products for advocacy purposes. Facilitate coordination with the Communications Department to develop and distribute outward facing products and with the Center for Conservation Innovation to use technology to develop digital communication products.
  • Direct program efforts to draft comments, appeals, and objections in response to proposed regulatory actions, plans and proposals on priority issues and in priority places; and when necessary direct program efforts to prepare to support litigation efforts.
  • Direct program efforts to inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters.
  • Work with Development staff to raise operating funds for the Federal Lands Program.
  • Develop short- and long-range operating objectives, organizational structure, and staffing requirements.
  • Develop and recommend the Federal Lands Budget.
  • Ensure optimum performance of group function. Recommend and implement techniques to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, cut costs and maintain state-of-the-art practices.
  • Recommend, review and approve employment actions, including interviewing, hiring, promotions and raises, in conjunction with Human Resources. Partner with Human Resources in the handling of disciplinary issues.
  • Ensure communication of duties and responsibilities to direct reports and monitor performance. Provide regular coaching and counseling. Identify training needs. Prepare and deliver salary and performance reviews; review and approve performance and salary appraisals as necessary.
  • Ensure relevant Vice Presidents, the Senior Vice President for Conservation Programs and the President and CEO are kept apprized of significant issues related to policy positions and priorities of the organization.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.

 QUALIFICATIONSEducation: Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred

Experience: 10 years of relevant experience; 5 years supervisory experienceAn equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


Visit www.defenders.org  to apply.

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

Category Admin & Leadership, Wildlife
Tags Cultural Resources