Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Bend, Oregon
Job Type Paid permanent

About Upper Deschutes Watershed Council Mission

The Upper Deschutes Watershed Council seeks to protect and restore the two-million acre Upper Deschutes River watershed through collaborative projects in habitat resoration, watershed education and long term monitoring.


Since 1996, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council (UDWC) has worked to protect and restore the 2,000,000-acre upper Deschutes River watershed through collaborative projects in watershed restoration, monitoring, education and community awareness. With local support from landowners, ranchers, environmental interests, local citizens, and representatives from local governments and agencies, we lead cooperative, grass-roots efforts to improve watershed conditions. This grass-roots approach ensures that a balance of affected and interested stakeholders is involved to craft effective management strategies for our watersheds.

Watershed councils are locally organized, voluntary groups established to protect and restore local watersheds in support of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. Most watershed councils, including the UDWC, were organized following the Oregon Legislature’s unanimous passage of House Bill 3441 which established guidance for the formation of watershed councils in Oregon.

Since becoming a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1997, we have brought more than $20 million to watershed restoration and education projects in the Upper Deschutes watershed. Although 60% of this funding has been provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, we rely upon local support from cities, counties, federal agencies, districts and other partners to fund many projects and programs.  The UDWC education programs connect with about 3000 K-12 students each year with place-based watershed hands-on learning and stewardship experiences which are supported by a variety of private fundraising, grants, foundations and school partnerships.

The Opportunity

The Executive Director provides leadership and support across the organization, setting and implementing the strategic direction to further the UDWC mission. The Executive Director has overall administrative responsibility for day-to-day operations, is a developer and promoter of the UDWC’s programs, is a fundraiser and spokesperson, and is a community leader on issues in the watershed. The Executive Director is charged with ensuring that the organization achieves its mission, maintains financial viability, and functions as an innovative and effective watershed restoration and education partner. The UDWC is built on a commitment to collaboration with community partners and the Executive Director plays a critical role in  those collaboration efforts. The Executive Director directly supervises a team of five with an annual operating budget of that varies from $1 to $2 million. The UDWC is strong, both financially and organizationally, with an outstanding team of dedicated professionals and a committed Board of Directors to carry out this important work.

The UDWC brings over 20 years of success in restoration, monitoring and education programs throughout the Deschutes River, Whychus Creeks and the Metolius River watersheds.  Strong partnerships with Tribal, Federal, State, foundations, local funders and schools have enabled the watershed council to increase its impact and reach over the years. The UDWC is a founding member of the Deschutes Partnership, a collaborative partnership focused on restoring habitat for salmon and steelhead across more than 225 miles of rivers and streams in Central Oregon.  This partnership has brought in more than $29M in funding to support location restoration, monitoring and education efforts since its founding in 2006.  More information:

Water management in Central Oregon is inherently political and complex with many stakeholders involved in planning and implementation. In addition, Central Oregon is growing and the rivers are at the center of that growth playing a role with residents and tourists alike. The UDWC is committed to working across the full spectrum of stakeholders in the region. The Executive Director will need to bring not only a passion for natural resources issues but an authentic commitment to collaboration. Success in this position will require outstanding relationships with wide ranging stakeholders and an ability to transend the politics.

With this established history of accomplishment,  the next Executive Director of the UDWC will be poised to take the organization to new heights of programmatic impact and strategic success in the near future. Taking these next steps will require a renewed and expanded focus on traditional fundraising approaches as well as a willingness to consider and seek innovative additional approaches to supporting the organization’s mission.   

Candidate Profile and Experience RequirementsSkills and Prior Experience

  • Proven experience and/or demonstrated ability and passion to lead a natural resources nonprofit organization in water related work.
  • Strong preference for knowledge and familiarity with the issues, the language, and the mechanics of federal, state, and local funding for natural resources.
  • Experience leading and motivating staff, boards, and volunteers.
  • Strong public information skills, articulation, optimism, and energy – ability to motivate and inspire people at all levels. Excellent communications skills.
  • Strong fundraising skills, with experience in direct solicitation as well as federal, foundation, and corporate grant writing.

Core Competencies and Personal Characteristics

The ideal candidate will be able to communicate a compelling and inspired vision that is shared both inside and outside of the organization. Strong interpersonal relationship skills are required to be successful in this position. The ideal candidate must genuinely care about people, be widely trusted, and seen as a direct and truthful individual. The Executive Director sets the tone for the organization and must be approachable and able to create a climate in which people want to do their best.  Excellence in staff management and leadership is paramount.

The job demands political savvy and an ability to maneuver through complex political situations and remain composed under pressure. We are seeking a strategic thinker – a leader who sees ahead clearly and is future oriented.


Please submit your resume and a cover letter in Word or PDF format. The UDWC is committed to building a culturally diverse and inclusive environment and are actively seeking to recruit a diverse applicant pool.

Jim Morris, Senior Consultant
Solid Ground Consulting
(503) 381-6811

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