Land Acquisitions Manager

Big Sur Land Trust

Monterey, California

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $80,000-90,000 annually, commensurate with experience

Are you a real estate expert who is passionate about the natural world? Are you looking for an opportunity to use your expertise along with your project management and relationship skills to help conserve the land and waterways of Monterey County to help promote community health and well-being?

Big Sur Land Trust (BSLT) is seeking a full-time Land Acquisitions Manager to implement BSLT land acquisition priorities, as well as support BSLT’s broader conservation and stewardship projects. The ideal candidate will share a passion for the Land Trust’s expansive mission and vision; have at least two to three years of conservation real estate experience; possess excellent communication skills, including grant writing; enjoy and excel at managing landowner relationships and building effective partnerships; relish working in a
collaborative, team setting as well as working independently; and be detailed oriented and well organized.

Organization Overview:
BSLT is a non-profit organization and nationally accredited land trust with a mission to inspire love of land across generations, conservation of our unique Monterey County landscapes, and access to outdoor experiences for all. We see a future where natural landscapes, working lands, urban open spaces and healthy communities are cared for by people who share a love of nature and a deep appreciation for the richness of their diverse cultures.

Since its founding in 1978, BSLT has worked with private landowners, public agencies, community organizations and other conservation partners to conserve more than 40,000 acres of diverse habitats in Monterey County. Our work promotes:

  • Healthy Lands: Conserving and caring for the magnificent natural landscapes, habitats, and waterways of our region to ensure a sustainable future.
  • Healthy People: Providing opportunities for all who live in and visit Monterey County to experience the healthful benefits associated with access to parks and open spaces, fresh food, clean air and water, and a deep connection to nature.
  • Healthy Communities: Engaging in partnerships where conservation and civic participation increase community vitality, economic prosperity, and social equity.

General Description:
The Land Acquisition Manager is responsible for implementing BSLT’s acquisition work in alignment with the organization’s strategic plan and in coordination with BSLT conservation, stewardship, community engagement, and development departments. Duties include managing all land transactions; maintaining all real estate records; overseeing the land acquisition process to ensure compliance with standards and practices required for BSLT to
continue its Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Accreditation; evaluating unsolicited landowner offers or inquiries; developing strategies for approaching landowners to offer conservation options; supporting related stewardship and conservation program activities; and soliciting public and private funding to support projects.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Land Acquisition Project Implementation

  • Negotiate and complete land acquisitions (fee title and easements; donations and purchase) with private landowners, governmental entities and/or other conservation organizations.
  • Draft and negotiate easement documents, Purchase and Sale Agreements, Letters of Intent and related acquisition documents.
  • Negotiate and complete leases and land transfers, including sale of land to private or public entities or sale of property interests.
  • Manage and direct attorneys, appraisers, surveyors, environmental consultants, and other professionals associated with real estate transactions.
  • Maintain acquisition pipeline, including tracking, record-keeping, and reporting.
  • Manage unsolicited acquisition inquiries and opportunities.
  • Prepare project materials to present to Board of Trustees for approval, including Board Committees such as Internal Operations.
  • Review and maintain BSLT compliance with Land Trust Alliance (LTA) Accreditation “Standards and Practices” and associated policies in coordination with other BSLT departments.
  • Maintain knowledge of relevant conservation real estate laws and regulations and related natural resource, land use, planning and development laws and regulations.
  • Maintain positive and productive contact with private landowners, public agencies, and partner groups.

Conservation and Stewardship Programs Support, Planning and Coordination

  • Assess and refine acquisition plan in collaboration with conservation and stewardship department staff.
  • Support conservation and stewardship staff on real estate related issues associated with projects.
  • Assist in review of, and provide advice on, existing easement and fee lands documents as issues arise.
  • Oversee completion of welfare exemptions in partnership with finance staff.
  • Coordinate and contribute to successful post-acquisition activities such as developing property transition plans, transferring ownership to external partners, following up with funders, and transitioning properties to our Land Stewardship team for longterm protection of natural resources.
  • Assess and update list of potential fee land transfer opportunities and identify priorities.
  • Represent BSLT at community meetings, with peer groups, and at professional meetings.
  • Track local, state, and federal regulations and policies that may influence land acquisition projects.

Funding and Financing for Acquisition

  • Investigate potential funding opportunities (primarily public funding, but not exclusively) and apply for grants to support acquisition related projects in collaboration with Director of Conservation and BSLT Development and Finance staff.
  • This includes developing, writing, submitting, and tracking grant proposals, as well
    as monitoring grant commitments to ensure timely completion of deliverables and
    submission of grant reports.


  • Participate in project and departmental team meetings and planning sessions.
  • Propose BSLT acquisition policy updates/revisions which may become necessary to keep the organization current and to ensure compliance with LTA Accreditation.
  • Participate in organizational annual planning including project level planning steps and estimated outcomes for specific actions.

The Land Acquisition Manager position is accountable for delivering the following results:

1) Management of an acquisitions plan, including maintaining a system for tracking acquisition opportunities and synthesizing and identifying progress.
2) Management of all land transactions, including completion of priority acquisitions, and maintenance of all real estate records, all in compliance with LTA Accreditation Standards and Practices, and Accreditation renewal process.
3) Meeting Strategic Plan goals related to land acquisition.
4) Professional presentations to Board of Trustees and partners as directed.


  • Two to three years of real estate experience; specific experience in conservation real estate highly desirable, including fee land, conservation easement and trail easement transactions, with demonstrated understanding of deal structure and sensitivity unique to this type of work; experience with complex real property transactions, and multi-party land acquisitions also highly desirable.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in conservation, natural resources management, law, planning, real estate, business administration or a related field; Master’s Degree desirable.
  • Demonstrable results in project management.
  • Familiarity with LTA accreditation standards; LTA real estate training desirable.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Proven record of positive landowner relations.
  • Experience in grant writing and acquiring public funding.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform multiple tasks at a high level.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a team environment.
  • Organized, initiative-taking, enthusiastic, dependable, detail oriented and driven by excellence.
  • Proficiency in Google Earth or GIS programs and applications.
  • Proficiency in all standard office productivity software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, or similar email application) and internet research.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment:
The employee must have the ability to navigate and traverse a variety of landscapes on foot or via off-road driving, at times in deep back country, in off-trail land conditions, sometimes in rugged terrain.

  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds (heavy boxes).
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.
  • Ability to work remotely on occasion with supervisor’s prior approval.

Compensation: $80K-$90K annually, commensurate with experience.
Benefits: Big Sur Land Trust offers a competitive benefits package including an extensive health plan, which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage and life insurance; contributions to a 403(b)-retirement plan; and generous paid holiday, vacation, and sick leave.

Location: Big Sur Land Trust office in downtown Monterey, CA., at various BSLT lands, and at other sites throughout Monterey County.

Big Sur Land Trust is committed to building a diverse workforce. Big Sur Land Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or genetics.


The following three items are required to be considered for the position:

  • Your resume
  • A letter of interest that notes your availability to start and addresses these three questions:
    1. Why are you applying for this position at Big Sur Land Trust?
    2. What type of knowledge, schooling, job, and life experience would you bring to this position?
    3. What are the most important things to you in a work environment
  • Contact information for at least three professional references

Interested applicants please email your completed application to  with the name of the position for which you are applying in the subject line. No phone calls, please; qualified applicants will be contacted.

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