Program Director, River Restoration - Dam Removal

American Climate Partners

Rapidan, Virginia

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $80,000 - $100,000
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

About American Climate Partners

American Climate Partners (ACP) is an entrepreneurial organization working since 2006 to restore the health of people, communities, and ecosystems. We design, create, and manage projects, programs, and businesses which help rural America become more resilient in the face of pollution, climate change, loss of biodiversity, and disease. ACP is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization headquartered in Rapidan, Virginia.

About Rapidan Institute

Rapidan Institute was created in 2020 to enable ACP to focus on comprehensive fisheries and floodplain habitat restoration in the Rapidan and Robinson River Valleys. The Institute’s operational strategies include the enhancement of soil, plant, and animal biodiversity, river reconnection and whole floodplain restoration using innovative and cost-effective process-based strategies, and development of emerging conservation-friendly agricultural and environmental markets. The flagship program of Rapidan Institute is the Rapidan Fish Passage Project.

About the Rapidan Fish Passage Project

The Rapidan Fish Passage Project (RFPP) will boost the health of mid-Atlantic anadromous fisheries through removal of the Rapidan Mill Dam, the #1 dam removal project in the Chesapeake Bay basin. A subsidiary of ACP purchased the dam and nearby property in 2022. In early 2024, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Marine Fisheries Service selected this project for funding.

Job Summary

The Program Director will direct ACP’s efforts to transform Mid-Atlantic river management through innovations in conservation, biodiversity, and climate mitigation programming. We are looking for candidates who can lead a partnership of contractors, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and the community in the removal of the Rapidan Mill Dam in Rapidan, Virginia to restore the river to free-flowing above and below the dam. This is a three-to-four-year grant-funded project and we expect to hire a candidate who will commit to completing this project.  The successful candidate will have the desire to grow in this position to develop and lead other projects for the Rapidan Institute.

Principal Responsibilities

  • Lead Rapidan Fish Passage Project:
    • Develop strong working relationships with dam removal and restoration contractors and other vendors, consultants, and contractors. Facilitate team meetings and coordinate project activities.
    • Execute contracts with vendors, consultants, and contractors who contribute to the delivery of the project, working with legal counsel as needed; request expenditures; process invoices.
    • Negotiate access agreements and MOUs with affected landowners, working with legal counsel as needed.
    • Lead community outreach by effectively communicating the project’s approach, benefits, timeline of activities, expectations, and progress to the local community. Convene and facilitate at least two public meetings per year throughout the project. Respond to questions from the public in a factual and approachable manner.
    • Effectively communicate the progress and benefits of the project to a wide array of audiences using a variety of media, including print, film, webpages, public speaking. Respond to inquiries from the media and others.
    • Develop and monitor budgets; manage the federal award, including required quarterly progress and financial reports.
    • On-site presence at the project in Rapidan, VA, will be required most days. Work will involve travel within Virginia for meetings and other travel to conferences as needed.
    • Supervise shared assistant coordinator performing project support.
  • Develop and lead future projects of the Rapidan Institute.
  • Identify funding sources for future projects and work with ACP senior staff in developing proposals to federal and state agencies, foundations, and other prospective donors.


This is a three-to-four year, full-time, grant-funded position with a starting salary range of $80,000 - $100,000 dependent on qualifications and experience.

Desired Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental restoration and engineering, environmental science, water science/hydrology, biology, chemistry, or related field.
  • At least 5 years technical or professional experience in river restoration program or project management.
  • Able to develop and manage productive relationships with partners, consultants, and vendors who contribute to the development and delivery of the program.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills; experience developing print and online content and resources; experience presenting or speaking to various audiences.
  • Project management experience and a demonstrated ability to work effectively in diverse cultural or geographical contexts; able to develop and manage a program of this scope with minimal supervision.
  • Project evaluation experience, able to identify and track the information and activities required to report on performance to the funder; experience writing interim and final narrative and financial reports to the funder.
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Fluency in English. Fluency in Spanish helpful.
  • US citizenship or authorized to work in the US.

Physical Demands:

  • Must be able to drive a car or pick-up truck; must be able to travel by car or pick-up truck for up to 4-6 hours.
  • Must be able to stand and walk independently on uneven ground.
  • Must be able to work on a laptop computer and to participate easily in telephone and video conference calls or meetings.

Work Environment:

  • This position will report to the Executive Director and work with the Administrative Manager and shared support staff (one Coordinator/Admin Assistant).
  • Location: American Climate Partners’ office in Orange County, VA; remote work or work-from-home only when not needed on-site.
  • This position may require occasional evening and weekend hours.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by individual assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of the position. All employees may have other duties assigned at any time.


Please send a cover letter and your resume or CV to Michael Collins, Executive Director, at mike@americanclimatepartners.org  and Mary Dennis, Administrative Manager at mary@americanclimatepartners.org

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

Category Admin & Leadership, Fisheries, Hydrology, Restoration
Tags Outreach