River Steward

Rivanna Conservation Alliance

Charlottesville, Virginia

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $47,840 to $52,000 annually, commensurate with experience


The Rivanna Conservation Alliance (RCA) is a small nonprofit working to make a big difference in the Rivanna River watershed. Our mission is to work with the community to conserve the Rivanna River and its tributaries through water quality monitoring, restoration, education, and advocacy. RCA is committed to increasing awareness and action on the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental justice within the Rivanna watershed. We are working to build long term relationships and share our resources, environmental expertise, and scientific data to help address community identified watershed needs.

RCA’s professional staff work with more than a thousand volunteers each year, greatly extending our reach and impact. We also engage the community through strategic partnerships and collaborative projects with nonprofits, schools, local governments, businesses, and community groups. RCA’s culture values creativity, respect, continuous learning, a can-do attitude, and a healthy sense of humor. We strive to support staff members' needs for flexibility and work-life balance, and we make sure to spend time together enjoying the places we are working to protect.


  • Full-time, exempt
  • Some flexibility in work schedule, with occasional evening and weekend hours required for scheduled events
  • Position based in Charlottesville, VA, with the option for occasional remote work
  • Reports to the Executive Director
  • $47,840 to $52,000 annually, commensurate with experience
  • Benefits include health insurance, 15 days of PTO plus paid Holidays, and the option to participate in RCA's 403(b) retirement plan with 3% employer matching.


The River Steward will be responsible for coordinating and implementing RCA’s environmental education, river stewardship, and river outreach and advocacy work. They will engage students of all ages in hands-on watershed education activities; help raise community awareness, concern, and support for the Rivanna River; and lead community members in caring for the river through volunteer stewardship activities. The River Steward will work closely with other RCA staff members, community partners, and volunteers to accomplish their work.

Environmental Education (65%)

  • Plan, coordinate, and lead watershed exploration field trips for school groups throughout the Rivanna River watershed, including Albemarle County 6th grade classes in the spring and City of Charlottesville 7th grade classes in the fall
  • Coordinate with teachers, administrators, and community partners to plan curriculum,schedule and implement education program activities, and evaluate outcomes
  • Recruit, train, and manage community education volunteers and seasonal environmental educators
  • Support teachers with watershed-related classroom activities and training
  • Organize and lead RCA’s summer educational programs in collaboration with community partners such as the University of Virginia’s Equity Center and C’Ville ReLeaf
  • Develop new educational activities and curriculum
  • Organize and carry out community outreach and education programming at RCA’s Scheier Natural Area property, in community parks, at community events, and through other opportunities
  • Lead RCA’s educational paddling programs
  • Support education-related grant writing and reporting
  • Procure, organize, and maintain education-related equipment, supplies, and materials

River Stewardship (25%)

  • Manage RCA’s self-guided cleanup kit program, including communicating and coordinating with community members, businesses, and organizations; managing cleanup supplies; and tracking data on participation and cleanup activities
  • Lead regular volunteer opportunities, including the RCA’s Paddles with a Purpose summer river cleanups
  • Coordinate and lead RCA’s annual Rivanna River Round-Up watershed-wide fall cleanup event
  • Organize tire removal efforts along different stretches of the Rivanna River

River Outreach and Advocacy (10%)

  • Serve as RCA’s eyes on the river through paddles on different sections of the Rivanna and its navigable tributaries
  • Share important or notable findings from these paddles with the public, local government officials, and other partners through direct communications, social and traditional media, and newsletters
  • Coordinate with local government officials and partners to address acute river health and safety issues and improve river access
  • Stay up to date on river-related issues and develop and lead community outreach and public campaigns as needed
  • Build and maintain relationships with local and state officials, water rescue groups, and community partners with aligned interests.


  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, environmental studies, biology, natural resources, outdoor recreation, forestry or a related field, or an equivalent amount of relevant training and experience
  • Working knowledge and demonstrated passion for river conservation and stewardship
  • Strong interest in engaging local students and community members from a variety of backgrounds in hands-on educational activities
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
  • High level of organization, attention to detail, and ability to coordinate multifaceted events
  • A valid driver’s license and ability to use a personal vehicle to drive to different locations in the Rivanna watershed with program equipment and supplies. Mileage will be reimbursed at the federal mileage rate.
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs., such as loading a kayak or canoe onto a boat rack
  • Ability to pass a background check


  • Three to five years of work experience directly related to the responsibilities of this position.
  • High level of comfort paddling kayaks/canoes and working on and around the river
  • Experience motivating and managing volunteers
  • Ability to work independently and schedule time in an efficient manner
  • Willingness to work hard, maintain motivation and focus, and be flexible and creative to complete programs and tasks even when challenges arise
  • Extensive computer experience and comfort using Microsoft Office Suite and Google
  • Proficiency with ArcGIS
  • Spanish proficiency
  • Willingness to be a team player and pitch in to support other RCA staff and needs where possible


  • The nature of this position requires, on occasion, travel to remote locations where access may involve walking through brushy areas, clambering on stream banks, walking on slippery surfaces, wading through water, and paddling a kayak or canoe. The ability to sit, stand, walk, reach with hands and arms, paddle, carry equipment, stoop, climb, and crouch in outdoor settings is required. Ability to withstand outdoor discomforts, including inclement weather, is required.

Interested applicants should send a resume, a cover letter outlining your qualifications, and three professional references to exec@rivannariver.org. Complete applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. No phone calls please.

Rivanna Conservation Alliance is an equal opportunity employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law.

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

Category Admin & Leadership, Environmental Education, Hydrology
Tags Outreach