Policy Director

  • South Yuba River Citizens League
  • Nevada City, CA
  • Jul 20, 2022
Full time Advocacy Public Policy

Job Description

APPLY USING THIS LINK: https://syrcl.bamboohr.com/jobs/view.php?id=71


The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect the South Yuba River from dams. Ultimately, SYRCL won permanent protections for 39 miles of the South Yuba River under California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Today, SYRCL is the central hub of community activism to protect, restore, and celebrate the Yuba River watershed. With 39 years of achievements, 3,500 members and volunteers, SYRCL is doing great things for the Yuba watershed. SYRCL is a leader in the Sierra headwaters for addressing statewide and regional issues – challenging new dams, recovering endangered species, restoring degraded landscapes, addressing climate change and drought, water security and water quality. Together, we are extending our powerful coalition from the summit to the sea.


People Can Save a River is SYRCL’s guiding principle. Since our founding, SYRCL has defended the Yuba River time and time again. Today, the core of SYRCL’s advocacy work is focused on tracking and addressing threats such as the proposed Centennial Dam on the Bear River, advocating for wild salmon, negotiating for improved flows and other environmental outcomes in hydropower dam relicensing forums, leading our Growing Green for the Yuba campaign, addressing Clean Water Act § 401 violations, and remaining vigilant and prepared for unexpected threats to the watershed.

We seek a proven Policy Director who is a trained advocate with excellent leadership, communication, community organizing, and coalition-building skills. A successful candidate will be highly skilled using policy, advocacy, legal, scientific, and communication tools to protect the watershed.

Additionally, experience managing successful grassroots campaigns, building strategic coalitions, collaborating closely with program staff across all departments, and raising funds is essential.


The successful candidate will help set and advance SYRCL’s advocacy priorities including:

Lead development of the organization’s advocacy agenda and work closely with the Executive Director on developing an updated strategic plan.
Identify opportunities for action on key goals at the local, regional, and state levels, and lead development and implementation of campaigns.
Partner with relevant organizations and leaders to implement and expand our innovative ideas.
Facilitate deep, meaningful community engagement in advocacy initiatives.
Work with the communications team to amplify our activity and campaigns through online channels, events, action alerts, social, and earned media.
Cultivate relationships with key elected and appointed officials at the local, regional, and state levels to build political support for SYRCL’s priorities.
Represent SYRCL at events, public meetings, advisory groups, and to the media in areas of responsibility.
Plan and manage department budgets.
Collaborate with the Executive Director and the Development Director on fundraising, focusing on foundations and government-funded opportunities.
Other duties as assigned by the Executive


Required Skills:

An advanced degree in law, environmental policy, or related field is required; substantial work experience can substitute this requirement.
A minimum of five years’ experience in water and/or environmental policy and advocacy, or a related discipline. Experience in water law a plus.
Effective leader with vision and excellent judgment that combines political savvy and strategic acumen with analytical, communications, and messaging skills.
Demonstrated experience running grassroots environmental campaigns and mobilizing volunteers.
Ability to build consensus, develop effective coalitions, and collaborate with diverse interests.
Demonstrated ability to develop effective advocacy strategies, solve problems, raise funds, and manage internal budgets.
Strong research, writing, negotiation, media, and public speaking skills.
Knowledge of federal and state level politics relevant to water and river management.
Understanding of natural resource policy and management issues. Advocacy experience in legislative and administrative forums a plus.
Outstanding written and public speaking skills, strong organization skills, with the ability to take initiative and work independently.
A valid driver’s license and access to reliable transportation is required.
Previous experience with an environmental or non-profit organization a plus.


This position requires frequent computer use, extended periods of time sitting at a desk, and occasional lifting of up to 20 pounds. Additionally, the ability to speak clearly and be understood by others is required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


The compensation package includes an annual salary of $65,000-$80,000 depending on education and experience, starting paid vacation of 14 days per year on an accrual basis, 10 paid holidays, 3 sick days, 100% employer paid health insurance, and 401(k) retirement match (fully vested after 3 years). The position requires occasional travel within California (generally to Sacramento) and occasional nights and weekend work.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Preference will be given to applications received by August 14, 2022. First contact will be a phone screen interview; next round will be a video call panel interview; final candidates will be invited for an in-person interview.


This position is open until filled. Cover letter and resume required for online application submission.

SYRCL is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other protected status. Women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ people, and members of other historically disenfranchised populations are strongly encouraged to apply.


South Yuba River Citizens League