Policy Director – South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)

Nevada City, CA

Position Summary:

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.


  • 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 Director


  • 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.

Salary: $65,000-$80,000

To Apply:

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

For more information please see the position description.

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