Introduction: The Board of Directors of Satilla RiverWatch Alliance, Inc., seeks an outgoing professional to serve as Satilla Riverkeeper® and Executive Director (RK/ED). The RK/ED is responsible for both the business matters of the organization and its environmental action. The RK/ED answers to the Board of Directors and is expected to live somewhere in the watershed. The job involves a normal workweek plus several events per year that occur in evenings or on weekends, including river paddles, fundraisers, workshops, and community outreach events.
The Satilla RiverWatch Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, incorporated in 2003, and licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance®. It has an annual budget of approximately $130,000, with growth potential. The operating budget comes from donations, grants, and proceeds from an annual gala and other fundraisers.
The mission of the Satilla RiverWatch Alliance, Inc. is to protect, restore, and educate about the Satilla River, a beautiful and ecologically unique blackwater river that spans parts of 15 counties in southeastern Georgia, from its headwater tributaries 200 miles inland to its ocean outlet between Cumberland and Jekyll Islands. Cities in the watershed include Brunswick, Waycross, Douglas, and Baxley, among others.
To accomplish the mission, the RK/ED must establish rapport with the general public and policy makers throughout the watershed, industry environmental professionals, environmental agency personnel, potential funding organizations, and partners throughout Georgia and beyond, including the Georgia Water Coalition, the Georgia River Network, Georgia Coast Collaborative, and other Riverkeepers. These various bodies bring diverse points of view to a given issue.
Additional details of the position:
The Satilla RiverWatch Alliance advocates for policy and actions favorable for sustaining, restoring, and appreciating river water quality, quantity, habitat for endemic fish and wildlife, and serenity. We actively work with environmentally regulated industries, government agencies, and legislators to reduce pollution in the river. We base advocacy on scientific evidence, an understanding of engineering limitations, the support of our members, and familiarity with laws, regulations, and the legislative process. The organization is committed to an evidence-based and policy-based approach to addressing issues. The successful candidate must share this commitment.
To accomplish our mission we must be aware of disturbances and pollutants of water, soil, and air as they affect the river. We patrol, detect, report, and seek remedies for violations of environmental law and regulation. We ask our members to be our eyes and ears. We first pursue cooperation with polluters and regulators. If that fails, we can work with other environmental organizations in Georgia, including nonprofit environmental law firms should a lawsuit become necessary.
In addition to being the lead advocate for the mission, the RK/ED will supervise a full or part-time staff and occasional interns, and will coordinate volunteers for river monitoring and various fundraising, educational, and river-appreciation events. Members of the Board of Directors and the general members of the organization are often called upon to help with these events.
The job has three main aspects: 1) running the business of a nonprofit Waterkeeper® organization, 2) being the “go to” person for addressing environmental issues that pertain to the river and its watershed, and 3) fundraising that includes event planning, membership recruitment, seeking grants, and related public awareness efforts.
The position involves a broad range of actions, for which few will be fully prepared. It is essential to know how to learn independently. The successful candidate must maintain the status of the organization as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity and ensure that the organization adheres to the Quality Standards of the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Riverkeeper must use effective people skills to motivate volunteers, stimulate donations, apply for and manage grants, and educate the public about the river. The successful applicant will need to network with other riverkeepers and environmental groups, and learn aspects of environmental regulation and science as issues arise. The RK/ED must also see that bills are paid, financial and tax records properly kept, and databases and equipment maintained, including membership, computers, a small outboard motorboat & trailer, 6 kayaks & trailer, and field data collection equipment.
The Satilla River is a blackwater coastal plain river with unique fish and wildlife. The watershed is home to 120,000 people. Planted pine forest, coastal sands and clays, and wetlands define much of the region’s landscape.
Environmental concerns include impacts to fish, wildlife, public health, wetlands, tidal marshes, river and subsurface water quantity and water quality. Activities to be actively monitored may include titanium and zirconium sand mining, forestry practices, wastewater treatment, fuel pipelines, paper mills, coal-fired power plants, solid and hazardous waste disposal sites, poultry processing, agricultural practices, residential and industrial development, and invasive plant and animal species. The Satilla Riverkeeper/Executive Director position provides an opportunity to positively impact the environment of southeastern Georgia and to join coalitions to protect Georgia’s coast and all of Georgia’s natural waters.
The job is complex with more to do for the environment than can be done. Each person brings different talents and abilities, and can accomplish some fraction. Therefore to be most effective with the mission the RK/ED is given a good deal of freedom to operate and devise the way forward, networking with others, and soliciting advice from the Board of Directors as needed. The Board of Directors in turn manages the RK/ED through its written policies, its advice if solicited, and an annual performance evaluation done with respect to a general expectation of progress with the mission, adherence to written policies and work plans, and this job description.
Starting salary: Somewhat negotiable, please state minimum requirements. Paid vacation, holidays, and sick leave.
Salary growth potential: Determined by Board of Directors through an annual evaluation of mission effectiveness, member support, and available financial means.
Position availability: Position will remain open until filled.
Application deadline: Preference will be given to applications received by May 9th, 2021, after which review will begin. Late applications considered at the discretion of the Search Committee.
To apply: Applications accepted by e-mail. Send resumé, names and contact information of three references, minimum salary requirements, and a letter stating your reasons for interest in the position to:
Clay L. Montague, Chair
Satilla Riverkeeper/Executive Director Search Committee
Tel. (912) 265-5435
After an initial screening, the following may be requested: complete curriculum vitae, college transcripts, proof of any professional certifications, an example document you have written, and three letters of recommendation.
Degree in natural, physical, or behavioral sciences;
Advanced degree, or relevant experience with an environmental nonprofit, agency, consulting firm, or law firm;
Experience with complex issues that require organizational effectiveness and attention to detail.
Socially confident and empathetic, able to engage and influence a variety of stakeholders, community, and staff; and to anticipate unique needs of different audiences;
Networking and other ability to build community and collaborative relationships;
Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills;
Fundraising and community organizing abilities;
Skilled with current and emerging electronic media and communication methods.
Familiarity with personal computer and online tools, including word processing, spreadsheets, member database management, and bookkeeping software.
Experience with environmental field measurements, evidence evaluation, and data interpretation;
Ability to deploy and operate a small boat on the river;
Ability to work year-round in the southeastern Georgia environment.
Driver’s license and independent transportation;
Able to lift 40 lbs.
Ability to supervise staff, temporary interns, and volunteers.
Willingness to work various annual and quarterly events that occur on weekends and evenings.