Stewardship Director: Bitterroot Valley, Montana

Bitter Root Land Trust
Hamilton, MT
Job Category
Last Date to Apply
Position Overview: The Stewardship Director implements and oversees BRLT’s stewardship program, including maintaining trusted and professional relationships with conservation easement landowners on roughly 13,000 acres. The position's primary responsibility is tracking, monitoring, and managing existing conservation easements on private land. The position requires frequent engagement with landowners to maintain good communication and to manage obligations and rights under conservation easements. The position entails primary responsibility for annual stewardship monitoring visits, reviewing reserved-right requests, identifying possible easement violations, and providing resources to landowners who request technical or financial land management assistance. The Stewardship Director will work in conjunction with the Executive Director to develop the Stewardship program. The Stewardship Director is responsible for ensuring the Land Trust’s compliance with the stewardship requirements as set forth in the national Land Trust Standards and Practices and Land Trust Accreditation requirements. This position also manages and reports to Terrafirma, the conservation defense insurance provider. About the Bitterroot Valley: Situated between the gentle Sapphires and rugged Bitterroot Mountains and bisected by the Bitterroot River, the Bitterroot Valley is home to a tremendous diversity of fish and wildlife, from bighorn sheep and elk to cutthroat trout and bald eagles. Rich soils in the valley support the historic farms and ranches that shape the culture and character of our region. Our office is in Hamilton, MT, situated at the gateway to the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness and a broad array of outdoor pursuits. About Bitter Root Land Trust Founded in 1996, the Bitter Root Land Trust is the only land trust focused exclusively on the needs and challenges of land conservation in the Bitterroot Valley. Since its inception, the Bitter Root Land Trust has grown into a trusted community partner, earning a reputation for excellence in conservation in the intermountain west. The Stewardship Director will join a growing staff of 10 and a 15-member Board of Directors. The Bitter Root Land Trust is proud to be an Accredited land trust, initially earning accreditation in 2013. BRLT holds 55 conservation easements protecting water resources, wildlife habitat, and working lands, while also facilitating several riverfront parks, fishing access sites, and other community-based recreational properties. Scope of Work: Conservation Easement and Fee Land Monitoring: The Stewardship Director is responsible for leading BRLT’s stewardship programs, including annual conservation easement monitoring, strengthening landowner relations, and maintaining the professionalism and repeatability of BRLT’s monitoring and enforcement procedures. Land Management Resources: The Stewardship Director is also responsible for creating and implementing BRLT’s land management programs which provide financial and technical resources to BRLT conservation easement landowners and other landowners within our service area. Other Duties All BRLT employees are expected to assist in strategic planning, and events, and act as ambassadors for BRLT’s conservation, stewardship, and community enhancement efforts. Areas of Responsibility: Stewardship (60%): • Ensure BRLT’s growing conservation easement and fee-owned portfolio (55 easements, 1 fee-owned property) is monitored annually. • Establish and maintain strong relationships with BRLT conservation easement landowners. • Interpret legal and technical documents (conservation easements, baseline studies, and partner agreements) to assess compliance with easement terms, in coordination with BRLT’s Executive Director and external legal counsel when appropriate. • Create and manage long-term records of stewardship visits and work with third-party interest holders to ensure they have the required monitoring documentation. • Review, respond to, and (if applicable) process any landowner requests to exercise reserved rights. • Lead BRLT’s in-house team and external counsel in responding to conservation easement violations. • Work with landowners, legal counsel, and other staff to resolve conservation easement violations. • Create and update monitoring and stewardship policies and procedures as necessary. • Strengthen existing conservation documents pursuant to BRLT policy and LTA Standards & Practices, including making improvements to existing baseline documentation. • Update and maintain all stewardship records in appropriate project files. • Ensure partners, including NRCS and Ravalli County, are properly notified of stewardship actions when required. Provide copies of annual monitoring reports, when required. • Assist conservation staff in creating and maintaining project files according to BRLT policy, including in-office, off-site, and digital records storage. • Provide timely reports regarding BRLT’s stewardship and enforcement activities to BRLT staff, committees, and Board, as required by BRLT policy and procedure. • Manage the relationship with Terrafirma, the Land Trust’s conservation defense insurance carrier. Promptly report actual and potential claims to Terrafirma and seek insurance coverage for prosecution or defense of all violations or threats. • Generate maps as needed to update BRLT’s stewardship files. New Conservation Easement Review and Collaboration (5%) • Review new conservation easement deeds and management plans in collaboration with the Lands Team. • Assist with management plan drafting and baseline report drafting, as needed. Land Management Resources (20%): • Administer and develop BRLT’s resource stewardship program providing financial and professional resources to landowners that help address stewardship challenges on their land. • Maintain and enhance relationships with stewardship partners including landowners/managers, NGOs, agencies, and funders. • Develop and oversee the implementation of new programs to enhance landowner relationships. • Write and report on technical grants to support BRLT’s resource management program. • Identify potential restoration projects on BRLT conservation easement lands and work with partners to complete such projects. • Develop tools to connect BRLT conservation easement donors to BRLT board, staff, and organizational priorities including stewardship newsletters and landowner gatherings. Additional Duties (15%): • Develop and review the annual Stewardship Program budget, Stewardship Fund, and work plan. • Attend BRLT outreach and fundraising functions, as assigned. • Assume an active role in BRLT strategic planning. • Seek opportunities to stay current and familiar with innovative, state-of-the-art stewardship programs and emerging stewardship program advancements. • Participate in monthly Director meetings. • Participate in monthly Lands Committee meetings and coordinate on projects with the Land Conservation team as needed. • At all times, act as an ambassador for BRLT, its mission, and its programs. • Provide stewardship-related content for the Land Trust’s communication materials. • Work with the Development Director to promote BRLT’s planned giving program. • Other duties as assigned.
The posting period closes on April 23, 2023. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please send a cover letter, resume, references, and salary requirements to Operations Director, Kori Anderson, at No phone calls, please. Required Qualifications • Minimum bachelor’s degree in natural resources management, range science, wildlife, agriculture, or other related fields of study and/or applicable experience. • Five years of experience, preferably in conservation easement and fee land stewardship and enforcement, natural resources management, agriculture, or another applicable field. • Demonstrated ability to create lasting interpersonal relationships with the ability to maintain relationships and have difficult conversations with people from diverse backgrounds. • Ability to assess and manage risk, and experience with resolving disputes. • Demonstrated experience with databases, and recordkeeping. • Demonstrated expertise with standard field sampling techniques, map orientation, and interpretation, GIS mapping (particularly ArcGIS), GPS and field marking, and associated software applications. • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal) and the ability to work with a wide variety of individuals, including private landowners, staff, board members, and volunteers. • Experience working with landowners on resource management issues and/or legal issues preferred. • Well-organized and self-directed, with great attention to detail. • A valid driver’s license, access to a dependable vehicle, and the ability to drive to conservation easements. • Outstanding computer skills, including proficiency in Microsoft Office suite (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and comfort working within cloud-based data management systems (e.g. Box, Google Drive). • Knowledge of Rocky Mountain natural history/ecology and land management techniques, or a strong willingness to learn. Preferred Qualifications • Non-profit or mission-driven professional experience. • Land Trust experience, and familiarity with the Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices. • Experience working in a rural western community that is culturally and politically diverse. • Demonstrated interest in land conservation and environmental issues. • Demonstrated ability to develop and lead a department/team. • Demonstrated experience in the development, management, and implementation of annual work plans and associated budgets. • Willingness to work evenings and weekends on occasion. • Demonstrated technical grant-writing ability, and experience with grant management and grant reporting. • Experience reading and interpreting legal documents. • Experience working with litigation counsel. • Experience in forest management, rangeland ecology, or other resource management field. Basic conditions of employment form the fundamental performance requirements for continued employment. All employees are ambassadors of BRLT and are expected to support and fulfill the organization’s mission. Regardless of job title, all employees must demonstrate the following minimum requirements for continued employment. In addition, the employee must read, understand, and comply with all policies and procedures. • 1) Donor Relationships: Identify key individuals, businesses, foundations, and partner groups to support the work of the land trust. • 2) Quality: Comply with established requirements for job performance methods, procedures, and standards. • 3) Professional Conduct: Comply with established employment policies and practices. Maintain confidentiality of client, member/contributor, and employee information. Accept direction and provide direction in a cooperative and positive manner. • 4) Personal Conduct: Engage in personal conduct that is honest, respectful, courteous, and dignified as well as legal, ethical, dependable, and reliable. Demonstrate appropriate dress and personal hygiene. • 5) Competency: Develop and maintain skills, knowledge, and abilities required for the adequate performance of assigned job duties. The Bitter Root Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer
Contact Person
Kori Anderson, Operations Director
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