Riverkeeper is seeking an experienced scientist with vision to fill the role of Science Director, a new position that will redesign Riverkeeper’s water quality monitoring programs, and oversee its Habitat Restoration Program. A member of Riverkeeper’s management team, the Science Director will have a high-profile voice on water quality issues, including climate impacts, affecting the Hudson River and its tributaries, and associated drinking water supplies. In addition to demonstrated water quality science knowledge, the position requires strong strategic planning, stakeholder and partner collaboration, management, and data communications skills. The position requires a command of scientific issues related to recreational and drinking water quality, as well as fluency with related regulatory and policy issues. The position requires extensive and effective collaboration with Riverkeeper’s Community Science Manager, its Habitat Restoration Team, its President, and with its legal, advocacy, communications and development teams.
Since 2006, Riverkeeper has monitored water quality in the Hudson River Estuary and its tributaries, focused on measuring fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) to answer questions about when and where the water is safe for recreation. This data has been gathered on the Estuary primarily from Riverkeeper’s patrol boat and in partnership with Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and for many years CUNY Queens College. In tributaries, data has been gathered with the partnership of dozens of community scientists who volunteer time to gather samples. Advocacy built on the program has had significant impact, including contributing to millions of dollars of wastewater infrastructure investments, and helping to establish new programs devoted to drinking water source protection. Riverkeeper maintains lab equipment for FIB in its own office space at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, at the Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, and on our own or partner boats. Riverkeeper envisions building on pilot youth engagement efforts to support education and employment of youth centered on Riverkeeper’s, and partner labs.
Riverkeeper envisions building on this foundational data collection effort by creating a new monitoring program that will gather broader datasets that are relevant to concerns such as climate impacts, ecological change, public health and environmental justice.
Duties & Responsibilities
Specific duties and responsibilities include:
Design, Implement and Direct Water Quality Monitoring Program
● Design and implement a high-impact and fundable water quality monitoring program for Riverkeeper that gathers data key to understanding pressing issues related to drinking and recreational water quality, climate change and ecological health;
● Convene experts and assemble a Technical Advisory Committee with scientific, regulatory and grassroots stakeholders to identify gaps in current water quality, water quantity and related data sets, with a particular focus on data that informs climate resilience and adaptation planning;
● Convene annual events to explore threats to water quality and build our community of practice;
● Draft and follow a Quality Assurance Project Plan for the project, with annual updates;
● Collaborate with the Community Science Manager to implement community science aspects of the project, including training and data quality assurance, communications, community and volunteer engagement, youth mentorship, and collaboration with partner labs;
● Serve as chief water quality data analyst and data communicator for the organization, and ensure that all data are managed responsibly;
● Contribute to the redesign of Riverkeeper.org’s water quality portal, which will visualize data for public use;
● Develop and implement plans for expanding Riverkeeper’s lab capacity and lab partnerships, including ELAP certifications as needed;
● Update protocols to address community concerns such as fish kills, sewage leaks, HABs, enlisting our own or partner lab capabilities to support community needs;
● Collaborate with other Riverkeeper teams to develop and implement advocacy strategies to improve water quality in the Hudson River and its tributaries, including state and federal policy agendas;
● Serve as a spokesperson for the organization, and as a representative on regional and statewide committees and task forces related to the job duties and expertise.
● Participate in decision-making for the organization, providing input and feedback as part of the senior management team;
● Effectively track and regularly report program outputs and outcomes to the board and staff;
● Identify challenges and emerging issues Riverkeeper faces and provide clear and constructive approaches to them;
● Communicate management decisions effectively to team members, and ensure decision-making is appropriately inclusive of staff team perspectives;
● Support the goals and strategies identified by Riverkeeper’s ongoing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice initiative;
● Promote and champion an equitable and inclusive work environment.
Management and supervision of the Habitat Restoration Program
● Supervisor of the water quality monitoring team members including the Community Science Manager who manages the network of volunteer water testers;
● Supervisor of the seasonal water quality monitoring technical staff, including boat captain;
● Support the Director of Habitat Restoration and the Habitat Restoration team which is dedicated to removing obsolete dams that block fish migrations, and advocacy on fisheries and habitat issues;
● Report to the President.
● Create and implement annual work plans for each direct report, including the Community Science Manager and seasonal staff and interns working to support monitoring programs; and the Habitat Restoration Director;
● Draft and manage an annual budget for the Water Quality Monitoring Program, in consultation with the program teams, the President and Chief Financial Officer;
● In collaboration with the Director of Habitat Restoration, draft an annual budget for the Habitat Restoration Program, in consultation with the program teams, the President and Chief Financial Officer;
● Create a positive and productive work environment, and identify professional development needs and opportunities for each team member;
● Mentor and manage team members, including annual performance appraisal process, professional development, etc.;
● Lead recruitment, hiring and training of new staff as needed;
● Riverkeeper prides itself on running a lean operation and creative workarounds are sought and encouraged.
The listed responsibilities are intended to describe the essential functions of the position. They are not an exhaustive list of all job duties, responsibilities, and requirements.
Did you know that research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications? Please know that no one ever meets 100% of the qualifications. If much of this describes you, we encourage you to apply.
This might be the right next role for you if you have at least 10 years of relevant experience, and would likely be described as:
● A water quality scientist with a PhD or equivalent experience
● Experience designing and implementing science projects that inform public decision-making;
● A communicator with strong data visualization ideas;
● A collaborator who values expertise and input from various perspectives, including not only scientific and regulatory, but community and grassroots stakeholders;
● A manager with experience creating a supportive environment that gets the best out of a team, and who is able to prioritize, delegate, and handle multiple projects and deadlines;
● A team leader who is self-motivated and able to maintain focus on key long-term goals while responding to shifting short-term demands;
● Having a strong commitment to the mission, vision, values and goals of Riverkeeper;
● Having a connection to the Hudson River and a familiarity with Riverkeeper’s priority issues;
● Able to travel throughout the Hudson River Watershed and New York City;
● Willingness to work outside in the field, at times in difficult and physically demanding conditions;
● Fully vaccinated for Covid-19;
● Boat operator experience preferred.
Riverkeeper is based in Ossining, New York, with an additional office in Kingston, NY. This position will be located primarily in the Kingston office, with the need to travel to Ossining regularly, and with flexibility to have a hybrid (in-office and work from home) schedule. All in-office staff follow Covid safety protocols as/when needed. Currently (as of April 2023), there are no restrictions.
Compensation and Benefits
This is a band 3 position. Compensation is commensurate with experience ranging from $90-120K. This exempt position is full time (37.5 hours/week) and must be flexible to work some nights and occasional weekends. Riverkeeper offers health, dental, vision, life and disability coverage, retirement match, vacation, sick, personal days, as well as parental leave and other benefits.
Please submit a resume, cover letter, and a description of a water quality science project that you believe demonstrates your capabilities. Send materials via email to [email protected]. Please write ‘Science Director’ in the subject line. This position will be open until filled.
Riverkeeper is an AA/EEO employer. Riverkeeper is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding, and enables each of us to realize our potential. Our work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law. People from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply