Water Program Manager  

Walker Basin Conservancy Published: September 13, 2022
Reno, Nevada
Skill Level
Mid Level
Job Type
Natural Resources/ Restoration / Planning / Land Use / Program Management

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The Walker Basin Conservancy (Conservancy) leads the effort to restore and maintain Walker Lake while protecting agricultural, environmental and recreational interests in the Walker Basin. The Conservancy acquires water rights and ranches to increase freshwater flows to Walker Lake. We re-establish native plant communities on former agricultural fields, increase public access and recreation opportunities, and develop practical solutions to save Walker Lake.

From creating Nevada’s newest State Park (the Walker River State Recreation Area) to adding thousands of acres to Wildlife Management Areas, our work impacts thousands of community members, ranchers and recreationists every year. The Conservancy operates a nursery that produced more than 25,000 native plants in 2021 and produces native seed for conservation purposes on its properties. Our team comprises approximately 30 full-time employees and between 15 and 40 AmeriCorps Members given the season.

We invite you to join us in our ambitious mission to restore Walker Lake. The Conservancy has an inclusive, positive culture that values work-life balance and growth opportunities. Our generous benefits package further separates us from other non-profits and local employers.

  • Location: Reno, Smith Valley, Yerington, or Schurz, Nevada, with frequent travel to Yerington and other locations within the Walker Basin.
  • Reports to: Water Program Director.

Job Purpose

The Water Program Manager has the opportunity to implement and continuously improve one of the most ambitious freshwater acquisition and streamflow enhancement programs in North America. Reporting to the Water Program Director, this position works closely with key partners and other program managers to develop long-term opportunities related to water management and improving flows to Walker Lake.

This position plays a fundamental role building relationships with partnering government agencies, nonprofit organizations and individuals focused on comprehensive improvements to water management and making key strides in the development of opportunities to improver streamflow restoration. The Water Program Manager assists in effective and efficient management of the organization’s acquisition program. The ideal candidate has excellent interpersonal skills, enjoy networking and developing new relationships with partners and potential sellers. Must possess a vision to develop, innovate, and grow the Conservancy’s water acquisition program. The Manager thrives working in a rural setting, has the demeanor to effectively build partnerships and works closely with farmers and ranchers in the community. The successful candidate has proven ability to learn quickly and effectively communicate with all levels of the organization. This is a dynamic position, which offers opportunities for the right candidate to develop independent projects and further develop opportunities in collaboration with the Water Program Director.

Essential Functions


  • Proactively develop new relationships and cultivate rapport with potential sellers;
  • Identify new acquisition strategies and new sales opportunities;
  • Participate in negotiations with willing sellers on water acquisitions and answer their questions and concerns throughout all stages of a transaction;
  • Understand the local real estate market and regularly meet with local real estate agents;
  • Maintain regular communications with Conservancy staff, grantors, technical consultants and outside legal counsel regarding acquisitions;
  • Provide oversight of escrow activities and due diligence required in closing water acquisitions; and
  • Create and distribute marketing materials.

Outreach and Program Development

  • Develop and expand existing relationships with potential sellers, key partners and water users in the Basin;
  • Regularly attend meetings and events in an effort to continually expand our presence in the community;
  • Contribute to the creation of partnership and funding proposals;
  • Effectively represent the Conservancy and its values in a public setting; and
  • Assist in messaging and communication of the programmatic activities.

Water Asset Management

  • Assist in the overall expansion and development of new opportunities:
  • Work with the Conservation Director to develop new projects that promote the organization’s purposes;
  • Support field operations out of the Yerington office;
  • Assist in the development and management of water use plans on an annual basis (i.e., tracking water rights, leasing and transfer of water rights, etc.);
  • Work closely with other staff on water management use in the field and manage all field needs related to ditch use and maintenance; and
  • Assist in the management of existing databases used to track water assets and inform water management decisions.

Physical and Mental/Intellectual Requirements

Strength, dexterity, and coordination to use keyboard and video display terminal for prolonged periods. Strength and stamina to bend, stoop, sit, and stand for long periods of time. Dexterity and coordination to handle files and single pieces of paper; occasional lifting of files, stacks of paper or reports, references, and other materials. Some reaching for items above and below desk level. Some bending, squatting, and stooping to access files and records is necessary. The manual dexterity and cognitive ability to operate a personal computer using word processing and databases. The ability to interact professionally, communicate effectively, and exchange information accurately with all internal and external customers. Ability to appropriately handle stress and interact with others, including supervisors, coworkers, clients, and customers. Regular and consistent punctuality and attendance. Light lifting (up to 25 pounds) is occasionally required.

In compliance with applicable disability laws, reasonable accommodations may be provided for qualified individuals with a disability who require and request such accommodations.  Applicants and incumbents are encouraged to discuss potential accommodations with the employer.

Working Conditions

Position functions indoors in an office type environment where most work is performed at a desk.  Position may occasionally be required to travel by car to pick up or deliver material.  Environment is generally clean with limited exposure to conditions such as dust, fumes, noise, or odors.  Frequent interruptions to planned work activities occur.


  • Strong commitment to collaborative conservation efforts;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with a string drive to network and pursue building new relationships;
  • Effective negotiation and communication skills;
  • Drive and self-direction to lead acquisition efforts that will restore Walker Lake;
  • Demonstrated experience in building partnerships or communicating with diverse stakeholders, especially in a rural setting;
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and with cross-functional teams;
  • Prior experience working with farmers, ranchers, agricultural and rural communities;
  • Innovation and creativity, looking to develop new directions, strategies and vision for the acquisitions program;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent computer skills and proficiency in GIS, Excel, Word, and Outlook; and
  • Recommend B.S. degree in natural resources management or sciences; environmental policy or law; MBA or JD; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.


  • Salary range of $50,000-$69,000, commensurate with experience.
  • Excellent employee benefits package which includes:
    • Employer paid health, dental and vision plans for employee (worth over $5,200 annually);
    • Life insurance plan for employee (pays up to 1x employee’s yearly salary to beneficiary)
    • Retirement 403(b) plan including a Conservancy contribution equal to 6% of your salary ($1,996 to $2,745 annually);
    • 120 hours of annual paid vacation, increasing to 160 hours after first year, 16 hours of annual personal leave, and 60 hours of annual sick leave;
    • 12 paid holidays plus a Conservancy paid holiday week between Christmas and New Year’s;
    • Health and wellness subsidy of up to $300 annually and access to outdoor industry pro-deals.
    • Uniform stipend of up to $200 annually, along with some uniform pieces being provided;
    • Monthly cell phone reimbursement of $35 ($420 annually); and
    • Employer paid professional development.

To Apply

  • Please click "Apply" below to email cover letter and resume to Amy Gladding. Type "Water Program Manager" into subject line.
    • All applicants must also submit a Employment Application Acknowledgement form that can be found on our website at: https://www.walkerbasin.org/join-our-team
    • Please call (775) 463-9887 ext. 116 with questions.
    • Position will remain open until filled. Only top candidates will be contacted.

Walker Basin Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer.

Equal Opportunity Statement – Walker Basin Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer. WBC does not discriminate against any employee, applicant, director, officer, contractor, or any other person with whom it deals because of race, creed, color, disability, age, sex, veteran status, religion or political affiliation. WBC complies with all federal and local statutes prohibiting discrimination in employment.

Reasonable accommodations may be provided for qualified individuals with a disability.

Disclaimer – The statements contained herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work to be performed by the employees in these positions. The statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in each position. Other responsibilities, duties, and skills may be assigned and management retains the right to add or change the responsibilities, duties, and skills at any time. 

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