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We are hiring: Mass. water resources project manager

Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC) seeks a full-time Project Manager to join our growing team. This role is ideal for someone who is a highly organized self-starter and prides themselves on 1) technical skills in water resources and ecological restoration, 2) facilitation and leadership skills, and 3) project management experience. If you have a strong work ethic, passionate drive, and enduring commitment to ecological restoration and climate resilience in our watershed, consider joining our team.

About MRWC: The MRWC is a nonprofit environmental organization that protects and improves the Merrimack River Watershed for all people and wildlife through science, restoration, education, recreation, and advocacy. We work with diverse stakeholders, decision makers and communities to address threats including water pollution, habitat loss, aging infrastructure, and climate change. MRWC has a main office in Lawrence, Massachusetts and a secondary office in Concord, New Hampshire. However, MRWC works throughout the entire 5,000 square mile watershed, which begins in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and flows out to the ocean at Newburyport and Salisbury, Massachusetts.

About the Position: The Project Manager will: 1) develop and implement ecological restoration and climate resilience projects in MA, 2) manage a regional restoration partnership funded through MA DER and 3) collaborate with the MA Water Quality Project Manager and NH Water Resources Project Manager to achieve organizational watershed-wide goals.

The primary responsibility of the Project Manager is to lead the Merrimack Restoration Partnership in the planning and implementation of restoration projects across the watershed. The Merrimack Restoration Partnership is a coalition of 6 NGOs working collaboratively to identify and advance ecological restoration projects in the Massachusetts portion of the watershed. The Partnership is funded through MA DER to build regional capacity to identify, develop and implement high priority projects such as river and stream barrier removal, urban stream revitalization and wetland restoration.

The Project Manager must have a commitment to a collaborative, partnership-based atmosphere, and knowledge of local, state, and federal natural resource agencies. The ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects/deadlines is key to success in this position. The Project Manager should have a working knowledge of ecological restoration, watershed management, conservation planning, and monitoring.

The Project Manager will facilitate regular Partnership meetings, provide review of restoration projects, and assist partner organizations in identifying, prioritizing and acquiring funding for restoration projects. This involves developing and reviewing subcontractor and partner scopes of work and ensuring alignment with MA DER’s goals and priorities, coordinating development of proposals and facilitating collaboration and cross-learning among partners. The Project Manager will also identify and implement prioritized projects such as dam removals, which includes outreach to landowners, stakeholders, and community members, developing proposals, facilitating and supporting permitting, reviewing project designs, attending public meetings and leading community outreach efforts to ensure the success of projects on the ground.

This position currently does not currently supervise other staff; however, the position may supervise AmeriCorps interns in future years. If the right candidate emerges from the hiring process, MRWC would consider elevating this position to a Program Manager position which would include the above responsibilities as well as the supervision of other MRWC projects.   

Location: This position is based out of our Lawrence, MA office, and all work will take place in Massachusetts. MRWC operates on a hybrid office/remote model, but the Project Manager must be based within or in easily commutable distance of the Merrimack Valley. Project activities occur throughout the watershed so regular travel should be expected.

Schedule: Full-time exempt with options for flexible scheduling. This position requires occasional early morning or evening meetings, and occasional weekend events.

Working Conditions: Work performed outdoors may be in inclement weather and around construction equipment. Sufficient mobility is required to navigate uneven terrain, steep slopes, moving water and other field conditions.

Key Responsibilities:
  • Water Resources and Ecological Restoration:
    • Serve as project leader for a variety of planning, assessment and/or implementation projects aimed at restoring habitat, improving climate resilience, improving water quality and increasing community connections to their natural resources, including: dam removal, riparian re-vegetation, in-stream restoration, water quality restoration, urban stream revitalization and green stormwater infrastructure.
    • Prepare project plans, schedules, budgets and funding applications.
    • Conduct strategic outreach to landowners and stakeholders to identify and advance new restoration projects
    • Perform assessments of the Merrimack and its tributaries from existing data and field verifications to identify restoration opportunities
    • Evaluate cost of implementation and social feasibility of restoration projects.
    • Facilitate outreach and build support for watershed restoration activities and their broad benefits through StoryMaps, our website, social media, surveys, and the development of other communication tools
    • Communicate effectively to both technical and non-technical audiences about science, policy, and benefits of ecological restoration.
    • Participate on natural resource committees and other partnerships
    • Attend and present at public meetings
Project Management:
  • Build enduring partnerships with municipal staff, state and federal agencies, and other NGOs
    • Manage project budgets
    • Manage grant contract reporting and compliance
    • Contract and oversee project partners and subcontractors
    • Pursue and manage various grant funding sources
    • Maintain organize project files, budgets, scopes of work and other relevant information
  • DER Partnership Facilitation:
    • Lead the implementation of a 3-5 year MA DER funded program
    • Coordinate and facilitate 5 partner organizations in the Partnership: Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust, Groundwork Lawrence, OARS, Nashua River Watershed Association and Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
    • Lead monthly or quarterly meetings to continue the development and advancement of the Partnership
    • Align partner projects and goals with MA DER project eligibility
    • Facilitate collaboration and cross-learning among partners
    • Combine partner projects into an over all watershed wide Implementation Plan, and update the plan regularly
    • Develop budgets and scopes of work for continued MA DER funding
    • Work closely with MA DER staff to provide feedback and learnings about the Partnership program
    • Manage a complex budget and work with MRWC accountants on auditable budget transactions, reports and documentation.
Required Qualifications:

At MRWC, our goal is to find the best candidate for the job. While the qualifications below aim to outline the expected qualities and areas of expertise that would make a candidate successful, we understand that there are valuable areas of both lived and professional experience that you may have that may not be captured here. We encourage you to apply, even if you feel you may not meet all of the qualifications outlined here, are differently qualified, and/or if you have a less traditional background. Ultimately, we seek a Project Manager who is a collaborative self-starter, motivated to take on new challenges, passionate about making change in the Merrimack River Watershed and MRWC’s mission, and seeks to grow their career in ecological restoration.

  • Strategic thinker with desire to develop collaborative solutions to complex problems
  • Demonstrated success leading groups
  • Excellent inter-personal, verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to manage complex projects
  • A team player with strong diplomacy, interpersonal and problem-solving skills, an enthusiastic approach to the organization’s mission
  • Either a Master’s degree in water resources management, ecological restoration, aquatic biology, ecology, hydrology, civil or environmental engineering, landscape architecture or a related field + minimum two years of relevant work experience, OR a Bachelor’s degree in above mentioned fields + four years relevant work experience
  • Strong computer skills including proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, ArcGIS and ArcGIS Online
Preferred Qualifications:
  • Experience managing $200,000 grant budgets
  • Demonstrated success working with a coalition of multiple local, state, and federal partners or other collaborative efforts that include identifying and encouraging common ground among stakeholder groups with diverse interests, missions and priorities
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and lead the implementation of ecological restoration projects, including construction projects that require complex permitting, developing project plans, coordinating project teams, managing budgets, preparing scopes of work, managing engineering and construction contracts, obtaining funding through grants and other sources, and complying with regulations
  • Demonstrated success managing state and/or federal grants
  • Budget management proficiency. This role will have significant responsibility managing regular and auditable transactions.
Salary and Benefits:

Starting salary is dependent on experience, with a range of $60,000-$68,000 for the Project Manager position. (If a Program Manager position is offered to a candidate, the salary range could increase up to an additional $10,000.) Benefits package includes a health insurance stipend, retirement account with company match and mileage reimbursement for work travel.

To Apply:

Submit a cover letter and resume to with the subject line “MA Water Resources Project Manager.” Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. Applications should be submitted by end of day May 29, 2023: however aplications will be accepted until the position is filled   No calls, please.

At the Merrimack River Watershed Council, we don’t just value difference — we celebrate it and we thrive on it for the benefit of our employees, our services, and our community. MRWC is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.