Policy Program Director - Wetlands Watch

Post Date: 1/08/2023
Opportunity Type: Job
Organization/Grantor: Wetlands Watch
Position/Title/Fund: Program Policy Director
Deadline: February 15, 2023
Location: Norfolk, Virginia
Contact Info: Skip Stiles: skip.stiles@wetlandswatch.org

Wetlands Watch is seeking a full-time Policy Program Director to help promote nature-driven climate adaptation strategies statewide and beyond. We seek an experienced and creative policy professional to work on a range of issues associated with developing, influencing, and implementing policy responses to the impacts of climate change, specifically sea level rise, recurrent flooding, and increased rainfall intensity. Wetlands Watch participates in climate change planning and policy at all levels of government, working locally on land use and regulatory decisions, state-wide on shoreline regulations and resilience plans, and nationally on “localizing” federal programs. Wetlands Watch’s policy work is critical to accomplish our mission of conserving nature in a changing climate. This position will support Wetlands Watch’s role as a leader in Virginia, working through existing partnerships convened by the Virginia Conservation Network and others.

The Policy Program Director will work closely with the Executive Director, in partnership with staff contributing to existing policy, planning, and outreach initiatives. In addition, the Policy Program Director may develop their own projects to advance the mission of the organization. The hire will work in our Norfolk office, with flexible remote work available. The individual should expect to spend significant time in Richmond and is expected to travel across the state of Virginia and within the U.S., as required. 

As part of our organization, you will:

  • Create a comprehensive policy agenda for each level of relevant government (local, regional, state, and national) that supports the mission and goals of the organization. 
  • Help lead Virginia’s resilience work, operating within existing partnership frameworks. 
  • Advance Wetlands Watch’s “Wetlands Migration Planning” (formerly managed retreat planning) program. 
  • Develop and lead a program to ensure the implementation of climate change considerations in Virginia’s natural resource and land use regulations. 

Wetlands Watch is a statewide environmental non-profit in its 23rd year of working where land, communities, and water meet to conserve nature in a changing climate. We have seven staff and an office in Norfolk, VA. We are one of the only conservation groups in the country working at the local government/ grassroots level to implement climate change adaptation measures on a community scale.

We are a boundary organization that brings academic strategies, scientific findings, and government policies for addressing the impacts of climate change to the decision makers at the front lines of the impacts - local government staff and community members. We also inform those upper level academic and government activities with the needs of front line decision makers. We operate in networks and develop partnerships to advance our goals and maintain a collaborative approach to problem solving.


Applicants must have, at minimum, 5 years of legal and/or policy experience in the nonprofit, educational, governmental, or related sector. Applicants should have a college degree, or higher, in a field related to adaptation (environmental disciplines, policy, law, planning, engineering, landscape architecture, communication, etc.). Applicants must be strong fundraisers and/or grant writers with a proven track record of leading many grant supported projects. Additional areas of experience that will elevate an applicant include experience with Virginia environmental policy, local government planning and zoning, coalition building, the National Flood Insurance Program, shoreline management, and green infrastructure. Proficiency with basic technology is expected. Additionally, we value experience in graphic design, data visualization, and website development and familiarity with G-Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, and ArcGIS.

The job requires the ability to operate independently in a collegial atmosphere that encourages creativity. The position requires the ability to plan and execute a program within the organization, managing grants, budgets, and personnel. The Policy Program Director will be required to travel for multiple days at a time, operating independently out of home or our Norfolk office, and have access to reliable transportation.

Our ideal candidate is:

  • Enthusiastic, outgoing, self-motivated, and able to work independently, as well as possess the ability to collaborate and interact with people of diverse backgrounds including staff, Board members, stakeholders, community members, and donors
  • Deeply knowledgeable about natural and nature based climate change adaptation practices
  • An analytical thinker, detail oriented, and highly organized
  • Proficient in translating complicated, technical information to the general public 
  • Experienced in designing and implementing outreach at the community level
  • Attentive to detail, has good time management skills, and the ability to manage multiple projects, meet deadlines, and organize various events with short- and long-lead schedules
  • An excellent writer and orator, able to communicate in both a technical and accessible capacity
  • Willing to work occasional nights and weekends and travel to meetings and events as needed

This is a rare opportunity to develop expertise in the emerging policy/natural resource field of climate change adaptation, with freedom to innovate and excel in a supportive, collaborative organization. We work at the cutting edge of this field and want someone who can help us stay there!


  • Position has compensation in the range of $50,000-$70,000/year, expenses reimbursed, with health insurance and retirement support, and paid federal holidays
  • Two-weeks paid vacation
  • Mileage, travel, supplies, and normal office expenses in performance with job responsibilities will be reimbursed by Wetlands Watch with appropriate documentation. Mileage reimbursement will be at current GSA rates. Cell phone costs will be partially compensated.
  • Computer and IT needs (software, etc.) will be provided as needed and justified
How to Apply:

Questions and applications must be submitted by February 15th and directed to: Skip Stiles, Executive Director, skip.stiles@wetlandswatch.org, 757-621-1185.

Applications should include a cover letter clearly articulating relevant experience, resume, writing sample, and three references.