Rappahannock River Steward- Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula

Who We Are

Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) is an environmental nonprofit organization founded in 1985 to be the voice and active force for a healthy and scenic Rappahannock River. We are educators, advocates, scientists, outdoor enthusiasts, students, and volunteers. We serve all 18 counties which form the Rappahannock River watershed. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. We manage three primary programs including: advocacy, restoration, and education. 

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental nonprofit working to create a world where people and nature can thrive. Founded at its grassroots in the United States in 1951, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than a million members and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff and more than 400 scientists, we impact conservation in 79 countries and territories across 6 continents.

Friends of the Rappahannock is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on race, color, religious creed, gender, national origin, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, or disability. We are inclusive. We believe diversity drives innovation. We are always growing our partnerships and believe it takes a watershed to make a difference. We strongly encourage applications from People of Color, LGBTQ+ people, and those who are members of other marginalized communities.


Friends of the Rappahannock and The Nature Conservancy are jointly seeking a motivated and outgoing leader to lead local efforts to increase awareness and implementation of wetland restoration opportunities and implementation of our oyster restoration program. These programs will be focused in the Rappahannock River watershed portions of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.  The River Steward will represent Friends of the Rappahannock, The Nature Conservancy and their partners by engaging landowners, establishing a network of trusted experts and advisors, coordinating with the Rappahannock River Roundtable, and accelerating the implementation of high priority restoration projects in the watershed. 

The successful candidate will live and work in the Northern Neck or Middle Peninsula and be supported by organizational staff from Friends of the Rappahannock and the Virginia Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. This position will coordinate with the long-standing partnerships of the Rappahannock River Roundtable and the Rappahannock Partners (working on land conservation priorities). Preference will be given to candidates with experience in wetland restoration and working with agricultural landowners. An understanding of non-profit conservation organizations, state and federal agencies (ex., Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service) will be helpful, but not required. 

It is expected that the candidate for this position will cultivate and grow a network of partners, landowners, members, and volunteers to increase enrollment in restoration programs, projects, and events.

Most importantly, the successful candidate seeks to build relationships, desires to learn, is self-motivated and wants to make a significant impact toward improving the health of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay.

The Rappahannock River Steward will be based in FOR’s Tappahannock, VA office with the flexibility to telework as needed and will report to the FOR Tidal Programs manager. All River Stewards receive support and technical assistance from the entire FOR team. 

Compensation: This is a full time position with anticipated salary of $45,000-$50,000 commensurate with experience.

Organizational Competencies
Builds Relationships Builds productive relationships by interacting with others in ways that enhance mutual trust and commitment. 
Collaboration and Teamwork Works collaboratively with stakeholders across levels, geographies, backgrounds, and cultures to improve decisions, strengthen commitment, and be more effective. 
Communicates Authentically  Communicates proactively and in a timely manner to share information, persuade, and influence with the appropriate level of detail, tone, and opportunities for feedback.  
Develops Others Takes ownership to help develop others’ skills, behaviors, and mindsets to help them maximize their workplace contributions
Drives for Results Sets challenging goals and objectives based on a strong sense of purpose and high-performance standards and steadfastly pushes self and others for tangible results, while ensuring work-life balance. 
Leverages Differences Demonstrates commitment to harnessing the power of differences strategically; consistently sees, learns from, and takes strategic action related to difference; and demonstrates the self-awareness and behaviors to work across differences of identity and power respectfully and effectively with all stakeholder. Actively seeks to build and retain a diverse workforce and fosters an equitable inclusive workplace by drawing upon diverse perspectives. 
Systems Leadership Thinks and acts from a broad perspective with a long-term view and an understanding of 1) the dynamic nature of large-scale challenges and 2) the need for integrating five key practices: skillfully engaging appropriate people; providing a clear process for change; taking a holistic view of situations; focusing on a small number of strategic actions, while learning from and adapting them over time; and being aware of how one’s own thinking or patterns of behavior may be limiting change. 
This description is not designed to be a complete list of all duties and responsibilities required for this job. 

Responsibilities and Scope

Wetland Restoration: 50% of workplan

  • Develop and implement a strategy to identify and facilitate implementation of wetland restoration, in priority locations, to maximize benefits for both water quality and wildlife habitat.
  • Develop budgets and timelines to complete projects, negotiating and contracting with vendors, assisting with budget development, and fundraising targets.
  • Write reports and communicate results and recommendations from projects to funders, media outlets, and communication teams.
  • Network with diverse groups, including landowners, conservation partners, government officials, donors, board members and the public to recruit support for conservation programs.

Oyster Reef Restoration: 20% of workplan

  • Supervise oyster shell recycling program
  • Work with VMRC and other regulatory agencies to develop maintain oyster ground leases, joint permit applications, and applicable monitoring and reporting requirements
  • Develop budgets and timelines to complete oyster reef restoration projects
  • Lead volunteer shell installation projects using the River Steward boat
  • Lead interpretive trips focused on oyster reefs and tidal ecosystems using the River Steward boat and/or kayaks
  • Coordinate with local waterman, seafood companies, aquaculture producers, etc to build and maintain partnerships 

Coastal Resiliency and Green Infrastructure: 20% of workplan

  • Participate in local and regional coastal resiliency planning efforts 
  • Support the Rappahannock Coastal Forestry program in Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula
  • Support our local partners with development of green infrastructure stormwater best management practices in Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula
  • Support our local partners with the development of living shoreline projects
  • Work with the Tidal Programs Manager to review and provide comment on relevant comprehensive plan updates and proposed development projects

Community Outreach, Education, and Events: 10% of workplan

  • Support the communications team with regular content for social media, websites, newsletters, and press releases
  • Develop and lead interpretive trips in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula
  • Support the development team with regionally focused events and fundraising efforts
  • Support the education team with student action projects, field trips, and summer camps

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 3 years’ experience in natural resources management (or similar field) OR equivalent combination of training and experience.
  • Relationship building experience working closely with a variety of partners, i.e., farmers, media, government officials, contractors, etc
  • Virginia Boater Safety Training completed by the time of hire
  • Familiarity with GIS and mapping products
  • Google Suite/Microsoft Word/Excel proficient 
  • Must have valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to drive pickup trucks with work trailers
  • Must be willing to work outside in varying weather conditions
  • Comfortable speaking in front of small and large groups
  • Outgoing and personable, team player
  • Passion for environmental protection and conservation
  • Comfortable with on-water activities  

Preferred Qualifications

  • Established network in Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula  
  • Eligible for OUPV Coast Guard Six Pack Captains License within first year of employment
  • Working knowledge of Virginia fisheries, state and federal agricultural cost-share programs, wetland delineations, aquaculture, and the Chesapeake Bay Program
  • Knowledge of current trends and issues in wetland and stream regulation, science, and restoration
  • Demonstrated proficiency in analyzing, interpreting, and synthesizing data, including aerial photography, soil surveys, topographic maps, and GIS products.
  • Experience coordinating events/meetings
  • Experience recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers and interns
  • Competent canoe/kayak paddling skills

Please send resume and cover letter to [email protected] with “River Steward Application” in the subject line.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.


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