River Policy and Communications Manager

South Yuba River Citizens League
313 Railroad Avenue
Nevada City, CA, 95959


Caleb Dardick
Executive Director

Project Description: 

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL – pronounced circle) was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect California's South Yuba River from dams. Ultimately, SYRCL won permanent protections for 39 miles of the South Yuba River under California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Today, SYRCL is the central hub of community activism to protect, restore, and celebrate the Yuba River watershed. With over 30 years of achievements, 3,500 members and 1,000 active volunteers, SYRCL is doing great things for the Yuba watershed. We are working to restore wild salmon to their native waters. We are replanting the banks of the Goldfields with trees. We are inspiring activism across the globe with our environmental film festival. Together, we are extending our powerful coalition from the summit to the sea.

POSITION SUMMARY (River Policy & Communications Manager):

SYRCL seeks a Switzer Fellow to serve as “River Policy & Communications Manager” (Manager) to strengthen our grassroots community organizing, communication and outreach work. The ideal candidate will have an understanding and interest in water policy and research combined with a passion for community engagement in environmental activism. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to develop their leadership, communication, community organizing and coalition-building skills on behalf of the environment.

The River Policy & Communications Manager is a full-time position reporting to SYRCL’s Executive Director Caleb Dardick. Caleb has directed the organization for nearly five years and brings over 20 years of experience in non-profit administration, public relations, fundraising, and advocacy in California. This position will work on the River People team and coordinate closely with SYRCL staff across departments.

The Manager would bring leadership to SYRCL’s advocacy campaigns as part of our growing River People program. SYRCL’s current campaigns include restoring wild salmon (Yuba Salmon Now) and challenging the proposal to build a new dam on the Bear River (Centennial Dam). The Manager will expand community outreach and government relations work in Yuba, Sierra and Placer Counties to build a more robust constituency in defense of the Yuba River beyond Nevada County where SYRCL originated.

  • Yuba Salmon Now: SYRCL’s Yuba Salmon Now campaign seeks to build widespread community and government support for both immediate and long-term salmon restoration goals.  We are advocating for a sustainable reintroduction plan so that one day, salmon and steelhead will be able to swim freely to the upper Yuba River. In the meantime, we are advocating for the immediate implementation of salmon habitat restoration projects in the lower Yuba River where the fish exist now.
  • Centennial Dam: The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is planning to construct a new 110,000 acre-foot reservoir with a 275 foot-tall dam on the Bear River. SYRCL’s position is that in a time of record drought and climate change we need creative solutions to address our local water needs, and big, expensive dams are mostly a thing of the past. As of Spring 2016, we are partnering with a coalition of environmental groups to engage and educate the public, participate in the environmental review (the draft EIR is expected January 2017), and challenge it if necessary.
  • Defend Against Threats: Whenever a controversial proposal like a new dam or a gold mine comes to light, we get informed, engage our partners, educate our members, and take action as needed. Since some of these proposals move very slowly over many years, we vigilantly monitor them, ready to take action at key moments.
  • For more information on SYRCL’s Advocacy plans, please review our 3-year Strategic Action Plan at http://yubariver.org/about/strategic-action-plan/

·        An advanced degree in law, environmental policy, hydrology, fisheries management or science or related field strongly preferred.
·        Experience in water law and/or environmental policy and advocacy, or a related discipline a plus.
·        Experience using social media for organizing advocacy campaigns as well as other digital and web-based and video production.
·        Media relations experience writing press releases and Op-Eds, organizing press conferences and public relations events, and cultivating media coverage by working with reporters and editorial boards.
·        Ability to build consensus, develop effective coalitions and collaborate with diverse interests.
·        Strong research, writing, negotiation, media and public speaking skills.
·        Knowledge of federal and state level politics relevant to water and river management a plus.
·        Understanding of natural resource policy and management issues relevant to the conservation of salmon and steelhead and their habitats; advocacy experience in legislative and administrative forums a plus.
·        A sense of humor, outstanding written and oral communication skills, strong organization skills, and the ability to work independently.

·        Manage public engagement and education about the Yuba Salmon Now and Centennial Dam campaigns.
·        Manage other direct action campaigns as needed to protect the Yuba River from inappropriate developments, industrial mining and agriculture, clear-cutting, dam building, etc. through community education, engagement and mobilization.
·        Manage the communications and media relations work to ensure that the organization has a strong brand and consistent messaging through the use of SYRCL’s website, email, member and activist alerts, blogging and other new media tools, as well as producing persuasive printed materials.
·        Build and maintain strong relationships with key elected officials, policy-makers, agency staff and resource managers at the federal, state and local level, commissions, legislatures and other organizations; represent SYRCL strategically in public policy, planning, and collaborative processes and forums that impact the watershed.
·        Initiate and participate in fundraising, including drafting proposals and reports, identifying and cultivating potential donors, and ensuring grant obligations are met.

·        Able to work on a computer, including sitting at a desk for extended periods; to read a computer screen; and manual dexterity to operate a keyboard.
·        Able to speak clearly on the phone and in person and be understood by others.
·        Able to occasionally lift objects weighing up to 30 pounds.

Spotlight on Leadership

Making Affordable Housing Green
Housing developers are always looking to improve their bottom line. Homeowner's Rehab, , a small nonprofit that owns over 1,000 units of affordable housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, goes about...Read more >

A vibrant community of environmental leaders