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Join Our Team! We're hiring a Conservation Program Manager

Title: Conservation Program Manager

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: Salida, CO or other possible location within the upper Arkansas River region

About Us

Central Colorado Conservancy (Conservancy) is an accredited land-trust and community-based conservation organization based in Salida, Colorado. Our mission is to protect the land, waters and quality of life of Central Colorado as our communities face pressure and rapid growth. Since 2001, the Conservancy has protected over 5,000 acres of private lands through conservation easements and acquisitions in our six-county service area (Chaffee, Lake, Park, Fremont, Saguache, and Gunnison counties). The Conservancy also leads landscape-scale collaborative partnerships to improve watershed health and implement stream restoration projects; delivers short-term protection of working lands through conservation agreements; works with agricultural producers to keep working lands working; and serves in a leadership capacity in partnership with the Upper Arkansas Conservation District and the Lake County Conservation District that provide assistance to agriculture producers in the region. We envision a future for Central Colorado that is supported by thriving communities that have safeguarded their rural character, lands, waters and wildlife for future generations.

About the Position

The Conservation Program Manager is a key position dedicated to managing the Conservancy’s land protection program which includes developing and implementing new conservation easements and acquisitions, stewarding existing conservation easements and fee simple properties, managing the Arkansas River Community Preserve, grant writing and project funding development, and maintaining on-going landowner, funder and government relationships. The Conservation Program Manager works in close collaboration with the Conservancy’s Agricultural and Watershed Restoration programs. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who wishes to take the lead role in enhancing the Conservancy’s land protection portfolio with a local focus on natural areas, wildlife habitat, and rural families and communities in Central Colorado. The Conservancy is a dynamic and growing organization, and we are looking for a new member for our team who is excited about leading our conservation programs to new potential.

Principal Responsibilities

  • Identify, negotiate and close on conservation easement projects and fee simple acquisitions with private landowners within our 6-county service area. This includes:

    • Landowner outreach, relationship building and communications

    • Conducting necessary due diligence for transactions

    • Coordinating with project partners, attorneys, appraisers, and other consultants

    • Managing project budgets and timelines

    • Raising funds from public and private sources

    • File management and record keeping

    • Seeking internal Conservancy approvals

  • Cultivate trust-based, positive working relationships with conservation partners, landowners, land management agencies, attorneys, public and private funders, and other relevant stakeholders who support private land protections.

  • Manage the monitoring and stewardship of completed conservation easements and acquisitions. Respond to stewardship issues in a timely manner.

  • Coordinate the development of a land management and public access plan for the Arkansas River Community Preserve with support and input from project partners, agencies, elected officials and stakeholders.

  • Manage database, records, files, reports etc. related to conservation easement and fee simple projects, as guided by industry best practices.

  • Ensure Conservancy conservation projects are structured to receive favorable press coverage and to sustain and advance key partnerships.

  • Work with a team to design communication pieces for promoting the social, economic and environmental impacts of the Conservancy’s land protection work.

Other Duties

  • Prepare maps and data to support conservation planning, land protection projects, and stewardship efforts.

  • Stay current with local, regional and national land trust topics and issues.

  • Monitor changes in federal and state tax rules, legislation and funding requirements for conservation easements and acquisitions.

  • Assist in Conservancy fundraising and public relations to support our overall mission.

  • Represent Central Colorado Conservancy professionally at public events, including presentations at conferences and community workshops.


  • Genuine enthusiasm for the conservation of private land and a willingness to work with people from diverse backgrounds and value systems.

  • A combination of education and experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and three (3) years of experience in a related field, preferred.

  • Experience in conservation program development, project management, communications strategies, record-keeping and fundraising, preferred.

  • Real estate transaction experience highly preferred including but not limited to landowner negotiations, writing deeds of conservation easement, meeting due diligence requirements, and the closing process.

  • Proven track record in securing grants, with the ability to think long-term and innovatively about new and emerging funding sources.

  • Interacts professionally and effectively with external parties who are involved with buying and selling land: surveyors, attorneys, consultants, appraisers, landowners and elected officials.

  • Respectful, articulate and effective listener and communicator, with both written and oral communication skills. Works well in a team environment as well as independently.

  • Organized with the ability to simultaneously advance multiple complex projects and deadlines.

  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings, weekends, and overnights.

  • Willingness to travel within the upper Arkansas Headwaters region, Central Colorado and beyond in personal vehicle. Valid state driver’s license required.

  • Computer proficiency using Windows-based software. Familiarity with GIS mapping tools desirable.

Physical Demands / Work Environment The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Ability to work in a standard office setting, with considerable sitting, standing and viewing of computer and reaching continually throughout the workday (mouse, keyboard, telephone).

  • Will need a valid Colorado driver’s license and be able to drive a vehicle on and off paved roads.

  • Able to hike and navigate over rough terrain, often for extended periods of time in all weather, as needed.

  • May include lifting up to thirty (30) pounds of project gear on an infrequent basis.

  • Must be able to go up and down stairs carrying materials or project gear to and from meetings, events, site visits, etc.

  • Some evening and weekend work expected.


Salary range is $50,000 - $60,000 per year for this full-time, exempt position (40 hours/week). Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation and holidays, cell phone stipend, and flexible work arrangements.

To Apply

Submit cover letter and resume (2-page maximum) in one combined PDF to Please include “Conservation Program Manager” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through February 26, 2023. Early applications are encouraged as we will begin reviewing applications prior to the deadline. Desired start date is April 3, 2023.

Central Colorado Conservancy is an equal opportunity employer. We strongly encourage people of every color, orientation, age, gender, origin, and ability to apply.


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