Director of Land and Water Conservation | International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation


Director of Land and Water Conservation

The International Crane Foundation is recruiting an experienced conservation professional to work with landowners and partners to support the recovery of Whooping Cranes within the wintering grounds along the Texas coast. Over the past 45 years, the International Crane Foundation has grown from the dream of two college students to a world-renowned conservation effort to save the world’s cranes and the flyways and habitats on which they depend. This is a new position created to secure the future of one of the most endangered species of cranes.

What is it like to work at the International Crane Foundation? Prepare to be surrounded by people who are passionate about our mission, dedicated to the organization and engaged with their fellow staff and associates. Our team is committed to fulfilling the dream that started 45+ years ago. This position offers a competitive salary, beginning at $65,000 and an exceptional benefits package. Work duties will be accomplished via the International Crane Foundation Texas office located in Rockport, and telecommuting throughout the mid-coast Texas region as appropriate.

Position Background and Summary:

The Director of Land and Water Conservation will engage with landowners to promote land conservation alternatives and implement best management practices for water conservation, wetland restoration and climate change adaptation on the current and future wintering grounds for Whooping Cranes. The Director will work collaboratively with many partners, including private landowners, coastal communities and businesses, government agencies, universities and other conservation organizations, to advocate for land use policies and practices that jointly benefit people and wildlife. Through this work, the Director will spearhead our goal of achieving a resilient ecosystem and sustainable future for Whooping Cranes, other biodiversity and all who depend on a healthy Texas coast environment today and in the future.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Protect and manage coastal land to ensure a growing, sustainable population of Whooping Cranes:

  • Develop personal relationships with coastal landowners and guide them through a myriad of options to protect, maintain and/or restore their land and water resources in accordance with their economic needs and vision for land conservation;
  • Identify current and planned locations of commercial and industrial sites within the Whooping Crane wintering range (current and future); assess the cumulative impacts of these developments on Whooping Crane range expansion, habitat fragmentation and degradation; initiate proactive steps to recommend siting of development projects early in planning stages and mitigate development impacts by supporting alternative wintering habitat conservation areas.
  • Serve as an active liaison among partners involved in land and water conservation projects (current and future) in the wintering range of Whooping Cranes, updating partners periodically on progress (extent of land conserved, ecological benefits, new projects) and maintaining regular contact with federal and state agency leads to prioritize Whooping Crane habitat for conservation using federal and state funding programs.

Ensure that adequate freshwater is available in the coastal bays and estuaries and on the landscape to sustain cranes, other wildlife and livelihoods:

  • Engage in the development of the Whooping Crane Habitat Conservation Plan under the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority;
  • Advocate for an incentives program through which farmers are paid to flood rice fields for current and future wintering Whooping Crane freshwater habitat and support those farmers in maintaining their priority to receive water on their lands through their state water permits, particularly during drought periods;
  • Promote the inclusion of water wells in freshwater swales adjacent to Whooping Crane coastal marsh habitat by developing proposals for funding support from the North American Wetland Conservation Act grant program at a broad landscape scale.

Advance coastal land use planning with a clear understanding of the impacts of climate change on cranes and communities:

  • Guide conservation partners through acquisition, conservation easements and management of coastal lands that ensure future habitat for Whooping Cranes as sea levels rise, using data from the International Crane Foundation’s field monitoring programs and GIS habitat conservation decision support tool to help ensure sound decision-making;
  • Develop real-world scenarios that increase the awareness and understanding of the impacts of climate change on communities living on the Texas coast, and provide effective land use planning methods that help communities better manage for rising sea levels, more frequent and intensive hurricanes, more prolonged droughts and other impacts that affect people and wildlife.


  • At least 10 years’ experience working collaboratively with landowners, agencies and other partners to advance conservation on private lands.
  • Extensive field experience with wetland conservation and management, especially in the natural and modified ecosystems of the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Ecoregion.
  • Bachelor’s Degree (Master’s Degree preferred) in the biological sciences, natural resources or closely related field.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills.
  • Ability to establish project plans, regularly monitor and track progress on work projects, and ensure appropriate communications with project partners using conservation measures or logic model and program tracking software.
  • Strong track record in writing successful grants (including federal grants) to fund species and habitat conservation projects.
  • Willingness and flexibility to work the hours needed to accomplish the responsibilities of the position.
  • Ability to travel throughout the Texas coast, and occasionally out of state, including to International Crane Foundation headquarters in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
  • Flexible and able to adapt to changes in the work environment and duties, processes and technologies.
  • Valid state driver’s license and acceptable driving record.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with Conservation Measures, Open Standards and Miradi programs and software to provide staff with project progress and updates; perform adaptive management reviews and compile reports to communicate program effectiveness.
  • Quickly and effectively adapt to changes in the work environment and duties, processes, and technologies.
  • Experience in driving all-terrain vehicles over rough terrain in remote locations and six-passenger motorized boat including current safe boating certification (or ability to pass certification test) and use of GPS/Sonar equipment; and familiarity in navigating through large, private landscapes and in Texas coastal bays and waterways under sometimes adverse weather conditions.

Physical Abilities and Work Environment:

The physical abilities and work environment characteristics described below are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions

  • Ability to use hands and fingers to type.
  • Ability to talk and hear.
  • Ability to lift or move up to 35 pounds; occasionally reaching, stooping and kneeling.
  • Ability to walk and stand for long periods of time.
  • Ability to reach, climb, balance, crouch and kneel.
  • Ability to stand for long periods of time.
  • Ability to work outside a traditional office and in a variety of outdoor environments. Including hiking, kayaking and lengths of time on a boat.
  • Ability to fix minor and emergency repairs on field equipment, as needed.

The International Crane Foundation offers a competitive salary and benefits package.

To apply send cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Please list the subject: Land and Water

The International Crane Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.