Work at the Deschutes River Conservancy

Employment Opportunities


DRC Executive Director/Chief executive 

Position Description

The Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC), based in Bend, Oregon, is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization founded in 1996. The DRC is a strong, stable organization that is well-positioned for continued success in the years to come. The Board and internal team are passionate, committed, and aligned in their path forward. From this great baseline, the DRC Board seeks a transformational chief executive to stretch the organization to new levels and accomplish a bold vision for the future. 

The DRC is guided by its foundational purpose and direction as outlined in the organization’s Mission, Vision, and Values. This core framework informs our strategic and operational decisions on a day-to-day basis: 

To restore stream flow and improve water quality in the Deschutes Basin.

By the year 2025, we envision a future where:

  • Local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have executed and are implementing a regional water management agreement that balances water for irrigators, municipalities and rivers;
  • Stream flows are well on their way to meeting targets;
  • Instream, riparian, and floodplain habitat enhancements are in full scale implementation, enabled by and complementing flow restoration;
  • Trust among basin stakeholders is high. The DRC Board is respected and highly functional; and
  • Citizens are knowledgeable of and are champions of the DRC’s flow restoration strategies.


  • Open. Value and seek out diverse perspectives.
  • Consensus-based. Work to overcome differences and make consensus decisions.
  • Collaborative. Deploy cooperative, non-regulatory approaches. Committed to helping all parties achieve their respective goals.
  • Innovative. Proactively seek new approaches for solving old problems.
  • Non-litigious. Do not engage in litigation.
  • Adaptive. Adapts and refines goals and strategies based on evolving information and opportunities.
  • Partnership-based. Leverage partners’ strengths to complement flow restoration with the physical habitat restoration and land conservation necessary to achieve watershed-scale outcomes.

The DRC brings together tribal, irrigation, environmental, hydropower, and federal, state and local government interests in a consensus-based forum. The organization accomplishes its goals through financing and implementation of on-the-ground projects and transactions using voluntary approaches to ecosystem restoration.

Two major program areas provide focus to this work:

  • Irrigation Infrastructure Improvements: The DRC advocates for district modernization and infrastructure improvements that facilitate instream flow enhancements.
  • Voluntary Market-Based Transactions: Technical support and innovation as well as program design, financing, and project execution are used for voluntary market-based transactions to put water back in the river. 


Collaboration and cooperation are essential components of all DRC enterprises and projects.  The DRC facilitates partnerships with landowners, local governments, watershed councils, irrigation districts, and other interested citizens. The organization is governed by a 15-person board of directors representing seven interests and is managed by a full-time Executive Director with eight employees and a $2.1 million budget.

Job Description
The Chief Executive/Executive Director of the Deschutes River Conservancy provides visionary leadership, developing the strategic direction of the organization and bringing the Mission, Vision, and Values to life. The chief executive will ensure the DRC is successful in achieving its goals and objectives. 

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Live the Mission and Values.
  • Achieve the current Vision and help create a bold new Vision for the future.
  • Build the brand and help share the DRC story. Attract new interest and solidify long term relationships across the basin and state.   
  • Engage all communities in the basin in an inclusive and equitable way; address barriers that all communities experience as it relates to water quality and quantity.
  • Build a most diverse, aligned, and representative movement of stakeholders who support the health of the watershed and communities who depend upon it.
  • Role model justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in internal/external practices and culture.
  • Strengthen and broaden fundraising support. 
  • Build bridges with other river conservation organizations.   
  • Build Strategic Planning rigor with a metrics and results-based orientation.
  • Ensure successful oversight of operations including projects, finance, development, and communications.
  • Foster an internal environment of teamwork and cooperation.


Key qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Vision - Be able to see what isn’t yet there and bring it to life.
  • Courage and conviction to push through change. 
  • Ability to inspire others and bring them along on the journey.
  • Ability to work exceptionally across a broad and inclusive range of stakeholders.
  • Ability to serve as the voice for DRC, or develop that voice within the organization. 
  • Ability to run an organization and be accountable to results.
  • Understand the distinct roles of governance and executive leadership.
  • Passion to make a difference in the communities and region we serve through the work of the DRC and its stakeholders.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including public speaking. 

Successful candidates will have demonstrated experience, skills and accomplishments in these areas, or have clearly demonstrated the capability to achieve them in the near future. 


Additional Information
The Deschutes River basin is one of the most ecologically diverse in the Northwest with mountains, valleys, and plateaus on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range. The natural beauty of the region attracts retirees, tourists, and new businesses that play a pivotal role in the area’s economy. Rivers and streams in the basin support world-class recreational fisheries. The mountains are richly forested. Abundant water and sunshine continue to sustain the agricultural economy.

Population growth and economic change are at once a concern and an opportunity with respect to the Deschutes Basins unique natural resources and quality of life. The chief executive will play a key role in helping to sustain the quality of life in the Deschutes basin for future generations.

Salary minimum $110,000 and commensurate with experience. Benefits package includes health and retirement contributions.

Application Process
Please submit a cover letter, resume, and references electronically to the DRC Search Committee:

Learn more about us at:

Click to download a pdf of this job description

Application Deadline

October 5, 2020.

The DRC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.