skip to Main Content
Executive Director

The Nashua River Watershed Association is conducting a search for an Executive Director to succeed its current leader of 28 years who will be retiring in late 2022.


The mission of the NRWA is to work for a healthy ecosystem with clean water and open spaces for human and wildlife communities, where people work together to sustain mutual economic and environmental well-being in the Nashua River watershed.

Founded in 1969, the Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) is a 501c (3) environmental nonprofit serving 32 communities in north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.  The Association grew out of an internationally acclaimed, citizen-based effort led by Marion Stoddart to clean up the Nashua River at a time when it was one of the ten most polluted rivers in the country — it was actually considered dead and incapable of supporting aquatic life.  The Association recognized from its inception that water protection and land protection are inextricably linked. In the five decades since its founding, the Nashua River Watershed Association has led a highly successful effort to improve the river’s water quality and restore a thriving aquatic habitat.  In addition, the river has become suitable for recreational activities, such as boating and fishing. In 2019, a ten-year partnership effort led by the NRWA culminated in sections of the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers being designated as components of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers system.

The work of the NRWA is based on five foundational principles: science, education, stewardship, community, and advocacy.  These are carried forward in our water, land, and environmental education programs.  The heart of our suite of water programs is our Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program, now in its 30th consecutive year, providing important data to the public as well as to local, state, and federal agencies.  The NRWA collaborates with public and private stakeholders to protect natural areas throughout the watershed, especially greenways along the waterways which serve to further protect water quality. We have participated in coalitions working successfully to protect forests in the watershed through the federal Forest Legacy Program, and we are leading a current effort to protect over 2,000 acres through this program. Our land and water programs staff work together to assess opportunities for restoration, improvements to proposed development projects, and priority actions to address climate impacts. Staff play integral roles in the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.  The Association’s education programs introduce youth – our future stewards – to nature and scientific inquiry through hands-on investigations.  River Classroom® is a signature on-water program offered in partnership with Nashoba Paddler LLC to students at various schools throughout the watershed, including under-served students in the watershed’s cities. We are often told by participating students that River Classroom was “the best day of my life.”   We offer educational programs for adults on current topics such as our recent series on “Climate Impacts in the Nashua River Watershed” as well as family outdoor adventures.

The NRWA is a highly respected regional environmental organization, often turned to as the “go to” organization for a wide range of issues.  We excel at building strong partnerships and collaborations to accomplish many of our goals, and we strive to continue to merit the generous support of individuals, businesses, and foundations to sustain and advance our work.  The next Executive Director will play a singularly important role in steering our course and building our capacity to meet the opportunities and address the challenges of the coming decades.


The Executive Director acts as the Chief Executive Officer of the NRWA and is responsible for on-going management of the Association.

The Board of Directors is seeking a candidate who is excited by the opportunity to meet the challenges of bringing the NRWA to the next level of accomplishment and organizational growth as it addresses the changes that will be coming to the watershed in the coming decades – changes that will impact both its human and natural communities.  As the leader of a ten-person staff — three full-time and seven part-time – the Executive Director works with each staff member to support the best use of professional abilities and time.  The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that the projects staff undertake simultaneously take advantage of new opportunities that emerge and align with the Association’s mission. The successful candidate will be one who is both realistic and inspirational, and who is both mindful of the Association’s legacy and forward-looking.


Leadership & Management 

  • Board Governance:  Both report to and work closely with the Board of Directors; keep the 21 Directors informed of Association activities; encourage Directors to participate in the Association’s work; develop with the President the meeting agendas for the full Board and Executive Committee; participate in and assist other Board committees as needed; assure optimum communication between Board and staff.
  • Community Relations:  Serve as the chief spokesperson for the Association; represent the Association at a variety of functions and in a range of partnerships; ensure that the organization is properly presented to its various constituencies, including local, state, and federal agencies.
  • Policy and Planning:  Work with Board and staff in developing policy positions; Assist with completion of the Association’s new Five-Year Strategic Plan; Implement the FY23 One-Year Strategic Plan; Work with staff to develop the Association’s One-Year Strategic Plan each year going forward; concurrently work with the staff and Treasurer to develop the Annual Operating and Capital Budgets to support the Plan.
  • Personnel and Programs: Supervise staff/intern/volunteer activities, unless otherwise delegated; formulate projects with each staff person in Water, Land, Education, Communications, Development, and Administrative roles; from time to time undertake direct program work in special projects as appropriate; coordinate annual work plans; evaluate staff performance; maintain and administer appropriate personnel policies; attract, hire, and retain staff needed to advance the work of the Association.
  • Management:  Direct the day-to-day management of the Association; ensure effective administration of NRWA’s internal operations; oversee the smooth functioning of the River Resource Center facility and use of its grounds.

Finances & Fundraising

  • General Fiduciary: Direct all financial operations of the Association; supervise financial records and reports, working closely with the Association’s consultant Bookkeeper; oversee proper management of assets, control costs, and authorize purchases and disbursements; oversee completion of annual audit and filing taxes; fulfill the responsibilities the Association has assumed in serving as fiscal agent of several entities, including the Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit (NSN) Rivers Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council.
  • Budget: Work with the staff, Bookkeeper, and Treasurer to develop and oversee the annual budget; track the budget closely over the course of the fiscal year and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Development:  Provide general oversight of the Association’s fundraising activities; work with Board, Development Committee, and staff Development Team to develop and execute fundraising plans; work with Development Director and Board on securing major gifts, hosting fundraising events, and other development programs; work with the Development Director to support a Planned Giving program; work with Communications Director on materials and outreach vehicles.
  • Grants and Contracts: Coordinate grant and contract research and applications, working closely with staff; write selected grant applications as appropriate; execute grant agreements and contracts; assure fulfillment of grant and contract requirements; assure appropriate reporting to donors, foundations, and agencies; act as fiscal agent for the NSN Rivers Wild & Scenic Stewardship Council and selected other entities as they apply for cooperative agreements, contracts, or grants.
  • Endowment:  Work with President and Development Director to shape and advance the Wellspring Endowment campaign.


The Executive Director will be passionate about NRWA’s mission and will have proven leadership, management, and fundraising experience.  The ideal candidate will offer many, if not all, of the following:

  • Master’s degree in environmental science, water resources, nonprofit management, business administration, public policy, or related field; or comparable workforce experience.
  • At least five years of experience in senior management or managing an organization of comparable size.
  • Proven track record of successful fundraising, including securing six figure gifts, , attracting corporate donations & sponsorships, and writing grants resulting in awards from private foundations and from local, state, and federal agencies.  Experience with endowment or capital campaigns is desirable.
  • Knowledge of watershed science and associated environmental concerns. Intellectually curious and committed to keeping up with emerging studies and scientific information relevant to decision-making in the watershed.
  • Superb organizational management skills.
  • Experience working in a nonprofit; attracted to mission-driven service.
  • Proven ability to lead a small team of dedicated professionals; ability to play a leadership role as appropriate in evolving partnerships and collaboratives in the region.
  • Proven ability to work closely with a Board of Directors, deepening individual relationships and furthering Director engagement.
  • Strong marketing and public relations skills, and an appreciation of their role in fundraising.
  • Strong written and verbal skills; high degree of comfort giving presentations to a variety of audiences.
  • Experience managing large federal grants is a plus; experience with fiscal agent responsibilities is a plus.
  • Experience assisting entities with meeting their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals is a plus.
  • Commitment to maintaining quality programming and high standards, integrity, and transparency.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and awareness of emerging technologies designed for conservation and preservation organizations; familiarity with spatial databases (GIS) and Raiser’s Edge or other CRM constituent database are a plus.
  • Familiarity with the Nashua River watershed is a very strong plus.
  • Ability to stay focused in the midst of the rapidly shifting array of “opportunities for engagement and action” that arises almost daily is a must; good instincts and sound judgment are essential; sense of humor is a prerequisite.


The Executive Director will be based at the Association’s River Resource Center facility in Groton, Massachusetts. NRWA Staff are currently exploring a hybrid model, working partly from the River Resource Center headquarters and partly from their homes.


The salary and benefits package is competitive for an executive director leading a small non-profit organization and will be determined by the Board of Directors based on experience and qualifications.


Please submit a resume and a compelling cover letter to NRWA’s President, Lucy Wallace, at lbwallace34@aol.com with “Executive Director Search [ — YOUR LAST NAME]” as the subject line.

Back To Top