Current Staff Openings

The Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC), based in Ann Arbor Michigan, is widely seen as one of the most effective environmental nonprofits in Michigan and is a nationally recognized river protection organization. It is a nonprofit coalition of local communities, businesses, and residents established in 1965 to protect and restore the river for healthy and vibrant communities.

For over fifty years, HRWC has successfully reduced pollution and restored the Huron River watershed, resulting in economically, socially and culturally vibrant communities. Since its inception, the Huron River Watershed Council has been a respected voice in the watershed’s 73 communities with a history of working creatively and cooperatively to tackle a variety of issues facing the basin. Today, HRWC’s highly professional staff coordinates a diversity of programs and hundreds of volunteers who serve on the organization’s boards, committees, and in other volunteer activities. HRWC’s efforts fall into four major categories: study, restore, protect, and connect. Its programs cover pollution prevention and abatement, hands-on citizen education and river monitoring, natural resource and climate adaptation planning, mass media education and information, and wetland and floodplain protection.

  • The Huron River Watershed Council has built its reputation by authoring sound scientific reports that individuals, agencies, and governments use to guide their decision-making.  HRWC’s studies have covered a broad range of topics including impervious surface coverage and land development practices, coliform bacteria monitoring, fisheries improvement, septic influences on lakes, groundwater vulnerability, flood control, benthic macroinvertebrate diversity, influences of various land uses on water quality, and existing and lost native ecosystem types.
  • HRWC has served as a common ground where stakeholders come together to discuss collaboration and coordination between local units of government, businesses, and citizens on water management policies and programs.  These discussions have resulted in reports and plans that governments and agencies have used to direct policies such as wellhead protection planning, pollution prevention in threatened waters, land use planning, dam removal, flood forecasting and warning, phosphorus and pollutant reduction, and numerous watershed management strategies.
  • HRWC has played a vital role in the development and passage of statewide legislation to protect water resources — for example, the Inland Lakes and Streams Act, the Natural Rivers Act, the Clean Water Act and its re-authorization, Goemare-Anderson Wetland Protection Act, Michigan Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Act, The Michigan River Basin Management Act, and Michigan’s phosphorus legislation, have benefited from the HRWC’s expertise and involvement.
  • HRWC played a significant role in portions of the Huron receiving a Natural River designation in the 1970s.  The Huron is the only river in Southeast Michigan to have a State-designated Natural River District.
  • HRWC’s 25-year old stewardship program is the state’s premiere volunteer river monitoring program.  The program coordinates several hundred volunteers to monitor the quality of the Huron River who assess habitat, the benthic macroinvertebrates that live in the Huron and its tributaries, and chemistry and flow levels and translate the results of their studies into actions, restoring wetlands, educating their neighbors, and working on local land use policies. Because of this long experience in running this program, HRWC leads the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s volunteer stream monitoring program, the Michigan Clean Water Corps (MiCorps).
  • HRWC engages and educates the public about how they can reduce the incidental pollution that comes from our everyday lives, including especially nonpoint source pollution.  HRWC employs social networking and other digital channels, print advertisements, mailings, storm drain labels, outreach at public festivals, printed and free calendars with monthly tips, and radio public service announcements to reach watershed residents.
  • HRWC works with communities to protect their natural resources and the groundwater and surface water that supplies municipal drinking water.  HRWC is a recognized and respected source of technical information and coordination among local officials throughout the watershed and the State.
  • HRWC’S watershed management planning efforts have brought together landowners, builders, elected officials, interest groups, and scientists from 56 different communities to develop and implement community-based roadmaps to guide future protection and restoration efforts.
  • HRWC leads RiverUp! and the Huron River Water Trail ( RiverUp! is a campaign to restore and revitalize the Huron River. It is a signature place-making initiative that seeks to transform the Huron River corridor into a premier destination in Michigan and the Great Lakes. The initiative has resulted in both state and national water trail designations for the River.

HRWC is a quasi-governmental organization, created pursuant to state law, that exists as a non-partisan council of member governments located within the Huron River Watershed and that has status as a tax-exempt non-profit corporation. Oversight of HRWC’s activities is provided by a Board of Directors, which consists of members appointed by 40 participating local governments. In addition, HRWC offers citizens the opportunity to be members of the organization through financial contribution, and it engages a large number of volunteers in a wide variety of activities. HRWC today has an operating budget of over $2M, with a stable and diverse source of funders.

The roles of the HRWC Board of Directors, its committees, and the Executive Director are guided by adopted by-laws. The Board of Directors provides general guidance on policy positions. An Executive Committee of the Board of Directors consists of 9 representatives, elected by the Board from among its members annually. The Executive Committee provides general oversight of the ongoing work of HRWC, as well as guidance on specific policy issues as requested by the Executive Director. The Executive Committee also oversees the activities of the Executive Director, and it conducts annual reviews of the Director’s performance and makes final employment and compensation decisions regarding the Director. The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee provide primarily policy governance and oversight of the Executive Director. All other employment and administrative decisions are made by the Executive Director.

Role of the Executive Director

HRWC has enjoyed stable executive leadership, with the outgoing Executive Director serving in that capacity for over 20 years. Under new leadership, the Board seeks to continue HRWC’s bold leadership and entrepreneurial efforts, while maintaining and building its professional staff. High value service to member organizations will remain a priority for the new director, to ensure strong engagement of existing members and provide a rationale for attracting new ones.

The Executive Director serves as chief liaison with the HRWC Executive Committee and Board of Directors and leads and manages a high functioning professional staff of 12. The Director’s responsibilities include working with the staff and Board of Directors to establish organizational goals and policies and implement the strategic plan. HRWC is four years into its five-year strategic plan.

Primary Responsibilities: The Executive Director is key to establishing a vision for HRWC and ensuring it has the human and financial resources needed to achieve that vision. This includes supporting and facilitating the Board of Directors and Executive Committee in carrying out their governance responsibilities, as well as overseeing all aspects of identifying staff needs, recruiting staff, and supporting them (including personnel reviews, hiring, compensation, and benefits decisions).

The Executive Director oversees all aspects of the organization’s finances, including financial record-keeping, annual audits, and budget development. The Director is actively engaged in the creation and oversight of a robust development strategy, including the planning and execution of various fundraising activities, building and maintaining donor relationships, and leveraging the skills of the professional staff to develop new grant projects and programs.

The Executive Director oversees the successful administration, management, and execution of $1.5 – $2M in annual programming. A key aspect of program work is building coalitions around opportunities and/or threats to the river and watershed, developing and implementing policy positions, and providing non-partisan support for statewide and local legislation to improve the watershed.

The Executive Director serves as spokesperson for the organization and is actively engaged in education and advocacy initiatives to promote greater public awareness of issues related to the Huron River and its watershed.

Core Competencies:

Strategic Leadership

  • Demonstrated passion for watershed protection and citizen engagement in the protection and celebration of that shared resource
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent verbal, written, and listening communication skills
  • Politically savvy, with an understanding of municipal government
  • Skilled at facilitating collaborative approaches to environmental protection and building and maintaining alliances
  • Skilled at facilitating diverse viewpoints and consensus building

Management — Staff, Board, Members and Volunteers

  • Strong staff management skills and experience, especially with regard to interpersonal management and staff motivation
  • Demonstrated commitment to a collegial work environment that includes participatory decision-making, support for colleagues to achieve their best, and respect for work-life balance
  • Experience with supporting a high performance Board of Directors, including providing opportunities for meaningful participation in HRWC’s programs
  • Deep experience with cultivating members and meaningful engagement of volunteers with diverse backgrounds and interests to meet organizational goals

Administration and Development

  • Experienced and highly competent with all aspects of organizational administration, including record keeping, financial management and oversight and accounting
  • Proven track record of raising funds and building and maintaining donor relationships
  • Past success in leading the development of large ($500k or more) grant projects from state and federal governmental agencies that include diverse partnerships

Personal Attributes and Qualifications

  • Comfortable and competent at managing numerous projects while maintaining a stress-free work environment
  • Self-motivated and organized
  • Comfortable driving and can accommodate travel
  • Has a lengthy work history, coupled with academic credentials (Masters desired) and experiential learning, that contribute to a mature confidence and humility

Salary and Benefits: Salary is competitive and negotiable. HRWC offers a full range of employee benefits including health insurance, matching retirement contributions, paid time off, paid holidays, flex time, a flexible spending account and long-term disability insurance.

Commitment to Diversity: HRWC is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace, and thus is committed to prohibiting discrimination against volunteers, clients, and applicants on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, marital status, national origin, physical or mental handicap/disability, social economic class, ethical values and/or political beliefs, parental status, veteran status, arrest record, organization membership, or any other characteristic protected by law.

HRWC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in undue hardship. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Project work may entail all-weather physical activity, including in-water work, and the use of basic hand and field tools.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and interested parties are encouraged to apply early.

To apply, send the following to with only YOUR NAME in the subject line:

      • a cover letter that speaks to the applicant’s qualifications relative to the core competencies outlined above
      • a current resume

HRWC has contracted with SAL Consulting, Inc. to manage this search process. All questions and inquiries can be sent to Sheila Leahy at

Click here to download a pdf of this job announcement


HRWC loves interns! We specialize in technical (GIS, HR, Water Chemistry) and field experiences. Please see each announcement for details on compensation. We are happy to work with candidates to secure fellowships and scholarships on a case-by-case basis.

Volunteer Position Overview

HRWC’s summer aquatic field internship program allows undergraduates, recent graduates, and new professionals the opportunity to experience field-based water quality monitoring and public education in the context of a well-rounded internship experience. Interns will visit numerous field locations, in a number of local tributaries to the Huron River, collecting data about benthic macroinvertebrates, in stream and near stream habitat, and water quality parameters such as flow and conductivity. Interns input data and review data for quality assurance. All interns will work on HRWC education program, teaching area residents and students about water quality and water quality testing, including our summer youth snorkeling program and stormdrain awareness campaign. HRWC staff, including interns, are required to participate in general program upkeep tasks. On occasion, interns may utilize existing abilities to work on office projects such as GIS, Human Relations, Volunteer Management, Development and Membership, Landscape Architecture, etc. Internships run full summer or half summer, 1-4 days per week.


  • Consistently utilize proper work methods
  • Safely travel to field sites and conduct field data collection
  • Keep equipment in working order
  • Communicate effectively with general public and supervisors
  • Assist supervisors on other projects as needed


  • Background or strong interest in water quality monitoring
  • Demonstrated ability to work well in a team setting
  • Attention to detail such as data management
  • Fluent in Microsoft Office suite and Google documents and maps


  • Available 1-4 days per week, May through mid-August (or first or second half summer)
  • Must be able to lift a minimum of 25 pounds
  • Sign and date Field Internship position agreement


  • Wide array of experience in field monitoring and data collection and public education
  • Learning from network of interns and staff on a daily basis
  • Access to network of water quality professionals

Contact Jason Frenzel if you are interested.

Volunteer Position OverviewHRWC’s summer internship program allows numerous undergraduates and new professionals experience field-based water quality monitoring. The volunteer Team Leader coordinates day-to-day activities, ensuring high-quality work, positive team morale, and strong communication with staff leads.


  • Plan daily outings of intern team to field worksites
  • Ensure proper work methods are utilized
  • Coordinate team’s weekly schedule
  • Evaluate team performance in conjunction with supervisor


  • Background in water quality monitoring, ideally with bachelor’s degree in a related field or comparable experience
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Ability to work well in a team setting
  • Attention to detail such as data management and complex scheduling
  • Fluent in Microsoft Office suite and Google documents and maps
  • Capacity and strong interest in aquatic field monitoring


  • Must be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Available 3-5 days per week, May through August
  • Must be able to lift a minimum of 50 pounds
  • Sign and date Team Leader position agreement


  • Supervision of and education to intern team
  • Experience in field data collection
  • Access to network of water quality professionals

Contact Jason Frenzel if you are interested.

Volunteer Positions

Position Overview

The Volunteer Field Assessment Leader will assist project director in organizing field assessments of natural areas throughout the Huron watershed (parts of 7 counties in Southeast Michigan), as part of HRWC’s Bioreserve Project. Duties will include:

  • Contacting property owners to obtain permission for volunteer team to assess their property
  • Organizing over 100 volunteers into teams of 3 – 4 to perform assessments of natural areas throughout the spring and summer.
  • Accompanying teams when needed as a team member and/or “plant ID expert.” Each assessment takes about 3 – 4 hours.
  • Creating packets for volunteer teams including assessment forms, GIS maps, instructions, directions, etc.
  • Creating GIS maps for each assessment showing preliminary ecosystem boundaries and suggested route through site
  • Inputting data into ACCESS database and creating reports on each assessment using an ACCESS macro that incorporates data and GIS maps


Must have the ability to work independently, a car, excellent interpersonal skills (both email and phone), and have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (including ACCESS) and ArcGIS. Ability to identify most woody plants, forbs, and grasses of Michigan would be a great benefit.


  • Hours: Part-time (10 hours/week)
  • We are looking for a commitment through the 2015 growing season, with option to return in future years.


The associate will have the following opportunities:

  • networking with and access to professionals
  • technical learning in GIS, volunteer management, database management, ecology, plant identification

Contact Kris Olsson if you are interested.

Position Overview

The Associate, a volunteer position with HRWC, will assist project director (Kris Olsson) in running Green Infrastructure visioning workshops in local governments throughout the watershed, and in working with those communities on implementing the GI plan and vision through ordinance and policy development.


Must be able to work independently, have experience and knowledge of local government land use planning, a car, excellent interpersonal skills (both email and phone), and have working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. The ideal candidate would also have ArcGIS background.


  • Ideally, Associate could commit to work with project director in organizing 1-2 workshops a year, which would include recruiting the local government, scheduling meeting or meetings with government representatives leading up to the workshop, scheduling the workshop, publicizing the workshop, and preparing the workshop presentation, background GIS data and maps, and poster map to be used in the workshop to create Green Infrastructure Vision.
  • Post workshop, Associate will create a final Green Infrastructure map and document based on the visioning session at the workshop, and present it to the local government. The Associate will then work with project director to determine next steps in implementing policy changes in that local government to protect and enhance the Green Infrastructure.
  • Time commitment: 10 hours/week. We are looking for a commitment of at least a year.


  • The Associate will have the following opportunities:
    • networking with and access to professionals
    • technical learning on various fronts (GIS, Green Infrastructure, land use planning, policies, meeting facilitation), water policy

Contact Kris Olsson if you are interested.

Do you take your camera with you everywhere you go? Are you constantly capturing moments before they slip away? If you don’t mind getting close to people having fun recreating on or along the Huron River or at local venues then this job is right for you. You may be asked to shoot people and locations both in nature and in the five Trail Towns of the Huron River Water Trail (Milford, Dexter, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Flat Rock) or go to specific cultural or HRWC events. Photography skills are required. All applicants must submit a portfolio of 5-10 pictures they have taken. Time commitment: 20 hours May-September, flexible dates/times.

To express your interest, email Pam Labadie with the following:

  • First and last name and cell phone number;
  • Your experience with photography and DSLR equipment;
  • Why you want to help;
  • What river-recreational activities you are involved in
  • AND MOST IMPORTANT a link to an online “portfolio” (Flickr, Tumblr, BlogSpot, etc.) of 5-10 images that demonstrate both technical skill and the ability to shoot events. We would like to see photographs with people, emotions, and action and iconic events/urban locations.

HRWC is looking for a committed volunteer with qualifications and time to help us continue our work in providing field assessments of natural areas as part of our Bioreserve Project.
The Field Assessment Plant Expert would join field assessment teams at least once a week throughout the 2015 field season to perform assessments that each take about 2-4 hours.

HRWC has conducted over 270 field assessments on properties throughout the watershed. So far, HRWC’s Bioreserve Program has helped conservancies and government preservation programs protect over 1000 acres using data provided by the Bioreserve Map and by field assessments.

We are getting ready to begin a partnership with all the conservancies in the watershed in which we provide field assessments to properties they are targeting for arranging for permanent preservation in priority areas along the Huron River corridor.

Contact Kris Olsson if you are interested.

Huron River Watershed Council is committed to diversity and inclusion within the workplace. We are committed to prohibiting discrimination against volunteers, clients, and applicants on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, national origin, physical or mental handicap/disability, social economic class, ethical values and/or political beliefs.