Senior Federal Lands Policy Analyst - Refuge Systems Defense

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Washington, DC
United States



Job Category:


Job Type:


Job Description:

This professional-level position is responsible for managing Defenders of Wildlife’s advocacy efforts to promote and defend the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Track and respond to administrative and legislative issues and threats to the National Wildlife Refuge System, concentrating on effects to federally protected species, Defenders’ key species and other at-risk fish and wildlife and habitat types within priority landscapes. Lead and coordinate Defenders’ National Wildlife Refuge System Defense Campaign and efforts to capitalize on conservation opportunities presented in new policy initiatives.
  • Serve as Defenders’ expert point of contact on Refuge System policy issues with external interests, the news media, coalitions and policymakers.
  • Develop Defenders’ positions on Refuge System policy issues, including key threats to the Refuge System and individual refuges. Produce white papers, reports, blogs and other information and communications products for advocacy purposes.
  • Draft comments in response to proposed regulatory and project-level actions affecting the Refuge System and individual units, involving Defenders’ members and supporters with action alerts, advocating for policy solutions and/or supporting litigation to challenge incompatible uses. 
  • Cultivate, maintain and grow positive working relationships with federal agency officials, congressional staff, and partners to further Defenders’ conservation objectives.
  • Represent Defenders in public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, coalitions, and in general communications with public officials, legislators, the media, Defenders’ membership, the donor community, and the general public. 
  • Inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters and Wildlife eNews subscribers, on refuge issues.
  • Work with Development staff to raise operating funds for Defenders’ Landscape Conservation program.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.


  • Education: Advanced degree in environmental/public policy, conservation biology, natural resources management, natural resources law, or related discipline.
  • Experience: Five years of progressively responsible experience is required in at least one of the following areas: federal lands management policy or planning; developing and implementing programs to conserve biodiversity; and implementing public land management policy programs for non-profit organizations. An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above. In addition, the candidate should be able to demonstrate:
    • Experience working with federal land management agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Wildlife Refuge System; knowledge of laws, regulations and policies that govern federal land management is essential for this position. 
    • Existing relationships with federal agency staff and other stakeholders with policy interest in the management of public lands highly desirable. 
    • Interdisciplinary skills and practical experience in translating the best available science into policy and programmatic initiatives to conserve species and ecosystems.
  • Other:
    • Leadership skills and demonstrated ability to help guide the implementation of programs and/or initiatives affecting wildlife, natural resources, or habitat conservation. 
    • Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.  
    • Strong interpersonal skills with ability to work effectively with other staff members in an interdisciplinary team context.
    • Self-starter and entrepreneurial, demonstrated ability to take initiative.

Physical Demands:

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use a computer and communicate with others while doing so. 

Work Environment:

  • General office and field working conditions, the noise level in the work environment is usually quiet.

Values and Diversity:

  • Defenders of Wildlife is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities. Our employees work in an environment that is inclusive and honors each of our unique perspectives and backgrounds. We believe that the conservation of biological diversity is best advanced by the contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and cultures. We strive toward a collective goal of including all people in the conservation of our Nation’s wildlife and wild places.
  • Visit Our Values and Diversity page to learn more about who we are and how we operate.

Job Duration:


How to Apply:

Interested applicants should apply with a letter of interest through our jobs portal at

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.
All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.