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Position Description: The Mississippi River Delta is a vast mosaic of marshes and forested wetlands, estuaries, navigable waterways and islands. The delta’s habitats sustain enormous populations of wildlife and have given birth to some of our country’s most distinctive cultures and traditions. Among those cultures are inshore fisherman, including oystermen and shrimpers, many of whom are Native Americans and African Americans, who rely on the coast to sustain their livelihoods and ways of life just as their ancestors did. Since the 1930s, human alterations to the Mississippi River system have caused Louisiana to lose about 1,900 square miles of land – land that has disappeared into open water. Proposed delta restoration efforts, such as large-scale river diversions, will change current habitat quality; consequently, near shore fisherman are not only reticent to support restoration efforts, they comprise a potentially vocal opposition.
The aim of this project is to develop scientifically, legally and economically sound transition path(s) for near-shore fisheries, particularly oystermen, who may be adversely impacted by needed restoration. Gaining the support of fisheries sectors will be critical to winning a comprehensive and effective restoration plan, ensuring that restoration supports communities and economies as well as the ecosystem.
Level of Engagement: In partnership with the Walton Family Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), National Audubon Society (NAS) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF) launched an ambitious campaign for coastal Louisiana restoration. With Hurricanes Katrina and Rita still fresh in the minds and lives of the people of Louisiana and the country, we made a potent case for restoring the state’s valuable wetlands, won critical state and federal support and launched bold restoration projects. We put in place a sophisticated local and national NGO campaign with top science, policy, communications, organizing and field teams winning impressive results. All of the elements are now in place to suggest that we can indeed create a new paradigm for government and private business that is capable of putting in place a sustained and systemic national program for coastal Louisiana restoration and resilience. This project would be a key element of this program.
Responsibilities: Under the direction of the Associate Director Stakeholder Projects-Mississippi River Delta, the fellow will work directly with coalition members, other partners, fisheries associations, and fisherman to explore issues, find solutions, and help promote our restoration objectives for the Mississippi River Delta.
The Tom Graff fellow will analyze existing oyster leasing programs, examine precedence in the region and elsewhere for flexible fishery management regimes, build subject matter expertise, and develop policy and program proposals that can be implemented to ensure that fisheries continue to be an important and vibrant part of the coastal economy and way of life. In support of the ideas developed during the fellowship, the Graff Fellow will develop messages to enlist further support from coastal fishing communities and work closely with experts in EDF’s Oceans and Land Water and Wildlife Programs to develop and advocate proposals. The project will involve close collaboration with EDF’s national and local coalition partners and frequent travel to Louisiana to build relationships and develop ideas with local groups. The project will lead to work products helpful to restoring a vital ecosystem and culture as well as build important experience for the fellow.
- Undergraduate degree is required. A graduate degree in a law, economics, science, or policy program involving studies of environmental, natural resources, fisheries and/or conflict resolution, or an equivalent proven ability, is preferred.
- Demonstrable analytic and research skills and ability to perform rigorous analysis resulting in practical applications.
- Effective and clear communication skills (oral and written) in daily job duties as well as external communications a must.
- Capacity to obtain and effectively convey information to, and dialogue with, a variety of concerned parties, including government agencies, professional associations, businesses, and community groups.
- Ability to analyze potentially conflicting information to identify a suite of potentially effective business, policy and/or technical solutions. Ability to work collaboratively as well as independently.
- A self-starter with the ability to think strategically and develop and implement tactics that realize results.
- Ability to leverage the expertise of EDF staff and coalition partners, or others, to implement tactics and meet strategic goals.
- Politically astute and emotional intelligent; able to recognize and build on opportunities for progress.
- Frequent travel required, valid driver’s license necessary.
- Experience working with fishermen, policy makers, rural/coastal communities or with the commercial fishing community is a bonus.
Location: Boulder, CO (preferably), or Washington, DC
Term: This is a one year term fellowship, starting September, 2012 through August, 2013.
Hours: Full-time (35 hours/week)
Compensation: $45,000 plus benefits
Application: Interested applicants should attach their cover letter to the EDF application, together with a writing sample and transcripts. Applications can be submitted here: http://www.edf.org/jobs/tom-graff-fellow-land-water-wildlife.
Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.
Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer