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Land Conservation Projects Manager

Bedford Hills NY

The Westchester Land Trust (WLT), founded in 1988, is the leading land conservation organization prioritizing the entirety of Westchester County and eastern Putnam County, NY and was one of the first land trusts in the nation to be accredited through the independent Land Trust Accreditation Commission. As a regional land trust, WLT promotes cross-boundary collaboration with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity, and to protect and enhance the natural resources in our region. In its 28 years, Westchester Land Trust has preserved nearly 8,000 acres, including 198 conservation easements totaling 5,300 acres, 29 publicly accessible nature preserves totaling 720 acres, and almost 2,000 acres of assisted transactions with municipalities to create town parks.

 

Position Description

The Land Conservation Projects Manager is responsible for identifying, managing and completing land acquisition projects, including conservation easements, fee simple acquisitions, and assisted transactions with partner organizations. Guided by WLT’s Conservation Plan, the Land Conservation Projects Manager will provide lead input on which potential land projects WLT should prioritize for execution. (S)he will build relationships in the community with landowners, municipalities and other conservation organizations to identify potential projects and willing landowners. (S)he will lead all projects from initial inquiry, to project file creation, due diligence, identification of funding sources, Board review, and completion. This is an exciting opportunity for the person who is passionate about “saving land where the people are.” This position does not oversee staff, but must work collaboratively across a ten-person organization to be successful. The position reports directly to WLT’s President.

 

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

Land Project Management

Implement WLT Conservation Plan with specific focus on project management and analysis of property for conservation. Together with input from other WLT departments, have decision-making authority on which projects to put before WLT President, and subsequently, the Board of Directors.

Respond to landowner and conservation partner inquiries to discuss conservation options relevant to their land, and determine appropriate course of action.

Complete in-process land protection projects, and initiate new ones, following WLT’s Land Policy guidelines and Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices.

Lead prospect property site visits; assess and report on property conservation values; determine fit with WLT’s conservation priorities, funding opportunities and schedule.

Assess and report on all aspects of project costs, including acquisition costs, transaction costs and stewardship endowment requirements. Identify funding sources to support such costs.

Perform/secure all necessary project due diligence. Hire and liaise with outside professionals necessary for timely completion of transactions (e.g. attorney, appraiser, surveyor, environmental consultants, title company). Prepare all necessary GIS maps.

Serve as staff liaison to the Land Preservation Committee of the Board (produce project packages, schedule and participate in committee meetings, track approvals progress).

Following any requisite Board authorization, and together with President, negotiate terms of land acquisitions, including acquisition price, partnership agreements, and stewardship endowment funding terms.

Work with WLT attorneys to determine appropriate conservation easement terms; author relevant portions of conservation easement drafts.

Produce baseline documentation reports for conservation easements, and management summaries for fee simple acquisitions. Provide input to Director of Stewardship for development of

Comprehensive Management Plans for fee simple properties.

Prior to transaction closing, review all documents for completeness, accuracy and conformance with the Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices, as well as WLT’s Land Policy guidelines.

Coordinate transfer of completed projects to WLT Stewardship department to ensure seamless transition into the stewardship program.

 

Landowner Engagement and Community Outreach

Develop and foster relationships with landowners, to educate and guide them on how to achieve their specific goals.

Expand outreach to municipal agencies (e.g. Planning Boards, CAC’s), on the land preservation tools available to them and WLT’s role as a partner

Increase outreach to realtors and other professionals to educate and train about land conservation tools, and encourage greater referrals of land projects.

Develop and cultivate relationships with partner organizations, with the goal of completing multi-parcel, multi-landowner cross-boundary projects.

Maintain centralized data-set of conservation easement and land donor prospects using WLT’s regional conservation planning and parcel prioritization inventory. Track all correspondence and engagement activity.

Provide land conservation expertise to conservation programs/events to broaden WLT’s constituency and educational impact. Present at local, regional and national conferences on conservation.

Working with the Development team and the President, identify funding strategies for conservation projects.

Working with the Communications Manager, provide input on written and web-based material related to land conservation efforts, including grant applications, brochures, letters, articles, press information and social media updates.

Participate in fundraising and other events that contribute to WLT’s community engagement efforts.

Participate in relevant professional development opportunities offered by LTA, local community colleges, County agencies and others.

 

Qualifications

Required

Minimum BA/BS in natural resources management, conservation, law or related fields

Minimum 7 years experience in land conservation, real estate project management or related field

Experience identifying natural resources and assessing them in the field

Knowledge of current tax and conservation regulations relating to land preservation

Excellent written communications skills

Engaging and impactful public speaking skills

Exceptional project management skills with experience developing and adhering to project timelines and budgets; facility with project accounting

Relationship management instincts; savvy for building consensus, gaining buy-in from landowners, partners and stakeholders

Ability to work under pressure, and manage multiple projects with different deadlines

Enthusiasm for conserving land in an ecologically and demographically diverse service region that includes large rural parcels, suburban properties, and urban projects

Frequent travel within WLT mission area; personal vehicle, and valid driver’s license required.

Ability to walk long distances over uneven, wooded, wet terrain is required

Availability to work some evening and weekend hours

Thorough familiarity with Land Trust Alliance Standards & Practices

Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Adobe, GIS software, GPS hardware

 

Preferred

Demonstrated experience with real estate transaction negotiations.

Familiarity with NYS SEQR process

Work experience within the non-profit conservation world

Comfort with social media platforms

 

Compensation

Salary commensurate with experience.

 

To apply: Please send cover letter and resume via email to info@westchesterlandtrust.org. No phone calls please.

 

Westchester Land Trust offers a collegial and supportive work environment, with a competitive benefits package, including merit bonuses, health insurance, retirement plan with employer match, paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. Westchester Land Trust is an equal opportunity employer and acts in accordance with applicable law in all of our hiring and employment practices.

 

Posted March 16, 2017



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