Instream Flow and Water Policy Specialist


Trout Unlimited is a national organization with 300,000 members and supporters organized into over 400 chapters and councils nationwide. These dedicated grassroots volunteers are matched by a respected staff of project managers, lawyers, policy experts, and scientists, who work out of more than 45 offices across the country. Our mission is to conserve, protect, and restore North America's cold-water fisheries and their watersheds.

Trout Unlimited (TU) has been engaged in advocacy, streamflow and habitat restoration across Montana for more than two decades. TU project staff are focused on restoring instream flows, fish passage and stream habitats to benefit native and wild trout populations in the Clark Fork basin and the Missouri Headwaters. Our Western Water and Habitat Program seeks to build upon a history of successful stream restoration and water transactions in the Big Blackfoot and Upper Clark Fork Basins, expanding our capacity to protect and restore streamflows, restore fish habitat and connectivity and incorporate water rights and water policy into our work across the Clark Fork and across Montana. We are seeking qualified applicants to serve as our Instream Flow Specialist.


TU staffers occupy unique and diverse positions, requiring self-motivated and highly capable people to identify, plan, and implement instream flow conservation projects and assist project managers in addressing water rights aspects of fish passage and stream restoration projects to primarily benefit aquatic resources and fish populations in the Clark Fork watersheds and across Montana. The Specialist will work closely with Montana Water and Habitat Program attorneys and project managers, local watershed groups, and agricultural communities to seek opportunities to reconnect and restore instream flows on priority tributaries within public and private lands and coordinate with resource agency staff to navigate and improve water policy. The Specialist must possess experience with instream flow project development and implementation, water right transactions, water right administrative policy and processes, and a familiarity and willingness to work in tandem with experts in stream restoration, fish passage, and mine reclamation.

A significant focus will be placed upon building and maintaining partnerships with the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program, the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Good oral and written communication skills are required. In addition, the successful applicant will be expected to seek out and obtain grant funding along with team members to support project work and core operational costs. Permanent location is somewhat negotiable, but the Instream Flow Specialist will be required to work closely with TU’s Helena-based senior staff for a six-month training period. The position will be supervised out of Trout Unlimited’s office in Bozeman, MT. This position will require frequent local travel for field work.


  • Closely work in a team of diverse TU staff in Clark Fork Basin to collect and analyze hydrological data, research water rights, and evaluate project opportunities to design and implement flow and habitat restoration projects.
  • Develop and implement streamflow restoration projects, monitoring plans, and water transactions.
  • Engage TU chapters, watershed groups, agencies, landowners and other local stakeholders to identify priority streamflow and habitat projects, initiate restoration planning activities, and develop partnerships to advance TU’s restoration strategies in the Clark Fork Basin and across Montana.
  • Coordinate with TU staff, state and federal agencies, and project partners to collect and analyze hydrological field data and water rights data for project development and post-project monitoring.
  • Work both independently and in partnership with other TU staff on project development, grant writing, and outreach.
  • Supervise interns and/or seasonal field technicians.
  • Perform basic administration duties including grant writing, reporting, invoicing and tracking project budgets.

This is not an all-inclusive list of duties and responsibilities.


  • Bachelor's degree in water resource related field required (e.g. hydrology, fisheries, engineering, etc.); graduate degree preferred.
  • A minimum of five years professional experience with water rights analysis and transactions, natural resource project management, water conservation project development, and instream flow transactions focused on irrigation efficiency, fish habitat and passage improvement, and stream restoration preferred.
  • Demonstrated performance in preparation of water right change applications, technical reports, grant writing, and outreach materials.
  • Familiarity with fisheries management integrating principles of hydrology, water quality, and fish habitat restoration.
  • Superior interpersonal skills and ability to work constructively with diverse partners, rural community stakeholders and private landowners.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills required.
  • Experience with media relations and public outreach helpful.
  • Good organizational and problem-solving abilities.
  • Ability to work independently while managing complex projects as an interdisciplinary team member in close collaboration with TU staff.
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the state as necessary.
  • Ability to provide own transportation required, mileage reimbursed.
  • Passion for protecting and restoring trout streams and their watersheds!

The position is supervised from the Bozeman, MT Water Program office, and primarily works as a member of the TU staff team in the Clark Fork Basin based out of the Missoula, MT office. The position will require frequent local travel for field work. Ability to provide own transportation required, mileage reimbursed. Annual salary range is $50,000 to $58,000 DOE.


To assist TU in evaluating your application, please answer the following questions. Please make each answer thorough, concise, responsive and under one page, single spaced.

1. Please summarize your experience in the water policy arena, analyzing state-based and federal water rights both in Montana and across the West, and preparing water leases and change applications. Please describe one instream flow project which you led and the fisheries goal and outcome.

2. Describe any special training you have received or work experiences that you have had related to hydrology, fish passage, stream restoration, stream-flow measurement, water rights and water policy

3. Describe any experience, training, or special qualities that you have in communicating complex concepts to non-technical audiences, especially in rural communities that may be suspicious of outsiders.


Please send a letter of interest, resume, supplementary questions and three professional references to by February 10, 2019. The position may remain open until filled. Inquiries should be through email.

This is not an all-inclusive list of duties and responsibilities.

Please fill out this voluntary form and submit it as an this email address.

TU is an Equal Employment Opportunity & Affirmative Action Employer pursuant to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act & Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistant Act.

TU hires staff without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status or disability.


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