Job Announcement: Director of Science & Policy

Director of Science & Policy

Start Date: 
July-August 2023

$5,500 – $6,200/ month, full-time equivalent, exempt Option for 0.75 – 1.0 FTE with prorated salary/ benefits.

Reports to:
Executive Director 

June 23, 2023

About Us 

In the Chinook trade language, elakha is the word for sea otter (Enhydra lutris), which were once plentiful along the rim of the North Pacific Ocean. The Elakha Alliance, an Oregon non-profit organization, is leading an effort to return sea otters to the coastal ecosystems of Oregon and restore their connection to the culture of coastal Indian people. The Elakha Alliance was formed by individuals with a shared belief in a powerful vision: an Oregon coast 50 years from now where our children and grandchildren co-exist along with a thriving sea otter population and a robust marine ecosystem. 

A Commitment to Science

Building a sound scientific basis for action is a core strategic initiative of the Elakha Alliance. Early steps to fulfill this scientific initiative include a completion of a scientific feasibility study in early 2022 (see Reintroducing Sea Otters to Oregon: A Feasibility Study) by a team of world-class scientists. That study concluded that a reintroduction of sea otters in Oregon is both feasible and likely to be successful if certain considerations are accounted for. It also pointed out areas where additional research and monitoring are needed. In mid-2022 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a region-wide feasibility assessment that referenced the Elakha Alliance study and concluded that there would be substantial conservation benefits to the species rangewide from reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range, as well as multiple biological and ecological benefits to the nearshore marine ecosystem.

The Elakha Alliance has commissioned or completed other science and policy related studies including:

  • a coastwide Economic Impact Assessment (completed),
  • proposed revisions to the Oregon Nearshore Conservation Strategy (completed),
  • a study of the distribution and abundance of two species of sharks that may pose a threat to sea otters along the Oregon coast (underway),
  • a study of the potential impact of reintroduction of sea otters on the tourism and travel sectors of the economy of the southern Oregon coast (completed), and
  • a study of the potential impact of sea otters on local shellfisheries on the southern Oregon coast (underway by mid-2023).

Overall Responsibility

The Director of Science & Policy will initiate, coordinate, and manage a range of science-related activities to support pre-reintroduction and post-reintroduction activities, and will serve as the organization’s lead on coordinating these efforts with regional partners.

Description of Duties

The Description of Duties below is focused on currently understood needs for 2023. Duties for 2024 and future years will be based on continued progress and regional coordination and will be mutually developed with the Executive Director.

  • Manage further development of a sea otter reintroduction planning framework for Oregon, as described in the Prospectus for Oregon Sea Otter Reintroduction Plan, with a focus on information/ data needs related to assessing baseline conditions, reintroductions, source animals, and site selection.
  • Represent the organization’s interests and coordinate with federal and state agencies, coastal Indian tribes, academic research programs, and other organizations on science and policy projects and related efforts.
  • Coordinate with California partners, USFWS, and others involved in regional sea otter reintroduction efforts.
  • Identify, assess, and (as needed) propose research or monitoring to acquire the scientific information necessary to support reintroduction planning needs and fulfill policy and regulatory requirements of federal and state agencies.
  • Interact and coordinate with academic, agency, organizational and other scientists on science and public policy topics relevant to the mission of the Elakha Alliance.
  • Seek funding for research and monitoring; serve as grants manager for science and policy projects.
  • Regularly communicate and coordinate with the Elakha Alliance director, staff, and contractors about science and policy projects, activities, and updates.
    • Provide monthly written progress reports to the staff and quarterly reports for the Elakha Alliance Board of Directors.
    • Work with the Elakha Alliance Executive Director and Director of Outreach & Community Relations to convey the results of scientific research and analysis to the public and stakeholders, including planning and facilitating an annual science symposium.
  • Attend quarterly Elakha Alliance Board meetings; attend science/ policy related meetings/ events as needed.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with Oregon Ocean Science Trust, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council; and other marine/ coastal science and policy committees and organizations.


Required Qualifications & Desired Attributes

The Elakha Alliance seeks a highly-motivated and team-oriented individual to serve as Director of Science & Policy in support of its mission to restore a population of sea otters to the Oregon coast.

Required Qualifications
  • Master’s degree in a scientific discipline related to marine ecology, conservation, or related field.
  • Ability to coordinate and collaborate with organizations and individuals across a variety of disciplines in order to plan and implement multidisciplinary/ integrated projects and programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate scientific results to managers, stakeholders, and the public.
  • Demonstrated ability to be a self-starter who is comfortable working independently with minimal supervision.
  • Familiarity with the geography, issues, and challenges related to sea otter restoration and/or marine conservation on the Pacific coast.
  • Ability to build and maintain effective and collaborative working relationships with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders.
  • Enthusiasm for and commitment to the mission of the Elakha Alliance to restore a population of sea otters to the Oregon coast.
Desired Attributes
  • Adaptability; able to respond positively to opportunities, changing circumstances, and the evolving needs of the organization.
  • Ability to write and speak clearly and effectively.
  • Good listener; able to respectfully listen and respond thoughtfully.
  • Experience working with diverse communities or stakeholders, particularly tribes.
  • Experience or familiarity with the social, political, geographic complexities of the Oregon’s coast, particularly around issues of natural resources use, management, and restoration.
  • Experience seeking and/or managing grants.

Compensation and Benefits

  • Starting salary range is $5,500-6,200/ month, negotiable based on qualifications and experience.
  • Starting Health Care stipend of $500 per month as part of an ICHRA plan.
  • Generous vacation and wellness benefits.

Working Conditions

The Elakha Alliance is a virtual organization, with no fixed office. The Director of Science & Policy will work remotely and largely independently, but in close communication and coordination with the Executive Director and others within the Elakha Alliance organization as circumstances require. We expect the Director of Science & Policy to provide a home office or an equivalent remote location for their work with access to communication devices (e.g., a laptop, cell phone, printer). They will also need to furnish their own transportation, but will be reimbursed for mileage and travel expenses.

How To Apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter which address:

  1. What motivated you to apply for the Science & Policy Director position.
  2. How your skills and experience match the Required Qualifications and Desired Attributes for the position.
  3. Date you would be available to start work.

Submit materials to Jane Bacchieri ( ) by Friday, June 23, 2023.

Review of applications will begin on June 26, 2023.

The Elakha Alliance is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, color, age, or any other characteristic. The Elakha Alliance is committed to reflecting the diversity of Oregon’s communities in our Board, employees, and contractors. We strive to ensure that our internal culture, business practices, and programs are welcoming and advance our diversity goals.