Director of Conservation Stewardship

Minnesota Land Trust

Summary of Position

The Director of Conservation Stewardship is responsible for managing all aspects of the Minnesota Land Trust’s conservation easement portfolio. The Director’s duties include knowledge and ability to understand complex real estate transactions, land management, record keeping, data management, and public relations. With respect to stewardship, the Director is responsible for ensuring the Land Trust’s compliance with the stewardship requirements as set forth in the national Land Trust Standards and Practices and Land Trust Accreditation program. The Director is also responsible for managing and reporting to Terrafirma, the conservation defense insurance provider.

The Director manages a full-time staff of three persons and a volunteer program of approximately one hundred volunteers. The Director works closely with Land Protection and Legal staff to assure that all conservation and access easements contain enforceable terms and participates in due diligence reviews of all new easement projects. The Director works with Development and Communication staff to identify funding opportunities and to improve communications. The Director also coordinates with the Restoration Department staff on restoration projects on easement properties and will be responsible for reviewing and approving restoration action plans for protected properties.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ)

All employees of the Minnesota Land Trust are expected to embrace the ideals of our DEIJ plan and incorporate our DEIJ goals into their ongoing work. All employees should be familiar with the current DEIJ plan.

Duties and Responsibilities

Enforcement, Interpretation, and Administration of Conservation Easements: 60%
Supervision and Training of Staff: 20%
Review of New Easements and Coordination: 10%
Budgeting and Planning: 5%
Other: 5%

  • Understand and ensure compliance with the national Land Trust Standards and Practices and Land Trust Accreditation program.
  • Supervise, manage, coach and support stewardship staff and ensure department structure is aligned with the annual and strategic goals of the Land Trust.
  • Ensure the annual monitoring goals are met, regularly review the monitoring program with department staff and advocate for additional resources as necessary to meet the annual requirements.
  • Ensure stewardship records and archives are accurately maintained in a timely manner: work with other departments and IT Systems staff to ensure integrity of the Landscape database and other critical records and archives for all land projects.
  • Supervise preparation of baseline update reports and supplements.
  • Ensure the safety of stewardship and volunteer monitors: review safety procedures and guidelines annually, provide guidance to department staff as needed, and collaborate with other departments on safety trainings.
  • Steward the few properties owned in fee by the Minnesota Land Trust, including monitoring and all required land management.
  • Develop and manage the annual budget of the stewardship department and assist with projections of future resources needed to sustain stewardship program.
  • Participate in annual monitoring of properties both in person and through examination of remote imagery.
  • Manage litigation and dispute resolution of all challenges to conservation easements, access easements, or owned properties. Address easement violations: provide guidance to stewardship staff as needed and manage serious violations and legal disputes with legal counsel, as necessary.
  • Manage the relationship with Terrafirma, the Land Trust’s conservation defense insurance carrier: promptly report actual and potential claims to Terrafirma and seek insurance coverage for prosecution or defense of all violations or threats.
  • Work to ensure that there are adequate resources to support all aspects of stewardship program.
  • Work closely with the Director of Land Protection and the Land Trust’s Legal Department to assure that easement terms are enforceable.
  • Proactively participate in due diligence reviews of all new easement projects.
  • Attend and present to the Board of Directors and its Conservation Committee meetings.
  • Amend conservation easements as appropriate and secure approval by the Board of Directors.
  • Resolve all eminent domain issues impacting conserved properties.
  • Resolve discrepancies and “legacy issues” in existing easement portfolio.
  • Provide interpretations of Conservation Easement terms to landowners and other interested parties; provide approvals or denials of proposed plans, as required.
  • Provide support to landowners to maintain and restore conserved properties.
  • Implement the stewardship components of the Land Trust’s Climate Change Action Plan.
  • Review and approve proposals to improve habitat or restore protected properties developed by Land Trust partners or landowners.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of new programs to enhance landowner relationships.
  • Implement the stewardship components of the Land Trust’s DEIJ Plan.
  • Assist in the acquisition or sale of any fee-title properties, as directed.
  • Provide stewardship-related content for the Land Trust’s communication materials including press releases, newsletters, and landowner materials.

Preferred Skills and Experience

  1. A master’s degree in natural resources, land management or a similar field related to real estate and conservation OR a Juris Doctorate or paralegal degree.
  2. At least five years of professional experience in real estate, land use, or environmental law, land management, conservation programs or real-estate transactions.
  3. Demonstrated ability to assess and manage risk, and experience with resolving disputes, including through litigation.
  4. Demonstrated experience with record management and/or database development or use.
  5. Excellent written communication skills and the ability to work with a wide variety of individuals, including private landowners, staff, board members, and volunteers.
  6. Demonstrated experience supervising staff.
  7. Well organized and self-directed, with great attention to detail.
  8. Demonstrated interest in land conservation and environmental issues.
  9. Willingness to work evenings and weekends and/or stay overnight on occasion.
  10. A valid driver’s license, access to a dependable vehicle, and ability to drive to locations in out-state Minnesota.

Physical Demands

  1. Ability to hike up to three miles on foot through uneven, rough, or wet terrain. Comfortable hiking alone. Exposure to rugged terrain, dense vegetation, and stinging insects, including ticks.
  2. Ability to navigate in remote areas with dense vegetation.
  3. Ability to carry equipment while in the field, up to five pounds.
  4. Office duties to be performed at a desk and at a computer.

Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota

Salary Range: $95,000-115,000 annually

To Apply

Please email a cover letter and resume combined as a single PDF to Sue Martinez at by March 19, 2023.

Minnesota Land Trust is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Company will not discriminate because of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, genetic information, sex, disability, age, or any other status protected by state or local law, for employees who fall within the jurisdiction of such law.