Executive Director

Northern Waters Land Trust

Title: Executive Director of the Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT)
Classification: Exempt
Reports to: The Chair of the Board of Directors

The Northern Waters Land Trust (NWLT) is seeking an Executive Director. NWLT is a 501(c)3 non-profit accredited land trust and is committed to preserving land to protect water in north central Minnesota, a region with more than 2,000 lakes, 3,400 miles of rivers and streams and over 4 million acres. NWLT’s watershed approach to conservation focuses on the ‘big picture’ of preserving land around lakes and rivers to protect water quality and wildlife habitat. Protecting the lakes, rivers and forests in northern Minnesota supports the local economy and culture. This region’s economy is dependent on healthy natural resources for outdoor recreation and tourism. Conservation in this area helps ensure healthy drinking water for communities outside the region that depend on the Mississippi River for their drinking water. NWLT focuses on critical watersheds primarily located in Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard and Aitkin counties, as well as adjacent counties in north central Minnesota. Our service area supports some of the best fish and wildlife habitats in the State. Our area is projected to have a 10-20% population growth in the next 25 years, so thoughtful development and protection of sensitive land and shorelines is critical.

Job Summary: NWLT seeks an Executive Director who has both passion and energy for land and water conservation. The Executive Director will be the face of NWLT and will work broadly across all of its constituent groups including landowners; local, state and federal government agencies; the sovereign tribes of Minnesota; and the general public. The Executive Director will provide leadership and management of all aspects of NWLT’s work, including conservation easements, fee title acquisition, fiscal accountability and development, outreach, and expansion of our organizational capacity as a Land Trust Alliance accredited land trust. The Executive Director will work to ensure NWLT carries out our vision, mission and strategic plan efficiently and effectively. The Executive Director will be an excellent manager of people and projects, work with integrity, inspire trust and be an articulate messenger for our Mission.

Key Responsibilities and Duties:


  • Communicates our vision, mission, goals and brand.
  • Leads collaboration with key conservation partners, such as local, regional and state agencies, other land trusts, tribes, lake associations, community leaders and the public.
  • Educates and builds exposure of NWLT conservation efforts to our partners.


  • Works with NWLT staff, the Conservation Committee and the Board of Directors to identify, secure and monitor conservation easements.
  • Works with NWLT staff, the Conservation Committee and the Board of Directors to identify, secure and monitor fee title acquisitions.
  • Ensures all Land Trust Alliance Standards and Practices are followed and leads the effort for reaccreditation (every 5 years).


  • Leads efforts to develop and execute annual and longer-term operational and land acquisition fundraising plans to include individual, corporate and major gift giving.
  • Oversees and/or completes grant application processes and requirements, executes grant-funded programs, and ensures that required reports and invoices are submitted.
  • Creates a sustainable annual budget and works with the Board of Directors for approval.
  • Creates a sustainable long-term financial plan and works with the Board of Directors for approval.


  • Executes and adjusts the Strategic Plan in collaboration with the Board of Directors and expands organizational capacity.
  • Assists the Board in policy development.
  • Ensures that adequate technology is in place for effective financial, accounting, fundraising, outreach and conservation management.
  • Oversees all accounting and banking processes, and ensures all IRS, state and federal financial reports and audits are complete and timely.
  • Ensures compliance with all internal policies and procedures, legal requirements and financial standards.
  • Manages all personnel matters including hiring, performance review, staff development, and salary.

There are currently 4 staff positions and growth is anticipated.

Required Qualifications

• Bachelor’s Degree
• Exhibits a high level of personal integrity and ethical conduct.
• Resides within or adjacent to NLWT’s service area of Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard and Aitkin Counties in Minnesota, or willingness to relocate

Preferred Qualifications

• Education and/or experience in environmental sciences or related field
• Non-profit leadership experience, conservation, or land trust experience

Salary and Benefits
• This is a full-time professional salaried position. Salary will be a minimum of $70,000 per year and is negotiable, based on education and experience.
• Health insurance available, paid time off, and 10 holidays annually

NWLT embraces and encourages our employees’ differences in age, color, disability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and other characteristics that make our employees unique. NLWT is an equal opportunity employer.

More information about NWLT can be found at https://northernwaterslandtrust.org/
Applicants can apply in confidence with a cover letter and resume to:
Bob Karls
c/o Linda Barber
Or by email: Bkarls58@gmail.com
Northern Waters Land Trust Linda Barber <lindab@northernwaterslandtrust.org
PO Box 124
Walker, MN 56484-0124

Review of applications will begin 15 May 2023 and continue until the position is filled.