Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Lands Program

Landscape Conservation Washington, District Of Columbia Denver, Colorado United States




JOB TITLE:  Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Lands Program

CLASSIFICATION: Professional 5

SALARY: $82,000 - $92,000

FLSA:  Exempt

DEPARTMENT:  Landscape Conservation

LOCATION:  Washington, DC or Denver, CO or remote

REPORTS TO: Director, Federal Lands


LAST REVISED:  June 2022



This professional-level position leads Defenders of Wildlife’s federal lands portfolio and major campaigns to increase wildlife habitat protections and advance imperiled species recovery on the lands and waters of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the nation’s premier network of public lands dedicated to wildlife conservation. This position develops and executes multi-faceted strategies to defend and secure new conservation protections, initiatives, policies and laws for at-risk species on federal lands by working with agency decision-makers, influencing members of Congress, building coalitions and coordinating relevant environmental community advocacy efforts, and, when necessary, supporting strategic litigation, among other activities. This position collaborates closely with staff throughout the organization including within the Landscape Conservation, Government Relations, Communications, Conservation Law and Field Conservation departments and the Center for Conservation Innovation.



  • Spearhead and coordinate Defenders’ efforts to advocate for policies to expand and promote the integrity of the Refuge System, to protect and restore habitat on individual refuge units, and thwart and oppose policies and actions that are incompatible with refuge management or that threaten at-risk species on refuges.
  • Track the development and implementation of policies affecting at-risk species and habitat on the National Wildlife Refuge System.
  • Develop Defenders’ positions on legislative and administrative proposals affecting the Refuge System and individual refuges. Coordinate with Government Relations on developing new and responding to proposed legislation.
  • Serve as Defenders’ primary point of contact on Refuge System lands to department and agency officials.
  • Research relevant topics and produce white papers, memos, reports, blogs, and other products for advocacy purposes. Coordinate with the Communications Department to develop and distribute outward facing products and with the Center for Conservation Innovation to use technology to develop digital communication projects.
  • On priority issues and in priority places, draft comments, appeals, and objections in response to proposed regulatory actions, plans, and proposals; and, when necessary, prepare to support litigation efforts.
  • Inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters, on critical Refuge System and individual refuge issues.
  • Initiate Defenders’ multi-department, inter-disciplinary teams as needed to fight harmful proposals and promote beneficial policies, practices, and programs that affect at-risk species and habitat on Refuge System lands and waters.
  • Develop external coalitions as needed to promote strategies and achieve objectives.
  • Serve as Defenders’ expert point of contact for Refuge System lands internally and with external interests, the news media, coalitions and policymakers.
  • Perform all other related duties as assigned.



Education: Bachelors (B.A./B.S.) degree or equivalent

Experience: 8 years of relevant experience

An equivalent combination of education and experience may be accepted as a satisfactory substitute for the specific education and experience listed above.


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for All Defenders


Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Grade 5


  1. Ability to accurately maintain electronic and physical records
  2. Anticipate and meet the needs of internal and/or external stakeholders delivering excellent service


  1. Ability to clearly and accurately communicate with internal and external stakeholders
  2. Ability to articulate complex ideas clearly, accurately and concisely
  3. Ability to convey effective messages to broad and diverse constituencies
  4. Ability and willingness to effectively represent Defenders’ interests in external environments
  5. Ability to exert influence and build consensus with internal and external stakeholders

Critical Thinking

  1. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential matters with discretion
  2. Strong research and data analysis skills, including ability to gather and synthesize information from multiple sources to produce high quality work products in a consistent, efficient, accurate, and timely manner
  3. Creative problem-solving and troubleshooting skills with willingness to experiment and innovate new methods.
  4. Facilitate and promote the integration of diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into Defenders’ work
  5. Ability to independently exercise appropriate judgment in response to complex and/or fluid environments
  6. Strategic thinker with the ability to take high-level strategy and translate into relatable points and action steps.

Project Management

  1. Ability to work well under pressure and tight deadlines while balancing competing assignments
  2. Ability to remain flexible and adaptable to shifting priorities while remaining responsive to urgent requests
  3. Ability to take ownership of a project or process and to use problem solving skills to resolve issues
  4. Ability to manage deadlines on multiple cross-functional projects in a dynamic environment
  5. Demonstrated ability in managing competing interests on complex issues
  6. Ability to independently initiate project and initiative ideas; managing projects and initiatives through to completion

Coalition and Community Engagement

  1. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to form effective working relationships with diverse constituencies including federal/state agencies; elected officials and their staff; Defenders’ members and donors; private landowners; hunters and anglers; community leaders; religious, scientific, and academic communities; and /or the general public.
  2. Ability to lead diverse stakeholders in collaborative activities, to anticipate policy issues impacting wildlife and make recommendations within Defenders, other organizations, and coalitions.
  3. Networking skills to engage with leaders in the conservation community, federal and state agencies, NGOs, and other organizations.

Conservation Knowledge

  1. Familiarity with Defenders’ legal, scientific, and/or political issues
  2. Familiarity with national and regional social, political and ecological landscapes


  1. Expert-level knowledge of Defenders’ legal, scientific, and/or political issues
  2. Expert-level knowledge of national and regional social, political, and ecological landscapes

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities for Senior Policy Analyst, Federal Lands Program

  1. Strategic Thinking - Formulates effective strategies consistent with the business and competitive strategy of the organization in a global economy. Examines policy issues and strategic planning with a long-term perspective. Determines objectives and sets priorities; anticipates potential threats or opportunities.
  2. Partnering - Develops networks and builds alliances; collaborates across boundaries to build strategic relationships and achieve common goals.
  3. Problem Solving - Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
  4. Ecology - Knowledge of the concepts, principles, and theories of the interrelationships among organisms and their environment, including competition and predation, evolution and natural selection, population dynamics, and the impact of natural phenomena or human actions on natural systems, processes, and biota.
  5. Legal, Government, and Jurisprudence Familiarity with applicable laws, regulations, Executive Orders, government organization and functions, and the democratic political process.
  6. Public Planning - Knowledge of functions, principles, methods, and techniques of public planning, including those related to community planning, outdoor recreation planning, and natural resource management, such as demand forecasting, environmental impact analysis, financial forecasting, and land use planning and zoning.
  7. Supporting Diversity - Fosters an inclusive workplace where diversity and individual differences are valued and engaged to achieve the vision and mission of the organization.
  8. Oral and Written Communication - Makes clear and convincing oral presentations. Listens effectively. Writes in a clear, concise, organized, and convincing manner for the intended audience.




Physical Activities

Check all that apply


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly

Ascending or descending ladders, stairs, scaffolding, ramps, poles and the like.


Moving self in different positions to accomplish tasks in various environments including tight and confined spaces.


Remaining in a stationary position, often standing or sitting for prolonged periods.


Moving about to accomplish tasks or moving from one worksite to another.


Adjusting or moving objects up to 10 pounds in all directions.


Communicating with others to exchange information.


Repeating motions that may include the wrists, hands and/or fingers.


Operating machinery and/or power tools.


Operating motor vehicles or heavy equipment.


Assessing the accuracy, neatness and thoroughness of the work assigned.



Environmental Conditions - Check all that apply


(N)Never, (O)Occasionally or (C)Constantly

Low temperatures.


High temperatures.


Outdoor elements such as precipitation and wind.


Noisy environments.


Hazardous conditions.


Poor ventilation.


Small and/or enclosed spaces.


No adverse environmental conditions expected.



Physical Demands - Check only one


Sedentary work that primarily involves sitting/standing.


Light work that includes moving objects up to 20 pounds.


Medium work that includes moving objects up to 50 pounds.


Heavy work that includes moving objects up to 100 pounds or more.



Visit to apply.


All employees are required to satisfactorily perform the essential duties and responsibilities of their positions. The essential duties and responsibilities listed above are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.


Defenders requires employees who engage in in-person work activities, including business travel or onsite work, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An applicant (i) who is disabled or pregnant or who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates a COVID-19 vaccination or (ii) who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice may request an exemption from this vaccination policy. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with applicable law. Any medical information concerning an applicant's disability will be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws. 

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, creed, religion, sex national origin, ethnicity, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, personal appearance, family/parental status, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, or any other legally protected characteristic in all personnel actions.

Please be advised this position is union-eligible.