Job Opening Posted May 2016

Title: Water Resources Specialist for Energy Program

Program Area: Protecting clean water from coal pollution in Illinois


Prairie Rivers Network is Illinois’ statewide river conservation organization and Illinois’ affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. Founded in 1967, the organization is headquartered in Champaign, IL, a dynamic University community just 45 minutes from a national scenic river and within 20 minutes of one of the state’s finest small mouth bass streams. Prairie Rivers Network works to restore and protect Illinois’ rivers for the benefit of people, fish, and wildlife.

Changes in the coal mining industry and coal burning power plants mean changes for Illinois communities and their economies. Ongoing mining activities and the legacy waste pollution from burning coal continue to pose potential threats to land, rivers, people and wildlife across Illinois. Although coal companies continue to pursue permits to mine coal on the promise of bringing jobs and revenues to economically strapped Illinois communities, the opportunities are at best hollow, with many companies seeking bankruptcy protections. The burden of coal’s legacy will come at a cost to Illinois, as the industry continues to decline due to a variety of factors, leaving the high cost of mine closure and clean-up, mountains of coal ash pits around the state with the potential to leak into our waters, and the need for communities to prepare for a future less dependent on coal.

Prairie Rivers Network seeks an energetic and outgoing individual to combine experience with advocacy campaigns with outreach and communication skills to coordinate the organization’s efforts to protect Illinois’ rivers and streams from coal pollution. Prairie Rivers Network ( is fighting to protect our rivers and streams from new and expanding coal mines and to ensure that toxic coal ash dumps are responsibly cleaned up as Illinois phases out its aging fleet of coal fired power plants. The Water Resources Specialist for Energy Programs reports to the Executive Director and works closely with our staff Water Resources Engineer and our collaborative partners to design and implement campaigns to protect Illinois’ waters from coal pollution.

Desired qualifications include:

  • strong commitment to water protection;
  • experience planning, organizing and/or implementing issue campaigns;
  • experience implementing projects in diverse settings;
  • ability to communicate research and technical issues to lay audiences;
  • ability to create and nurture partnerships critical to the success of our campaigns;
  • strong written and public speaking skills; good public relations skills; experience implementing social media campaigns; experience working with media;
  • experience working with volunteers;
  • experience and/or knowledge of the legislative and administrative policy making process;
  • familiarity with energy issues and climate issues;
  • a willingness to travel and sometimes work evenings and/or weekends.

The candidate must be able to work independently to set and achieve goals.

Major Duties:

Coordinate planning and implementation, including communication, outreach and community mobilization in support of our campaigns to reduce water pollution from coal mining and coal ash disposal in Illinois. Specifically, this position is responsible for:

  • Managing currently ongoing campaigns and adjusting actions as needed.
  •  Working directly with partner organizations and frontline community groups to develop their capacity to influence decision making processes and protect their water resources from coal pollution and its legacy.
  • Continuing to build and support an alliance of organizations and frontline community residents that facilitates communication, participation and basin-wide action on coal pollution issues.
  • Coordinating outreach and education efforts to broaden awareness of coal pollution issues in Illinois.
  • Mobilizing our members, partners, supporters and community leaders to take action in support of our coal program work through various outreach means, including social media.
  • Tracking state and federal administrative and legislative actions related to energy policy.
  • Researching efforts in other states to provide supports to communities facing coal industry decline.


  • B.A./B.S. degree in Environmental Studies, Political Science or a closely related field.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to collaborate with others on a team, while implementing work independently
  • Ability to manage time efficiently to set and achieve goals
  • Ability to travel; valid driver’s license with either access to own vehicle or eligibility to rent.

To Apply: Submit cover letter, resume, and references to Prairie Rivers Network, 1902 Fox Drive, Suite G, Champaign, IL 61820 or Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2016.