Position Available: Fishers Island Seagrass Management Project Coordinator


JOB TITLE: Fishers Island Seagrass Management (FISM) Project Coordinator
SALARY RANGE: $24 – $28/hour commensurate with qualifications and experience
REPORTS TO: Executive Director, H.L. Ferguson Museum
CONTRACT: Part-time, 12 months (extendable dependent on funding and performance)
LOCATION: Fishers Island, New York


Henry L. Ferguson Museum

Since its inception in 1960, the Ferguson Museum has worked to protect habitat for the flora and fauna of Fishers Island, New York. Today, the Museum serves as an anchor institution in the island’s community. Building upon the foundation of these two roles, the Ferguson Museum is working to bring the Fishers Island community together to protect and manage its unique seagrass ecosystem, a threatened but enduring and ecologically significant common-trust natural resource essential to the livelihood and well-being of all islanders. Thus far, the Museum has protected habitat through its growing Land Trust, its natural history exhibits, and its environmental education programs. The Museum now seeks to further its conservation mission by promoting and facilitating community co-management of a community marine resource, its seagrass ecosystem.

Fishers Island Seagrass Management (FISM) Coalition

The Fishers Island Seagrass Management (FISM) Coalition is comprised of community representatives from Fishers Island institutions including the H.L. Ferguson Museum, Fishers Island Conservancy, Town of Southold, Island Community Board, Fishers Island Development Company, Fishers Island Club, Hay Harbor Club, Fishers Island Yacht Club, Harbor Committee, Fishers Island School, Pirates Cove Marina, and Fishers Island Ferry District, as well as from the following groups: commercial and recreational fishing, aquaculture, contracted ferries, landscapers, boaters and divers.

The goal of the FISM Coalition is to establish a co-management process for the island’s seagrass meadows, one in which the island community and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) would share seagrass management authority and responsibility. Through joint investigation, the co-production of knowledge, shared learning, communication and building trust, the FISM Coalition seeks to align community and state seagrass management goals and objectives, as well as define and implement a structure for collaborative participation and decision-making that is functional and inclusive.

The Nature Conservancy

Founded in 1951, the mission of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is to conserve the lands and waters upon which all life depends. Today, TNC is the leading conservation organization working to make a positive impact around the world in more than 69 countries and all 50 United States. Recognizing the critical role of seagrass preservation and restoration as part of a larger strategy to conserve Long Island Sound, TNC began working with the Fishers Island community in 2015 to share the latest research on the threats to eelgrass in the Sound and begin monitoring water temperatures at eelgrass sites around the island. Now, TNC is providing capacity building, technical, planning and management support – to help the island community connect and collaborate with the NYSDEC to identify management needs and opportunities to protect the island’s eelgrass ecosystem.


The FISM Project Coordinator is multi-faceted role involving capacity building, community engagement, environmental education, monitoring and data management. Under supervision of the Executive Director of the H.L. Ferguson Museum, the FISM Project Coordinator is responsible for providing organizational, management and administrative support to advance the FISM Coalition’s seagrass conservation and community engagement activities. Working closely with the FISM project co-leads, the Coordinator will increase public awareness of the importance of the Fishers Island seagrass ecosystem, threats to its persistence and solutions to increase both seagrass and community resilience. S/he will facilitate communication among the project partners, help develop a structured process for the Coalition to make effective and equitable decisions, and uncover and unpack local marine conservation problems and solutions. S/he will keep the FISM stakeholders and partners well informed and on track in moving forward through the process to assess and understand seagrass management issues, and come to agreement on, and build support for, local management actions to protect seagrass. As a critical, foundational step in this process, the Coordinator will launch the planning, design and implementation of a community-based coastal and marine uses monitoring program, with guidance from the Coalition and support from The Nature Conservancy. The Coordinator will be based in the island community to build on the local knowledge and assets the community brings as well as understand the unique challenges of Fishers Island.

Key Functions

  • Build interest and broad support for a collaborative approach to marine resource management that aligns community and state seagrass management goals/objectives for Fishers Island and defines a process structure for collaborative participation and decision making
  • Coordinate and co-lead the ongoing work program of the FISM Coalition – comprised of multiple, community-based stakeholders – and serve as a liaison between the FISM partners including the FISM Coalition members, the NYSDEC, the H.L. Ferguson Museum, The Nature Conservancy and others
  • Create community-based monitoring capacity and mobilize volunteers to improve: access to science, understanding of human activities impacting local seagrass areas, engagement in local issues, local influence on management, and awareness and appreciation of local knowledge and expertise
  • Promote the development, adoption and implementation of community-based policies and practices that protect Fishers Island seagrass ecosystem, in cooperation with the NYSDEC


  1. Coordinate and manage overall FISM Coalition work, including organizing and convening regular Coalition meetings, to ensure it is focused on delivering its vision for healthy, productive and effectively managed seagrass meadows around Fishers Island
  2. Co-facilitate and contribute to the development of a shared vision and plan for the FISM Coalition and NYSDEC’s plan to collaboratively identify seagrass management areas and develop a seagrass management plan for the island. Provide administrative support, manage timelines to meet objectives, and make recommendations to the Coalition to ensure the effective running of the Coalition and associated working groups
  3. Launch the design, development and implementation of quality-assured FISM monitoring and evaluation program, including data management and reporting systems
  4. Recruit, train, mobilize and supervise volunteers to build monitoring, data management and learning capacity of FISM partners and the island-wide community
  5. Maintain a productive and positive relationship between the Coalition, co-management partners, volunteers and the island community
  6. Coordinate and support FISM planning, communications, monitoring, outreach and fundraising initiatives, including preparation of presentations, outreach materials, proposals, memos and other communications
  7. Develop and maintain a network of professional, academic and business contacts and partnerships on and off the island to support FISM objectives
  8. Lead the development and administration of sustainable funding for seagrass management at Fishers Island
  9. Keep up to date with relevant marine conservation developments and initiatives
  10. Interpret policies, data and other information for non-scientific audiences
  11. Represent the FISM Coalition at regional and national meetings and conferences as required, as funds allow



  • A personal commitment to conserving and restoring marine and coastal natural resources
  • An academic degree in a relevant discipline, or a combination of education and practical experience and knowledge in the environmental conservation or management sector
  • Strong organizational and project management skills and experience
  • Administrative, planning and group facilitation skills and experience
  • Ability to diplomatically maintain professional, productive relationships with multiple stakeholders
  • Knowledge and understanding of current marine conservation issues
  • Practical understanding of environmental resource monitoring and research, data analysis and management methods; and, demonstrated experience designing, implementing, leading and managing quantitative and qualitative ecological or social science monitoring or research projects
  • Computer savvy and competent user of Microsoft Office and other software packages
  • Excellent listening, written and oral communication skills and the ability to professionally and confidently represent the FISM Coalition in person and via broadcast, print and social media.
  • An adaptable self-starter able to enthuse and motivate volunteers, the wider island community and partners
  • Keen awareness of workplace health and safety issues and the ability to think and act quickly when confronted with emergencies
  • Willing and able to commute daily via ferry to Fishers Island, and to travel domestically
  • Valid driver’s license, and clean driving record


  • Experience in leading community-based engagement, working with multi-stakeholder, partnership-based initiatives, managing multi-actor dynamics, and volunteer management
  • Knowledge of Long Island Sound conservation challenges and associated U.S. state and regional policies
  • Understanding and appreciation of small, island-based cultures
  • Grant writing, management and reporting experience
  • Experience with ArcGIS
  • First Aid and CPR Certification
  • Experience working in the NGO and/or government sectors
  • Experience working with broadcast, print and social media and journalists


  • Length of Contract: 12 months, extendable depending on funding and performance.
  • Probation period: 3 months
  • Annual Leave: 10 days
  • Hours of Work: regularly, 24 hours per week; occasionally, 40 hours per week, during regional or national meetings. May require working during some weekends and evenings.
  • Location: H.L. Ferguson Museum office, Fishers Island, New York with possible occasional regional or national travel. The candidate will be expected to be resident on Fishers Island or able to commute to Fishers Island daily. For an off-island candidate, a stipend may be provided to reduce the cost of commuting by ferry from New London, CT or Noank, CT.


Please send your resume, a cover letter detailing how you meet the requirements for the position, and contact information for 3 professional references to: fimuseum@fishersisland.net by Friday, August 31, 2018.

Funding for this position is provided by the New York Land Trust Alliance, with additional support from the H.L. Ferguson Museum and The Nature Conservancy.

Telephone (631) 788-7239  |   Fax (631) 788-5670  
fimuseum@fishersisland.net  |  www.fergusonmuseum.org

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