Position Available: Fishers Island Seagrass Management Project Coordinator

JOB TITLE: Fishers Island Seagrass Management (FISM) 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 sustaining marine biodiversity, and the livelihood and well-being of all islanders. The Museum has protected habitat through its growing Land Trust, its natural history exhibits, and its environmental education programs. Now, the Museum is furthering its conservation mission by promoting and facilitating community participation in the co-management of 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 Corporation, 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, 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 shares seagrass management authority and responsibility with the Town of Southold and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Through joint investigation, the co-production of knowledge, shared learning, communication and building trust, the FISM Coalition seeks to align community, state and local government seagrass management goals and objectives through a collaborative participation and decision-making process that is functional and inclusive.

East End seagrass. Photo Credit Emily A. Bodell 2019

Recognizing the critical role of seagrass preservation and restoration as part of a larger strategy to conserve Long Island Sound, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) began working with the Fishers Island community in 2015 to share the latest research on the threats to eelgrass in the Sound and fill gaps in data on eelgrass extent, condition and human use of the island’s seagrass ecosystem. TNC provides technical, planning and facilitation support for the Coalition to participate in collaborative decision-making and coordination with government partners and advance local stewardship and improved management of the island’s seagrass ecosystem.


The FISM Project Coordinator is multi-faceted role involving capacity building, community engagement, and marine resource management planning, education, monitoring and data management. Under supervision of the Executive Director of the H.L. Ferguson Museum, the FISM 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 Coalition chairs and partners 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 FISM partners and work towards the development and implementation of an island-wide seagrass management plan. 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. To inform management actions and measure their effectiveness, the Coordinator will lead the implementation of existing community-based water quality and human uses monitoring programs on the island. 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, town and state seagrass management goals/objectives for Fishers Island through a collaborative participation and decision-making process
  • 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 Town of Southold, the NYSDEC, the H.L. Ferguson Museum, TNC and others
  • Lead and further develop existing 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 Town of Southold and NYSDEC.


  1. Coordinate and manage overall FISM Coalition work, including organizing, convening and facilitating regular Coalition meetings, to ensure it is focused on delivering its vision for healthy, productive and effectively managed seagrass meadows around Fishers 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 and communication with partners.
  2. Co-facilitate the FISM Coalition, Town of Southold, and NYSDEC’s plan to collaboratively identify seagrass management areas and develop a seagrass management plan for the island.
  3. Lead the implementation of quality-assured FISM monitoring and evaluation program, including data management and reporting systems. Recruit, train, mobilize and supervise volunteers to build monitoring, data management and learning capacity of FISM partners and the island-wide community
  4. Maintain a productive and positive relationship between the Coalition, co-management partners, volunteers and the island community
  5. Coordinate and support FISM planning, communications, monitoring, outreach and fundraising initiatives, including preparation of presentations, outreach materials, grant proposals, memos and other communications
  6. Develop and maintain a network of professional, academic and business contacts and partnerships on and off the island to support FISM objectives
  7. Lead the development and administration of sustainable funding for seagrass management at Fishers Island
  8. Keep up to date with relevant marine conservation developments and initiatives
  9. Interpret policies, data and other information for non-scientific audiences
  10. Represent the FISM Coalition at regional 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 diverse stakeholders
  • Knowledge and understanding of current marine conservation issues, policy and management
  • 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 office and fieldwork 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 or live on the 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 writing and implementing natural resources management plans
  • 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: 6 days
  • Hours of Work: regularly, 24 hours per week; may require working during some weekends and evenings
  • Location: L. Ferguson Museum office, Fishers Island, New York with occasional regional travel. The candidate is expected to be resident on Fishers Island or able to commute to Fishers Island. 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, December 20th, 2019.

Funding for this position is provided by the New York Land Trust Alliance and the Long Island Sound Stewardship Fund, with additional support from the H.L. Ferguson Museum.

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

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