Ocean Career: Blue Carbon Specialist at The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends.

As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. 


TNC’s Volgenau Virginia Coast Reserve is a 50-year old program launched to protect the globally significant barrier island, coastal bays, and mainland portion of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With ownership of all or parts of 14 barrier islands and thousands of acres of mainland property, TNC’s programs focus on migratory bird conservation, marine habitat restoration, land protection, coastal resilience, research partnerships, and community engagement. In collaboration with academic, state, and federal partners, we have been successfully restoring eelgrass to Virginia’s coastal bays for the past 20 years, and the project’s success - the largest seagrass restoration on the planet – was instrumental in the development of a methodology to estimate the net greenhouse gas emission reductions and removals resulting from the restoration of seagrasses. Using the approved methodology, TNC and partners have developed and are in the process of having verified the first registered blue carbon seagrass project in the world.

While we have a relatively robust understanding of the greenhouse gas emission reductions associated with the restoration, the scale of the project provides numerous co-benefits to the Virginia Coastal Bays, such as increased fish biomass and water clarity, which we would like to further explore. The Blue Carbon Specialist will work to expand the understanding and evidence of co-benefits of eelgrass restoration through research, analysis, collaboration, and publication of a scientific paper.  

The Blue Carbon Specialist will conduct data analysis and provide technical support in statistical analysis, modelling, environmental accounting, and GIS or other relational database technologies. The Blue Carbon Specialist provides technical and scientific support for conservation and carbon initiatives in Virginia to help fill critical capacity and knowledge gaps and contribute to larger-scale expansion of Natural Climate Solutions (NCS). NCS provide climate change mitigation via conservation, restoration, and sustainable management of forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. As part of a larger learning network at TNC, the NCS Prototyping Network, the Specialist will connect and regularly engage with the NCS Prototyping Team and similar projects in multiple global geographies to share information and support peer-to-peer learning. 

The Blue Carbon Specialist position will be based at the VCR in rural Nassawadox, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and be part of a dynamic, professional team. This is position is currently funded for two years with future opportunities to be considered.    


The Blue Carbon Specialist will perform data analysis, designing and producing complex queries and processing spatial and other relational data sets.  The Specialist may produce maps and other graphic products and reports.  They may develop and maintain a GIS and/or other databases that could include environmental, biodiversity, and land management information from various sources. We anticipate that a scientific publication in a peer-reviewed journal will result from this project.

The Blue Carbon Specialist conducts scientific surveys and research, records data, writes reports, and conducts other tasks in order to coordinate NCS research including analysis; monitoring, evaluation and learning specific to subaquatic vegetation (SAV) co-benefits, conservation, and restoration in Virginia. This position will work in close collaboration with other TNC staff and partners in supporting the design and implementation of research, assessment of co-benefits and climate change mitigation potential for NCS (in particular seagrass blue carbon projects). The Blue Carbon Specialist provides scientific, technical, and project management support. They will help execute the ongoing VCR blue carbon project and verify progress, while also identifying or developing approaches and tools that can be used more broadly across TNC.


  • Develop and implement NCS research, especially in the context of seagrass, blue carbon, and restoration/conservation activities.
  • Work, in collaboration with other VCR staff and academic partners on co-benefit assessments and data analysis.
  • Develop, collect, and analyze data and maintain a library of data maps, analysis, reports, and publications as relates to eelgrass conservation and co-benefits.
  • Provide research and expertise in support of policy analysis, legislative, corporate and/or policy priorities.
  • Deliver spatial analysis, data and field services to teams and partners
  • Engage in fieldwork as necessary to ground-truth data and/or assist with data collection
  • Represent TNC at priority meetings and on committees where technical input is required.
  • Writes technical reports, including writing and submitting manuscripts to be published in scientific journals.
  • Prepare program materials including presentations and other communications.
  • Works as part of a team of TNC local and global staff, academic, state and federal partners.
  • May work flexible schedule and travel frequently throughout the region. 
  • May work over the weekends, in variable weather conditions, at remote locations, in hazardous terrain and under physically demanding circumstances.


  • Master’s Degree in environmental or natural science, social science, environmental economics, or related field and 1 year of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience collecting, manipulating, analyzing, and interpreting scientific data.
  • Experience preparing reports, presentations, and other communications.
  • Experience with statistical analysis, including use of software such as R, Python, Stata or similar.
  • Experience working well within a close-knit, multidisciplinary team.

Location: Virginia, USA
Application Deadline: July 13, 2022 

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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