Clean Water Advocate and Small Boat Operator

About Communities for a Healthy Bay

Communities for a Healthy Bay (CHB) is a Tacoma-based environmental nonprofit that protects Commencement Bay, the waters of the South Sound, and the diversity of life they sustain.

We believe that clean water, fresh air, and a healthy environment are essential for life to flourish. We strive for a resilient future anchored in environmental justice, social equity, and shared growth. We actively work together to empower individuals and communities, driving impactful transformations and nurturing a lively, resilient ecosystem.

Knowing that the health of our community is intricately connected to the health of our surrounding environment, we work closely with county and local government agencies, members of the community, businesses, and other nonprofit organizations to serve as an unbiased positive voice for the health and welfare of Commencement Bay and South Puget Sound. 

As a grassroots environmental advocacy nonprofit, we believe greater public insistence and engagement is necessary to inspire elected officials, businesses, and fellow community members to take the necessary level of action to turn the tide. To meet the issues at the proper scale, we must continually grow our base of support and elevate the work of CHB in the public domain and local media.

About this Role

The Clean Water Advocate and Small Boat Operator is the community’s primary guardian of Tacoma’s Commencement Bay and the surrounding waters of the South Sound, using a variety of tools available – from our small, all season boat to the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws – to protect these waters. This position is responsible for developing and implementing CHB’s clean water work and operating and managing the bay patrol vessel. CHB anticipates joining the Waterkeeper network this year, after which this position will be renamed to Baykeeper. CHB’s clean water advocacy work includes patrolling Commencement Bay and nearby waters for pollution, monitoring clean water permits, and investigating illegal pollution and upholding the Clean Water Act. A core part of CHB’s internal culture is career advancement and leadership development, and the organization’s positions evolve into leadership positions over time as staff gain skill sets.

The successful applicant will have a passion for public health and environmental protection; a background working with underserved communities; experience operating and maintaining vessels in a marine environment; strong analytical and writing skills; familiarity with the Clean Water Act and desire to uphold environmental laws; experience building community connections and facilitating coalitions; and familiarity with power-building via grassroots campaigns. 

Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values for Communities for a Healthy Bay. We welcome and value a diversity of people, experiences, and perspectives. We embrace and actively encourage participation of people with differences in age, race, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, language, national origin, family or marital status, veteran status, physical and mental ability, sexual orientation, religion and/or political affiliation. 

Position Overview

The Clean Water Advocate and Small Boat Operator plays a vital role in leading efforts to protect and restore the health of waters in South Puget Sound. The primary focus of this role is to address environmental issues through monitoring, community engagement, and advocacy efforts. This position will work closely with the Executive Director and other stakeholders to drive positive change and improve the overall health of our waters and community.

Key Responsibilities: 

  1. Manage CHB’s Clean Water Program (65%)
    • Conduct patrols 2-3 times per week of Commencement Bay and surrounding waters to monitor for pollution threats.
    • Investigate, document and respond to threats to clean water.
    • Collaborate and communicate with state and federal agencies, city and county environmental staff and other responders to address pollution concerns.
    • Respond to community alerts.
    • Maintain and safely operate the bay patrol vessel.
    • Participate in Bay Patrol program development, planning, budgeting, and fundraising.
    • Identify gaps in water quality data and coordinate and advocate for additional monitoring as needed.
    • Review and report on clean water permits and violations.
    • Work with the Executive Director and attorneys to research, gather evidence, assess and prepare recommendations for appropriate litigation and policy action in cases of pollution, degradation, and permit violations.
    • Track legislation, regulations, rule-making, and trends related to clean water.
    • Work closely with Executive Director and Policy Manager to advocate for clean water.
    • Center communities most impacted by pollution in determining and advocating for solutions.
  2. Outreach, Education and Volunteer Coordination (10%)
    • Organize and serve as an ambassador for public and community bay patrols.
    • Serve as the face of the CHB and the main point of community contact on clean water information.
    • Communicate and coordinate with the community and partner groups to raise awareness about keeping the water clean.
    • Assist with presentations and outreach at occasional community events and meetings.
    • Participate in Waterkeeper Alliance.
    • As needed, support and coordinate community science and volunteer efforts to protect healthy waters.
    • Recruit and supervise volunteers, as needed.
  3. Contribute to the CHB team including fundraising, communications and special projects: (25%)
    • Develop and submit grant proposals for CHB’s core programs.
    • Monitor program performance and prepare grant reports associated with areas of responsibility.
    • Assist in developing fundraising strategies and donor cultivation activities and events.
    • Assist in producing newsletter articles, social media posts, press releases, and other written materials.
    • Complete administrative and office tasks.
    • Undertake special projects as requested by the Executive Director.

Desired qualifications:

  • Degree in natural, physical, behavioral sciences, or relevant experience in ecology or environmental policy work;
  • Advanced degree, or relevant experience with an environmental nonprofit, agency, consulting or law firm;
  • USCG master or OUPV license or ability to obtain within 6 months of employment. Professional experience operating small craft (minimum 20’), navigating in varying water and weather conditions, and transporting people and supplies. Familiarity with the waters of South Puget Sound preferred. CHB will require references or documentation of your vessel operations.
  • Experience with complex issues that require organizational effectiveness and attention to detail;
  • Confidence and humility, ability to engage and influence a variety of stakeholders, community, and staff and to anticipate unique needs of different audiences;
  • Networking and the ability to build community and collaborative relationships.
  • Excellent oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Fundraising and community organizing abilities;
  • Skilled with current and emerging electronic media and communication methods;
  • Familiarity with personal computer and online tools, including word processing and spreadsheets;
  • Experience with environmental field measurements, evidence evaluation, and data interpretation;
  • Driver’s license and independent transportation;
  • Ability to lift 40 lbs.; and
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.


The Clean Water Advocate is a full-time FLSA exempt position with a salary range of $60,000-$80,000 commensurate with experience. As a full-time employee, this position is eligible for benefits described in the CHB Employee Handbook, including paid holidays, sick leave, and health and dental insurance.

To Apply: 

If you are sincerely interested in the position, please email a cover letter stating your suitability for this position and resumé demonstrating your qualifications to hiring [at] Please include the position title in the email subject. 

Review of applicants will be conducted on a rolling basis. As the position is open until filled, it is highly recommended to apply by March 15, 2024. Please note: questions about the position via email or phone are unlikely to receive a timely response, if any.