Published: Dec. 26, 2018

American Rivers has begun accepting applications for the 2019-2021 Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellowship. The Fellowship gives talented post-graduates the opportunity to engage in relevant research and work in the field of river conservation and is flexible enough to be appropriate for recent MA/MS/PhD/JD/MBA recipients. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work with American Rivers to develop a project that will support our mission and is tailored to the applicant’s specific river conservation interests. Two year paid fellowship; first year based in Washington DC, second year provides opportunities for travel or relocation to one of American River’s field offices.

Deadline is January 31, 2019.

FELLOWSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT: Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellow  

LOCATION:   Washington, D.C.
DATE:  Summer 2019 – Summer 2021
APPLICATIONS DUE:  January 31, 2019
ANNUAL STIPEND:  $43,000. Eligible for health and dental insurance; generous leave benefits.


Named one of the best groups to support in 2017 by “Outside” magazine, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign. Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 275,000 members, supporters and volunteers. American Rivers maintains a positive work environment with a culture of learning, support and balance. For more information please visit

American Rivers embraces and celebrates diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do. Rivers Connect Us is more than just our tagline. The beauty of rivers is that they connect all people and communities, and we seek to build and embody this diversity in our organization and throughout the conservation field. The life experiences, knowledge, innovation, and talent that each individual brings to our work provides perspectives, experiences, and competencies which are critical to our effectiveness in protecting wild rivers, restoring damaged rivers, and conserving clean water for people and nature. 


The Anthony A. Lapham River Conservation Fellowship at American Rivers provides an excellent professional development opportunity for talented post-graduates pursuing careers as leaders in the field of conservation advocacy. Recent graduate degree (MA/MS/PhD/JD/MBA) recipients will focus on an applied research project that will make a tangible contribution to American Rivers’ mission. Working with a team of professional staff, the Fellow will apply practical research and advocacy skills and develop a network of professional contacts in their field of expertise. The Fellow will be an integral part of a dynamic organization comprised of experienced conservationists and emerging leaders, and will participate in a range of river conservation activities.

This fellowship honors the memory of Anthony A. Lapham who served for many years on the board of American Rivers, including as its Chairman. The program reflects his integrity, intellect, concern for humanity, and commitment to excellence. We seek candidates who possess these qualities.


The goals of the Anthony A. Lapham Fellowship Program are to develop the next generation of conservation leaders, and to generate work products that directly support the mission and goals of American Rivers. Advancements in river conservation will be especially important during the coming years due to the extreme pressure on rivers, headwater streams and freshwater supplies brought on by climate change, population growth and demographic change, and development. We need to develop the next generation of skilled leaders who can promote practical environmental solutions that achieve measurable results for natural and human communities.

The Lapham Fellow will help shape community-oriented solutions to river conservation challenges, educate civic leaders about the benefits of healthy rivers, inform legislative and legal proceedings, and influence opinion leaders. The Fellowship includes the implementation of a project that directly supports the goals of one or more of American Rivers’ conservation programs.

The Fellow’s project will contribute to our efforts in one of our priority basins and fall within one of three categories: (1) Sustainably managing freshwater resources, with an emphasis of securing supply and water quality for communities while maintaining flow, water quality, and connectivity of river systems; (2) restoring rivers (through approaches such as dam removal and reoperation) and achieving natural flood protection by restoring the natural functions of rivers, wetlands and floodplains; or (3) conserving America’s heritage by protecting our remaining free-flowing rivers and connecting communities to their rivers.  

Projects might include exploration of the potential of particular river conservation strategies; economic analysis of the contributions of healthy rivers to employment, property values, public health and safety and other community priorities; the impacts of poorly managed rivers on water supply, flooding or public safety; or the potential for certain policy prescriptions or best management practices to contribute to river health and community welfare.  The topics are developed based on the needs of the organization and the interests of the successful Fellowship candidate. The Fellow will publish results in an appropriate format and present their project results to various audiences including American Rivers’ staff. For more information and to view a complete list of the priority river basins, go to

The 24-month Fellowship will be supported by a team of conservation staff and members of our Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, which includes some of the nation’s foremost experts on freshwater conservation science and policy. Conducting an applied research project under the guidance of expert advocates will provide the Fellow with invaluable experience as they begin their career. In general, the first year of the Fellowship is spent researching the decided project, and the second year is spent implementing the project on the ground. Based on the parameters of the project and available resources, there is the potential for opportunities to travel to the river basin that is the focus of the project or even to be relocated in the second year.

Fellows will be provided with opportunities for professional experiences unique to Washington, DC, including legal and policy, economic, and scientific analysis of federal legislation and proposed rules, lobbying training, participation in meetings with congressional offices and federal agency officials, and attendance at congressional hearings, federal court proceedings, etc. Additionally, Fellows will engage in organizational activities including staff meetings and retreats and National River Cleanup activities.


  • Graduate degree in environmental science, stream ecology, hydrology, geomorphology, public health, public policy, law, natural resource economics, engineering, or related fields
  • Dedication to environmental principles
  • Extensive research and analysis skills
  • High academic achievement
  • Proven leadership ability
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • High degree of personal integrity
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work both autonomously and as a member of a team in a professional environment
  • Ability to travel as necessary

APPLICATION DETAILS can be found at:

Questions? Please visit the FAQ page.

Application Deadline: 11:59 pm EST January 31, 2019

American Rivers is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.