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Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2022
One Time Opportunity


Kurt Fritjofson

Cornell Affiliations:

Atkinson Center

Off-campus partner:

Environmental Defense Fund


Opportunity Description

(Important: please see the Requirements tab of this posting to ensure that you submit all necessary application materials.)

Job Title:
Atkinson Intern, Land Repurposing Case Studies

Program/Department: Climate Resilient Water Systems

Job Description: EDF offers internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates in a variety of programs and departments throughout the organization. The ultimate goal of our internship and fellowship program is to provide high-quality experiences (including relevant projects and opportunities for networking) that form the foundation for any individual who is serious about pursuing an environmental career.

Program/Department Overview: Increased water scarcity, compounded by the impacts of a changing climate and a growing population, has made sustainable water management one of the most challenging issues of our time. Adequate freshwater supplies are critical for the health of communities and wildlife, and nothing is more important to agriculture’s ability to grow food. But in arid regions such as the western U.S., freshwater resources are dwindling. Effective water management is critical to sustainably meeting the needs of people, industry, agriculture, and the environment. The overarching objective of the Climate Resilient Water Systems workstream is to rebalance water systems in the West and beyond to make them more resilient by focusing our work on three areas: 1) modernizing groundwater management, 2) improving and expanding healthy water trading programs, and 3) incentivizing the sustainable use of agricultural water. In these areas, we collaborate with farmers, water managers, community members, and other nonprofits to better incorporate the needs of all water users.

Overall Function: The intern will develop a set of case studies, or land repurposing stories, to highlight examples of successful land repurposing projects across California's Central Valley. The intern will interview key project proponents and develop project narratives to describe how the project came to be, important considerations, and project benefits. This effort will contribute to the production of an informational video, or other storytelling device, to showcase opportunities for water resilient land uses in California's agricultural regions.

Key Responsibilities: Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Research relevant legislation, funding programs, and regulations that influence landowner decision-making, including the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program, and Endangered Species Act.
  • Interview non-profit groups, agricultural landowners, and funding agency staff that have been involved in successful restoration project.
  • Document 5 10 case studies of land repurposing projects that have provided environmental and/or community benefits while reducing irrigation demand in agricultural regions.
  • Build the research foundation for an in-depth storytelling campaign that will highlight successful restoration and conservation projects in California’s Central Valley
  • Attend relevant external stakeholder meetings and workshops.
  • Support EDF’s California Water team on related projects as interested and where needed.
  • Participate in advancing EDF’s DEI goals in which people from all backgrounds and experiences feel connected, included, and empowered to address the environmental and organizational challenges in alignment with EDF values.