Field Crew Leader, Kohala Watershed Partnership program
(Waimea, Hawai‘i Island)

About the program: The Kohala Center’s Kohala Watershed Partnership (KWP) program is a voluntary coalition of private landowners and public land managers dedicated to restoring and protecting the native forested watersheds of Kohala Mountain. It is estimated that half of Hawai‘i’s forests have been lost to deforestation, with the remainder threatened by non-native plants and animals. Through the implementation of an adaptive watershed management plan to create fenced preserves, manage feral ungulates, control invasive plants, and restore native forests, the Partnership’s projects protect essential ecosystem services including the capture of rainwater, sediment mitigation, and groundwater recharge. These actions ensure that both native ecosystems and human communities in North Hawai‘i have an abundant supply of fresh water, and protect downslope coastal ecosystems from the detrimental effects of land-based pollution.

The Kohala Center is seeking a new Field Crew Leader. The Field Crew Leader will work under the direction of the KWP Coordinator and will be responsible for implementing on-the-ground watershed conservation efforts including management of field crew members and field projects.

Essential Functions:

Invasive plant control, including surveys

  • identify alien plant species
  • mix and apply herbicides following labels and safety procedures
  • use GPS to survey and record data

Native plant propagation

  • identify native plants (common and scientific names)
  • collect, prepare and store seeds
  • implement germination and transplanting
  • maintain healthy plants in nursery


  • outplant using appropriate methods, including site preparation
  • monitor plant survival
  • irrigation installation and maintenance

Sediment check dams and erosion mitigation

  • select sites, construct, and maintain sediment check dams
  • install erosion mitigation, including fabrics and rock walls


  • select appropriate sites and materials
  • construct fences following approved methods
  • check and maintain fences on a regular basis

Controlling feral animals

  • select sites, construct, and bait traps for feral ungulates
  • dispatch feral ungulates in traps and by hunting, following control plans
  • deploy snares and predator traps when required

Supervision of crew

Productivity – lead by example:

  • punctual; appropriate use of time off
  • accomplishes field work objectives on time and on target

Crew Management – acts as a team leader:

  • encourages and motivates crew to meet project expectations
  • trains and teaches crew members
  • shows respect and aloha for crew members
  • keeps the crew safe

Accountability – takes personal responsibility for:

  • tools, supplies, vehicles, and maintenance of equipment
  • personnel – keeps track of crew attendance and work hours
  • data collection/monitoring
  • safety and filing accident/incident reports

Quality control – ensures that the work is excellent:

  • understands and maintains standards of work
  • innovates methods to improve standards of work

Communication – between members of the KWP team:

  • communicates with coordinator re: supply and equipment needs
  • communicates field work results and problems to coordinator
  • gives clear instructions and plans to crew
  • listens to ideas and feedback from crew, coordinator, and partners
  • acts as the contact person via cell phone for crew members

Discipline – takes on the responsibility for:

  • policy enforcement – knows what the policies are and consistently applies them
  • communicating infractions following agreed-upon protocols

Problem-solving and decision making:

  • adapts to changing conditions and unexpected complications
  • maintains cool head in difficult circumstances

GIS & Data management/planning/mapping (skills desired, but not required)

Planning – uses GIS to plan for:

  • sediment check dams and erosion control
  • weed sweeps and surveys
  • fence checks and fence construction
  • monitoring
  • irrigation and planting
  • other planning for implementation

Data management – uploads field data (GPS, data sheets & field notes) and maintains GIS/ data files to document management actions:

  • seed collection, propagation and nursery inventory (i.e. “batch book”)
  • outplanting (i.e. Planting spreadsheet)
  • vegetation and other monitoring (i.e. GIS point files & monitoring spreadsheet)
  • herbicide trials (i.e. spreadsheet)
  • fence monitoring and construction (i.e. GIS line files)
  • weed surveys and control (i.e. GIS Weeds Polygon & other points)
  • other monitoring/data collection as required

Skills/technical knowledge:

  • Relevant post-high school training/education/degree in forestry, biology, ecological restoration, geography, botany, natural resources management, Hawaiian studies, and/or agriculture.
  • Minimum two (2) years of experience in field work/labor in Hawai‘i, including fence construction, erosion control, native species propagation, restoration, surveys, animal control, and/or weed control.
  • Knowledge of the culture, ecology, plants, forests, streams, and birds of Hawai‘i.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license, and ability to drive standard transmission, 4×4, off-road vehicles, ATVs, UTVs, and trailers.
  • Eagerness and ability to learn new skills, new technology, and new information.
  • Adaptable, dependable, honest, and hard-working.
  • Able to maintain a cooperative attitude while working in inclement weather under difficult conditions.
  • Ability to communicate effectively and adhere to safety protocols.
  • Flexible schedule to allow for week-long camping trips in remote areas and occasional weekend work.
  • Represent the program in a professional manner when interacting with partners and the community.
  • Lift and carry up to 50 lbs.
  • Ability to hike up to ten miles.
  • Utilization of helicopter assistance for surveys, transportation of people, and fencing.
  • Training and safe use of firearms, pesticides/herbicides, welding, and power tools.
  • Experience utilizing GPS units and GIS software.
  • Ranch operations knowledge or experience.

Equipment, machines, vehicles, tools used:

  • Hand tools including shovel, machete, saw
  • 4×4 off-road vehicles, ATVs, UTVs, and trailers

Description of work environment:

  • Work is performed outdoors in various climates and elevations in all-weather situations including exposure to the sun, wind, and rain.

To Apply: Please download and fill out the employment application form and submit with your cover letter and resume to Cortney Okumura at No phone calls, please.

Posted: August 23, 2017