Become part of Hawaii’s conservation story

Research Officer, Maui

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to unite communities to save coral reefs. Working with people around the world—from fishermen to government leaders, divers to scientists, Californians to Fijians—CORAL protects our most valuable and threatened ecosystems.

The Programs team oversees community-driven conservation work and cutting-edge scientific research around the world. We have set an aggressive vision for growth and increased conservation action throughout this decade to address the serious threats affecting coral reef ecosystems and the human communities they support.

CORAL’s Work in Hawaiʻi

CORAL has more than a decade of experience working in the Main Hawaiian Islands on coral reef conservation. Currently, our work focuses on our Clean Water for Reefs Initiative, with an emphasis on preventing land-based sources of pollution from entering streams and groundwater which eventually lead to the ocean.

In West Maui, our work focuses on restoring natural filtration processes within watersheds. We take a “ridge to reef” approach to restore the natural function of an ahupua‘a (watershed) to filter stormwater and absorb nutrients, sediments and other harmful pollutants. At the shoreline (makai), we provide guidance to shoreline property owners, the tourism industry, and Maui County on how to implement reef-friendly landscaping using low impact design (LID) to naturally filter stormwater before it reaches the ocean.

Further mauka in the midslope region, we recently launched a major multi-stakeholder project to restore streams to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrients flowing into the ocean. We are working with farmers, Hawaiian communities, local nonprofits, private businesses, and the government to pilot stream restoration techniques that combine modern technology with native vegetation and traditional agricultural practices, such as wetland taro patches (loʻi kalo). We believe that finding ways to restore the environment that benefits local communities will help us to drive conservation outcomes on a broad scale. We are collaborating with experts to measure the effectiveness of these approaches and we will share these results and implementation procedures to help inform restoration efforts statewide.

Over the next few years, CORAL plans to leverage the success, knowledge and partnerships we have developed through our conservation projects to scale our impact across the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Position Description

CORAL is seeking a motivated and resourceful individual to support our work on Maui. This is a part-time role that will include between 5 to 10 hours per week of work as needed. This role will support our stream restoration project that is currently planned to finish on January 31st, 2020.

This role will ensure the development and successful execution of a monitoring plan that measures the impact of restoration activities designed to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution in Wahikuli and Honokōwai streams in West Maui. Execution of the monitoring protocols will be conducted in part by researchers, government agencies, CORAL staff and local contractors. The Research Officer will coordinate data collection activities by various parties and ensure protocols are followed to ensure data quality. They will work with the Technical Operations Manager who is based in Maui and the Associate Program Director, who is based in Oakland, California.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with CORAL and partners to finalize monitoring protocols designed to measure levels of nutrients and sedimentation reaching streams before and after implementing a suite of best management practices designed to reduce high stream flow, absorb nutrients and stabilize fine-grained sediment (November-December 2017).
  • Finalize a monitoring plan that outlines roles and responsibilities and a budget for implementing monitoring activities (December 2017).
  • Execute or coordinate execution of data collection for identified components of the monitoring plan*. These are anticipated to include:
    • - Monitoring sediment pins to measure sediment accumulation or loss from stream banks
    • - Measuring in stream volume (stage), turbidity and total suspended solids (TSS)
    • - Photographic documentation of before and after pictures of installed restoration BMPs and monitoring of their performance over time
    • - Recording survivorship of plants
    • - Collecting and analyzing video footage of streams following during storm events
    • - Collection of rain gauge data.
  • Collect and collate data from partners and lead data analysis.
  • Develop periodic reports for CORAL and stakeholders as needed.
  • Develop a final report (December 2019).
  • Publish project results in a peer-reviewed journal (draft complete by Spring 2020).

*If the Research Officer is not based on Maui, they must be able to make regular visits to Maui (every two to three months) to ensure data collection is being implemented in line with protocols and data quality standards.

Required Qualifications and Skills

The minimum required qualifications include BA/BS degree in a physical science-related field, such as geology, environmental science, fluvial geomorphology and hydrology.

Additionally, the Research Officer must have:

  • Experience with installing, monitoring, and troubleshooting water quality monitoring instruments
  • Field experience with HOBO pressure transducers, turbidity probes, telemetric instrument installation, data loggers, and ISCO sampler units
  • Experience collecting, preparing and analyzing water quality data
  • Excellent organizational and prioritization skills, including developing and maintaining research plans and coordinating with multiple collaborators
  • Resourcefulness and ability to work proactively; ability to complete tasks independently, efficiently, and in a timely manner; and the ability to work effectively with a remote team
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to effectively communicate with individuals from a variety of disciplines, cultures and backgrounds
  • Ability to work in hazardous steep terrain, hiking over several miles to project sites in all types of weather ranging from very hot and dry, to cold and rainy
  • Ability to mobilize on short notice in order to document and capture storm events**
  • Ability to safely drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle over steep unimproved roads
  • Flexibility and willingness to work in situations of flux; ability to work in a fast turn-around environment
  • Strong work ethic and willingness to take ownership for wide-ranging responsibilities while exhibiting the utmost professionalism and discretion
  • Willingness to adjust hours to accommodate the needs of the job
  • Experience managing a budget
  • Willingness to work in a home office
  • Someone based in West Maui preferred must be based in Hawaiʻi
  • Authorized to work in the USA

**If based on Maui, the Research Officer will support data collection. Otherwise, the Research Officer will work with the CORAL team to ensure adequate storm response data collection is implemented by a local partner or contractor.

Personal Characteristics

  • Ability to think analytically and problem solve and a willingness to ask questions
  • Commitment to process excellence, efficiency and accountability
  • A sense of humor, commitment to candor and desire to be a part of a collaborative team
  • Patience and exceptional listening skills
  • Energetic, hard-working, and a team player
  • Presents a positive, enthusiastic, professional image both internally and externally
  • Discretion with confidential information


Temporary, Independent Contractor. Estimated between 5 and 10 hours per week. Hours will vary throughout the project. There may be a possibility for employee-status work depending on the candidate’s interest and skills.


TBD. Estimated between 5 and 10 hours per week. Some weeks there may be a heavier load than others depending on where we are at with project execution.

There may be a possibility for work beyond 10 hours per week depending on the candidate’s interest and skills.

How to Apply

Please submit in one document with the following items to with Maui Research Officer in the email subject line:

  • A cover letter describing your qualifications and interest in the position. If you are a current graduate student, please state how this position can be integrated into your research and list your main supervisor(s)
  • Resume
  • A writing sample that you wrote within the past two years. This can be a report, a university assignment or journal article.

Please note that due to the volume of applications expected, we are not able to respond to each individual applicant. The position will be open until filled, an immediate start date is preferred.


If you have questions about this position, please contact Jos Hill, Associate Program Director, at


  • Posted On

    November 6, 2017
  • Closing Date

    December 15, 2017
  • Organization

    Coral Reef Alliance
  • Location

  • Position Type

    Part Time
For more information about Coral Reef Alliance and this opportunity please visit our website at, contact us at 510.370.0500 or via email at

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