Giant Hogweed Invasive Species Strike Team Specialists
This is a great position for someone who enjoys working as part of a team, exploring new places, being outside doing physical work, and who wants to spend a season learning about manual and chemical invasive plant control, improving their GIS and plant identification skills, and getting professional experience interacting with the public.
Giant hogweed is an invasive plant with sap capable of causing injury to humans. In addition to being a public health hazard, giant hogweed plants decrease plant diversity and can lead to soil erosion. Giant hogweed plants are located in a variety of settings (e.g. riparian areas, fields, yards, forests). Control of these plants is very manageable when the plant numbers are few, but a site can quickly grow from a few plants to many within a short time period.
NYSDEC Forest Health’s giant hogweed control program assists public and private landowners by controlling the giant hogweed on their properties for them or providing training to them on how to control it themselves. Giant hogweed strike teams are located throughout Central and Western NY, at offices in Syracuse, Avon and East Aurora. More information about giant hogweed and DEC’s statewide control program can be found online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/39809.html.
Current positions are available for two-person crews in Avon (near Rochester), NY. The position’s duties involve fieldwork on both public and private lands; mapping infestations, collecting site information, surveying for plants and implementing manual and/or chemical control of giant hogweed. Appropriate safety equipment and safety training will be provided at the outset of employment.
• Contact property owners to obtain permission to enter property for survey and/or control.
• Locate specific control sites using maps and GIS products.
• Implement manual control of giant hogweed at small sites with less than 100 plants and in sensitive portions of larger sites. This is a labor-intensive process and involves using a shovel to cut the plant taproot 5 inches below ground level.
• Implement chemical control of giant hogweed while working under the supervision of a certified commercial pesticide applicator. Accord XRT II will be applied using an appropriate backpack sprayer and nozzle to minimize non-target effects, according to the product label and manufacturer’s safety instructions. The recommended manufacturer’s dose will be used, and label instructions followed. All necessary equipment will be provided. Landowners will be notified prior to herbicide application and provided with a copy of the herbicide label.
• Removal and safe disposal of all giant hogweed flower/seed heads found.
• Scout each site for additional giant hogweed plants within a 500-square foot radius of the known, visible giant hogweed plants.
• Conduct field surveys with the use of a hand-held GPS and mobile mapping unit and plot giant hogweed location polygons and records on digital maps.
• Acquire and inventory digital photographs of specific control sites to monitor yearly progress.
• Maintain detailed records of the control activities and site information for each site.
Duration of Employment
May 17 - August 20, 2021. Successful applicants will be required to take a 4-day training course, included in the duration of employment, designed and presented by the Division of Lands & Forests.
Primary Work Location
Employees will be assigned a primary work location (Avon) that is geographically convenient to the giant hogweed sites they will be visiting. Room and board is the responsibility of the employee. Accommodation and living expenses for work outside the primary area will be reimbursed at the standard State rates prescribed for the area.
Standard Work Week & Salary
The typical workweek is four 10-hour days per week (Monday to Thursday). The compensation rate is $16.67. Position does not include health benefits or paid leave.
Required knowledge and skills
• Coursework related to forestry, environmental studies, ecology, natural resource management, conservation biology, wildlife biology, etc.
• Knowledge of invasive species, control techniques and plant identification skills. Ability to identify giant hogweed and associated plants with minimal training.
• Skill in using maps, GPS and GIS to assist in locating and recording survey sites.
• Physical ability to dig, cut and survey for hogweed plants for hours at a time in hot weather in a variety of terrains while maintaining a good attitude.
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Ability to interact well with the public and provide accurate information about giant hogweed to interested persons.
• Self-motivated, work well both independently and in a collaborative setting.
• Knowledge of accepted safety practices by which to prevent injury to self, staff and public and/or private property.
• Prior herbicide experience a plus.
• Candidates must possess a valid driver’s license at the time of appointment.
• Must be physically able to perform the duties assigned.
• Must meet forest technician qualifications OR meet qualifications to take a NYS pesticide technician exam.
· Forest Technician Qualifications:
1. Thirty (30) semester credit hours, including twelve (12) semester credit hours in forestry, which must include at least one course in three or more of the following areas: botany, dendrology, forest biology, forest ecology, forest ecosystem management, forest entomology, forest health, forest mensuration, forest pathology, forest protection, forest soils, general soils, geographic information systems, land surveying and silviculture
2. One (1) year of technical forestry experience in one (1) or more of the following areas: forest management, including sale and removal of timber products; nursery management, including the transplanting of tree or shrub seedlings; forest pest management, including control of diseases and insect pests.
· Pesticide technician exam qualifications:
1. Have a degree that includes relevant science courses
2. Applied herbicide for 2 seasons within the past 5 years
Applicants should supply a letter of intent, resume, unofficial transcript, and contact information for three professional references to Naja Kraus at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-255-3414 (Fax). Please note which office locations (Avon) you are applying for. Positions will be filled as qualified applicants are found.
Successful applicants will need to complete NYSDEC’s Employment Application Form (S1000), available at any DEC Office and online http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/38596.html.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is an equal opportunity employer.