DAVID Y. IGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2015
HAWAII’S TOP TEN INVASIVE SPECIES HIGHLIGHTED DURING ANNUAL WEEK
Focus on Environmental & Economic Impacts of Invasives
HONOLULU – Little fire ants, coconut rhinoceros beetles, albizia trees, rats, mongoose, strawberry guava, coqui frogs, miconia, fireweed and invasive algae all share one common trait. As invasive species, they provide examples of some of the worst offenders among the many plants and animals that pose what the state legislature has declared as “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy, natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.” Hawaii’s isolation has made our island state home to more invasive species than anywhere else in the U.S.
During the 3rd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW), the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) and the state agencies charged with combatting and controlling invasive species, will again share information and engage people across the state to raise awareness about the part everyone can play to help eliminate these pests from our land and the ocean. The message is “Invasive Species are Everyone’s Kuleana.”
The Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (DOA) and the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) co-chair the Hawaii Invasive Species Council with member agencies including the Dept. of Health (DOH), the Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), the Dept. of Transportation (DOT), and the University of Hawaii. This interdepartmental collaboration was authorized by the state legislature in 2003 and includes participation and counsel from state senators and representatives, additional State agencies, county mayors, and federal agency representatives.
“Representation from such a broad and diverse group of agencies and individuals is not only symbolic of our commitment to protect Hawaii from invasive species, but in practicality provides a strong framework for interagency coordination,” said Scott Enright, the chairperson of the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture. “Invasive species don’t recognize boundaries in their movements, so we can’t afford to have bureaucratic boundaries or limitations that slow down or diminish our responses to controlling them,” Enright added.
According to Carty Chang, interim DLNR chairperson, “The HISC aims to maintain a comprehensive overview of issues and implementation of state-wide invasive species prevention, and an early detection and control program for terrestrial and aquatic invaders. The focus is on programmatic and capacity shortfalls not currently addressed by state agencies. It is hoped that the HISC-funded projects will be a testing ground for new methods and capacity to address invasive species; that over time will be adopted permanently by agencies, freeing up HISC resources to further promote innovation and address gaps in the overall effort to effectively manage invasive species.”
Over the past year the environmental impacts of invasive species like the little fire ant (LFA) and coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) have captured headlines numerous times, as they’ve spread from one island to another and from one tree or pile of wood to another. The damage these and other invasive species exact on native terrestrial and aquatic species, on people, pets, and livestock is incalculable both from an ecosystem standpoint and from an economic standpoint.
Hawaii’s Invasive Species Week is being staged in coordination with both the U.S. National Invasive Species Week (NISAW) and a number of regional Pacific invasive species awareness efforts in Palau and Samoa. This is another sign of how seriously invasive species are being addressed locally, regionally and nationally. HISAW concludes with Invasive Species Awareness Day at the State Capitol on March 2, 2015. During ceremonies that day the HISC will present its 3rd Annual HISC Awards to a community hero, a business leader, and the greatest hit of 2014.
For more on the Top 10: http://www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/info/species
For more on HISAW: http://www.dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw
For more on NISAW: http://www.nisaw.org
For more on terrestrial invasive species-Strawberry quava control in the West Maui Mountains-
For more on aquatic invasive species-Invasive algae control in Oahu’s Kaneohe Bay
DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
DAVID Y. IGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 23, 2015
DIVISION OF AQUATIC RESOURCES DEDICATED TO INVASIVE SPECIES CONTROL
Prevention, Control and Management of Ocean Invasives
Honolulu – The numbers of introduced species to Hawai`i`s aquatic resources has been steadily rising for more than a century. This is the reason the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has a number of ongoing programs to minimize the threats posed by aquatic invasive species. According to Brian Neilson, DAR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator, “Our job is to manage nuisance species that threaten our precious aquatic resources, and prevent further introductions and damage.”
Ocean transportation allows vessels to utilize ports across the world and has been one of the primary sources of introduced species to Hawai’i. Defined as biofouling, organisms can attach to the outside of vessels and hold the potential to spread when traveling to new harbors. Ballast water held in large compartments inside these vessels is used to stabilize weight changes from cargo offloading and is drawn directly from the departing or arrival harbors. This is thought to be another process of introducing marine organisms to new locations. “We know that historically up to 78% of introductions occurred due to vessel biofouling, yet in the absence of a management strategy the state remains seriously exposed. We have a unique opportunity to be leaders on this issue and it is our kuleana to take action,” said Sonia Gorgula, DAT Ballast Water and Hull Fouling Coordinator.
Hawaii has already been invaded by more than 346 marine and estuarine species. Recent unpublished estimates place this figure at greater than 420. Gorgula added, “Invasions will continue to occur unless we take action. Our greatest chance is through proactive, preventative management strategies.”
Once an invasion happens the odds are against control as there are few examples worldwide of successful eradication of marine invasions. As Gorgula explained, “We need to implement policies that curb arrival and spread. We need to target vectors or pathways responsible for introductions like vessel biofouling. While introduced organisms hitch rides on vessels coming into Hawai’i, established invasive species hosted on neighbor islands or bay areas can also be introduced to new areas via private or commercial vessels transported to different parts of an island or through the island chain.”
Exotic seaweeds introduced for aquaculture have been some of the most damaging nuisance species to Hawai’i. These seaweeds over grow coral reefs, smother coral and eventually kill it. DAR and partners at The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i and University of Hawai`i have an ongoing project to clear invasive algae from Kān`eohe Bay. The seaweed is removed by divers using an underwater vacuum system called the “Super Sucker”. Once the bulk of the seaweed has been removed, native collector sea urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) or Hāwa`e, are outplanted to the reef to graze on the remaining algae to keep it from growing back. The urchins are raised at DAR’s Anuenue Fisheries Research Center. So far more than 270,000 urchins have been outplanted to Kān`eohe Bay reefs and over 13 acres of reef has been cleared.
You can help prevent the threat of aquatic invasive species by reporting any unknown organisms you see in our streams, lakes, estuaries, and ocean. Also when boating, fishing, and diving, make sure you clean your gear thoroughly to avoid transporting any foreign organisms between water bodies.
To watch a video on the Kān`eohe Bay program:
The State Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is updating the statewide Water Resource Protection Plan (WRPP) and needs your manaʻo on what water resource issues are important to you.
March 3, 6:30pm-8:30pm, DLNR Board Room, 1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu, HI 96813
For more information CLICK HERE.
The Eco-Literacy Series at the ProtoHUB at Kaka’ako presents an O’ahu Invasive Species Workshop on Wednesday, Feb 25th from 6:00pm-8:30pm.
OISC and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife will discuss local efforts to combat invasive species. Free refreshments provided. Contact Tom Ekman to RSVP @ firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-309-7259
OAHU INVASIVE SPECIES COMMITTEE MANAGER
Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit. Regular, Full-Time, RCUH Non-Civil Service position with the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit (PCSU), Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC), located in Kailua, Hawaii. Continuation of employment is dependent upon program/operational needs, satisfactory work performance, availability of funds, and compliance with applicable Federal/State laws. Position ID# 15103
“Invasive species are everyone’s kuleana”
Invasive species harm us and so many of the things that are important to our wellbeing. Invasive species impact the economy, environment, culture, public health and our quality of life in the islands. Protecting Hawaii from invasive species is our kuleana, our blessing and our responsibility.
What can you do? Here’s 5 ways to take action…
- Survey your yard and all new plants for little fire ants, click here for a 3-minute video on how to test for little fire ants.
- Always clean hiking boots, clothes, boats and trailers, off-road vehicles and other gear to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to your next location.
- Spot it and stop it! Illegal species such as snakes, pests like coconut rhinoceros beetles and little fire ants, and anything unusual should be reported right away to the State Pest Hotline at 643-PEST. If you or someone you know has an illegal pet, surrender it by calling 643-PEST, which offers immunity from prosecution.
- Get educated and spread the word! Learn about some of the highest risk pests to Hawaii, click here for a place to start.
- Voice your support for programs that protect our islands from invasive species.
For more information on HISAW, February 22 – March 2, visit: HISAW 2015
The Committee on Energy & Environment and the Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection heard testimony from several conservation organizations about the current issues, challenges and future needs for addressing invasive species issues in Hawaii.
Listed below are the presentations from the legislative briefing on Tuesday.
- HDOA Plant Pest Control, Testimony 1/13/15
- Watershed Partnerships, Testimony 1/13/15
- Nature Conservancy, Testimony 1/13/15
- Invasive Species Committees (ISCs) of Hawaii, Testimony 1/13/15
- Hawaii Invasive Specie Council (HISC), Testimony 1/13/15
- DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Testimony 1/13/15
- DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, Testimony 1/13/15
Start your New Year by helping Hawaii’s endangered waterbirds on Sat. January 3rd! Volunteer with DLNR, helping restore the ponds of Kawainui Marsh.
-See flyer below for more information