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Invasive species updates from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council & partners
Volume 1, Issue 3: March, 2017
HISC News is a new, semi-monthly newsletter that provides 1) recurring updates from active response efforts, 2) announcements and programmatic updates from agencies and partners, and 3) upcoming events. This newsletter is sent to the full HISC email list, and readers can subscribe/unsubscribe at

Active response updates

HISC agencies and partners address a large number of invasive species issues across the state. Below are brief status updates for a few priority response efforts. For information on other invasive species projects, visit,, or
  • Little Fire Ant (LFA)
    • The Hawai’i Ant Lab (HAL) has been offering an additional three trainings a month throughout the Island of Hawai’i to educate residents on prevention and management  of Little Fire Ants (LFA). Trainings cover biology, pesticide safety, and integrated pest management; as well as mixing and application demos for the HAL Gel Bait and granular bait. Participants who complete the course receive $45.00 worth of vouchers to purchase approved ant baits as part of grant funding obtained by the County of Hawai’i Department of Research and Development. The goal of these workshops are to encourage the use of baits for the management of LFA, rather than using excessive amounts of general insecticides. Baiting LFA is for more effective, because the bait makes it back to the queen who is the source of the ongoing problem. The voucher program will conclude at the end of March, but HAL will continue on with trainings.
      • photo: Kiyoshi Adachi mixing HAL Gel Bait at Kealakekua workshop
    • Staff continues collaborate with neighbor island –ISCs and HDOA staff to combat incipient colonies of LFA on Kauai, Oahu, and Maui. We are happy to announce that we have added a new staff member, Alison Wagner, to assist in the battle against LFA.  
  • Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB):
  • Rapid Ohia Death (ROD):
    • Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death is spreading in areas of Hawaii Island where the disease has been confirmed. Latest estimates suggest nearly 50,000 acres have been affected, and no other islands have confirmed cases at this point.
    • HDOA update: Anyone on ROD-free islands (other than Hawai`i Island) with suspect trees should call their local Invasive Species Committee’s (see links in next section below) so that any samples go through HDOA-PQD and not through the regular post – Information can be found at
    • Science Team update: There is a need for a stronger emphasis on not wounding ʻŌhiʻa as this allows the fungus to infect the tree. The fungus needs to get to the sapwood and cannot get through the bark. Wounds, such as made by pruning, machinery, clearing fence lines, or blazing trails can all provide entry points for the fungus and/or attract insects.
    • The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Strategic Response Plan is also available at
Program & Project Updates
Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA)
  • Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP): The final HIBP was released on January 10, 2017 and can be found at: The plan includes 147 action items assigned to various agencies and stakeholders over the next 10 years to build an effective, interagency biosecurity system in Hawaii. Of the policy and infrastructure recommendations in the plan, several are ready for implementation and are proposed in the administrative package for the 2017 session, including planning funds for a biocontrol research facility, restructuring the HISC as an attached agency called the Invasive Species Authority, stabilizing funding for watershed and invasives programs at DLNR, and restoring the Vector Control Branch at the Department of Health.
  • Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) update: Anyone on ROD-free islands (other than Hawai`i Island) with suspect trees should call their local Invasive Species Committee’s (see links below) so that any samples go through HDOA's Plant Quarantine Branch (PQB) and not through the regular post – Information can be found at
Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA)
  • The HPWRA continues to promote responsible and informed planting choices by providing an objective, science-based and accurate method of assessing the invasive potential of plants being imported into and/or planted within the Hawaiian Islands. In the past 12 months, 131 new or revised assessments have been completed and posted on the Plant Pono ( website, bringing the latest total of screened plant species to 1839. At the current pace, assessments for the entire world’s flora are expected to be completed by the year 6017.
  • In addition, the WRA Specialist continues to engage the public and encourage cultivation of native and low risk non-native plants through a series of native and invasive plant presentations to Master Gardener programs on the islands of Hawaii (Feb 2017) and Maui (upcoming). An article on some pros and cons of Hawaii’s increasing non-native plant diversity was also published in the latest issue of Landscape Hawaii magazine.
Hawaii Invasive Species Organizations

Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)

Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC)

Molokai-Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC)

Kaua`i Invasive Species Committee (KISC)
  • Collaboration in Conservation
  • Rose-ringed Parakeet - KISC staffers are co-chairing the Kauai Rose-ringed Parakeet working group which organized with the Kauai delegation and governor’s office to introduce legislation this year for addressing the growing population and problems of this highly adaptive species. 
    Outreach efforts have produced half dozen media pieces including nightly news and newspaper articles along with a well-done video press release produced by Dan Dennison, the Senior Communications Manager for DLNR.
    The problem is seen as affecting three components: Agriculture, Tourism and Native Forests.
    The impacts to agriculture range from large scale production operations to small family farms and backyard growers. Parakeets consume and contaminate crops as diverse as seed corn, tangerines, lychee and long beans. Farmers use expensive netting to try and mitigate losses. Tourism effects include large amounts of bird droppings on cars, walkways and contamination of swimming pools.  Resorts are trimming fronds off of palm trees, using lasers and drones to disperse birds and spend hours power washing their grounds to reduce exposure to smells and disease. Effects in the forest are not well known, however, a diet study KISC commissioned with the USDA National Wildlife Center indicated that all birds sampled were able to pass some intact yellow guava seeds potentially spreading this invasive tree across large areas.  There have also been anecdotal accounts of native plant predation including consumption of koa seeds.
    The population has no known predators and appears to be growing at an increasing rate based on USDA observations and complaints logged with CTAHR’s invasive species extension agent and working group co-chair Kathryn Fiedler.  The Rose-ringed parakeet mitigation bill has crossed over to the Senate and will hopefully become enacted this year.

O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)

HISC Support

  • The HISC Brown Bag Series continued in February with a presentation by Julie "Jules Kuo of the Hawaii DLNR's Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) on their Ballast Water & Hull Biofouling prevention program. Full details at the HISC website.
  • Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW)
    • The 5th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) concluded on March 10 with a proclamation by Governor David Y. Ige to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and a ceremony that included agency leaders, legislators, industry champions, and citizens who help project Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. In partnership with the HISC, legislators presented a series of awards to community members and businesses who have made substantial contributions to invasive species prevention and control. 
    • HISC Awards - The HISC awards are presented each year to recognize individuals, organizations, or groups for their outstanding service to Hawaii in the fight against invasive species. Awardees nominations were excepted from November - December. Award categories include:
      • COMMUNITY HERO: The Pacific American Foundation for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I’a.
      • BUSINESS LEADER: Serina Marchi, of Seascapes Nursery for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species.
      • GREATEST HIT: Solomon Champion for his efforts in stopping the spread of Miconia calvescens on Oahu.
      • HOTTEST PEST REPORT: Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of Mongoose on Kauai.
      • HAWAII COUNTY MVP: Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawaii Island.
      • MAUI COUNTY MVP: Community of Haiku Hill for their efforts to control Coqui frogs on the Island of Maui.
      • OAHU MVP: Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures Program.
      • KAUAI COUNTY MVP: Kawika Winter for his efforts to protect priority watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the island of Kauai. 
    • HISAW Events - Over the course of HISAW, a multitude of invasive species related events were coordinated by various agencies and organizations. A full event list can be found at
  • Student Video Contest - The HISAW student video contest provided an opportunity for students grades 7 through 12 to delve deeper into invasive species issues by creating a short video on the impacts of invasive species within their communities. 
  • The HISC's  Facebook page now has over 500 likes. Like HISC on Facebook to receive updates from HISC news, posts from our website, and invasives-related posts from our constituent agencies and partners.

Upcoming events

  • Rapid Ohia Death (ROD)
    • Please join us for the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Symposia! The ROD Working Group is hosting one symposium in Hilo (March 18) and one in Kona (April 1) from 9AM-12PM. These are free public events to bring you the latest in ROD research, management, and outreach actions, and provide a question/answer session.
  • Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS)
  • In collaboration with HISC and Leeward Community College (LCC), CGAPS produced a series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that have been broadcast since late January. The three remaining broadcast dates are:
    • Friday, 4/14 8:00 PM
      Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and Biofouling
      Oceanic TWC Ch 355 - Statewide
      Hawaiian Telcom Ch 355 - Oahu only
    • Saturday, 4/15 10:00 PM
      Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and Biofouling
      Oceanic TWC Ch 355 - Statewide
      Hawaiian Telcom Ch 355 - Oahu only
    • Sunday, 4/16 2:00 PM and 10:00 PM
      Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and Biofouling
      Oceanic TWC Ch 355 - Statewide
      Hawaiian Telcom Ch 355 - Oahu only
Visit the HISC Website
Like HISC on Facebook
 Your HISC Support Team:

Joshua Atwood, HISC Program Supervisor: 808.587.4154  or Joshua.P.Atwood<at>
Randy Bartlett, HISC Interagency Coordinator: 808.870.6443 or Randal.T.Bartlett<at>
John-Carl Watson, HISC Planner: 808.341.3042 or JohnCarl.R.Watson<at>

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Hawaii Invasive Species Council · 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325 · Honolulu, HI 96813 · USA

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