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We are half way through 2022 already and a lot is happening at HISC. We are happy to welcome Chelsea Arnott into her new role with DLNR as the invasive species coordinator for HISC. Chelsea first got her start in invasive species work as part of the temp crew controlling coqui frogs at the Oʻahu Invasive Species Committee. She has since worked for the State Nā Ala Hele Trails Program, Hawaiʻi Legislature, Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species. She looks forward to continuing the work of the HISC and the extensive partner network to improve biosecurity in Hawaiʻi.

The HISC support team is busy reading through funding proposals and getting ready for the HISC Resources Working Group  FY23 meeting. The HISC Resources Working Group serves as an evaluation committee and will meet on July 28, 2022 at 8:30 am to review proposals and develop a recommended budget to present to the Council. The Council will meet to finalize the budget August 17th at 1:00 pm. Both meetings will be hybrid with the ability to join in-person or virtually. More details on both meetings will be sent out through the HISC email list.

Māmalu poepoe is gearing up to expand monitoring to harbors across the state this year. HPRWA is busy with risk assessments for NRCS, the ISCs, and others. Search for assessments at

You can see what reports are coming into the state pest hotline at the live data dashboard. Encourage everyone to report pests- "Take a Pic and Call or Click". 

HISC Support Team- Chelsea Arnott (Invasive Species Coordinator), Leyla Kaufman (Māmalu poepoe), Elizabeth Speith (, and Chuck Chimera (HPWRA)
Have you heard the news?
ʻŌhiʻa Lehua has been designated as the State Endemic Tree.

This designation was even more special because the bill’s major advocates were K-12 students from across the state. After internal discussions with partners about increasing advocacy for conservation, HISC partners in the CGAPS and the ROD Outreach team decided to bridge a gap between students and Hawaiʻi legislature by engaging them in a real-life experience advocating for the bill. 

Classroom lessons focused on ʻōhiʻa and civics were conducted in the fall of 2021, and these students engaged 18 legislators and submitted 1,225 pieces of testimony during the 2022 legislative session.Some of these classes were able to visit the capitol and their legislators, others planted ʻōhiʻa on their campus, and on May 24, 2022, 2 classes from Oahu were in attendance as the bill was signed by the Governor and an ʻōhiʻa was planted at Washington Place.

Drawings, paintings, oli, and videos were submitted as testimony by over 500 students leading the bill to success. This project is a testament to the desire and importance of including youth in conservation advocacy. We hope that this designation will also continue to raise awareness about the importance of ʻōhiʻa, ROD, and protecting our native forests. 
Mahalo to the teachers, students, and partners who helped make this a reality- the ROD working group, CGAPS, HISC, DLNR DOFAW, ʻŌhiʻa Legacy Initiative, Hawaiian Civics Clubs, State legislators and staff, Dr. Sam Gon, and the Public Access Room. For more information about this project, contact Kailee Lefebvre, CGAPS Planner or Ambyr Miyake, ROD Statewide Outreach Coordinator.
HISC funded project spotlight
Hawai'i Ant Lab Funding Update
The Hawai'i Ant Lab (HAL) addresses the prevention and management of invasive ants throughout the state. In early 2022, HAL was impacted by an unexpected budget shortfall, as one of HAL’s major funders was not able to continue financial support. The entire HAL staff went on an involuntary 50% furlough.

HAL’s work throughout the state was impacted, but it was felt the most on O'ahu where new little fire ant infestations continued to be detected. 8 new LFA sites have been found on Oʻahu since the second half of 2021.

HAL called upon collaborators, who were able to team up with HAL to ensure site surveys, ant control, and management tasks were completed during the furlough. Losing ground on LFA early detection, rapid response, and containment will lead to higher costs down the line due to the impacts of this invasive ant.

SB 2996 SD1 was introduced this session to support HAL. Although the bill did not pass, the legislature did add an additional $500,000 to the HISC budget that is dedicated to support the HAL program. This will allow the HAL staff to operate at full capacity once again.

Prevention, early detection, and management of LFA is everyone’s responsibility. LFA are a tramp ant species and can catch a ride on anything from pineapples to pallets. Be mindful of what you are bringing onto a property or out-planting into undisturbed areas. Request a free test and ID kit to test plants and other items you bring home. Get ant treatment advice at the HAL website or send an email to request free training and consultations for invasive ant prevention and management.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD)
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease, or SCTLD, is a devastating coral disease found along the coast of Florida and throughout the greater Caribbean basin. SCTLD is unique among coral diseases due to the number of coral species affected, its expansive geographic range, rapid progression, long duration, high rates of disease transmission, significantly high prevalence, and high mortality rate.

First appearing in Florida in 2014, the disease is thought to be spread by bacteria, but scientist have yet to pinpoint the exact causative agent. It is known that the disease affects at least 22 species of corals and spreads to other corals through direct contact and water circulation. While still under review, there is a growing consensus that ballast water and vessel hull biofouling are the main vectors of SCTLD transmission from region to region.

Great star coral with SCTLD (image courtesy FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute)
Once infected, coral colonies typically die within weeks to months. 

While SCTLD has quickly spread to more than twenty countries in the Caribbean basin, it has not yet been detected in the Pacific. A group of State and Federal agencies and partners was formed to keep up with the rapidly evolving research on prevention and mitigation measures for SCTLD and develop an early detection and rapid response plan for Hawaii.

CGAPS legal fellow Andrew Porter is providing an analysis of current federal and state regulations that can help prevent the transmission of SCTLD through ballast water and vessel hull biofouling, drafting an overview of legal requirements for emergency response to SCTLD, and assisting in drafting suggestions for preventative measures the USCG can include while developing and implementing new regulations under the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2018 (VIDA).

If you have any questions about SCTLD and the steps Hawai'i is taking to prevent this disease, please contact the CGAPS legal fellow Andrew Porter. and HPWRA Pest Alert
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Tree Damage
We have been receiving an increasing amount of coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) reports at CRB have only been found on Oʻahu, but we should be looking at our coconut and other palms on all islands for signs of CRB damage to make sure we can detect CRB early! The CRB Response Team has a great guide for "How to identify coconut rhinoceros damage."

If you see damage, take pictures from a few angles and report to or the CRB Response Team
V-shaped cuts in fronds
Cuts in coconut palms are straight across. Coconut palms are preferred, though in areas with lots of CRB they will go after fan palms and less frequently date palms, royal palms, and have even been found on hala. 

The how to identify coconut rhinoceros damage guide has pictures of CRB damage on other types of trees.

Bore Holes
If you see
 frond damage, look for 1.5 - 2 inch bore holes on the frond. The CRB often leave behind fibrous material or "chew" as they burrow into the crown of the tree.
Upcoming Events and Job Opportunities
Events Job Opportunities

The Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a State interdepartmental collaboration of the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (HISC co-chair), Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HISC co-chair), Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, and the University of Hawaiʻi.
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