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Invasive species updates from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council & partners
Volume 5, Issue 2: April-June, 2021
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 dlnr.hawaii.govThe full text version of this newsletter, including updates that do not fit in this email, is available on the HISC Newsletter webpage

Little Fire Ant (LFA)The Hawaii Ant Lab in Hilo (16 East Lanikaula Street) will reopen to the public JULY 1st!

During this quarter, as a part of the Mamalu Poepoe interagency airports monitoring project, HAL O'ahu completed ant surveys of top priority sites at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. No little fire ants were detected. We also saw an important collaboration between HAL and CGAPS. Using DLNR DOFAW/USDA Forest Health passthrough funds, CGAPS hired Sterling Kerr, a BYU student in Biology, to address the presence of little fire ant in the Laie community. In 2019, CGAPS worked with Dr. Spencer Ingley, an Assistant Professor of Biology at BYU Hawaii to train several classes on little fire ants which had been detected in the area. At the end of 2019, Sterling and fellow BYU student Mahonri Urian helped to mobilize fellow students in surveying some priority areas on campus. In this new CGAPS Student Assistant position, Sterling will focus on conducting ant surveys in high-priority locations in Laie and other areas, and will also be engaging the community in collecting and submitting ants for ID, under the guidance of CGAPS, HAL, OISC, HDOA, and Dr. Ingley. Sterling's prior experience and spirit of service are wonderful assets in this collaborative effort. Welcome, Sterling!  

Hilo operations completed the following: 1) Hilo airport survey (April) 590 vials deployed; 2) Hilo green waste surveyed on a monthly bases averaging 130 vials; 3) Kona green waste surveyed on a bi-monthly bases (2 sites, Pu’uanahulu and Kealakehe) averaging 250 vials; 4) CTAHR, Komohana surveyed 4x a year, averaging 400 vials per survey; 5) With the help of USDA, BIISC, Pharmacy staff and CTAHR staff, the team deployed 3,000 vials were deployed, identified and mapped at CTAHR Wiakea.

HAL Kona has been busy helping the community and industry combat LFA in the safest and most effective invasive ant management practices. From Waipio to Capt. Cook, there has been a steady inquiry for assistance by farmers, residents, and even churches. Treatment and monitoring of LFA at Kaloko-Honokohau National Park continues, with our best survey results since the start of this project two and a half years ago. In May of this year, we pulled only 4 positive ID's out of 600 plus vials deployed. We are halfway through our Phase 3 treatments there and are very optimistic for the Park being LFA free in the near future.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB)Trap detections indicate where we need to focus our efforts. We will spend the next quarter targeting our hardest-hit areas to reduce overall detections. Along with increased focus in our hot spots, weʻre continuing specialized outreach in areas near outlying detections. Quickly responding to detections outside of our buffer zone is our best opportunity to prevent breeding sites from establishing in new areas.

We're continuing to see new detections of coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) in central Oʻahu. New detections on the North Shore in Pupukea and Waialua are concerning for the program, as CRB have never been detected this far north.

Treatments: Our CRB treatment methods target CRB where they feed (palms) and where they breed (mulch or other decomposing plant material). 

Researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi found that systemic injections of an imidacloprid-based pesticide into palm trunks have shown positive results in reducing CRB populations. With initial positive results, we’ve moved towards launching a landscape-scale palm treatment in the Pearl City Peninsula (PCP) area. This exciting advancement has given us hope in our work to completely remove CRB from Hawaiʻi, but this treatment must be supported by breeding site removal.

With the help of our canine detection team, finding breeding sites is more efficient. Canines use their keen sense of smell to detect larvae in breeding sites, decreasing the amount of time our field crew spends locating these sites. 

Once we find a breeding site, treatment to kill CRB can begin. Our treatment methods include heat treatment, physical methods like chipping or grinding, and chemical methods. Similar to tree injections, imidacloprid-based pesticides can be tilled into the material. We develop breeding site treatment plans in collaboration with landowners, balancing factors like cost, volume, and risk level. When new breeding sites are found, treating them quickly and effectively ensures that CRB will not be accidentally transported to new areas. 

Palm trees are injected with an imidacloprid-based pesticide. It takes a few months for the pesticide to reach the crown. This makes the crowns lethal to CRB attempting to feed in the area. For more information about this palm treatment, contact the CRB Response at

We’re also moving towards more contractual green waste treatment and removal. At our current staff capacity, thoroughly searching through breeding material and removing all CRB is not an efficient way to process the volume of infested material we’ve found. By contracting the treatment and removal of infested material, we're able to greatly increase the amount of material being processed.

The CRB Response searching and removing known infested material to be treated with the Vacuum Steam Unit. The VSU draws a vacuum and injects steam into a chamber filled with infested material. This heats the material throughout to a temperature fatal to CRB.

Rapid ʻŌhia Death (ROD):
Oʻahu Update: On O‘ahu, Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death (ROD) was first detected in July 2019. Over the course of the last two years, the O‘ahu ROD Response Team has sampled over 350 ‘ōhi‘a trees and confirmed ROD in 8 individual trees. All 8 trees were found within the Ko‘olau mountain range and all were positive with the less virulent species of ROD, Ceratocystis huliohia. Three cases were from residential properties and the other 5 cases were found in forested settings in various locations across the island. With funding from the legislature and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, helicopter surveys of ‘ōhi‘a forests are conducted semi-annually, and suspect trees are sampled by ground crews. Public reports of sick ‘ōhi‘a are also submitted to and sampled by the O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee (808-266-7994 or  

Current Research: Marc Hughes (USDA Forest Service) - Eradicating ROD Fungi from ʻŌhiʻa Wood with Kiln and Chemical Treatments:
Since the advent of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, the movement of ʻōhiʻa on wood could serve as an unintentional pathway for the distribution of the fungal pathogens, Ceratocystis lukuohia and C. huliohia to new areas. To address this concern, we tested several wood sanitation treatments for their ability to eradicate these pathogens within diseased wood. Three types of kilns (dehumidification, vacuum and vacuum steam) and a boron chemical dip were tested and wood samples were assayed for fungus survival before and after treatments to assess their effectiveness. Results will be used to guide state policy relating to treatments and movement of ʻōhiʻa wood and its products. All three types of kiln were able to heat ʻōhiʻa wood up to an internal temperature of 140 degrees F, which was enough to kill any Ceratocystis fungi in the wood. While chemical treatments were able to kill fungi with direct contact, they did not soak deep enough into the wood to be a practical method for decontaminating ʻōhiʻa wood from infected trees.

Current Research: Flint Hughes (USDA Forest Service) -  We established 250 monitoring plots in ‘ōhi‘a forests across Hawai‘i Island to characterize forest stands in which ROD is occurring and to determine ʻōhiʻa annual mortality rates within those forests. Our results indicated thatʻōhiʻa stands with smaller trees (less than 8” in diameter) exhibited lower annual rates of mortality (4 to 5%) compared toʻōhiʻa stands with larger trees (12 to 13%). Mortality rates were also lower in ʻōhiʻa stands on young stands growing on young lava flows compared to rates on older flows. Mortality rates decreased at higher elevations and increased in warmer and in wetter locations. Most plots did not have any new ‘ōhia seedlings. Plots that did contain ʻōhiʻa seedlings were found in the upper elevations of ʻōhiʻa forest range (above 3,300 feet). At low elevations, non-native plants were prevalent.  Results from this research indicate which ‘ōhiʻa forests are most vulnerable to ROD and where we can expect the forest to be resilient and regenerate itself after ROD. 

ROD Management Tips- HOW CAN YOU HELP SAVE ʻŌHIʻA? The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) Outreach Education Team would like to share some useful tips to help save ʻŌhiʻa, reduce the spread of ROD, and protect ʻŌhiʻa forests. 

Useful Tips to help save ʻŌhiʻa Lehua: 

1. Practice good sanitation habits: when going into the forest always remember to clean your vehicles, clean boots, and sterilize any cutting tools used.
2. Use other native plants such as ʻaʻaliʻi and bottlebrush in lei making and/or other foliage art. 
3. Get permission to go into the forest and harvest.  Ask permission from private landowners and the forest you gather foliage from through cultural protocol and/or gratitude. And always remember to get the required permits from DLNR-DOFAW when harvesting foliage from state and public lands.
For state forests, you can apply for permits here:
DLNR Website:
Statewide Collecting Permit Form 
4. If you chose to pick ʻōhiʻa lehua blossoms, these practices are encouraged: pick branch tips of not more than 4 inches and DO NOT cut down whole branches. NOTE - The larger the wound opened, the greater chance the tree has to catch ROD. 
5. Finally, recognize when it is time to let the ʻōhiʻa lehua rest in the space where you gather to give them the opportunity to grow.  
The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture rules state that you cannot bring anything made of ʻōhiʻa off of Hawaii Island unless it's treated, and that includes lei. For more information about this quarantine rule please visit:

Program & Project Updates
Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR)

The BWBF team hired two UH students to support the ARMS project for the spring semester. The fourth ARMS unit on Oahu was retrieved and UH student hires are currently sorting samples at the Bishop Museum and will be wrapping up this month. Twenty autonomous reef monitoring structures (ARMS) were deployed throughout the main Hawaiian Islands in July of 2018. ARMS were placed in commercial harbors that included: Nawiliwili, Kauai; Kahului, Maui; Honolulu, Oahu; Kalaeloa/Barber’s Point, Oahu; Hilo, Big Island. The goals of the project are to (1) build species checklists and understand what species are present; (2) build voucher collection and DNA barcode reference library; and (3) identify new records of species.

- The PCSU BWBF Planner was hired.
-  The BWBF team finalized the Commercial Fishing Vessel Biofouling Best Practices handout with the Western Regional Panel Coastal Committee.
-  The BWBF Coordinator presented at the Pacific Ballast Water Group virtual meeting on the Hawaii program and updates
- The BWBF team has been working with NOAA, Bishop Museum, and UH Data Science Program on a pilot project for a web-based interface that gathers and houses COI DNA barcodes for species identified in our pre-border database. A UH Data Science student completed an initial prototype and phase two will be starting in coming months. We’re hoping the prototype will gather support and funding, and is intended to highlight gaps in genetic data and lay the foundation for early detection tools.
-  The BWBF Coordinator joined the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) Working Group for the Pacific Region to address concerns of the possibility of the disease being transported via ballast water and raise awareness in Hawaii.
- The AIS BWBF Coordinator and AIS Biologist joined the HISC Resources Working Group.
- DAR’s AIS team continues to provide vessel and diver support to a pilot Avrainvillea erecta control study led by Liv Wheeler, a UH student in Dr. Celia Smith’s lab. This pilot project aims to study possible treatment options for Avrainvillea erecta, an invasive algae first discovered in Hawaii in 2014.
- The AIS team completed annual SNAP Surveys of Kāne‘ohe Bay and Waikiki that document coverage and density of invasive algae that is managed by the urchin outplant project. Learn more about that project here:
-  The AIS team assisted in the Honolulu Damage assessment and coral collection project. More on that here:

University of Hawaii (UH), Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) 

NEW DETECTION: BIISC staff are always botanizing, even when spending time with family on the weekends. Recently, manager Springer Kaye discovered the noxious weed Chromolaena odorata growing at the Hilo dragstrip. Soon after, Plant Pono coordinator Molly Murphy spotted another population growing in a residential neighborhood near a popular fishing spot in Puna. In partnership with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, “chrodo” is BIISC’s newest eradication target.

STAFF NEWS: We are excited to congratulate Kawehi Lopez, Outreach Specialist, for completing her Master’s Degree in Science at the University of Hawaii TCBS program!! Her work led to valuable contributions to BIISC operations. 

PLANT PONO: Our Plant Pono program has been gaining more and more traction. In the past year,16,000 new visitors used the website to promote good planting choices for landscapes and backyards. BIISC staff surveyed 48 nurseries over the Spring for invasive plants (and found significantly fewer than before the endorsement program started!)

INVASIVE INSECTS: Summer is the emergence season for two of Big Island’s newest and most damaging insect pests, the Twolined Spittlebug (TLSB) and Queensland Longhorn Beetle (QLB). TLSB has destroyed thousands of acres of ranchland on the west side of the island and continues to spread unchecked. The experience of some of the affected ranchers, and the impacts and response to the infestation, have been documented in a new short documentary from Visual Resonance Media: Twolined Spittlebug (TLSB). QLB is spreading into the Hilo area, but there are no confirmed reports of live beetles in the South, West, or North areas of the Big Island. Please familiarize yourself with each of these pests and be on the lookout. Summer is also swarm season, and as part of Mamalu Poepoe BIISC staff surveys the Hilo and Kona airports bimonthly for Africanized honey bees and monthly for Coconut Rhinoceros beetles. Recently, two reports of suspected CRB damage to coconut trees were investigated, but thankfully neither turned out to be CRB. 

Paper wasps, mud wasps, ants, and a gecko made their home in this swarm trap...but luckily, no Africanized bees!

INVASIVE PLANTS: The Forest Response Team was hard at work on albizia this Spring. Our team controlled the last stand of albizia growing on the Puainako extension in Hilo, a major thoroughfare, and also controlled hundreds of hazardous and non-hazardous trees growing along Kahakai Boulevard, an essential right of way for folks in lower Puna that serves as the only exodus point for a number of residents since the 2018 lava flow. These projects are some of the 18 top priorities identified in the multi-agency Albizia Hazard Mitigation Plan developed after Tropical Storm Iselle hit the island in 2014. This work was funded by a grant from the Hawaii State Legislature.

 Albizia assassins are honored as the ‘good neighbor of the month’ for controlling albizia in Hawaiian Beaches. 

Dustin Swan, Forest Response Program Coordinator, and Nate Friday treat a large albizia with Milestone.

NEW RESOURCES: BIISC has a YouTube!  We’ve been building up a library of videos on subjects ranging from little fire ant control to watershed protection, so be sure to check out the Big Island Invasive Species BIISC channel as we keep adding content.

University of Hawaii (UH), Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC)

Little Fire Ants (LFA): MISC conducted a week-long “blitz” survey of Maui’s largest LFA infestation, at Nāhiku. This site has undergone aerial treatments via helicopter over the past year and a half. Two dozen staff and crew spread out over the 150+ acre site, deploying thousands of vials in search of remnant populations of little fire ants.  While there were some LFA detected, MISC is pleased to report that the number of ants collected was very low and no staff were stung, which is how the infestation was found.  

MISC’s LFA Crew declared three more sites eradicated with a capital E.  For MISC to consider an infestation Eradicated there must be multiple, consecutive LFA-free surveys conducted over the course of five years.  One of these sites, at a south Maui resort, included a breeding population and stands out as the first such population eradication for the island.  A total of five sites have been eradicated on Maui, a number that includes four minor incursions in addition to the resort.

Unfortunately, Maui’s 18th LFA incursion was recently discovered.  Located on a single property in Huelo, this four-acre site was quickly delimited and received its first treatment just eight days after the first ant was collected.  Encouraging full-site surveys were also conducted at two of Mauiʻs largest sites: the 8.5 acre Twin Falls site (which turned up zero LFA), and the nine acre Waiheʻe Valley site.  The latter site still has some hot spots, but considering the incredibly challenging terrain of the site the progress is encouraging.

See the following for more information:

Coqui: The coqui crew continues to focus on outlying and expanding populations. Continued work at several populations has resulted in reduced numbers of coqui calling. Flooding that occurred at the Peʻahi site damaged the citric acid delivery pipeline infrastructure in more than one location.  Repairs were made to some of the pipeline, but more work is needed. 

One of MISCʻs 300 gallon citric acid sprayer trailers was stolen last August. It was found and reported by a member of the public.  The trailer was recovered with the assistance of police department and will be back in operation soon.

Upcoming plans involve installing additional citric acid pipeline into areas where coqui have continued to spread and treatment has not yet occurred.  There are also plans to complete a comprehensive, up-to-date survey on an outlying population, and placed acoustic monitors strategically throughout the population, and systematically treat the affected area with a day spray strategy. 

The coqui crew is currently hiring to fill several positions on the team. The application and more information can be found at

See the following for more information:

Community Coqui Control Program: The Community Coqui Control program experienced great success in the Haʻikū Hill neighborhood.  After two years of recurring treatments, they were able to skip their most recent spray week due to no calling coqui frogs within the neighborhood. This success was achieved due to the consistent efforts of the leaders and participants in this neighborhood.   

In partnership with Conservation Metrics Inc., MISC has deployed 17 acoustic monitors on private property locations around Haʻikū. The purpose of these monitors is to record coqui frog calling, better understand coqui populations, and demonstrate treatment efficacy. One of these monitors is deployed within the Haʻikū Hill neighborhood and has also indicated a decrease in coqui calling over the past few months. Additionally, following a break in surveys due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Community Coqui Control staff have recently restarted Coqui Free Nursery surveys.  So far none of the locations visited have had any signs of coqui frogs.  Mahalo to Coqui Free Nursery participants for their efforts to achieve a Coqui Free Maui!

MISC is planning for a busy summer as the coqui frogs become more active with the warmer temperatures.  The Community Coqui Control staff will be assisting neighborhood participants with recurring spray weeks, continuing to respond to outlier coqui reports, and assisting more residents with coqui control efforts on their properties.

See the following for more information:

Invasive Plants: Hāna Miconia Crew
The Hāna crew spent time in May preparing for and participating in a documentary feature on miconia with a world-renowned film channel.  Time was spent in the miconia core infestation leading the film crew while doing miconia control work.

The crew also responded to and conducted surveys for local miconia reports at Lower Nāhiku and Hāna.  Hāna Highway miconia surveys, control, and trail cutting continued from Makapīpī to Keʻanae.

Hāmākuapoko Plant Crew: Pampas work is ramping up for the summer flowering season.  The Hāmākuapoko plant crew conducted pampas grass ground survey and control at Waikamoi Flume, Haleakalā Ranch and Polipoli areas.  The crew also assisted West Maui Watershed (Mauna Kahalawai) crew with mules foot fern spray-heliops, and completed another Puʻu o Kali fountain grass survey with no plants found.  MISC has had no fountain grass plants detected at all other known survey sites.

Ivy gourd surveys and control in Central and West Maui coastal strand and golf course area are on regular re-visit intervals.  Residential areas remain a survey challenge due to Covid-19 restrictions. Old Maui High base-yard landscape and construction work continues.

Rapid ʻŌhia Death Response: One ʻĪao Valley voucher was collected and sent to the Hilo USDA/ARS Lab through HDOA Maui Plant Quarantine staff with no Ceratocystis detected. MISC responded to a request to check an ʻōhiʻa at UH Maui College.  No ROD symptoms were observed. 

See the following for more information:

Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC): During the reporting period, MoMISC worked on six priority species; quail bush (Atriplex lentiformis), rubber vine (Cryptostegia madagascariensis), Australian tree fern (Cyathea cooperi), albizia (Falcataria moluccana), tree daisy (Montanoa hibiscifolia),), and long thorn kiawe (Prosopis Juliflora), seven other plant species; mule’s foot fern (Angiopteris lentiformis),  cat’s claw (Caesalpinia decapitala), woodrose (Merremia tuberosa), red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), multifora rose (Rosa multiflora), fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis), palm grass (Setaria palmifolia), one marine species; upside down jelly fish (Cassiopea andromeda), two insects; coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros),  little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata), and one vertebrate; rabbit (Lepus curpaeums).

Albizia: Control and monitoring of the main population of albizia on Molokai has been successful in stifling the proliferation of this invasive tree species since initial detection in 2009.  A monitoring survey of the impacted area documented no new growth.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB): Active CRB traps are located at the Molokai Airport and are monitored and maintained on a monthly basis by the MoMISC field crew.  To date, CRB has not been detected on Molokai.

Little Fire Ants (LFA): MoMISC crew set bait traps at recurring test sites across the island, including at primary ports of entry and parks.  Bait traps were set at six different survey sites, with zero detections to report.  Two resident reports were also investigated with benign results.  MoMISC field crew surveyed 25.6 acres for LFA from April-June.

Rubber vine: Just over 90 acres were surveyed for this poisonous purple-flowered plant pest. Rubber vine seeds continue to germinate and pop up at old infestation sites, but occurrences have been trending toward becoming more sporadic over time.  Of the 90-acres surveyed, 3 immature plants were controlled within a 1-acre area. 

Wood rose: In early April, a known infestation within the North-Central Molokai forest was combed through for this vine and aggressive pest.  A total of sixteen immature plants were controlled within a survey area of about 1.5 acres.  Because wood rose seeds can remain viable for years, it is expected that detections in the area will continue to occur.  Consistent revisits by MoMISC aim to catch new growth before reaching reproduction, suppressing the spread into the Kamakou Preserve. 

See the following for more information:

Early Detection: Botanist Bob Hobdy recently noticed a small tree with pink and white flowers he didn't recognize along a roadside in Haʻikū, Maui.  Bob did some research and determined it to likely be Vernonanthura polyanthes, which was previously not known from Hawaiʻi, and is known to be invasive in other parts of the world.  Bob was concerned about the invasive potential of this species and relayed his findings to the MISC early detection team.

The early detection team visited the site, got voucher collections, surveyed the area for more, and analyzed recent and historical aerial images in Pictometry.  The results to date indicate this species is well established in Haʻikū, with a rough area of the known distribution of about 1,000 acres of varying density.  Further information on this species presence on Maui is currently being gathered and will be discussed with the MISC Committee in July.

Public Relations/Education: Kiaʻi Moku
Three articles for the Maui New’s Kiaʻi Moku column were submitted.  The topics were Native Hawaiian plant month, māmaki pests, and a little fire ant report that led to learning about parasitic ant wasps.
See the following for more Kiaʻi Moku articles:

Community and Student Presentations: MISC presentations remain virtual due to covid-19 safety measures.  Virtual presentations were given to a Maui Master Gardeners class at UH Maui College on MISC and invasive species in Maui, conservation career overview and guidance was discussed at the Maui Huliau Conservation Careers Virtual Forum, and a MISC update to the  Haʻikū Community Association Meeting. 

A Hōʻike o Haleakalā based presentation on little fire ants was given to 95 fourth-graders at Makawao Elementary School. Little fire ant testing kits were dropped off before the presentation so that students could engage in an outdoor activity at school or at home.  Testing kits were then picked up and analyzed, with results sent to the class.

Team and Partnership Building: MISC staff cross-trained with the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) in celebration of Earth Day.  Two shifts of staff weeded four different garden areas, built shelving for the MNBGʻs kalo collection, and weedeated an area slated to be the new nursery site for the Gardens.

Staff also participated in an outdoor, lei-making workshop with mostly native plants, at the Old Maui High base yard in celebration of Lei Day. These were all great opportunities to learn about what we are protecting.

Current Openings: Full-time positions for the little fire ant and coqui crews were advertised via social media, the MISC website, and the Conservation Connections website. View current MISC job openings here.

University of Hawaii (UH), O`ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)

OISC has worked across 26 watersheds surveying for, and removing our target invasive species from the landscape.

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death: To date 356 trees have been samples for ROD on Oʻahu. There have been 8 positive detections of the less aggressive species C. Huliohia. There have be no detections of the aggressive ROD C. Lukuohia which currently has only been detected on Hawaiʻi Island and Maui. Suspect ʻōhiʻa trees will be dead or dying with brown leaves still attached. Report suspect ʻōhiʻa trees to or email photos to OISC:

Early Detection - Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) & Africanized Honey Bees: OISC assists the Māmalu Poepoe Project with trap checks for CRB and monitoring for swarm traps for Africanized honeybees at the Honolulu International Airport. OISC conducts monthly trap checks for both CRB and Africanized honeybees. During active bee season (May-Sept.), crew conduct swarm traps every two weeks.  For more information about the Māmalu Poepoe Project, visit:

Early Detection – Little Fire Ant (LFA): OISC has been assisting the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab with nursery surveys. These surveys are important to ensure LFA are not present, and if they are detected a rapid response can be implemented to eradicate populations. All Oʻahu residents are advised to collect and submit ant samples for identification and report suspect ants. For more information about reporting and submitting ant samples, visit:

Volunteer Programs – Devil Weed Crew: In March 2021, OISC implemented a self-directed volunteer program to conduct early detection surveys of Oʻahu trails for invasive devil weed (Chromolaena odorata). The goal of the program is to remove devil weed from high trafficked trails to prevent more long-range introduction, both on island and across the state.
- From March – June, volunteers have surveyed 140 miles on 19 trails across the island. They have dedicated 109 hours to survey for and removed 188 devil weed plants. For more information and to join the Devil Weed Crew, visit:

Outreach: Outreach staff has been busy creating and distributing both digital and printed educational materials. There have been 43 Devil Weed Crew and 972 LFA Test Kits. Staff has presented to 1,420 students at 12 schools and conducted 9 community presentations to 134 people. Staff is now able to conduct in-person outreach. To schedule a presentation for your school, community group or host a booth at your event, contact OISC: / 808-286-4616.

University of Hawaii (UH), Kaua`i Invasive Species Committee (KISC)

New Species Alert For Kauaʻi: Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei) was discovered on Kauaʻi in late 2020. This pest has already invaded Maui, Oʻahu, and has had a massive impact on the Hawaiʻi island coffee industry. This tiny invader is approximately 1/16" and can easily lie undetected in coffee berries. CBB burrows into coffee berries to reproduce and consume the coffee bean, which can be detrimental to a coffee crop. KISC is now focused on getting the word out to Kauai coffee growers and landscapers to equip them with the informational tools to identify this invasive species. If you or someone you know grows coffee or landscapes on Kauaʻi, please give KISC a call or send us an email, and we will look forward to connecting with you.  For more information on CBB CTAHR Website

RRP campaign: KISC is still looking for Rose-ringed Parakeet roosts. Rose-Ring Parakeets were introduced to the island sometime in the 1960ʻs, and the population has since grown exponentially. These birds have roosts around the southern side of the island and have been seen moving out towards the east and north shore. Rose-ringed parakeets pose a threat to local farmers' crops and, if left unchecked, can impact our native bird populations. The Kauai Rose-ringed Parakeet Working Group is a multi-agency group of federal, state, local government, scientists, university researchers, nonprofit and private partners working towards developing a comprehensive, island-wide, population suppression plan. KISC and the RRPWG need the public's help to report suspected roost sites around the island to help locate unmapped RRP roosts.

Pono endorsement: Since the pandemic started, KISC has been working on new ways to get involved with our community. One program getting a revamp is our Plant Pono Endorsement Program. KISC has been updating our phase-out invasive plant list threats and working with new landscapers and nurseries to become Pono Endorsed.  With the revamp of our Pono endorsed program, we are also bringing back the Plant Pono Highlight of the month, check out KISC Facebook for this month’s Pono Business Highlight.

KISC Survey Updates: The Kauai community continues to work together to keep Kauai coqui free. The KISC team surveyed 4.94 acres and in partnership with HDOA, responded to multiple coqui reports 2 Coqui were controlled during this quarter.  Please support Pono Endorsed Nurseries to help keep Kauai coqui free! To see a full list of our Pono Endorsed nurseries check out the KISC website : KISC Website

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death: April aerial surveys identified ʻōhiʻa displaying visual symptoms consistent with the fungal disease known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. Those symptoms include an entire canopy or large limbs with reddish-brown leaves. Subsequent on-the-ground sampling confirmed ʻōhia infected with Ceratocystis huliohia in two new areas on Kauaʻi--a valley on the north shore and deep in the valley of Kalalau. C. huliohia is known as a canker pathogen and, usually, kills ʻōhiʻa limb by limb, unlike the more virulent species known as C. lukuohia, which kills even faster by taking out the entire canopy in one fell swoop. No detections have yet to be made in the Alakai Plateau or in any of the west side valleys of Hanapepe, Olokele, and Waimea.

Here's an overview of numbers as of the end of May: 
# lukuohia    148
# huliohia    106
# both species    2
# not detected    229
# of Trees Sampled    485

ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Day: In April the Kauaʻi ROD Outreach team celebrated ʻŌhiʻa Lehua Day on Sunday, April 25th. The theme of this yearʻs event was, “Spend the Day with ʻŌhiʻa Lehua.”
ʻŌhiʻa-Free Lei Making Workshops: In May, the Kauaʻi ROD Outreach team helped produce three virtual ʻōhiʻa-free lei making workshops. Future workshops will be offered this fall. To learn about future lei making workshops, sign up for KISCʻs ROD newsletter here.

Forest Fridays: In April, May, and June, the KISC Outreach team partnered with the Kauaʻi Forest Bird Recovery Project to conduct monthly virtual talk-story events about conservation efforts in Kauaʻi forests. Topics of discussion included: How Do We Protect the Forest for Our Childrenʻs Future, How Do You Connect with the Forest, and Is It Too Late to Save Kauaiʻs Native Forest Birds? To watch recordings of each of these talk-story events, visit KISCʻs YouTube page here. To learn about future Forest Friday conversations, sign up for KISCʻs ROD newsletter here.
Faces of the Forest: The Kauaʻi ROD Outreach team added new installments to the “Faces of the Forest” series, including: Meet the ROD Field Crew and Meet Kauaiʻs Native Forest Birds. This series is intended to share the many faces in the forest--those conservationists working in the forest, as well as, those forest dwellers who rely on our native ʻohiʻa forest to meet their natural history requirements.

HISC SupportHawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) program

New Assessments: The HPWRA promotes responsible and informed planting choices by providing an objective, science-based method of assessing the invasive potential of plants being imported into and/or planted within the Hawaiian Islands. In the second quarter of 2021, ten new assessments and eleven revised assessments have been completed, bringing the current total of screened plant species to 2180. Of note were 3 new assessments completed for use in a new Tropical Landscape Certification program developed for the City and County of Honolulu. Other assessments were completed for ISC early detection teams, the Plant Pono program, the USDA-NRCS state forester, and Pulama Lanai. All assessments can be accessed at the Plant Pono website: (

HPWRA Applications Outside Hawaii

SelectTree, a web-based urban tree selection guide produced by California Polytechnic State University, now includes a section on Pacific Island trees, and incorporates HPWRA scores as part of the guidance for choosing, or avoiding, trees in tropical island landscapes.

A comprehensive study compiling invasive alien species and biodiversity related information was published to support the development of a National Invasive Alien Species Strategy and Action Plan for the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. As part of this process, HPWRA results were used to assign risk ratings for 44 of the 79 plant species listed in the Tuvalu checklist.

Pagad, S. (2020). Tuvalu Baseline Desktop Invasive Species and Biodiversity Study. Government of Tuvalu. 

Upcoming events

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 Your HISC Support Team

Chelsea Arnott, M.S., HISC Planner: chelsea.l.arnott.researcher[@]
Leyla Kaufman, Ph.D., Mamalu Poepoe Coordinator: leyla.v.kaufman[@]
Elizabeth Speith, Report Facilitator: speith[@]
Chuck Chimera, HPWRA, chimera[@] 

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

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