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Invasive species updates from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council & partners
Volume 1, Issue 2: January, 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)
    • Since the initial discovery in 1999, LFA have become established on the four most populous Hawaiian Islands (Hawai‘i, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai).
    • On the Island of Hawai’i, new infestations continue to be detected beyond the original Kalapana-Laupahoehoe area and now include spot locations in most of the west side, Waipio Valley, Hawi, Kapa`au, Holualoa, Naalehu, Captain Cook and Waimea.
    • On Maui, there are four sites being treated: Waihe‘e, Huelo, Nahiku and an approximately 12 acre site, discovered in late November, at the Kapalua Resort on West Maui. 
    • On Oahu, infestations were treated in Waimanalo and Mililani throughout 2014-15. No ants have been detected recently in Mililani. A new infestation of LFA was detected in Waimanalo in 2016.
    • On Kauai, the Kalihiwai site is apparently free of LFA with only a single known active colony detected beneath a tall tree.
  • Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB):
    • Since the first Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle was detected in late December of 2013, 3,495 trap captures have been recorded and 3,051 panel traps are installed and being monitored biweekly on Oahu.
    • The core of the CRB infestation on Oahu remains on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), but recent trap captures of CRB have been recorded in the Ewa and Pearl City Peninsula areas surrounding JBPHH. 
  • Rapid Ohia Death (ROD):
    • Rapid Ohia 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.
    • The Rapid Ohia Death Summit at the State Capitol in Honolulu drew over 200 participants, including legislators, natural resource professionals, students, and concerned citizens. Participants learned about the latest news in ROD research and outreach, and the new ROD Strategic Response Plan (available at
    • The HISC adopted a resolution on January 17 to formally recognize the ad-hoc ROD Advisory Team as the lead entity for coordinating research and rapid response efforts for ROD in Hawaii. This group includes experts from DLNR, USDA Forest Service, USDA Agricultural Research Services, UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species. HISC staff will work with the ROD Advisory Team to identify opportunities for research and response.
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.
Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC)
  • Big Island Ant Control Community Support Program Update:
    Since May 2016, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee has been offering workshops and training sessions for Little Fire Ant control in communities across the Big Island. In six months, we’ve held 23 education sessions in 18 different communities, with nearly 500 attendees.

    Through a partnership with the Emmet Interdisciplinary program at Stanford University, the BIISC outreach team designed their program to encourage engagement using strategies rooted in behavioral psychology.  One goal of the sessions was to encourage participants to organize and work with their neighbors to create a one-year schedule and treatment plan for their neighborhood.  Support was supplied through a kick-off training session led by BIISC, where participating residents learned how to mix and apply bait right in their own backyards with guidance and assistance from staff.   The neighborhood groups were provided with personalized calendars and monthly email reminders to encourage continued action.
    Eighteen neighborhoods with over 220 residents signed up for the assistance program. Demand for the program far exceeded program goals, and half a dozen neighborhoods are currently in the works to join the program.  Each month, efforts to manage LFA on the Big Island continue to gain interest and enthusiasm from residents all across the island!
HISC partners shine in DC
  • December 5, 2016 marked the first Innovation Summit: Overcoming the Invasive Species Challenge, sponsored in part by the National Invasive Species Council Secretariat, Smithsonian Institution and others.  It was held in the beautiful Rasmuson Theater in the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. With over 100 people in attendance, this was an event that brought together leaders and innovators across the country showing how invasive species challenges can be overcome with technology-based solutions.  Drs. James Leary and David Duffy of the University of Hawaii at Manoa were invited to present on the innovations of Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT), where they posed their challenge on how to foster a creative idea into a proven utility.  They highlighted how they overcame this challenge through the novel partnerships cultivated with our Invasive Species Committees (ISCs). Some of the other innovations in the pipeline relevant to Hawaii’s immediate and future needs included UAS vegetation mapping, DNA-based field diagnostics, genetically engineered vector control and gene-drive technologies for species-specific eradications.  One of the participants acknowledged some of the many other complexities beyond technical feasibility “…assessing ecological risks, public/stakeholder tolerance, regulatory gaps and ethical questions …” necessary to evaluate suitability for ensuring institutional adoption.
O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC)
  • OISC has been conducting miconia (Miconia calvescens) surveys on O‘ahu since 2001 with a goal of island-wide eradication. Because of the gravity of the negative impacts from miconia infestations on watersheds and the services they provide, miconia is one of OISC’s top target species; and given miconia seeds’ ability to remain viable in the soil for 18 years, this is a long project. In 2016, OISC surveyed 13,518 acres and removed 1,152 immature plants and 12 mature plants. In December 2016, OISC field crews discovered an immature miconia plant in the Waiawa watershed about 1,550 meters away from the closest historic mature tree location.  The tree was found in the predicted 1,600 meter buffer, although only 1% of plants are found more than 400 meters away from mature tree locations. OISC wants to find 100% of trees, ideally before they set seed, so that 1% is still very important!
  • For more information about OISC or how you can help stop invasive species, visit: or email
  • Photos (below) by O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee:
  • A lone Miconia calvescens tree
  • Rugged aerial search terrain
HISC Support
  • The HISC met on January 17 and adopted three resolutions, including:
    • Reso 17-1: Endorsing the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan 2017-2027 and committing to implementation
    • Reso 17-2: Supporting evaluation and implementation of technologies for landscape-scale control of mosquitoes, with a focus on mitigating both human and wildlife health risks
    • Reso 17-3: Recognizing the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Response organizational structure and supporting close collaboration with the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and its staff.
  • The full agenda and submittal items can be found on the HISC Meetings page.
  • The HISC's 2017 Report to the Legislature is available on the HISC website. The report details Council actions, projects funded by the HISC in FY16-17, current agency resources and shortfalls relating to invasive species, an analysis of economic costs associated with invasive species, and advice to the Governor and the Legislature regarding invasive species.
  • The HISC Brown Bag Series continues in January with a presentation by Charles Chimera on the Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, a quantitative tool for evaluating the risk that plant species pose to Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific. Charles' talk will be at 12pm on January 19 and will be viewable online via WebEx. Full details at the HISC website.
  • 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

  • HISC Brownbag Series
    • The HISC Brownbag Series is a web-based forum for stakeholders to join together virtually during the lunch hour and hear about their partners' work - has launched.
    • The next brownbag presentation will be held on Thursday, January 19th at 12pm in the DOFAW conference room in the Kalanimoku Building, Room 325.
    • Chuck Chimera will speak about the Hawaii Statewide Weed Risk Assessment process and how it can be used to prevent the introduction of invasive species into the state or between islands.
  • Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW)
    • The 5th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) is set to take place from February 27th - March 3rd, 2017. This annual affair focuses on spreading awareness about invasive species by hosting and coordinating a multitude of invasive species related events state-wide.
    • Proclamation Ceremony - Governor David Ige is scheduled to present an annual proclamation for HISAW and to declare the importance of invasive species management in Hawaii.
    • 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: Recognizes a community member or community-based group that has been a shining example of dedication to prevent and/or manage invasive species. 
      • Business Leader:  Recognizes an individual or business in the private sector that has demonstrated leadership in their role of protecting Hawai‘i from invasive species. 
      • Greatest Hit: Recognizes an individual, organization, or agency responsible for one of the major invasive species highlights of 2015 in the areas of research, prevention, control, and/or public outreach.
      • Island MVP: Recognizes a selected individual from each county who has shown a lasting dedication and passion to managing and controlling invasive species on their individual island.
    • HISAW Events - Many events will be taking place during and around HISAW. Events include weed management forums, presentations, and work days. Events are promoted via the HISC email list, social media, and word-of-mouth. An event list can be found at
    • Student Video Contest - The HISAW student video contest provides 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 contest is open to students statewide and the top three videos receive a prize. Details on the contest can be found at
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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