Invasive species* cause billions in economic losses each year. Damages from Miconia, for example, are estimated at $672 million annually and potential damages from the invasive Brown Tree Snake are estimated at $2.14 billion annually (HISC Legislative Report, 2016). Invasive species also cause significant harm to Hawaii’s natural resources through destruction of coral reefs, threatening native plants, and decreasing the reliability of freshwater resources. Multiple native endangered plants in Hawaii (Visit Native Species) are threatened by invasive species. Agricultural productivity, cultural resources,and human health are also at risk. The arrival of a single pregnant Anopheles mosquito could bring Malaria to Hawaii.
Preventing invasive species from entering our communities and ecosystems will require a coordinated statewide effort. The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), an inter-departmental collaboration, currently manages invasive species risk in Hawaii. More resources and centralized coordination are needed for HISC to effectively control and protect Hawaii from the overwhelming threat of invasive species. In coordination with stakeholders, HISC is currently in the process of developing a Hawaii Statewide Biosecurity Plan that will form a comprehensive statewide strategy to address pre-border, border and post- border biosecurity needs.
*Invasive species are an alien species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (President Clinton Exec. Order 13112). Invasive species include plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, and pathogens.
Coming Soon: Upon completion of a mechanism for tracking the Hawaii Statewide Biosecurity Plan, the following indicators will be in place:
- Upcoming Primary indicator: % of Action Items implemented from Hawaii's Statewide Biosecurity Plan. This lead indicator will reflect resources and programs required through 150 action items to control the invasive species threat statewide (e.g. adequate inspection at ports of entry; regular surveys for early detection of new invasives) . The “% Implementation of Action Items” will be determined by evaluating current capacity relative to the capacity needed.
- Upcoming Supporting Indicators: Supporting indicators will frame capacity in the three major components of invasive species control: Prevention Capacity, Early Detection and Rapid Response Capacity, and Control Capacity.
In the interim, the following indicators will be used to track progress:
40% INCREASE AREA SURVEYED
Surveying areas for invasive species is an important and proactive step towards controlling invasive species. Between 2014 and 2015 the number of acres surveyed has increased statewide by approximately 40% (see Figure 1). Please note that this data represents trends in invasive species management by Invasive Species Committees in Hawaii, not for other surveying efforts.
Figure 1: Acres surveyed by each Island's Invasive Species Committee for State Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015
Source: HISC 2016 Legislative Report Summary
6 MILLION UNFUNDED
Funding requests for invasive species control projects in 2015 and 2016 have been higher than the amount of funding available to implement the work. As of January 2016, 6 million dollars in project requests remain unfunded (see Figure 2). Additional funding is needed to adequately protect Hawaii from invasive species threats.
Figure 2: Amount of Funding Requested for Projects Versus Funding Acquired
Source: Hawaii Invasive Species 2017 Legislative Report Summary
Learn More and Make a Difference
What You Can Do
- Report invasive species online at http://reportapest.org/ or call 643-PEST (808-643-7378)
- Read Oahu Invasive Species Committee’s “What You Can Do to Help Stop the Silent Invasion ” - http://www.oahuisc.org/what-you-can-do/
- Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week- http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/
- Learn more about the Hawaii Invasive Species Council- http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/
- The Invasive Species Committees are great resources for getting involved and learning more about addressing invasive species issues-
Big Island Invasive Species Committee
Oahu Invasive Species Committee
Kauai Invasive Species Committee
Maui Invasive Species Committee
Molokai Invasive Species Committee
- To see the list of species that the Hawaii Invasive Species Council has directed funding for prevention, control, and/or research for visit: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/info/species/all/
Little Fire Ants photo credit: Hawaii Invasive Species Council