FY18 Funded Projects

 The HISC annually requests proposals from government agencies within the State of Hawaii, including the University of Hawaii system, and county and federal partners, for projects that address interagency invasive species issues. HISC-funded projects complement existing programs within state agencies and are those that:
 
  1. Fill gaps between agency mandates or existing agency programs, and/or
  2. Advance our collective knowledge through research and development of new tools.

 

The legislature appropriated $4,750,000 to the HISC in FY18. Of this total, 10% ($475,000) was restricted by the Department of Budget and Finance, and 6% ($256,500) was provided as overhead to the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife as the administrative host of the HISC. The HISC Support Program budget (including temporary staff positions, supplies, web application development for an online pest reporting system, and other programmatic costs) totaled $272,447.

For the remaining grant funds, HISC received 76 applications totaling $12,008,716. The Resources Working Group evaluated each proposal based on its applicability to the newly released Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP), the HISC Strategic Plan, and priorities of the Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawaii.

On August 24, 2017, the HISC approved the recommended budget from the Resources Working Group detailing funds for 31 projects addressing interagency prevention, control, outreach, and research needs. Details for individual projects are below:

CONTROL

1. Statewide Early Detection Botany Capacity

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum/BPBM, Botany Department, $24,339

Abstract: Effective invasive plant management in Hawai’i relies on the capacity to rapidly identify potential invasive species coming into the state so that quick action can be taken to remove a species before it establishes. Although each island Invasive Species Committee (ISC) has its own Early Detection program, a coordinating body that can facilitate herbarium-quality identifications, accurately describe species establishment and distribution, provide life history and weed control information, and communicate findings in a publicly-accessible, centralized site is needed to inform not just the ISCs, but also Federal, State, and private land managers throughout Hawai’i. We propose to accomplish this through the formation of a statewide early detection support program, to be based at Bishop Museum.

2. Ballast Water and Vessel Biofouling Coordinator

DLNR, Division of Aquatic Resources/DAR, $88,596

Abstract: DLNR is the lead agency responsible for minimizing the arrival and impacts of alien aquatic organisms in Hawaii. We are requesting funds to maintain the existing FTE Ballast Water and Vessel Biofouling Coordinator tasked to amend ballast water (BW) rules (Hawaii Administrative Rules §13-76) to mirror USCG BW regulations while preserving language specific to Hawaii’s unique aquatic resources, develop regulatory statutes to prevent aquatic invasive species (AIS) from arriving and spreading via vessel biofouling(VB) and hull husbandry(HH), and establish a baseline AIS monitoring program in coordination with the Division of Aquatic Resources AIS Team and NOAA.

3. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Plant Control

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $195,945

Abstract: For 20 years the Big Island Invasive Species Committee has been committed to a simple, focused mission: to prevent new invasive pests from becoming established on the island of Hawaii; to stop newly-established pests from spreading; and to provide local control of established pest species. This proposal outlines our core invasive species control objectives and funding needs for the coming year. In 2017 the BIISC response team will target eight species with a goal of island-wide eradication. BIISC will partner to achieve containment and localized control of high priority established pests like Miconia and Poison Devil’s Pepper across 4,900 acres. BIISC will remove more than 16,000 individual incipient pest plants–before they can interfere with our environment, economy, or way of life.

4. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Early Detection

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $243,395

Abstract: Hawaiʻi Island is the agricultural and horticultural center of the State of Hawaii. A vigorous nursery import trade puts the island and state at risk from imported invasive plants and pests. BIISC has proven the effectiveness of roadside surveys (4000 miles, 108 new plant records, 4 eradications, 3 wrapping up) and nursery surveys (60 nurseries approached, 27 surveyed, 14 endorsed, 42 noxious/invasive pests discontinued from sales at endorsed nurseries, LFA detected-and addressed–in 2 new districts). In 2016 BIISC will aggressively market Plant Pono, continue roadside surveys in hot-spot zones, and continue to improve science-based assessment and response. All said, the BIISC EDRR program seeks every year to raise the bar on cost effectiveness of detection, response, and control.

5. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Rapid Ohia Death/ROD Team

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $73,018

Abstract: Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) is a major threat to Hawai’i environmentally, culturally and economically. Aerial surveys for ROD on the island of Hawai’i have identified multiple stands of ʻōhiʻa on Kohala Mountain that are suspected to have the ROD disease. These suspect stands of trees are currently one of the greatest threats to the native forest of Kohala. The BIISC is proposing an interagency collaboration with partner groups already working in the area to locate, sample, control, and monitor these stands. BIISC will work in association with the State of Hawai’i and the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to implement the protocol for ROD containment and rapid response in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease.

6. Hawaii Ant Lab/HAL Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $260,000

Abstract: The Hawai`i Ant Lab is housed within the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture which provides funding for industry support as well as infrastructure support to the unit. This proposal is for the provision of core funds that will allow the Hawai`i Ant Lab to provide ongoing support to the HISC, island Invasive Species Committees and to the general public. This funding maintains a “critical mass” needed to provide these support services.

7. Kauai Invasive Species Committee/KISC Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit,/PCSU $530,601

Abstract: Kauai is home to the highest number of endemic species in the Hawaiian archipelago thereby holding the greatest risk of losing biodiversity. Despite its isolation, introductions of new invasive species are continuous. The main vectors for these new arrivals are human-caused. To deter risks to farming and forests, the Kauai Invasive Species Committee functions as an island-wide rapid response team that helps coordinate and fill gaps in the multi-agency effort to prevent establishment of new pests. KISC has also evolved a highly effective early detection program which is continuously monitoring Kauai for threats that have evaded port detection and risk becoming new invasions. KISC’s 13-year track record includes eliminating functioning populations of miconia, coqui frog and little fire ant.

8. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $569,544

Abstract: Island‐wide early detection and rapid response actions across Maui and Molokai will target 30+ plant species, 3-4 vertebrate species, 5 invertebrate pests or pathogens, and 1 aquatic species. MoMISC will serve as an early detection center for agricultural pests. Control of little fire ants on Maui will be a high priority. Funds will help retain essential staff capacity (10 FTE); provide helicopter time for early detection surveys on Molokai and for miconia and pampas grass on Maui; and support detection and control of coqui frogs on both islands. The project offers a cost‐effective approach, with county and federal funds providing an estimated 1.5:1 match. The proposed work will implement key goals, strategies and priorities of the HISC Strategic Plan and Working Groups.

9. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Little Fire Ant/LFA Response Expansion

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $48,679

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to expand little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) detection and control operations on Maui, particularly at the Nahiku infestation. Currently, there is no pesticide labelled for control in or near waterways, further exacerbating the problem in Nahiku. As a result, control efforts have focused on places where people may move the ants or be affected by them. However, a special local needs label is being pursued for a product that can be used in or near waterways, which would allow for control of the entire infestation. The product is also approved for aerial application, which would address terrain challenges.

10. Oahu Invasive Species Committee/OISC Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $550,072

Abstract: The Oʿahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) proposes to conduct invasive species surveys and control over public and private land to protect Oʿahu from eight species of invasive plants. All these species have caused measurable damage on other Hawaiian islands or have a reputation for disrupting ecological and agricultural systems elsewhere in the world. Controlling incipient weeds island wide uses funds efficiently to prevent damaging weeds from moving upslope and becoming chronic problems for land managers. To date, OISC’s efforts have prevented Miconia, Cape ivy and Himalayan blackberry from moving into native forest and have brought pampas grass, fireweed and glory bush to undetectable levels.

OUTREACH

11. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $116,830

Abstract: BIISC’s core outreach programs address the invasive species issues identified and prioritized by our communities. This people-first approach is a shift from sharing internally-prioritized messages important mainly to scientists. First listening, then assisting, our outreach team empowers communities to address the I.S. they know, establishing a foundation for trusting, effective relationships. From their experience with backyard pests like albizia, mosquitoes, ROD, and LFA, residents digest how the species we import, and rules we make, impact more distant, intangible values like watershed health, ecosystem services, agricultural exports, cultural practices, native biodiversity. Participants identify as part of a team affected by, and affecting positive change on, invasive species.

12. Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species/CGAPS Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $27,000

Abstract: The Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) is requesting funds for up to two months of payroll support and operating costs for the Project/Outreach Coordinator (1 FTE, cost shared by multiple agencies), and hourly support for database work on www.PlantPono.org which houses the Hawaiʻi-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment. With requested HISC support, this position would be funded through the end of State FY 17. HISC funds are also requested to support outreach work on little fire ants (LFA) and Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), including the development and printing of outreach materials, supporting schools outreach, and conducting the second Stop the Ant Month campaign. Funding would also be used to contract additional outreach and broadcast media products such as a 20 minute ROD documentary.

13. Kauai Invasive Species Committee/KISC Outreach

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $48,679

Abstract: Invasive species outreach and education is an integral component of on-the-ground control efforts by KISC. Active community support and invested partners increase KISC’s capacity by increasing detection and reporting of new invasive pests. This funding will serve as salary for KISC’s full-time outreach specialist and partial salary for KISC’s Program and Outreach Coordinator, support expenses associated with outreach materials, and development of education programs. HISC deliverables can be measured in project outputs. KISC’s priorities in FY2017 include a commitment to participate in statewide outreach regarding inter-island biosecurity, priority pest species, as well as bio-control and other agriculturally related invasive species priorities.

14. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $87,622

Abstract: Successful invasive species programs require effective outreach. HISC funding will support 1.5 FTE staff and provide supplies and services on Molokai and Maui. Trained staff will engage students, teachers, policy makers, agencies, landscape professionals, tour guides, and the general public on invasive species issues. Approaches will include print and broadcast media, presentations, community meetings, displays and online and social media platforms. Messaging will highlight impacts of invasive species, public reporting, rapid ohia death, biocontol, and support for a statewide biosecurity plan. Staff will use the Hō’ike curriculum in classrooms and workshops; complete and disseminate an invasive species module; collaborate on a new internship program; and work with student volunteers.

15. Oahu Invasive Species Committee/OISC Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $73,018

Abstract: The Oʿahu Invasive Species Committees’s (OISC) outreach program educates Oʿahu residents about how they can help stop the introduction and spread of invasive species by engaging K-12 students and teachers, the business community, outdoor enthusiasts and others through presentations, displays at community events, and social and traditional media. The program encourages the public to report invasive species and facilitates acquiring access to private property for surveys and control, thereby increasing OISC’s capacity for early detection and rapid response. As a result of our outreach program, OISC regularly receives target species reports from the public and has been able to regularly acquire access to private property for invasive species surveys.

RESEARCH

16. Distribution of Snails & Rat Lungworm Disease

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum/BPBM, Malacology Department, $58,415

Abstract: Many non-indigenous land snail species (NILS) threaten native ecosystems, are agricultural pests, and serve as vectors of human disease agents, including Rat Lungworm (RLW; Angiostrongylus cantonensis). The horticultural/agricultural industry is a primary contributor for NILS to Hawaii. Knowledge of NILS and the diseases they carry is critical to control and prevention of their establishment and spread. As such, continued monitoring of horticultural/agricultural facilities for NILS serves as a key tool to preventing outbreaks and spread. This project will produce updated distributions of RLW and NILS hosts in Hawaii. These data will be shared in taxonomic workshops and an illustrated identification guide, providing much needed training and tools for management of NILS.

17. Developments in Herbicide Ballistic Technology/HBT

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $87,622

Abstract: In Hawaii, there are 237,292 ha designated critical habitat for 358 endangered species. Miconia (Miconia calvesens) and strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) are naturalized invasive species, beyond eradicable, and encroaching on these mauka assets. Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) is a proven system for eliminating incipient weed targets in remote landscapes. This is an action research project coordinating multiple Invasive Species Committees and Watershed Partnerships to mobilize aerial interventions against “high-threat” incipient populations, encountering critical habitat boundaries. We will demonstrate bioeconomic methods for optimizing spatially explicit management decisions appraised by biological impact reduction, future cost avoidance and sustained resource protection.

18. Spittlebug Detection & Control

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $50,000

Abstract: Two-lined spittlebug was recently identified in the Kailua-Kona area. This newly introduced insect is native to the South-East U.S. and is a known pest in warm-season turf grasses. The TLSB has infested and severely damaged nearly 2000 acres of Kikuyu and pangola grass pastures. The loss of these important forage grasses provided entry for the establishment of many undesirable and invasive plants gravely reducing the productivity of the pastures for cattle production. The geographic spread of the infestation is currently unknown, and very little is understood about how this new pest will perform in the Hawaiian environment. Additionally, there is a need to establish an information campaign for ranchers. Further spread of TLSB could be devastating to the livestock industry in the state.

19. Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle/CRB Control Methods

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $100,000

Abstract: A large multi-agency response is underway to eradicate coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) on Oahu. Few methods are available for CRB control, and the development of additional tools for both short- and long-term control is critical. The goal of this project is to develop these tools. We propose 1) to maintain the CRB colony to ensure CRB are available to researchers in Hawaii and abroad; 2) field-evaluate cultural methods for eliminating CRB larvae in breeding sites; 3) deploy controlled breeding kill traps at locations where breeding sites have been identified and sanitized/removed; 4) develop and demonstrate the use of genetic pesticides (RNAi) against CRB larvae under laboratory conditions; and 5) engineer and deploy smart CRB traps with improved efficacy and integrated data collection.

20. Hydrogel Ant Bait Development

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $45,305

Abstract: An absence of practical methods for controlling the many invasive ant species that are primarily attracted to sweet liquid foods has been a persistent problem. A highly promising recent advance employs hydrogels and other water-storing granules (WSG) to convert liquid ant baits into a dispersible granular form. However, no commercial pesticides are yet labelled for this experimental use pattern. I will conduct studies to investigate initial questions concerning the use of WSG as a new ant control tool, including the attractiveness and efficacy of different WSG bait and pesticide formulations, and risks to non-target bees and birds. This will set the stage for follow-on efficacy and safety studies, with an end goal of obtaining a Special Local Need permit for WSG ant baiting in Hawaii.

21. Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle/CRB Bio & Chemical Control

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $17,771

Abstract: Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros, CRB) is a large scarab beetle native to southeast Asia and a damaging pest of palm species, most notably coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). In Hawaii, it was first confirmed on Oahu in 2013. CRB has been identified by USDA-APHIS as one of the most damaging invasive insect pests of coconut and other palm species whose introduction could result in significant economic losses to commercial coconut and palm nurseries, and Hawaii’s residents and tourists who value palm trees for their aesthetic value. This project will continue our on-going research efforts on chemical, biological, and cultural control of CRB on Oahu with the overall goal to develop an Integrated Pest Management program to control CRB in Hawaii.

22. Unmanned Aerial System/UAS Program Development

UH-Hilo, College of Geography & Environmental Science/CGES, $43,811

Abstract: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) can quickly and efficiently collect cm-scale video and imagery, but the need for post-flight assessment by trained analysts creates a bottleneck that limits the utility of these data for the detection and identification of targeted plant species over large areas. The aim of this research is twofold: to build sUAS capacity across the Invasive Species Committees and to validate an automated computer vision (CV) classifier for the detection of Miconia calvescens DC within sUAS imagery. We hypothesize that the CV approach will result in at least a five-fold improvement over unassisted manual interpretation for plant detection. Improved sUAS capacity and image analysis techniques will also aid the fight against other invasive species and Rapid Ohia Death.

23. Statewide Invasive Plant Biodiversity Informatics Tool

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $31,961

Abstract: Invasive plant managers in Hawaii strive toward a future where new pest arrivals are quickly identified and removed, small populations are eradicated, and the spread of non-eradicable populations throughout the archipelago is halted. Currently, the greatest challenge hindering management is the incredible complexity of alien plants in Hawaii. Thousands of species are known to be unevenly distributed throughout the islands, representing multiple introduction events and unique invasive behaviors. However, little effort has been made to characterize and track alien plants statewide. We propose to build alien plant data infrastructure by compiling all available information into a data portal, thereby allowing for a biodiversity informatics approach to inform management decisions.

24. West Maui Herbicide Ballistic Technology/HBT Efficacy on Albizia & Mules Foot Fern

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership/WMMWP, $3,894

Abstract: Moluccan Albizia (Falcataria moluccana) and Mule’s-foot Fern (Angiopteris evecta) are known in Hawaii to be major habitat modifiers. It is essential to maximize our resources and prevent their spread. Within West Maui, F. moluccana is already known to a 789-acre population in our East Unit, spreading across windward slopes and threatening our pristine watershed core. We will treat a subset of this population, along the periphery, via HBT, assessing efficacy. Presently in West Maui, A. evecta is only found in Waihe’e Valley. Herbicide ballistic technology was utilized on a sample of the population and consistent signs of necrosis were found ~150 days post treatment. Additional surveys will allow us to continue to assess the efficacy of HBT on this species and search for new locations.

25. Little Fire Ant/LFA Organic Treatment Development

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, Hawaii Ant Lab/HAL, $14,845

Abstract: Currently no control methods are available to combat the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in certified organic agriculture. As LFA become more widespread, an increasing number of certified organic farmers are becoming affected by the impacts of this species. Crop yields are reduced and export opportunities are lost due to contamination of produce. This research project aims to develop organic control methods for the certified organic farming industry as well as residents wishing to reduce the use of pesticides. In collaboration with the Hawai`i Organic Farmers Association, Hawai`i Ant Lab will test candidate methodologies for efficacy, and seek to gain regulatory approvals for their use in organic and conventional agriculture.

26. Big Island Albizia Biocontrol

USDA, US Forest Service, $115,000

Abstract: Self-perpetuating biocontrol is needed for long term management of albizia, which destroys native landscapes and threatens Hawaii businesses and taxpayers with many millions of dollars in damage and maintenance costs. This project will continue the initial exploratory phase in development of biocontrol for albizia, begun in 2015-16. We will continue to collect, identify and conduct preliminary evaluations of insects and pathogens with new partners in the native range (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea). In 2017 we will secure permits and initiate international shipment of promising potential agents for detailed evaluations. We also plan a genetic analysis of albizia sampled across its home range, to help us target natural enemies evolved to use trees closely matching our Hawaiian biotype.

27. Big Island Melastome Biocontrol

USDA, US Forest Service, $30,000

Abstract: Forest Service directed research in the Latin American native range of miconia, clidemia and related plants over the last 16 years has identified several natural enemies with high potential for biocontrol in Pacific Island rainforests, where members of the Melastomataceae are among the worst invasive species. (This plant family has no native species in Hawaii, which makes its members ideal targets for biocontrol.) In recent years our program has focused on building on this foundation of research in Costa Rica and Brazil, developing selected agents for eventual release in Hawaii by completing required host specificity studies in our Volcano quarantine facility. A flea beetle for biocontrol of Tibouchina herbacea and other weedy melastomes is now in the process of being reviewed for release. Several additional insect agents for Miconia calvescens have been well-studied in their native range and have completed or begun final host specificity testing in our Volcano quarantine facility. Our program also has been facilitating research with Brazilian partners and others on a gall forming nematode that specializes on both clidemia and miconia. With a colleague at Clemson University we secured funds for detailed study of genetic diversity in this nematode and how that might impact its use as a biocontrol agent. In 2017 we hope to evaluate a new gall wasp discovered in 2015 in Brazil attacking fruit of Clidemia hirta. Galling severely deforms each fruit and disrupts normal seed production, with potential to significantly reduce the spread of this invader. A similar agent has been under study for miconia, but has been technically challenging to rear because it requires fruiting trees, which are difficult to grow in quarantine. In contrast, we have been able to rear the clidemia wasp on potted clidemia, and so have shifted priority to this species. Successful rearing and testing of this species is expected to yield important insights that will help with the miconia wasp. We also plan to maintain quarantine populations of a miconia stem weevil, which is in the last stages of its host specificity testing, as well as the tibouchina flea beetle, pending its release. All of this work is dependent on having sufficient staff to maintain insects and their hosts and test plants in quarantine. Continuing HISC support of one fulltime quarantine technician will enable us to pursue multiple ongoing projects. HISC funds also facilitate continuing development of the nematode gall-former Ditylenchus gallaeformans, which has great potential for controlling Clidemia hirta within Hawaii’s wet forests (it also can attack miconia). Unfortunately progress with this nematode in Hawaii has been delayed due to lack of facilities while the HDOA patholology quarantine undergoes renovation. Taking advantage of the USDA-funded genetic study at Clemson, we seek support for international travel and facilitation of additional testing of this agent in Brazil and South Carolina.

28. Mongoose Control Method Development

USDA, National Wildlife Research Center, $32,204

Abstract: A recent USDA NWRC cage trial of several candidate toxicants, including commercial rodenticide formulations, novel toxicants (sodium nitrite and PAPP), and fresh-bait formulations with diphacinone, demonstrated potential for development of a highly-effective mongoose toxicant (Sugihara et al., in review). Building on these results, USDA NWRC seeks funding to support the vetting of candidate toxicants for EPA registration potential, the reformulation of active ingredients into an attractive, palatable bait that can be efficiently and safely deployed in bait stations, and cage and placebo field trials to assess efficacy and bait uptake to support a potential EPA registration.

29. Alternative Hosts of Rat Lungworm Disease

USDA, National Wildlife Research Center, $38,943

Abstract: The aim of this study is to design and implement a comprehensive study investigating patterns of infection of rat lungworm in wildlife hosts, a first of its kind in Hawai’i. This study will target known intermediate hosts (e.g. slugs & snails) and definitive hosts (rats), as well investigate possible alternate hosts (e.g. coqui frog, mongoose, common myna). The study will consist of systematic surveys of wildlife hosts, incorporating both fieldwork (e.g. trapping) and laboratory work (e.g. necropsies, genetic analysis). A better understanding of seasonality, habitat type, distribution, and host factors that influence rat lungworm infection levels in wildlife hosts will help prioritize any future control efforts directed towards reducing human exposure to the disease.

30. Presymptomatic Detection of Rapid Ohia Death/ROD in Metrosideros spp.

USDA, Forest Service, Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry, $38,943

Abstract: Over 75,000 acres of land on Hawaii Island and hundreds of thousands of ʻōhiʻa trees have died due to Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) since epidemic onset. Current detection and monitoring efforts rely on visual estimation of diseased trees via external symptoms (crown wilt/dieback). To improve the current capabilities of ROD detection beyond what is evident to the human eye, we propose to assess the ability of hyperspectral imagery to discern Ceratocystis infection from drought-stressed and healthy ʻōhiʻa trees. The combination of hyperspectral imaging and small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) could allow for the presymptomatic detection of diseased ʻōhiʻa in the field before visual symptoms are apparent, improving current detection strategies and allowing for advanced management.

PREVENTION

31. Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $100,000

Abstract: The Hawaii‐Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) assists in preventing new invasive plants from entering the State and in reducing the spread of existing invasive plants. This voluntary screening system provides an objective, science‐based and accurate method of assessing the invasive potential of plants being imported into and/or planted within the Hawaiian Islands. Research demonstrates that preventing the introduction of invasive species is the most cost-effective option when dealing with invasive species & the HPWRA system is an important component of state‐wide prevention measures. Continued funding for the HPWRA will fulfill prevention objectives highlighted in the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

 

FY18 Call for Proposals

The FY18 Call for Proposals and online application form for interagency funding from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council is now available at:
https://hiscfunding.formstack.com/forms/fy18

HISC funds are provided to the Council by the Legislature to support interagency collaborations that:

  • fill gaps between agency mandates and existing programs, or
  • advance our collective knowledge and tools through research and innovations.
This year’s Call for Proposals is focused on 10 priority areas based on the new Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, as well as the HISC Strategic Plan, HISC Resolutions, and the Regional Biosecurity Plan. These priority areas, and potential projects that address them, are presented in the Call for Proposals.

Applications can be completed online and must be finalized by 5pm on June 9. If you have any questions, please contact Randy Bartlett at randal.t.bartlett@hawaii.gov

FY18 Pre-Proposals (Submitted in Fall of 2016)

In preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session, HISC partners developed pre-proposals demonstrating nearly $10M in needed funds to fill current gaps in invasive species prevention, control, research, and outreach efforts.  

The projects below are non-binding: actual HISC expenditures in FY18 will depend on the amount of funding provided by the State Legislature. Individual pre-proposals are listed below:

Control Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request
UH CTAHR

Miconia Management Strategy for East Maui

Abstract: The East Maui Watershed (EMW) is a steep, forested landscape extending from Honomanu to Kipahulu, encompassing the entire windward slope of Haleakala Volcano.  Its total area is ~120,000 acres and produces trillions of liters of fresh surface water annually.  This is a vital resource for maintaining life and agriculture on the island.    Miconia calvescens (miconia) is a highly invasive, ecosystem modifier known to be highly disruptive to forest integrity.  Since its introduction four decades ago, it has developed an infestation focused in Hana that is in excess of 5000 acres with the invasion impacting over 20,000 acres of the EMW.  In 2012, Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) was introduced as a highly efficient and effective technique capable of eliminating the most extreme, incipient miconia populations.  In these five years, we have established a manageable containment barrier, eliminating over 20,000 individual miconia encompassing 70% of the total invasion area.  Our latest projections suggest extinction of incipient populations over the next four decades with sustained management efforts.  This, however, comes at the expense of no appreciable management effort to reduce the core infestation in this time.  Thus, there is an imminent need for integrating new management actions in coordination with the current containment success.  In 2013, host specificity testing of the miconia butterfly (Euselasia chrysippe) biocontrol agent was completed, showing high specificity to feeding on miconia with no impacts on native plant species or important agricultural crops.  A recent economic report by UHERO calculated positive present values of millions of dollars with biocontrol investments supplanting aggressive (futile) interventions.  The final step for releasing this potentially useful biocontrol agent is an environmental assessment that compares this management option against other alternatives.  In the case of the 5000-acre core infestation of East Maui there are several considerations including, but not limited to: (i) abandonment, (ii) intensifying interventions, (iii) commodity-based landscape conversion and (iv) local resident homesteading.  This assessment process will seek to identify the most sustainable alternatives with implications for environmental, economic and social impacts.  This project seeks funding to perform the following objectives: (i) accelerate incipient population reduction with aerial HBT operations (200 hours of operational time, (ii) document environmental and economic assessments on the release of the miconia butterfly and alternative management options in the core infestation, (iii) Develop a comprehensive integrated miconia management strategy for the East Maui Watershed, (iv) establish a planning committee involving state and local organizations on strategizing best land uses leading to sustainable impact reduction of the core infestation in Hana.

$747,500

DLNR DOFAW

East Maui African Tulip Control

Abstract: 

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), Maui Nui Forestry Section staff has conducted limited control work for African tulip (Spathodea campanulata); amongst other noxious/invasive weed species within the forest reserves on Maui and Molokaʻi for many years. In particular, controlling African tulip in the East Maui watershed has become one of the high priorities for the Maui DOFAW Forestry Section. Recent control efforts in the Hana Forest Reserve (Waihoʻi Unit) and Molokaʻi Forest Reserve (Wailau Unit) have proven to be very effective in controlling and eliminating the African tulip competition while allowing the native flora to recover.  Improvements to the application techniques and herbicides over recent years have greatly increased the long-term effectiveness of treatments while decreasing the frequency of retreatments. Collectively, DOFAW’s Forestry Section staff members have over 30 years of experience in controlling weed species and aims toward applying this expertise in controlling African tulip populations located in the proposed area.    While African tulip is not considered an incipient population in the East Maui watershed, allowing this weed species to colonize and naturalize will have a long lasting, detrimental effect to one of Maui’s most significant watersheds.  It is home to several common native forest birds (‘i’iwi, ‘apapane, and ‘alau’ahio), as well as several listed endangered birds (‘akohekohe, kiwikiu, and ‘ua’u). The East Maui watershed is also the primary water source for East Maui communities and produces an average of 60 billion gallons per year to the agricultural industry, residents, and farmers.

Aerial surveys conducted by Maui DOFAW Forestry Section staff members in 2016 show the extent and distribution of the African tulip population across the East Maui watershed (See Attached Map). If left untreated, the existing native watershed plant communities will be consumed in its’ entirety, and be replaced with conditions similar to that of miconia or kahili ginger. This will reduce the watershed’s ability to collect and hold water.  Allowing this population to grow in size will make future control efforts nearly unmanageable and highly unfeasible.  

The intent of the control plan is to work from the outside in; reducing and constricting existing populations.   The DOFAW Maui Nui Forestry Section’s goals are to 1) Increase overall management efforts and treatment frequency from current levels; 2) initiate control measures; 3) continue to monitor the efficacy of treatments to determine future needs; and 4) maintain any early detection of other incipient weed populations that may establish and threaten the watershed.

$40,775
UH PCSU

Hawaiʻi Ant Lab – Little Fire Ant (LFA) Core Support

Abstract: Wasmannia auropunctata (the Little Fire Ant) is one of the most damaging insect pests in Hawaiʻi.  It stings people, blinds pets, interferes with agriculture and decimates natural ecosystems.  The Hawaiʻi Ant Lab comprises a small team of scientist and extension professionals dedicated to preventing further spread of this species and helping Big Island residents and businesses manage Little Fire Ants on their properties.  Additionally LFA continues to spread beyond the Big Island.  Eight infestations are currently being managed on Oʻahu, Maui and Kauaʻi.  Hawaiʻi Ant Lab manages these infestations and has developed and implemented eradication plans for each. This proposal provides partial baseline funding to maintaining HAL at current resource levels.  It will be levered to obtain equivalent  additional funds from HDOA.

$297,000
UH PCSU

Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Plant Database

Abstract: 

Over half of Hawaiʻi’s native and naturalized vascular plants are alien but their life history and distribution throughout the archipelago is variable. This, combined with high rates of error in plant ID, leads to difficulty in choosing and prioritizing targets for eradication. As the environmental and economic benefits of controlling invasive plants during their incipient stage are well established, ISC groups endeavor to prioritize eradicable species with the highest invasive impacts. However, the complexity of Hawaiʻi’s flora necessitates a data-rich approach to inform management decisions, requiring three main types of information: 1) Taxonomic, 2) Ecological and 3) Geospatial. We propose to minimize uncertainty surrounding target species selection by drawing resources from multiple agencies and amassing them into an alien plant database.    

This strategy efficiently utilizes numerous in-state data that are already available such as digitized Bishop Museum and National Tropical Botanical Garden herbaria records, the Bishop Museum native/naturalized checklist (Taxonomic Resources), weed risk assessment rankings from Hawaiʻi Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, international weed lists, ISC control methods (Ecological Resources) and occurrence data created by ISC plant surveys (Geospatial Resources). This project stands to immediately benefit other HISC funded organizations (as well as have numerous research applications), including:  1) allowing ISC managers to quickly query a taxonomically sound species list by island for species with limited distributions but known invasive ecology, 2) allowing HPWRA assessors to prioritize species for assessment and infer Hawaiʻi-specific impacts, 3) allowing outreach projects to easily derive a species list for directing outreach efforts and 4) allowing for better-informed “black / phase out lists” for Pono Nursery Endorsement programs, and allowing endorsed nurseries to more easily satisfy their “no new High Risk plants” requirement.

A rudimentary Kauaʻi-specific database for KISC internal use was created in 2015, which has directed survey efforts, illuminated target prioritization and aided in identifying >20 new island naturalization records to be published in the Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. This management decision-making tool will allow for the long-term establishment of much needed data ties between scientific resources (particularly herbaria) and land managers and will provide robustness to funding and staffing changes.

$51,750
UH PCSU

Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Kauaʻi Mongoose Early Detection and Rapid Response

Abstract: KISC will conduct mongoose early detection and rapid response based on Standard Operation Procedures as outlined in the 2015 KISC Mongoose Plan developed in coordination with the mongoose technical committee and USFWS. Funding from HISC will help to maintain KISC’s capacity to respond to reports of mongooses on Kauaʻi, collect and analyze data. The Small Indian Mongoose (Herpestes auropunctata) has had a major impact on native species, especially ground nesting birds, in the areas where it has been previously introduced. Given Kauaʻi’s populations of ground nesting birds are the largest in the state, it is of critical importance to clarify possible population densities and move towards biosecurity planning including post border response.  KISC works in collaboration with other partners on Kauaʻi and statewide, particularly USFWS, USDA – APHIS and DOFAW, to address the issues surrounding the possible incursions and presence of mongooses on this island.  KISC serves as a data clearing-house for mongoose reports as well as work performed regarding response, detection, and trapping.

$147,000
UH PCSU

Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee – Kauaʻi Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR)

Abstract: Introductions of new invasive species on the Island of Kauaʻi are continuous.  These introductions arrive through multiple pathways; some arrive from offshore destinations and others travel short distances interisland.  The main vectors for these new arrivals are cargo, visitors and ship ballast.  The Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee consists of an eleven member staff dedicated to various aspects of preventing the establishment of invasive species on the island.  To accomplish this mission, KISC uses a combination of early detection and rapid response coupled with direct eradication.  Methods include; aerial and ground surveys conducted by an experienced field crew, neighborhood, roadside, hiking trail and nursery surveys overseen by an early detection botanist, an educational outreach program to enlist the Kauaʻi population as an early detection resource and a full mobilization potential of 15 people for eradication work with newly proposed crew additions. Additionally, sub-contracting and collaborating with partner organizations to work on our early detection targets increases our capacity across a larger geographical area.  KISC utilizes GIS mapping software integrated with database management to track progress towards eradication and to evaluate potential new targets.  Drone reconnaissance offers an opportunity to increase the efficacy of crew survey coverage.  A continuing education and intern program will facilitate training both new and veteran natural resource professionals to maintain a skilled workforce for future capacity. KISC is located at the CTAHR Kauaʻi Experimental Farm in two former USDA buildings.

$953,658
UH PCSU

Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership – Leptospermum_polygalifolium Survey & Control

Abstract: Leptospermum polygalifolium, commonly known as tea tree, is ranked as “highly invasive” by the Hawai’i Weed Risk Assessment (http://www2.plantpono.org/inv-plant.php?id=16). Isolated stands of this weed have been detected by Ko‘olau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) staff in the Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulches of the southern Ko‘olau Mountains between 400 and 500m elevation (Figure 1). Where this species has naturalized it forms dense stands crowding out native plants. L. polygalifolium is a prolific seeder and seeds are wind dispersed, therefore it has the potential to spread widely across the Koʻolau Mountains and dominate mid-elevation watershed forests. The closely related Leptospermum scoparium (manuka) is invasive in mesic to wet forest habitats on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu and Lanaʻi, and is currently a focus of KMWP’s control efforts.
This project would address the management of the highly invasive L. polygalifolium while its distribution is relatively discrete and eradication is still a viable option. This species threaten Oʻahu’s watersheds by directly competing with native plant and animal species for habitat in the southern Ko‘olau mountain range. Native plant species support native bird species, including the endangered Oahu ʻelepaio (Chasiempis ibidis), which is known to occur in Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulches. The longer these incipient weeds remain untreated, the greater the risk that native vegetation being negatively affected.
During a recent scouting trip in the Waiʻalae Nui Gulch, KMWP staff treated over 465 mature L. polygalifolium, in an 11 acre area (Figure 1), indicating the extent of the infestation may be greater than previously suspected. KMWP proposes conducting aerial and ground surveys to delimit the extent of the infestation for both species in Wailupe and Waiʻalae Nui Gulch (Figure 1). Using the results of the survey, we will conduct chemical treatment of all accessible plants. Because this species is wind dispersed, KMWP will assess wind direction at different times of day to determine the most likely dispersal directions. Since part of the known infestation of L. polygalifolium is easily accessible from the road, we will coordinate volunteers to help with control efforts for this species wherever possible.

$51,750
UH PCSU

MISC – Maui EDRR Control

Abstract: The requested funding will support island-wide early detection and rapid response efforts on Maui and Molokai. Field actions will target 30+ invasive plant species, 3 vertebrate species, 4 invertebrate pests, and 1 aquatic species. MoMISC will serve as an early detection center for agricultural pests. Survey and control efforts will occur over more than 25,000 acres, in all major watersheds and on private and public lands, from the Kaunakakai Harbor to the summit of Haleakalā.
The proposed project has a high likelihood of success. MISC and MoMISC have eradicated 12 plant species from individual islands, with another 10 on target for eradication; kept miconia from invading the islands’ pristine watersheds; reduced one vertebrate species to below‐detectable levels; eradicated more than 12 coqui frog populations; initiated control of little fire ants in extremely challenging terrain; and conducted early detection and rapid response activities across Maui County.
The ISCs will collaborate with state, federal and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, native Hawaiian organizations, community groups and individual members of the public. The proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with more than a 1:1 anticipated leverage for HISC funding.

$972,325
UH PCSU

MISC – Maui Coqui Response

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to continue expanded coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) control operations in and around Māliko Gulch to ensure the ultimate goal of a coqui-free Maui. The comprehensive control strategy needs additional funding to augment support from Maui County, specifically additional funding for labor and citric acid.
Efforts since 2005 have shown the potential for successful coqui control with eradication of 12 population centers, including infestations at a junkyard, a high-end resort, and wildland areas of East Maui. The frogs have spread down a four-mile stretch of Māliko Gulch, from the top of the gulch to its terminus at the ocean and now infest more than 1,000 acres. Spillover into the neighboring community and agricultural areas is increasing. Despite strong support from the County and substantial efforts by MISC to date, resources have never been adequate for work in the gulch.
Use of management units will ensure consistent and systematic coverage of each area. The operational strategy will utilize multiple teams: one will focus on other outlier populations (supported by other funding); one will focus on habitat work at residential sites; and three to five teams will work the Māliko rim and central gulch. Priorities will focus on stopping the expansion of frogs across Kokomo and Kaluanui Roads, with the goal of completing at least two complete treatment cycles.
The other priority will be to support efforts by local residents who have shown an increasing willingness to become involved. MISC will provide citric acid; loan spray equipment; train local residents; and increase communication with area residents to ensure they are informed about current efforts.
The proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with more than a 2:1 anticipated leverage for HISC funding.

$543,711
UH PCSU

MISC – Maui LFA Response

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to expand little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) detection and control operations on Maui. The comprehensive detection and control strategy needs additional funding to address new outbreaks of little fire ant (LFA), specifically additional funding for labor and helicopter time.
The little fire ant was first detected on Maui in 2009. This species has the ability to change agricultural production and the quality of life in Hawai‘i. They reduce the overall vitality and productivity of crops and result in higher production costs as workers are stung by the ants. In Tahiti, landowners have abandoned properties because of LFA infestations. The ant poses health risks to humans, pets, and livestock. Little fire ants are spreading unchecked on Big Island. In December 2013, a Maui flower grower found the ants in hapu‘u ferns purchased at a store on Maui. Since then, the ants have been detected at nine other sites on Maui, including dense infestations in Nāhiku and Huelo. The Nāhiku site is especially challenging as it covers an estimated 21 acres and the ants are moving along a stream bed.
There is currently no pesticide labelled for control of LFA in or near waterways, further exacerbating the problem in Nāhiku. As a result, control efforts have focused on places where people may move LFA or be affected by them. However, a special local needs label is being pursued for a product that can be used in or near waterways, which would allow for control of the entire infestation. The product is also approved for aerial application, the only feasible approach for many parts of the Nāhiku infestation.
Aside from control work MISC needs staff available to conduct surveys, follow-up on new reports, and implement the LFA detector dog program. Proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with a 1:1 anticipated leverage of HISC funding.

$418,255
UH PCSU

OISC – Oahu EDRR Control

Abstract: The Oʿahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) proposes to conduct invasive species surveys and control over public and private land to protect Oʿahu from seven species of invasive plants that have severely damaged watersheds and agriculture elsewhere, but are not yet established on Oʿahu. Funds from this proposal would also manage little fire ant and coqui frog in cooperation with the Hawaiʿi Department of Agriculture and Hawaiʿi Ant Lab. The plant and animal species that OISC proposes to manage have caused measurable damage on other Hawaiian islands, have a reputation for disrupting ecological and agricultural systems elsewhere or have the potential to degrade Oʿahu citizens’ quality of life. Controlling these emerging threats island-wide uses funds efficiently to prevent damaging weeds from moving upslope and becoming chronic problems for land managers and prevents species like coqui frog and little fire ant from becoming permanent problems for Oʿahu residents. To date, OISC’s efforts have prevented miconia, Cape ivy and Himalayan blackberry from moving into native forest and have brought pampas grass and fireweed to undetectable levels.

$839,547
UH PCSU

BIISC – Albizia Control Team* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A

$266,686
UH PCSU

BIISC – Hawaii EDRR Control* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A

$568,123
HDOA PQB

CRB Response Program Control (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A

$300,000
    Control Subtotal: $6,198,080

Outreach Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request
UH PCSU

Outreach Success Stories

Abstract: 

Outreach about invasive species often relies on tales of doom and gloom – educating the public or specific stakeholders about what will happen if effective action is not taken now. Messaging may include what’s at stake, but for many audiences, the connection to the very real consequences of inaction can be remote, tangential, or far in the future. Stories of success in the world of invasive species receive far too little attention. In addition to these challenges, the way that people obtain information has shifted while attention spans are decreasing.

This project will develop five short videos (five to seven minutes each) and shorter vignettes (30 seconds) focused on invasive species success stories across the islands within UH PCSU projects. Topic areas will include ungulate fences, predator control for wildlife benefit, and target plant and animal removals. The videos will be made available for use by the projects and HISC (social media or public broadcast). Leveraged funding will support additional broadcast opportunities.

The project will be overseen by the PCSU Special Projects Director, who has successfully produced videos on little fire ants, climate change, and other environmental issues.

$33,233
UH PCSU

BIISC Outreach* (*estimate based on prior year’s funding)

Abstract: N/A

$151,271

UH PCSU

KISC Outreach

Abstract: Invasive species outreach and education is an integral component of on-the-ground control efforts by KISC. Active community support and invested partners increase KISC’s capacity by increasing detection and reporting of new invasive pests.  This funding will serve as salary for KISC’s full-time Outreach Associate, partial salary for KISC’s Program and Outreach Coordinator and a KIPU outreach intern.  Additional support includes design and production of outreach materials, and development of education programs. HISC deliverables can be measured in project outputs. KISC’s priorities in FY2018 include a commitment to participate in statewide outreach regarding inter-island biosecurity, priority pest species, as well as bio-control and other agriculturally related invasive species priorities.  KISC will track educational materials produced, target audience numbers reached, and participation in educational programs.

$120,000
UH PCSU

Maui Outreach

Abstract: Highly trained staff will educate and engage the public at local events and community meetings. Staff will share printed materials and use broadcast media to inform students, teachers, policy makers, funding agencies and the general public about invasive species issues. Staff will continue to actively participate in statewide outreach processes, including efforts to enhance statewide coordination, expand stakeholder engagement, and ensure that efforts are culturally inclusive. Efforts will continue to build awareness about the little fire ant. Staff will engage local students and teachers through classroom visits using the Hō‘ike o Haleakalā curriculum. Project success will be evaluated using established measures of effectiveness and during annual review by Committee members.

$117,405
UH PCSU

O‘ahu Outreach

Abstract: 

The HISC Strategic Plan is clear that a supportive, concerned and responsive public is essential to the prevention and control of invasive species. OISC’s goal for outreach is to cultivate this type of support on the state’s most populous island. Outreach activities support the HISC strategic plan by promulgating strategic messages through direct presentations, active displays at community events, school visits, social and traditional media and volunteer events.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that OISC’s outreach efforts are working. OISC receives regular reports of its target species from the general public. The Mānoa Neighborhood Board has given OISC a permanent spot on their regular monthly agenda for invasive species updates. In 2016, 95% of private property owners gave OISC permission to survey and remove invasive species from their private property, reflecting the general public’s awareness and support for invasive species management.

OISC will also continue to present the place-based, culturally relevant Hoʿike class activity in schools. The activity teaches students about invasive species while asking them to test their yards for little fire ant. As part of the Hoʿike project, students participate in a statewide mapping project so they can see how the testing they have done supports island-wide early detection for this pest.

$223,808
    Outreach Subtotal: $645,717

Prevention Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request
UH PCSU

LHWRP – ROD Survey

Abstract: Rapid ‘ōhi’a death is increasingly damaging extensive tracts of forest on Hawai’i Island.  The forests of leeward Haleakalā are degraded and susceptible to damage during storms, increasing likelihood of introduction of the pathogen into damaged trees.  In addition, these slopes receive winds directly from the southeast, and are exposed to spores blown across the ‘Alenuihāhā Channel from Hawai’i Island.  LHWRP and the Maui ROD Working Group want to be proactive in surveying for ROD and have the capacity to effectively respond should infected trees be identified.  This proposal is based on recommendations from experts at the recent ROD summit in Honolulu in December, 2016, and seeks funds for dedicated gear for LHWRP to utilize when working with potentially infected/infected ROD trees, for helicopter time to conduct quarterly aerial surveys and sampling, for field sampling equipment to conduct site samples of suspect trees, for postage and travel to work with specialists on Hawai’i Island, and for ROD-related outreach material development.

$45,395
UH PCSU

Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment

Abstract: The Hawaii‐Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA) assists in preventing new invasive plants from entering the State and in reducing the spread of existing invasive plants. This voluntary screening system provides an objective, science‐based and accurate method of assessing the invasive potential of plants being imported into and/or planted within the Hawaiian Islands. Preventing the introduction of invasive species is the most cost effective option when dealing with invasive species and the HPWRA system is an important component of state‐wide prevention measures. Funding will provide continued support for the state Weed Risk Assessment Specialist and allow for the hiring of a second assessor, a position which was last filled in 2012. A return to full staffing will increase the capacity to screen additional species, evaluate and update older assessments, provide new content to the Plant Pono website, and expand outreach opportunities with the landscaping and horticultural industries and members of the general public. Continued funding for the HPWRA will fulfill prevention objectives highlighted in the 2015‐2020 draft Strategic Plan of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

$179,980
    Prevention Subtotal: $225,375

Research Pre-Proposals:

Dept Division Project Title & Abstract Request
UH CTAHR

ROD Dispersal Patterns of Bark Beetles

Abstract: 

Understanding the mode of transmission for Rapid `Ōhi`a Death (ROD), a plant disease caused by the alien fungal pathogen Ceratocystis fimbriata, is a priority for protecting native Hawaiian `ōhi`a forests. Downwind spread patterns of ROD on Hawai`i Island have already implicated bark beetles as being possible vectors. Bark and ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae), of which there are dozens of invasive species found in Hawai`i, are important vectors of tree fungal diseases worldwide. ROD is so far only known to exist on Hawai`i Island and great efforts strive to keep it that way. However, bark beetles are capable of dispersing great distances by flight and wind. For example, the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), the vector of blue stain fungus to conifers in the US Pacific Northwest, can disperse up to 243 miles – which is nearly the distance between Hawai`i Island and Kaua`i. To date, the dispersal patterns of bark beetle populations across the Hawaiian archipelago have never been studied. Beetles could disperse by human mediated transport, or insect flight and wind. Since almost all invasive species are found on each of the major islands, we propose that interisland dispersal does occur, and that it poses a significant risk factor for spreading emerging tree diseases like ROD.

The objectives of our project are to 1) determine the dispersal patterns and pathways of invasive bark beetles species within and between islands, and 2) combine results with our ongoing work on ROD to understand whether beetles are able to disperse ROD across the islands. This will be accomplished by 1) using molecular techniques to screen bark beetles for C. fimbriata from within ROD infestation zones as well as other islands, and by 2) using population genetics to assess and map the population structure of candidate species both within and between islands. We will focus on forest stands across the islands dominated by `ōhi`a. To eliminate the possibility of ROD spread resulting from our project, we will rely on Dr. Curtis Ewing (postdoc) to provide killed and preserved material from Hawai`i Island. Our preliminary results from ROD surveys have identified four candidate species that we will specifically target. These funds will be used to support one master’s student as well as materials and costs associated with sampling and testing beetles. This research will inform coordinated statewide early detection and control programs of the dispersal patterns of ROD so as to better direct surveys and containment efforts, thereby curtailing the damage the disease poses to remaining native forests.

$39,600
UH CTAHR

Protaetia_orientalis Biocontrol/Control

Abstract: The oriental flower beetle, Protaetia orientalis (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) is one of the established scarab beetles in Hawaii. It was first discovered on Oahu in 2002, and since then spread to Big Island, Maui, and possibly other neighbor islands. It is native from the East Asia. The adult beetle feeds on pollen and nectar, ferments sap, and damages fruit of different plants. It is known to feed on flowers of some landscape plants and crops, such as coconut, papaya, mango, corn, and more. It damages flowers resulting fruits of poor quality and also reduced fruit production. Due to its polyphagous nature, it can avoid food scarcity period. It can change food sources from pollen and nectar to sap and fruit with the change in season. The adult female beetle lays eggs in the soil where the grubs develop and then pupate. When reaching the adult stage, it flies from the ground to plants with flowers and fruits. The adult can survive up to one year.
This pest has become more and more of concern in recent years. PI constantly receives emails and phone calls from various groups of people on identification of this pest and how to control it. To fill in the research gap, this project aims to identify effective yet environmental-friendly means to control this increasingly important pest. Overall, laboratory and field efficacy trials will be conducted with low-risk systemic and contact insecticides, selected bio-control groups (entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi), and novel cultural practices against oriental flower beetle. An IPM program against oriental flower beetle will be developed.

$42,412
UH CTAHR

Economic Assessment of IS Policy & Management

Abstract: This project will use simulation modeling to address key policy questions surrounding priority invasive species. To reduce data collection costs and expedite analyses, each model will be specific to the policy question, species, and location. Techniques from bioeconomic modeling, risk and uncertainty analysis, and sparse data analysis will be used to help generate useful information in the face of limited data. Here are examples of the types of questions that could be addressed. Does it make sense to continue eradicating LFA on Maui and under what circumstances would managers switch to an alternate strategy? What are the economic benefits gained in preventing the spread of Rapid Ohia Death? Because key policy questions are constantly changing, when the study is funded, the PI would meet with scientists and HISC managers to formulate and select the best questions to address.

$80,237
 UH CTAHR

ROD Quick Detection Capacity

Abstract: Rapid Ohia Death (ROD), caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata, continues to be a serious concern for all within the state of Hawaii. Currently, detection and lab-based research on the pathogen has been led by Lisa Keith and the Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research lab at USDA ARS’s PBARC facility in Hilo, Hawaii. University of Hawaii CTAHR has been an affiliated organization from the beginning of detection of ROD, though its wealth of plant pathologists have not played a large role in this state-wide problem in a scientific capacity. This pre-proposal is to establish facilities for early detection of ROD in each county utilizing the quick detection kits recently developed by USDA ARS.
Details of the ROD quick detection kits are still limited, though we have been assured they will be available soon, with full details on the equipment required. During the most recent Scientific Committee and Early Detection and Rapid Response Working Group meetings, it was estimated that a complete set-up would cost $7000-$8000, though similar equipment may already be present in some CTAHR field stations. The project budget would also cover the expenses of the first 100 detection kits for each island, using a roughly estimated cost. The remaining budget allows for the primary CTAHR faculty member from each county to be trained by the USDA ARS lab in proper setup of equipment, sample collection, and sample analysis.
CTAHR faculty are housed in facilities on each island, all with available lab space and expertise needed to utilize and maintain quick detection equipment. A major concern with ROD is the movement of potentially infected material between islands when sending material to the Hilo lab. Establishing a facility on each island would allow CTAHR faculty to monitor the entire chain of custody from source of material and all the way to the lab, without worrying about proper packaging and mailing conditions.
Currently Hawaii and Maui are taking Rapid Ohia Death very seriously, and is a secondary concern for the other islands. Kauai and Oahu residence and visitors make the assumption that if it spreads then it will move from Hawaii and jump west one island at a time. Unfortunately, this assumption is incorrect and continuous inter-island travel of goods and visitors makes all islands equally at risk. Establishing facilities on each island will show the communities that ROD is a state-wide problem and we should all take preventative measures. Neighbor islands currently have limited resources to analyze potentially infected samples, and if equipment and experience is present the quality and reliability is not consistent. Having the same equipment in each lab utilizing the same technology will allow all islands to give consistently reliable results.
The goal of this proposed project is to equip each county with new technology to detect ROD and eliminate movement of potentially infected material. Funding this project gives CTAHR faculty a clear function within ROD activities and utilizes our scientific skills in the most effective way.

$80,000
UH CTAHR

Herbicide Ballistic Technology with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Abstract: We propose to develop a small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) with capabilities to deploy Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) for treating incipient invasive plant species.  The concept of HBT is to encapsulate active herbicide formulations into 0.68 caliber soft-gel projectiles to be delivered from an electro-pneumatic system.  The HBT platform has proven to be a valuable tool for surgically treating isolated plant targets that occupy extreme, inaccessible landscapes (e.g., cliff faces) with long range precision and accuracy.  HBT-G4U200 is a registered herbicide in the state of Hawaii (EPA reg. no. SLN-HI-120001) for treating two of the most ecologically damaging invasive species miconia (Miconia calvescens) and strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum). Deployment of the HBT platform from sUAS will greatly expand surveillance, detection and elimination of these species’ incipient populations that are invading remote locations in high-value forested watersheds.  We have partnered with private industry for producing the registered HBT herbicide capsules and also for fabricating a prototype pneumatic platform for sUAS that has an 11 kg lift capacity and up to 15 min of sustained flight time on a single battery.  This is leading edge technology that is to be delivered to cooperating local, state and federal partners through a detailed quality assurance and quality control process starting with the design, validation and certification of HBT-UAS followed by a rigorous training program for selected partners to develop an aerial management team of UAS pilots, payload operators and visual observers, critical to an effective, legal flight operation.

$225,500
UH CTAHR

Miconia Climate Model

Abstract: 

Miconia (Miconia calvescens DC) is a HISC-priority invasive plant species naturalizing in wet forests on all of the major islands, except Molokai.  It biological traits of high fecundity, long distance dispersal and strong recruitment patterns make this species difficult to contain and eradicate.  The East Maui Watershed (EMW) is ~120,000 acres with a majority of the area being class I watershed, producing trillions of gallons of fresh water annually.  It is also critical habitat to a wide range of endangered, endemic species.  Since 2012, we’ve eliminated over 20,000 incipient miconia targets protecting an estimated 45,000 acres of the EMW.  Through this effort we have noticed a strong influence of climate change. From 2012-2014, extreme drought conditions resulted in sharp declines in these incipient populations as a result of our management interventions outpacing recruitment and recovery of miconia.  However, higher precipitation during the warmer summer months from 2014-2016 has resulted in extreme population recruitment spikes stressing our management capabilities.   This revelation of climatic influence on population phenology is potentially ground-breaking on how we strategically allocate resources on a spatial and temporal scale with new opportunities in real-time management decision making.  We propose to establish an array of portable environmental observatories (e.g., temperature, RH, precipitation, solar radiation, etc.) across remote sections of the EMW, in the vicinity of known, incipient miconia populations.  With data acquired remotely (radio and/or cell network) we have the capacity to process seasonal weather conditions at anytime (i.e., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) to correspond with management events.  The long-term goal of this project is to develop climate models (applied across the state) to predict miconia phenology (e.g., growth, maturity, recruitment, etc.) with high spatial and temporal resolution, allowing for a smarter tactical approach to scheduling management interventions.

$209,000
UH CTAHR

Batch Production of Septoria_passiflorae Agent for Banana Poka Biocontrol

Abstract: 

Banana Poka (Passiflorae mollissima) is perennial forest vine introduced to Hawaii in the early 1900’s and since has been recognized as a highly invasive species and severe ecosystem modifier.  The fungal pathogen Septoria passiflorae was isolated, screened and approved for release in Hawaii as a biocontrol agent in 1996 under the USDA Permit 962171 and has shown spectacular results of suppression in field applications (Trujillo 2005).    For reasons unknown, performance of this agent is enhanced with repeated maintenance applications despite naturalization of the organism where banana poka is established.  There are currently no facilities maintaining batch cultures of this successful agent despite continued demand by DOFAW for administering field applications.  The Maui Agriculture Research Center is a 25-acre experiment station managed by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) with a recent history of research and demonstration in ornamentals (e.g., proteas) including a ~600 ft2 plant molecular biology laboratory that is currently inactive.  This proposal provides the basic needs for retrofitting a portion of this laboratory space to establish a reliable, clean facility for batch production of the septoria agent as a convenient and reliable resource for DOFAW field applications to the adjacent Kula Forest Reserve. The initial production goal is to produce enough inoculum to treat up to 10 ha of the heaviest infestations with 1 x1012 conidia ha-1 (Klein and Auld 1995, Kempenaar et al. 1996). Success of the project is contingent on obtaining clean, vetted isolates of Septoria passiflorae. This proposal also budgets for field collection and isolation if necessary.

$101,200
UH CTAHR

ROD Pathogen Response by Ohia

Abstract: 

The disease Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) is causing the widespread mortality to ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) tree populations across Hawaii Island and is a threat to the entire state of Hawaii.  Ohia a keystone species to Hawaiian forest and therefore is vital to reliant flora, fauna, and ecological processes.  To better understand this complex epidemic and its effects on ohia, research is required to elucidate the host-parasite interactions of this disease upon susceptible hosts. Here, we propose the use of spectroradiometry upon seedlings to track internal changes within the plant after artificial inoculations within a growth chamber.  An improved understanding of the host reactions to disease through time allows for a more accurate ability to predict outbreaks and will complement the use ongoing surveillance programs.  The budget below lists resources needed to fill budget gaps identified in state and federal funding levels for FY18.

$111,100
UH CTAHR

ROD Chemical Ecology

Abstract: 

The disease Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) is causing the widespread mortality to ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) tree populations across Hawaii Island and is a threat to the entire state of Hawaii.  Ohia a keystone species to Hawaiian forest and therefore is vital to reliant flora, fauna, and ecological processes.  To better understand this complex epidemic and its effects on ohia, research is required to elucidate the host-parasite interactions of this disease upon susceptible hosts. The understanding of the chemical ecology of rapid ohia death, will help to elucidate the role of insects in the biology of this disease.  Here we propose to monitor the chemical volatiles (odors) emitted from artificially inoculated trees in growth chamber experiments.  By understanding the underlying signals emanated by diseased trees and received by wood-boring insects, we can better formulate strategies to interfere and reduce disease spread and improve management options. The budget below lists resources needed to fill budget gaps identified in state and federal funding levels for FY18.

$111,100
UH CTAHR

Mosquito Distribution on Hawai’i Island

Abstract: This project aims to identify the current distribution of reproducing mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) on the island of Hawai’i through deployment of oviposition traps around the islands along elevational gradients. Currently there are six species of mosquitoes that are presumed established in the state of Hawai’i, Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes vexans nocurnus, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Wyeomya mitchellii, Aedes japonicus japonicus. All of the species have been introduced to Hawai’i due to human activities and the likelihood that more will be introduced through shipping and air traffic is very high. The majority of these species are vectors for zoonotic and human diseases. Therefore, it becomes a critical issue to create a distribution map to determine high-risk areas for potential disease transmission. Such maps have been created for O’ahu and the Island of Hawai’i and there has been a resurgence of trapping on these islands since the recent dengue outbreak. However, much of the distributional information is dated and trapping is limited to urban areas and specifically to airports and sea ports. Hawai’i is also the only island with a known reproducing population of A. aegypti.
Increased direct domestic and international travel increases probability of incursion of a new species of mosquitoes to these islands and low monitoring activity means that the current species established and their distribution is likely unknown. Early detection of mosquitoes at entry points and beyond is extremely important in preventing establishment of new species. With the increased incidence of diseases caused by flaviviruses such as dengue and Zika we need to be vigilant in our understanding of the vectors that can transmit those diseases. Unfortunately, despite the increased probability of incursion there has been a decrease in the level of monitoring throughout Hawai’i. New personnel have been hired by the Department of Health to rebuild our capacity in this area. This project will complement and support the activities of US military and state agencies to fill a significant gap in our understanding of current mosquito distribution in the State of Hawai’i.

$61,600
UH CTAHR

Mosquito Distribution on Kaua’i & Lana’i Islands

Abstract: This project aims to identify the current distribution of reproducing mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) on the islands of Kaua’i and Lana’i, Hawai’i through deployment of oviposition traps around the islands along elevational gradients. Currently there are six species of mosquitoes that are presumed established in the state of Hawai’i, Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes vexans nocurnus, Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Wyeomya mitchellii, Aedes japonicus japonicus. All of the species have been introduced to Hawai’i due to human activities and the likelihood that more will be introduced through shipping and air traffic is very high. The majority of these species are vectors for zoonotic and human diseases. Therefore, it becomes a critical issue to create a distribution map to determine high-risk areas for potential disease transmission. Such maps have been created for O’ahu and the Island of Hawai’i and there has been a resurgence of trapping on these islands since the recent dengue outbreak. A study is underway on the island of Maui but no comprehensive sampling has been conducted on Kaua’i or Lana’i.
Increased direct domestic and international travel increases probability of incursion of a new species of mosquitoes to these islands and low monitoring activity means that the current species established and their distribution is likely unknown. Early detection of mosquitoes at entry points and beyond is extremely important in preventing establishment of new species. With the increased incidence of diseases caused by flaviviruses such as dengue and Zika we need to be vigilant in our understanding of the vectors that can transmit those diseases. Unfortunately, despite the increased probability of incursion there has been a decrease in the level of monitoring throughout Hawaii. New personnel have been hired by the Department of Health to rebuild our capacity in this area. This project will complement and support the activities of US military and state agencies to fill a significant gap in our understanding of current mosquito distribution in the State of Hawai’i.

$44,000
UH CTAHR

Schefflera_actinophylla Distribution on O’ahu

Abstract: Octopus tree, Schefflera actinophylla (Araliaceae) is native to Australia and New Guinea and grows to 30 to 40 feet in height, is a prolific fruit and seed producer. Birds disperse the seeds. It is commonly used as a landscaping plant in urban areas but has spread to natural environments. It is considered invasive in Florida (Category 1), some islands of the Pacific and has even expanded its range in Australia where it has invaded undisturbed communities. It is found on all the major islands of Hawaii, considered weedy in a variety of habitats and is reported to be invasive in lower elevation areas with moderate rainfall and can move into undisturbed areas. Non-native birds are likely dispersers of the seeds and it is still sold as an ornamental plant in Hawaii. It is also reported to be a threat to plant native to Florida. Adult plants are difficult to manage and there appears to be very little coordinated effort to manage this plant despite its obvious current and potential levels of infestation.
Very little is known about the distribution, extent and impacts of this plant to native forests in Hawaii despite the presence of major infestations in valleys on Kauai and Oahu. To our knowledge, there is no study of the impacts or demographics of this plant in Hawaii. Reports of its distribution are dated and localized. This project seeks to remedy this deficiency by undertaking a comprehensive distributional and demographic and impact study of the plant on Oahu. If possible, within the funding period we will also include an assessment of change over time. This study will help us establish the invasiveness of this plant on Oahu. Similar studies could be conducted on other islands with sufficient funding and support. This will yield preliminary data that should support subsequent applications and determination of suitability as a target for biological control.

$44,000
UH CTAHR

Tibouchina_herbacea Biocontrol Monitoring

Abstract: Several species in the family Melastomataceae are noxious weeds in Hawaiian rainforests and rangelands. All members of this family are alien to Hawaii, which enhances the feasibility of identifying target-specific biocontrol agents. Over the last two decades, the USDA Forest Service and partners have been evaluating a variety of specialist herbivores from the tropical American native range of melastomes. One of these is an insect identified in Brazil from Tibouchina herbacea, which in Hawaii is invasive in pastures, forest openings, and boggy habitats that are home to rare native plants. Syphraea uberabensis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is a flea beetle whose adults and larvae feed externally on foliage and soft stems, causing enough damage to kill small plants. Tests in quarantine and observations in the native range have demonstrated that S. uberabensis is a suitable agent for biocontrol in Hawaii. With a host range restricted to plants in the tribe Melastomae, a narrow subset of the melastome family, S. uberabensis is expected to impact five plant species in Hawaii, all of them invasive threats to Hawaiian forest watersheds: Tibouchina herbacea, Tibouchina longifolia, Pterolepis glomerata, Melastoma septemnervium and Melastoma sanguineum. Syphraea is unlikely to impact other prominent weeds also in this family, for example, Tibouchina urvilleana, Miconia calvescens, and Clidemia hirta. Pending evaluation of a petition for release and completion of an environmental assessment, this biocontrol agent is expected to be released in 2017. A colony of the proposed agent is being maintained in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarantine Facility.
In anticipation of release of a biocontrol for invasive melastomes in Hawaii within the next year, we will develop a program to release and monitor its spread and impacts in Hawaiian watersheds. Rigorous sampling of pre-release conditions at selected sites on Maui, Hawaii and Oahu has already been conducted over a two-year period. Once the agent has been approved for release, it will be mass reared and delivered to the selected release sites on Maui and Hawai’i Islands. Thereafter the early establishment will be monitored. An experimental release protocol will also be tested to evaluate the impact of invasive ant species on agent reproduction and survival. The project will result in a baseline dataset for long term impact monitoring and development of release protocols for successful establishment.
We also aim to engage watershed partnerships, citizen scientists, and others to release and redistribute the agent. Educational and outreach tools including lesson plans for teachers will be developed.

$44,000
UH CTAHR

ROD Genetics

Abstract: Lab-scale inoculation testing of ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) provides a controlled atmosphere for testing variation of susceptibility of varieties to Ohia Wilt, and also for dissecting the molecular mechanisms encompassing host-plant susceptibility and pathogen virulence.  This disease, also commonly referred to as Rapid Ohia Death, is caused by a newly discovered species of Ceratocystis.   By the most recent aerial mapping, this disease is devastating over 55,000 acres of ohia forest on Hawaii Island, and continued spread is likely.  In order to uncover the molecular mechanisms underlying the host-pathogen interaction, RNA-seq, a DNA-sequencing based method that measures gene expression as a function of transcript abundance, will be conducted over a time course on plants inoculated with Ceratocystis.  A varietal resistance screen is already underway in Lisa Keith’s laboratory, and should any resistant or hypersensitive genotypes be identified, these will incorporated into the study.  Replicate inoculation of clonal plant material, plus controls consisting of avirulent strain(s) and mock-inoculations will provide confidence in the identification of genes/pathways differentially expressed in response to Ceratocystis infection.

$136,350
DLNR DOFAW

Maui Axis Deer Population Monitoring Model

Abstract: 

Axis deer (Axis axis) have reached high levels of abundance and have become problematic to ranching, agriculture, and the conservation of natural areas in Hawai‘i, prompting land managers to protect resources attempt removal of large numbers of deer.  Since the introduction of nine deer to Maui in 1959 and 1960, numbers had reached an estimated 7,500-11,000 animals by 2013.  High reproductive rates characterize axis deer, with 95% or more of does bearing fawns after reaching maturity as early as 6-10 months of age.  Annual population increases range from 20-31% in other parts of the world.  Permits issued by Maui DOFAW for deer control have significantly increased harvest levels to more than 5,000 deer in that last 1.5 years, and additional opportunities may exist to build on those harvest levels.  Despite large numbers of recent removals, deer remain abundant, with no lasting measurable decrease.  Their cryptic behavior makes basic information on population dynamics difficult to acquire, which can lead to underestimating overall abundance as well as the magnitude of efforts required to bring populations under control.  Models using existing data could help land managers develop more robust targets for removal.

We propose to conduct population monitoring and to use simple population models to project the amount of harvest landowners must maintain to keep populations at desirable levels.  Because the introduction of axis deer to Maui was well documented, it offers an essential “anchor” point for such projections.  Important existing data that need to be compiled include the total amount of harvests over time.  This will allow the annual population growth rate to be estimated.  Population modeling may inform forthcoming harvest efforts in a timely manner; scenarios corresponding to different harvest levels can be modeled to examine the lasting effects on population abundance.  More sophisticated population models may be developed if sufficient data are available on ratios of bucks to does, while the ratio of fawns to does may also provide a current measure of recruitment into the population.  Such models may be used to indicate sex-specific harvest levels that result in sex ratios favoring lower population growth.  Specific tasks include:  population modeling using existing data; repeating aerial surveys of the population; estimating reproductive success and recruitment; and revising models with updated parameters from monitoring.  Information derived from the project will be made available for use by Maui-DOFAW and other large landowners with active deer management programs.

$30,000
 UH PCSU

HAL – LFA Organic Control Methods

Abstract: 

Currently no control methods are available to combat the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) in certified organic agriculture.  As LFA become more widespread, an increasing number of certified organic farmers are becoming affected by the impacts of this species.  Crop yields are reduced and export opportunities are lost due to contamination of produce.  This research project aims to develop organic control methods for the certified organic farming industry as well as residents wishing to reduce the use of pesticides.

In collaboration with the Hawai`i Organic Farmers Association, Hawai`i Ant Lab will test candidate methodologies for efficacy, and seek to gain regulatory approvals for their use in organic and conventional agriculture.  HAL will seek to lever these funds against a USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) grant.

$29,000
UH PCSU

LHWRP – Bocconia HBT with UAV

Abstract: 

Accessing invasive species in challenging terrain within remote locations is a common problem across many natural resource management programs in Hawai’i.  New technologies have been developed that facilitate safe, strategic, application of herbicides combined with real-time imagery and GIS mapping.  Should these technologies prove effective in local terrain and weather conditions, the potential is significant to improve safety, reduce staff and helicopter time required, and increase range and rare at which invasive species can be controlled.

We propose to test the potential for use of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) developed in Japan for applying herbicides in agricultural settings.  This new technology has only become available commercially recently, but has been shown to tremendously reduce man hours required for applying herbicides, dispersing seeds, and surveying broad expanses of land.   We propose to 1) assess the capacity for flying this UAS in the terrain, environmental conditions and topography that we encounter in the field during watershed management efforts; 2) to track efficacy of invasive species controlled; 3) to develop recommendations for safe use in natural areas, and 4) to determine requirements and feasibility of FAA certification for legal use in natural resource management.

LHWRP Field Supervisor Keahi Bustamente would acquire any certifications required to test the equipment participate in required training.  Keahi has more than five years of experience flying drones in Hawai’i and has used smaller models to scout for rare and invasive species. Testing would be conducted in relatively open terrain at first to calibrate the equipment and determine efficacy of treatment on priority invasive species incipient to Haleakalā’s south slope with great potential to be effectively and safely treated using this tool, such as pines, Bocconia, and gorse.  If the UAS is suitable for working in the terrain and conditions in Hawai’i, we will have the potential to greatly increase efficiency in managing invasive species in Hawaiian ecosystems.

$74,613
UH PCSU

MISC – Maui Coqui Wall

Abstract: Maui is at a crossroads: either coqui frogs can be contained at Māliko Gulch for eventual removal, or the frogs will continue spreading into outlying communities and elsewhere on the island, with control eventually becoming impossible. A system exists that could help stop the spread: a coqui barrier. A coqui barrier was developed by UH-CTAHR and previously used successfully by MISC; however, the materials are expensive, it was difficult to install, and over time, degraded in the elements.
MISC proposes to offer a “Grand Challenge” to encourage creative engineering to design a better coqui wall. Specifications will require participants to address: ease of installation; durability; cost; and selection of materials that prevent coqui from navigating a 90 degree turn (found to be a successful inhibitor as part of the previous design). Two designs are needed: one that could attach to existing fence lines and also a free-standing version. Funding for the Grand Challenge will come from private donations, but funds will be needed to secure materials to test winning designs and to pay for vegetation clearing at installation sites. Such a barrier could be used on lands that cover more than one mile along the gulch; the eventual amount installed will depend on the final design and material costs. This research project will test the effectiveness of different designs by observing the behavior of coqui frogs in reaction to the material and measuring changes in coqui calls pre- and post-installation, after spraying has occurred in the test areas.

$63,815
UH NREM

Random Encounter Modeling of Feral Pig Populations

Abstract: al pigs is exclosure fencing followed by concentrated hunting and/or trapping. Because most fencing for conservation is done in remote and rugged areas where more intact native ecosystems exist, initial fencing and upkeep costs are very high, particularly for large management units. One of the biggest challenges to feral pig management in Hawaiʻi, and globally, is the lack of basic information on population dynamics. This knowledge gap includes a need to address questions central to successful management regarding population densities, such as cost-effective tools for estimating basic population metrics. Technological and statistical improvements now allow for the use of camera traps to effectively estimate population sizes using random encounter models.1 The correlation of random encounter model estimates with more difficult to obtain population estimates from feral pig damage survey data2 holds the potential for developing accurate and accessible methods for estimating feral pig population sizes throughout Hawaiʻi. We hypothesize that feral pig population density estimates resulting from easily calculated random encounter models can be correlated with more difficult and site-specific estimates of feral pig population sizes from forest floor damage surveys.
To address this issue, we propose to use camera traps combined with random encounter modeling to estimate feral pig population sizes in each of eight individual management units within Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on the Island of Hawaiʻi.2 For each management unit, we will also repeat annual transect surveys of forest floor damage that have already been developed specifically for the refuge2, and correlate these site-specific surveys with population size estimates from the random encounter models. By cross-calibrating the results of the two different population estimates, our goal is to establish a more widely applicable and cost-effective tool for managers in other natural and managed areas to rapidly assess trends in feral pig population densities. This is critical information for adaptive management, particularly for estimating the initial and subsequent cost of feral pig removal from individual management units. Ultimately, the results from this proposed project will fill a crucial gap in both basic and applied knowledge of feral pig population dynamics in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific Island Region.
1Jousimo J and Ovaskainen O. 2016. Plos One e0162447.
2Leopold CR et al. 2016. Hawaiʻi Cooperative Studies Unit Technical Report HCSU-075.

$45,048
USDA Forest Service

Albizia Biocontrol

Abstract: Successful containment of albizia, Falcataria moluccana, by self-perpetuating biological control agents is needed for long term management of this invasive tree, which destroys native landscapes and threatens Hawaiʻi’s businesses and taxpayers with hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and maintenance costs. This project will begin the second phase in development of biocontrol for albizia, which we began in 2015, to include focused evaluation of the most promising biocontrol agents. Potential biocontrol agents will be collected in the native range (Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and nearby islands). By 2018 we will begin to ship promising insects to our Hawaii quarantine facility for detailed evaluation. We will develop risk assessments to ensure selection of biocontrol agents that are most appropriate for Hawaiʻi’s environment by initiating host-specificity testing of selected agents.  We also will fund a partner to conduct a genetic analysis of albizia to allow the closest possible matching with enemies from its original range.

$214,000
USDA Forest Service

Clidemia & Miconia Biocontrol

Abstract: We request continuing HISC support of ongoing studies of natural enemies for biocontrol of miconia and clidemia. In 2018 we will conclude quarantine rearing and specificity testing of a newly discovered gall wasp (Allorhogas sp.) that attacks fruits of Clidemia hirta in Brazil, continue evaluation of a related wasp species galling fruits of Miconia calvescens, and further develop a nematode gall-former Ditylenchus gallaeformans, which has great potential for controlling clidemia within Hawaiʻi’s wet forests (and also attacks miconia). These projects depend on having support to travel to collect agents and to foster joint studies with foreign collaborators, and support for staff to maintain insects and their host plants in quarantine.

$117,000
USDA Forest Service

Morella_faya Biocontrol

Abstract: 

We propose to revisit the biocontrol effort against Morella faya by conducting new exploration for natural enemies in the most promising part of its native range: the Canary Islands. Past releases of biocontrol agents have had negligible impact, and it is clear that more damaging natural enemies are needed. Previous USFS exploration in the 1980s and 90s focused only on the Azores and Madeira and yielded a relatively meager suite of potential agents, probably because these islands have lost the great majority of their native forests. By comparison, the Canary Islands have well-conserved upper elevation native forests that are rich in old-growth faya and likely hold a wealth of potential biocontrol agents.

We propose preliminary explorations to develop partnerships with Universidad de La Laguna and other local institutions and collect and identify promising natural enemies. Exploratory surveys on the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera will include Spanish-speaking staff who have assisted previously productive work on miconia agents in Costa Rica, as well as European colleagues who specialize in weed biocontrol.

$37,500
USDA Forest Service

Hedychium_spp Biocontrol

Abstract: The alien ginger Hedychium gardnerianum continues to pose a serious threat to Hawaiian watersheds, spreading faster than physical and chemical control can track it. Research into the potential biocontrol of H. gardnerianum for Hawaiʻi has gained momentum over the last ten years, thanks largely to a consortium approach to funding from both Hawaiʻi and New Zealand stakeholders. Natural enemies have been prioritized from the centre of origin of the target plant, in the North Eastern Indian Himalayas. Indian collaborators at government and University level are well established to facilitate surveys and export, as well as in-country research. Host range testing of the stem mining fly (Merochlorops cf. dimorphus) is nearing completion in the UK and India. Funding in 2018 will allow importation to Hawaiʻi and rearing of this fly for final testing against an array of Hawaiian species in anticipation of eventual clearance for field release.

$113,000
USDA Forest Service

Rubus_spp Biocontrol

Abstract: Initial field studies conducted in the Himalayan native range of Rubus ellipticus and Rubus niveus from 2012-2015 discovered several damaging insects and pathogens. Further funding is needed for preliminary host-range testing of selected potential biocontrol agents against these important invaders. In parallel we propose to explore options to conduct preliminary screening of agents in India, where evaluations can be made under field conditions. Additional survey work in the native region will provide more comprehensive data on natural enemies, with more species likely to be discovered. Using field collected leaf material to undertake a molecular genetic comparison of Rubus populations in Hawaiʻi and the native range will help pin-point origins of the invasive species and perhaps allow a better match for potential biocontrol agents.

$120,000
BISHOP  

Hawaiʻi Early Detection Program

Abstract: 

Effective invasive plant management in Hawai‘i relies on the capacity to detect, identify, and respond to new introductions. As the environmental and economic benefits of controlling invasive plants during their incipient stage are well established, land managers throughout the state endeavor to prioritize eradicable species with the highest invasive impacts.  However, the capacity of these agencies to detect and identify new introductions varies.

In order to address the need for proper plant identifications and the management information that can be garnered from knowing the correct name for a plant species, a partnership between the O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) and the Herbarium Pacificum at Bishop Museum was formed in 2006. One goal of this partnership (termed the Oʻahu Early Detection program, or OED) was to facilitate the identification of, and response to, plant detections throughout the state by identifying unknown plant species sent in by natural resources management organizations. Identified specimens were then incorporated into the Herbarium Pacificum collections and the names added to the Bishop database, thus facilitating future plant identifications. Management organizations including (but not limited to) O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawai‘i, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Pohakuloa Training Area weed team, the National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Master Gardener program at the University of Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, and the Plant Extinction Prevention Programs utilized the services of the OED to varying degrees during the 10 years the program was in existence. The OED program no longer has staff at the Bishop Museum filling such a role.

With the creation of a Biosecurity Plan for the state of Hawaiʻi, the urgency for botanical expertise to assist with identifications of unknown plant species is felt more than ever. Unfortunately, although the Bishop Museum was mandated in 1992 to be the primary state repository of natural history in the state of Hawaiʻi, at current capacity, the Herbarium Pacificum possesses neither the staff time nor the personnel to contend with an increased influx of specimens.

We propose to expand upon the work started with the O‘ahu Early Detection program, by creating a statewide Hawai‘i Early Detection program, to be based in the Herbarium Pacificum. The creation of such a program will ensure that plant identifications are accurate, and management agencies can set realistic goals and priorities. This leads to more successful invasive species management efforts, and more cost-effective agency spending.

We propose to accomplish this in two ways:

1) By providing liaisons between natural resource organizations throughout the state and the Museum’s Herbarium Pacificum, in order to provide resource management organizations statewide with timely herbarium-quality identifications, distribution information, and weed research.

2) By providing for increased capacity for Herbarium Pacificum to update databases with current species names and distribution information.

3) By providing support for updating the Hawaiian Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants Checklist, a full inventory of all native and naturalized plants collected in the state of Hawaii, which has not been updated in four years due to reduced herbarium staff capacity (see http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/publications/pdf/tr60.pdf).

$122,040
    Research Subtotal: $2,296,115
    Total Estimated Request: $9,365,287
    DOFAW Support Overhead Required (6%): $561,917
    Total Estimated Cost: $9,927,204