FY19 Funded Projects

FY19 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 FY19. Of this total, 5% ($237,500) was restricted by the Department of Budget and Finance, and 5.7% ($270,750) 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 $303,591.

For the remaining grant funds totaling $3,938,159; HISC received 43 applications totaling $7,449.259. 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 14, 2018, the HISC approved the recommended budget from the Resources Working Group detailing funds for twenty-seven (27) projects addressing interagency prevention, control, outreach, and research needs. Details for individual projects are below:

CONTROL

1. Hawaii Early Detection Support Program, Year 2

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum/BPBM, Botany Department, $41,073

Abstract: Bishop Museum’s Herbarium Pacificum, with 750,000 specimens dating back to Captain Cook’s visit in 1779, is acknowledged as an invaluable resource for studying Pacific Basin plant life. In 1992 the Hawai’i State Legislature designated the herbarium as the primary repository for plant vouchers in the State. As a result, Herbarium Pacificum receives hundreds of specimens annually from a variety of clients, including the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture; botanical gardens; resource management staff of federal, state, and private organizations; and the general public. Current staffing and budget constraints often creates a significant time lag in identification and cataloguing of these specimens, jeopardizing detection and control efforts that depend on rapid identification of species. The Oʻahu Early Detection program (OED), which began under a grant from the Hawai’i Invasive Species Council in 2006, was a collaboration between Herbarium Pacificum and the O’ahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC). OED was designed to supplement regular herbarium activities by providing for the specific needs of resource managers by facilitating and coordinating the timely processing, identification, and cataloguing of invasive and potentially invasive species. In the years the OED program was in operation, notorious invasive species such as devil weed (Chromolaena odorata), cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica), and spiked pepper (Piper aduncum) were confirmed by OED to occur on O’ahu so that action could be taken by land managers, botanical gardens, and private landowners to control them before it was too late. Before the end of the first year of the Hawai’i Early Detection Support Program, multiple species of management concern have been identified, including tropical kudzu (Pueraria phaseoloides) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) on Maui, and Strobilanthes hamiltoniana on the Big Island. New records of weedy taxa are published in Bishop Museum’s Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey (downloadable at http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/hbspubs.html ). Specimens are processed and added to Herbarium Pacificum, and names and pertinent locality data are entered into a database that is searchable online. This proposal requests continued funding for the Hawai’i Early Detection Support Program, which supplements the duties currently being performed by Herbarium Pacificum staff. Continuation of such a program will ensure that management agencies throughout the state will have the ability to base their management decisions upon accurate biological information in order to set realistic goals and priorities. This leads to more successful invasive species management efforts and more cost-effective agency spending. The Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai’i (1990) reported 861 naturalized species; since then, an astounding 640 new naturalized species have been recorded in the state, an average of 25 new weeds per year, the identity of many confirmed at Bishop Museum. Given this continued steady influx of non-native weed establishment, coupled with current reduced herbarium staff capacity, we fear that without additional support some of these potential new records will fall through the cracks and never get identified. We propose to accomplish this in the following ways: 1) Contracting with 2 experienced botanists to be based part-time at Bishop Museum, who will coordinate the identification and tracking of non-native specimens in the herbarium, facilitating timely information turnaround to management agencies so that they can quickly make informed decisions. The contract botanists will, upon request, also provide life history information on known invasive species, facilitate the Weed Risk Assessment process, and assist resource managers in researching appropriate control methods for the species in question. 2) Increasing capacity for Herbarium Pacificum staff to process specimens, maintain currency of taxonomy and nomenclature in the collection, and update online database records. 3) Disseminating data on weedy plant species in Hawai’i. A paper reporting on new state and island records of weedy plants will be submitted for publication to Bishop Museum’s Hawaii Biological Survey. The Hawaiian Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants Checklist (http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/publications/pdf/tr60.pdf), now a trusted reference for resource managers throughout the state, is currently being updated for the first time since 2012, with financial assistance from HISC awarded in 2017, adding new taxa and updating nomenclature, synonym lists, and island distributions. A unique component of the checklist is the inclusion of alien species reported in the literature as exhibiting naturalization tendencies, a horizon-scanning watchlist of suspicious plants to keep tabs on. 4) Facilitating citizen science via photo or specimen submission (on Flickr, email, or in person), thereby encouraging the public component of the statewide early detection community.

BPBM Botany Hawaii Early Detection Support FY19 Final Report 

2. Ballast Water and Hull Biofouling Program

DLNR, Division of Aquatic Resources/DAR, $85,000

Abstract: Continued financial support from HISC is needed to fund two full-time positions in 2018. Where appropriate, HIBP ‘implementation tasks’ have been referenced in parenthesis. Ballast Water and Hull Fouling Coordinator 1) Develop and manage Hawaii’s Ballast Water (BW) and Vessel Biofouling (BF) Program 2) Work closely with a CGAPS legal fellow to decipher regulatory language associated with BW, BF and hull husbandry (HH), identify gaps and redundancies in state/federal regulations governing BW, BF, and HH management in Hawaii. Furthermore, work with the legal fellow to push for legislative approval of amended BW rules and continue to develop BW, BF, and HH regulations, policies, and best management practices (BMPs), among other projects. (PrePol1.6, BorPol1.6, BorPro2.5) 3) Consult with the Alien Aquatic Organism Task Force (AAOTF) and meet with individual stakeholders on the development of regulations and policies associated with BW, BF, and HH. The AAOTF consists of key maritime industry stakeholders including, but not limited to, Hawaii culture/resource preservation representatives, Hawaii DOT, DOH, DOA, USCG, NOAA, EPA, commercial maritime industry, Pacific regional state/territorial islands/international government agencies, vector management vendors, scientists, and conservation groups. (PrePol1.6) 4) Collaborate with Pacific regional government partners to formulate regional consistency in policies and standards associated with vessel-borne AIS by reviewing regulatory documents and collaborating on projects. Regional partners include, though not limited to, California State Lands Commission (CSLC), Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Ministry for Primary Industries (New Zealand), Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Australia), and Transport Canada. (PosPro 4.5) 5) Co-sponsor vessel biofouling workshop with California State Lands Commission (and possibly Alliance for Coastal Technologies) (PosPro 4.5) 6) Hire, train, and supervise a Kupu Intern (and a vessel inspector and volunteers if funds are available) 7) Manage long-term surveillance project (ARMS Harbor Monitoring Project) of aquatic non-indigenous species in commercial harbors and harbor mouths 8) Implement action items of HISC Resolution 18-1 and Hawaii Concurrent Resolution 130 on In-water Cleaning of Vessels 9) Manage the BW reporting email account and respond to inquiries 10) Compile and analyze BW reporting forms and HH forms 11) Continue to support development of BW reporting form database 12) Lead ballast water and vessel biofouling inspections with the DAR AIS Team and NOAA (PrePol1.7) 13) Maintain membership and participation in meetings for the following groups as appropriate: HHUG, HOST, CGAPS, Pacific Ballast Water Group, the CSLC Technical Advisory Group, Washington Ballast Water Work Group, Biofouling International Regulators Discussion, and WRP Coastal Committee. 14) If approved and travel funds are available, travel to the Ballast Water Management Conference, Marine Bioinvasions Conference, and Pacific Ballast Water Group Meeting to build partnerships and exchange viable knowledge in AIS prevention 15) Collaborate with the DAR Administrator, DLNR Chair and Deputy Director, Hawaii AG, Governor of Hawaii, and U.S. Congressional Delegates to address state and federal regulations that effect DLNR’s ability to protect state waters 16) Develop outreach/educational materials for managing ballast water, biofouling, and hull husbandry 17) Mentor and work with the Kupu Intern to fulfill job responsibilities and deliverables

DLNR DAR Ballast Water & Hull Biofouling FY19 Final Report 

3. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Detection & Control

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $433,808

Abstract: Invasive species are among the greatest threats to the health of our native forests, agricultural economy, and way of life on the island of Hawaii. The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) plays a key role in Hawaii’s Interagency Biosecurity Program, ensuring there is effective early detection and response capacity on the island of Hawaii. The BIISC staff provide constant surveillance for new invasive plants, animals–and more recently, pathogens-and we document new island records every year. We conduct risk analyses of terrestrial plants, pests, diseases, commodities and pathways to ensure we are addressing urgent, important, and resolvable issues. We utilize interagency and community partnerships to maximize efficiency and broaden the knowledge base and investment in our operations. We are ready to act when new threats slip through our state’s pre-border biosecurity programs, and when agencies need expanded capacity and partnership to respond. In 2018 the BIISC steering committee and staff completed a 5-year strategic planning process. We reviewed our accomplishments over the past five years and committed to new annual and quarterly milestones. Focusing on our capacity and effectiveness as an organization, we set targets to improve internal communication and reliable infrastructure, strengthen interagency partnerships, and help our community appreciate our successes and our role in the statewide biosecurity program. We set target dates for completing the eradication of our 9 target species, more clearly documenting and publishing our prioritization procedures, and standardizing our EDRR survey and monitoring methods. This document (provided as an attachment) references the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP) and serves as the BIISC’s work plan to become an even more effective and professional invasive species program. We are already well underway. In 2017 the BIISC presented the progress of our EDRR program at two international conferences. Our work is noteworthy, not only because we are succeeding in our control of challenging and well-vetted targets, but because the data we choose to collect demonstrate the actual progress we are making toward eradication of our target species. These are simple data that are rarely collected or shared by similar programs anywhere in the world! On each of our active eradication targets, we have made steady, measurable (and measured!) progress toward eradication. On our graphs, all lines are approaching zero! Where we cannot make necessary progress with available resources, we have admitted the eradication effort is infeasible, and have moved on. Today we have a larger crew, much larger population of residents participating, and vastly larger portfolio of properties on which we address invasive species than just a few years ago. We have added critical, high-profile projects, such as albizia, little fire ant, and Rapid Ohia Death mitigation, and low-profile projects–those rapid response problems we’ve solved before you ever knew they were a problem. We have expanded while maintaining our original plant target species goals, and demonstrating steady progress. We have developed and firmly integrated the use of new technology to improve the efficiency of our day to day operations, including remote sensing, UAVs (drones), aerial video, custom apps loaded onto hand-held devices, and making use of remote video conferencing to save on travel money. When BIISC can gather sufficient data and resources, our approach to eradicating plants and pests is efficient and effective. Requested funds will support thirteen existing positions and one intern, leveraged with matching funds and partner projects. Our objectives in 2019: 1. To support Hawaii’s Biosecurity Program by providing ongoing active surveillance for new invasive species around the island, building proactive partnerships like the Plant Pono Nursery Endorsement, and working at ports of entry as part of the Mamalu Poe Poe Project (Early Detection). 2. To continuously improve and standardize our methods and the risk assessments used to prioritize our efforts on the island of Hawaii. 3. To respond rapidly to new outbreaks of high-risk plants, introduced wildlife (snakes, rabbits, deer…), and devastating diseases like ROD (Rapid Response). 4. To work steadily toward the eradication of nine naturalized, but still winnable, target pest species; and to mitigate the impacts of species, like LFA and Albizia, which cannot be eradicated, but can be managed by citizen networks (Eradication and Control). 5. To enhance the efficiency of our control efforts through use of appropriate partnerships and ground breaking technology. Specific tasks are discussed in the deliverables section below.

UH PCSU BIISC Control FY19 Final Report 

4. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Rapid Ohia Death/ROD Detection & Response

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $77,191

Abstract: The threat Rapid `Ohi`a Death (ROD) presents to the culture, watersheds and native ecosystems of Hawaii can hardly be overstated. `Ohi`a is not merely a tree in the forest, it is the tree in the forest, the dominant component of the canopy and comprising 50% of all trees on the island of Hawaii. Our native forest birds, invertebrates, understory plants, ferns and moss that capture mist and rain to recharge the watershed all rely on `Ohi`a for food, shelter, and structure. Our farms and drinking water in turn rely on that recharge, and the visitor appeal of our unique native biodiversity and viewscapes does as well. The ROD EDRR Team was formed at the BIISC to achieve three critical objectives of the 2016 ROD Strategic Response Plan: • Aerial surveys of new outbreaks and the progression of ROD four times per year; • Follow-up sampling to verify ROD presence in suspect trees; and • Testing and implementing rapid response actions to contain isolated ROD outbreaks. Responsibilities are clearly defined, and priorities are guided by the EDRR sub-Group and ROD Technical Working Group. The BIISC coordinates and carries out aerial surveys and mapping, now with the much-appreciated assistance of the DOFAW Service Forester, Bill Stormont. The BIISC manages the response on private lands, coordinating access for partners and for the science team. Public land managers focus on public lands, calling on the BIISC team for assistance when needed. All partners work together on very large outbreaks to ensure the jobs get done in a timely manner, for example both the DOFAW and the BIISC staff routinely work on major tree felling operations on public and private land. The BIISC team has averaged 1 week per month assisting the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park & the Kohala Watershed Partnership with survey & sampling needs until recently and the remainder responding to outbreaks on private lands. Recent volcanic activity has affected response in the Park, but has not interfered with work at priority sites north of Hilo. 2017-18 Accomplishments The ROD Team has surveyed 1.1 Mil acres each year by helicopter using Digital Sketch Mapping; Integrated UAVs to speed daily operations; Worked with WPs, PEPP, federal, state, and private partners to define priorities; Trained over 200 HDOT, County Highways, County and State Parks maintenance staff to decon vehicles and equipment; Sampled 500+ `ohi`a trees, documenting each sample using a custom hand-held app; Tested the use of a mobile genetics lab to test samples in remote field sites; Verified 7 new outbreaks in 4 districts; Worked with the science team to develop response actions tailored to each site; Drafted beetle monitoring SOP; culling over 200 infected trees in strategic locations. All tasks are ongoing. A top state-level priority has been to keep ROD, particularly Species A, or Ceratocystis lukuohia, from establishing in the northern parts of the island. ROD was detected in the Kohala Mts, this year, within 3 months of becoming visible to the human eye. This timely detection allowed the larger ROD Working Group to mount an all-out response, mapping, sampling, and studying this outbreak, as containment procedure were put into place. This site is in the direct path of Easterly winds that could blow infectious frass across the 18 miles channel to Maui, so curbing frass production by felling trees or eliminating beetles is a top priority. Kohala has its own unique and valuable native biodiversity, and watersheds feeding major beef and dairy production areas and Waimea Town that also require protection. Landowners were quick to comply and assist with response operations, ensuring cattle were removed from the site, and all available tools have been applied, as we seek new options to deal with this difficult site. Containment measures at the Waipunalei site have largely been implemented, with hundreds of trees felled and woodpiles treated to control beetle activity. These actions will limite the risk of transmission in a mauka direction, into some of the most highly valued ohia forest in the state. The ROD staff have an important role in disseminating up to date information, training stakeholders in sanitation, and developing procedural tools e.g. sanitation requirements for arborists, decision tools, standard operating procedures. The availability of these tools will become critical in the ROD response on the neighbor islands. This project is carried out by seven dedicated, full time staff, with management and outreach support. Staffing includes one ROD Coordinator, four crew members, two early detection technicians. Operations to date have been supported by equal portions of federal and state funds. DOFAW funds have been requested to support nearly 80% of project costs in 2019. Requested HISC funds will cover approximately 20% of personnel and 30% of non-labor costs to support the field team for one year.

UH PCSU BIISC ROD Detection FY19 Final Report 

5. Hawaii Ant Lab/HAL Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $226,544

Abstract: The Hawai`i Ant Lab is a point-of-contact for conservation agencies, the HISC and Island ISCs specifically, and members of the public on any matter involving identification and control of invasive ants. The HAL is developing a regional and global reputation as a center of excellence and cutting-edge research on biosecurity, pest ant management and ant taxonomy. Over the past 7 years, HAL has creatively used HISC funds to leverage additional grants and build a strong state and regional capacity for incursion and established pest management. Due to the nature of the HAL work program, it can be difficult to separate prevention, control and extension activities and thus a single proposal has been prepared. Daily services provided by the Hawai`i Ant Lab include the following: •Operates and maintains a 24/7 telephone contact service for members of the public. •Provides a diagnostic service to members of the public and other conservation agencies. •Develop, update and promote the www.littlefireants.com website. •Manages the HAL web-based discussion group, currently comprised of over 200 members. •Produces “fact sheets” providing practical advice to residents and industry. •Provides ongoing advice, expertise and assistance to island invasive species committees as needed. •Regular speaking engagements to associations and societies, public displays. •Conduct monthly training days for residents and industry groups. •Provides training in identification, awareness and control practices to other agencies such as island ISCs, Hawai’i Department of Agriculture and DLNR. •Manages new detections of LFA on neighbor islands, develops and implements eradication plans for these. •Prevent and mitigate infestations that threaten public safety or act as vectors for inter- and intra- island spread of invasive ants.

UH PCSU HAL Core FY19 Final Report 

6. Kauai Invasive Species Committee/KISC Core Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit,/PCSU $568,394

Abstract: The primary focus of this proposal is to base-fund the KISC staff, facilities, and fleet. KISC consists of a ten-member team that utilizes a range of strategies for prevention of the establishment of high-risk invasive species on Kauai. The proposed staff configuration provides excellent functional capacity to both eradicate incipient targets and efficiently detect new threats in cooperation with multiple partner organizations. To achieve Early Detection and Rapid Response goals several methods are employed concurrently. KISC’s Plant Early Detection Program systematically inventories, maps and evaluates potential impacts of early invaders island-wide and runs assessments to prioritize species with the largest invasive impact potential and highest feasibility of successful eradication. KISC field crew conducts rapid pest responses, control work, and assists with both aerial and ground monitoring surveys. KISC botanist conducts early detection surveys across neighborhoods, roadsides, hiking trails, agricultural lands, forests and nurseries to identify potential threats. A full-time outreach specialist leads a growing educational information program to enlist the Kauai population as an early detection resource, inspire volunteers, and run the “Plant Pono” endorsement program for landscapers and nurseries. The result is a well-known island-wide program at the forefront of invasive species management on Kauai. KISC partners with other conservation agencies, which increases our ability to utilize available resources and direct management actions to Kauai’s most needed areas. This is accomplished through a philosophy of assisting various agencies and groups who are more narrowly focused on jurisdictional directives, creating gaps in response capacity which KISC fills. In addition to controlling target species and evaluating early detection species for eradication, KISC maintains the capacity to rapidly respond to new introductions. KISC assists partners in the rapid response to potential coqui frogs, little fire ants, mongoose, coconut rhinoceros beetle, coffee berry borer, and various other species introductions. KISC is partnering with DOFAW in the rapid response and delimiting surveys for the recent detection of C. huliohia on Kauai. Contracting and collaborating with partner organizations to work on our early detection and rapid response targets increases KISC’s capacity across a larger geographical area. A key component of our early detection program is through partnership with the Kokee Resource Conservation Program. KRCP maintains a daily presence, through dozens of volunteers in the highland native forests that are too remote for efficient management utilizing KISC crews. KRCP will delimit and control high-impact species near high-value habitats that were prioritized in the 2018 KISC Early Detection Prioritization assessments. Helicopter Surveys are a critical component to miconia management in the Wailua Watershed. With recent discoveries of adult trees in the infested area, buffers have expanded to encompass over 7800 acres. We are requesting additional survey time to greatly increase monitoring based on kernel dispersion research supplied by Dr. James Leary (CTHAR). Aerial surveys will also be used to map the distribution of 2 target species and update their feasibility of eradication assessment. The KISC data tech is in training to become a certified UAS operator. The drone will replace some areas of helicopter reconnaissance to increase acreage covered by HBT and decrease costs for overall aerial surveillance. KISC has made significant changes to its data collection and database management program. KISC is transitioning to ArcGIS integrated with database management and embedded pivot tables to track real-time progress towards eradication and to evaluate potential new targets. Keeping collection equipment and computers up-to-date is critical for efficient and seamless operation. Training is important to keep staff skills relevant. Training and continuing education includes GIS certification, first aid/CPR, rope and chainsaw re-certification, pesticide application and other required RCUH trainings. Crews must maintain various certificates and comply with all RCUH SOPs. Conferences/meetings are also critical for keeping current with relevant science and collaborating with partners.

UH PCSU KISC Core FY19 Final Report 

7. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Detection & Control

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $655,172

Abstract: MISC and MoMISC work island‐wide on invasive species that pose the greatest risk to the islands’ economies, ecosystems, agriculture, and quality of life. The species selected for control are not adequately targeted by other state, federal or local agencies; thus filling a gap. The proposed work will address key HISC goals, strategies and priorities. The requested funding will maintain and improve early detection / rapid response capacity for a suite of at least of 39 different plant, vertebrate and invertebrate and plant pest species, including continued work on little fire ants. MISC also will participate in the rat lungworm disease working group formed by the Maui office of Hawaii Department of Health and Rapid Ohia Death Working Group(s). Field efforts will span more than 25,000 acres, by ground, air and road, in major watersheds, on private and public lands, and in rural, residential and remote locations, from the Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai to the summit of Haleakala. HISC funding will help retain 10 highly trained staff; facilitate aerial surveys; secure essential field supplies; allow travel to and from control sites; and operate field camps and baseyard stations. The need for continued and expanded funding is acute. Funding to date has not kept pace with the spread of existing infestations of coqui frogs and miconia on Maui. The core miconia infestation is becoming more dense each year; and coqui are spreading out of Maliko Gulch. Work on the immense infestation of little fire ants on Maui’s north shore has not been able to match the scale of the problem. More resources are urgently needed if these efforts are to succeed. The importance of the work is understood at the local level: Maui County support for invasive species efforts in FY19 is expected to be nearly $2.2 million. The 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 coqui frogs from 16 population centers on Maui and kept them off Molokai; implemented a coqui‐free certification process; reduced most little fire ant infestations to a monitoring phase; conducted early detection and rapid response activities across Maui County; and supported research for effective miconia biocontrol agents. Four current staff have attended multiple trainings on Guam for brown treesnake detection. The recent establishment and spread of rapid ohia death on Hawaii and Kauai Islands underscores the need for a flexible response team in Maui County. MISC has responded to a number of suspect-tree reports; helped launch the local ROD working group; and participates in development of island-based response and sanitation protocols. The ISCs’ work is guided by Committee subject-matter experts; many have volunteered their expertise to the projects for more than sixteen years. MISC and MoMISC will continue to collaborate with state, federal and local agencies, nonprofits, native Hawaiian organizations, community groups and individual members of the public. The proposed work is highly cost‐effective; economic studies estimate that annual costs associated with little fire ants could average more than $100 million annually just for Hawaii Island and that increased efforts now on miconia control would save millions over the years. The project offers an efficient approach to invasive species work in Maui County by consolidating fiscal and administrative functions in one office. MISC and MoMISC also facilitate other conservation work by partnering on joint field operations; serving in leadership roles on boards or conservation groups; and providing administrative oversight for other invasive species projects (statewide pest reporting and weed risk assessment).

UH PCSU MISC Control FY19 Final Report  

8. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Little Fire Ant/LFA Control Program

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $125,322

Abstract: Maui’s comprehensive little fire ant (LFA) identification and control strategy needs funding to address outbreaks of LFA, specifically for labor and helicopter time now that a new control option is available. The little fire ant was first detected on Maui in 2009. This species has the ability to greatly diminish agricultural productivity and reduce the quality of life in Hawaii. LFA reduces the overall vitality and productivity of crops and results in higher production costs as workers are stung. 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 the Big Island. In December 2013, a Maui flower grower found the ants in hapuu ferns purchased at a store on Maui. Since then, the ants have been detected at other sites on Maui, including infestations in Nahiku and Huelo. The Nahiku site is especially challenging as work needs to occur over at least 100 acres and the ants are moving along stream beds. The vegetation is dense, terrain challenging, and the area has a network of drainages running through it. The proposed project seeks to test the effectiveness of aerial applications on LFA. A special local needs label for Altosid has been approved. Altosid is an insect growth regulator commonly used to control mosquito larvae in water; it also can be applied aerially. It has the same active ingredient as Tango, which is the go-to insect growth regulator for the Hawaii Ant Lab (HAL). HAL staff support use of Altosid as an effective ant control agent, which poses little risk to the environment. Eight treatments of the Nahiku infestation are proposed. Eight is the typical number of treatments HAL and MISC staff conduct prior to reassessing an infestation and gauging impact of control efforts. Pre- and post-treatment surveys will be conducted to determine treatment efficacy. In addition to the proposed control work, MISC staff will conduct surveys, follow-up on new reports, and monitor the efficacy of treatments at other sites. Proposed work is highly cost‐effective, with a significant match from the County of Maui, expertise from HAL, and MISC staff on Maui dedicated to the project.

UH PCSU MISC LFA FY19 Final Report 

9. Oahu Invasive Species Committee/OISC Detection & Control

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $514,782

Abstract: OISC proposes to continue its successful program of island-wide surveys and control to ecosystem-altering invasive plants, rapid response to emerging invasive species and outreach to the public. The OISC steering committee has prioritized 7 incipient invasive plants for their ability to replace native ʻōhiʻa forest and damage the watershed’s ability to replenish the aquifer. OISC will conduct surveys and control for the following plant species assessed as high risk by the Hawaiʻi Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (WRA): Miconia, a watershed-destroying tree (WRA=14); devil weed, a vine-like shrub that is toxic to livestock and humans and may promote wildfire (WRA=28); Himalayan blackberry, a thorny vine that smothers native forest (WRA=24); Cane ti, a shrub that smothers native plants in high elevation forest (WRA=24); Cape ivy, a smothering vine that threatens dry and mesic forests (WRA=14); and glory bush, an ornamental woody vine (WRA=10). In support of HISC funding priorities 3 and 5, the goal for all these plant species is island-wide eradication. OISC will also participate in interagency operations in Waiʻanae Kai for fountain grass (WRA=26), a fire promoting invasive grass. OISC will continue to use Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) in its miconia operations in cooperation with UH-CTHAR. These activities support Funding Priority 7. OISC prioritized the species above based on the threat they pose to the forests that help replenish Oʻahu’s water. OISC’s strategy of eradicating invasive plants before they establish protects vast tracts of conservation areas from species that have caused significant damage elsewhere. The goal of islandwide eradication is impossible without acquiring permission from landowners to survey private property. In 2017, OISC had to acquire permission from 805 property owners in order to facilitate surveys. Working with so many landowners also helps us to cultivate a locally engaged and supportive community in support of HISC funding priority 9. OISC will continue to work with partners to conduct early detection and rapid response for Little Fire Ant (LFA) Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB), Coqui Frog and the two fungal pathogens that cause Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD). ROD has not yet been detected on Oʻahu and LFA, CRB and Coqui Frog are not widely established. Early detection surveys are necessary in order to find these species while their geographic footprint is small enough to remain eradicable. These activities support Funding Priority 3 and are similar to suggested projects (a) and (b). OISC will work with HDOA and the Hawaiʻi Ant Lab to conduct early detection surveys at high-risk sites for LFA, a tiny stinging ant that is established on Hawaiʻi Island. OISC will also assist with treatment operations when LFA is found and keep former treatment sites clear of vegetation for monitoring. OISC assists HDOA as requested to respond to public reports of coqui frog and assist with control. OISC will continue to work with the ROD Advisory Group to conduct early detection surveys on Oʻahu similar to Funding Priority 3, suggested projects (a) and (c) and Funding Priority 7. OISC will utilize Digital Mobile Sketch Mapping technology to rapidly assess all ʻōhiʻa forest from the air. Using this method, the OISC crew can quickly check for signs of ROD island-wide. OISC will sample symptomatic trees found on the aerial survey that can be reached by foot and dead ʻōhiʻa reported by the public. If a sample is positive, OISC will work with the ROD science team to mount a response. 

UH PCSU OISC Core FY19 Final Report 

10. Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership/KMWP Incipient Albizia Control in Priority Watersheds

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $19,384

Abstract: Falcataria moluccana (albizia) was planted as a reforestation tree starting in 1917 and has come to dominate significant portions of O’ahu’s low-elevation forest (e.g. Mānoa, Kāneʻohe, Maunawili, Waikane). It is now infiltrating and becoming established in priority watershed areas and intact native forests at higher elevations. Waiawa Management Units (MUs). The threat from this species is extremely high, and it is recommended that it be addressed as soon as possible. A major concern is that mature albizia trees dramatically change the forest ecology by altering understory light profile and nitrogen levels within the soil. The longer the trees remain unchecked, the greater the risk of the native vegetation being negatively affected by both dense shade and albizia recruitment, and recruitment of other nitrogen loving invasive species like strawberry guava. Further reducing the likelihood of full recovery. As this species produces a large dense canopy, the presence of albizia in an area can also reduce the effectiveness of of aerial surveys for other priority early detection species such as Miconia. Shade tolerant species like miconia thrive in the high nitrogen environment created by a stand of albizia and can remain undetected below the canopy. For these multiple reasons, albizia control within the Waiawa Management Unit (MU) is a high priority for KMWP. The Waiawa MU is an approximately 1,500 acrearea that will be one of the next fenced units for KMWP. Waiawa is dominated by native wet forest and is high priority 1 watershed that feeds into the Pearl Harbor Aquifer, where Oahu get the majority of its fresh water. Active management of priority weeds by KMWP in this MUs is underway however further funding is needed. Mature albizia are currently found in incipient numbers across the MU.(~35 mature trees per unit). Although target numbers are relatively low , the effort required to control individual trees is high. Access to target trees will require helicopter flights into the area and up to a full day to traverse across dense, steep terrain. Though the initial effort to control these incipient trees will be relatively substantial, it is insignificant when compared to the future control costs associated with attempting to control a robust and dominant albizia population. KMWP proposes to: 1) Compile data from previous ground surveys and analyze high resolution aerial imagery to produce accurate distribution maps of F. moluccana in the Waiawa Management Unit. 2) Develop a control and implementation strategy to determining the most efficient routes to access F. moluccana taking into account topography, and proximity to landing zones (LZs). 3) Conduct chemical treatment of accessible trees using best-use practices. 4) All data from survey and control activities will be maintained in the KMWP relational database. 5) Conduct on the ground surveys for additional albizia trees during control activities.

UH CTAHR KMWP Albizia FY19 Final Report 

OUTREACH

11. Big Island Invasive Species Committee/BIISC Public Engagement

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $166,536

Abstract: Public outreach for any public service program has several objectives. We must educate the public to achieve general, baseline knowledge about and concern for our issues (i.e. environmental education). We must promote our program so that people are aware that effective services are available and are in need of financial and volunteer support or advocacy (public relations). And we must regularly alert target audiences to hot issues requiring their response (urgent actions). To achieve our vision of an island that is no longer at risk from invasive species, and to contribute meaningfully to the goals of the HISC and the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan, BIISC must go beyond sharing invasive species information, by creating an engaged and actively supportive community. We must provide specific motivation and training so that citizens can team up to take on some of the burden of invasive species control for which government services lack capacity. We must convince residents to open their properties for inspection and control work, to relinquish their exotic ornamental plants, and to contact authorities when they see something strange. We sometimes must ask them to set aside deeply held beliefs about the sanctity of living things, or the toxicity of pesticides, to make exceptions in a few urgent cases. We must work with farmers and nursery operators, and with their customers, to change attitudes and behaviors from those that put our environment, economy, or way of life at risk, to behaviors that actively protect the things we value. All of this requires the long-term, personal relationships and a significant amount of trust. In 2019 we seek support for four existing BIISC positions to continue our public engagement programs in direct support of Hawaii’s Interagency Biosecurity Plan. • We will continue to develop networks of citizen scientists through our local action teams and citizen/business partners to help with detection of invasive species. In the past years members have reported new eradication targets, convinced recalcitrant landowners to give up their high risk plants, and reported escaped injurious wildlife-in addition to being a member of a specific inv. spec. action team! • We will continue to provide assistance to community volunteer groups working to control invasive species. In 2018 we had 30 active groups controlling little fire ants and two actively controlling albizia. We are always adding new teams, with substantial private funding. • We will continue to develop high quality, multi-media learning materials and distribute them island-wide. • We will write best management practices to control invasive species that agencies and private individuals can follow to take action on their lands. This includes a new project to test and publicize readily-available herbicide treatments for 10 common, very-high-impact weeds affecting residents on Hawaii Island. Working with the BIISC Early Detection Team, this project will address a critical gap for weed experts across the state: the products and treatments used by experts may only be legal in natural areas. If these products are unavailable to, or illegal for use by residents, the experts are unable to recommend a product for the most common problem species when residents ask (and they often ask)! Results will be posted on our website. • We will continue to support the HEEA in disseminating a standards-based, 3-credit, professional development program for Hawaii teachers, written by Franny Brewer and Melora Purell and delivered annually since 2016. • We will continue to promote and expand the Plant Pono Business Endorsement program, which currently has 21 endorsed businesses, including ALL small retail businesses in West Hawaii and all but one in East Hawaii. We will specifically target landscape businesses and our largest retailers (Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowes) in 2019. • BIISC will continue to implement our unique neighborhood strategy to reduce the population size, limit spread, and minimize impacts of Little Fire Ants, with emphasis moving to the west side of the island, through the LFA Hui. • BIISC will continue to amplify media stories highlighting biosecurity successes and promote the biosecurity plan’s action items through our substantial social media audience. • Biocontrol: BIISC will work with DOFAW and USDA on communications related to the compliance process for the release of two biocontrol agents, and more generally to advance the acceptance of biocontrol as a tool for conservation and environmental sustainability in Hawaii. This work is currently underway. Proposed work is supported by BIISC’s strategic plan (2018-2023), developed and approved by our steering committee of 12 county, state and federal agencies and community partners. When we say ‘BIISC will’ or ‘BIISC has accomplished’ we sincerely mean “BIISC” in the broadest possible sense, including all of our community partners, funders, and supporters.

UH PCSU BIISC Outreach FY19 Final Report 

12. Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species/CGAPS Project/Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $62,000

Abstract: Formed in 1995, the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) brings federal and state agencies and organizations together to promote communication and collaborative action to close the gaps in Hawai’i’s invasive species programs. Today, the CGAPS mission is to coordinate and catalyze action among government and non-government partners to prevent and manage invasive species in Hawaiʻi, as well as communicate key issues to the public. CGAPS currently has a staff of three (two legal fellows that focus on strengthening invasive species prevention policies and rules, and the CGAPS Project/Outreach Coordinator (herein CGAPS PIO) to support priorities laid out in the 2015-2019 CGAPS Strategic Plan: (http://www.cgaps.org/action-plan/). The Plan was crafted in tandem with the HISC Strategic Plan, and each highlight the strengths of the other in addressing the complex problem of invasive species. The CGAPS PIO serves as a central, statewide coordinator and planner for invasive species outreach through the CGAPS partnership itself, but also as the chair pro tempore of the HISC Public Outreach Working Group, chair of the LFA Outreach Working Group, part of the core ROD outreach team, coordinator of the Plant Pono website (which houses the Hawaiʻi Pacific Weed Risk Assessment results), and other roles. The budget proposed in this grant is reflective of some of the shared goals and needs of island-based outreach specialists and participants of these working groups, the Hawaiʻi Interagency Biosecurity Plan, and the strategic plans of HISC and CGAPS. 1. HISC funds are requested for two months of payroll and core operating support for the CGAPS PIO, the support of which is shared by multiple agencies. Beyond existing CGAPS work, the PIO is working on the distribution and broadcast phase of a ROD documentary, working with a contractor to conduct focus groups to explore attitudes towards invasive species control technologies (particularly novel control techniques for mosquitoes) and is assisting DAR in addressing biofouling. 2. Funds would also be used for hourly support for database and website work for the Plant Pono website and databases, housed on UH Maui servers and managed by CGAPS with help from the HPWRA Screener Chuck Chimera, BIISC and KISC. In 2018 the website was hacked and had to be taken offline. An assessment by database support staff (UH Maui and Hawaiʻi Basin Information Node) found several possible entry points and the website will need to be re-designed. These funds will provide support for added time to assist in this breach and in helping a contractor link a new website to the existing HPWRA database. 3. The discovery of the ROD pathogen on Kauaʻi has triggered the use of ROD Emergency Response funds from Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation, which will support the establishment of a ROD Outreach position on Kauaʻi and six months of payroll and operating funds. It is possible that DLNR or other funds will be allocated to support the remaining six months for this position, although it isn’t clear at this time. DLNR as the lead agency does not currently have an outreach staff on Kauaʻi, and although KISC recently hired an outreach person, an additional staff person is needed to conduct strategic outreach, receive reports and coordinate sampling of suspect trees. 4. HISC funds would also support CGAPS work aimed at raising public awareness of little fire ants (LFA) and other priority pests. This includes coordinating the annual Stop the Ant Month campaign with radio broadcast time in each county, and outreach to schools and the public to get residents to survey for and submit ant samples. 5. The HISC and CGAPS Strategic Plans and the Interagency Biosecurity Plan all call for professional communications help. Therefore, funds are also sought to contract professional communications help for messages such as, “don’t pack a pest”, “plant pono”, and “report a pest” (643-PEST and 643pest.org). While the typical cost for professional communications is quite high and there is a need for a consistent and prolonged campaign, the funds sought could potentially be a good start.

UH PCSU CGAPS Outreach FY19 Final Report 

13. Kauai Invasive Species Committee/KISC Outreach

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $84,042

Abstract: KISC targets a variety of incipient invasive plants, animals, insects, and pathogens. Control efforts require access from a variety of landowners including: private, corporate, and government. Community collaboration is essential in the detection, prevention and control of target and early detection invasive species. Creating educational programs that are both thorough and appropriate for specific age groups is KISC’s over-arching goal. With public awareness, KISC’s priority and early detection species will be more likely recognized and reported, resulting in earlier detection of new populations and incipient pests. Funding from HISC enables KISC to continue to carry out these programs and goals. New partnerships within the community are developed throughout the year. Creating new, interesting, and innovative approaches for messaging helps to keep audiences engaged and also serves to attract new interest from those who are unfamiliar with these issues. KISC’s successful Pono Endorsement and Guardian of the Garden Isle Membership programs allow effective education of residents and visitors about KISC’s mission and projects, impacts of invasive species, identification of current priority species, and tangible actions to help reduce the spread of invasive pests. The first goal of the these programs is to mitigate the spread of invasive species at the source of the invasion by a community-based voluntary programs that encourage and promote collaboration among government agencies, the conservation partners, the landscaping and nursery industry, and Kauai consumers. The second goal, of equal priority, is to raise the awareness of targeted stakeholders on the threats posed by invasive species and provide resources for them to actively prevent the spread of new and established invasive species. Targeted stakeholders include nurseries, landscapers, hotels, landscape architects, cut flower industry, growers, conservation partners, hikers, hunters, and Kauai consumers. HISC funding will allow KISC to conduct educational workshops and train citizen scientists to help detect invasive species. Workshops are intended to train participants on early detection species identification, HPWRA, non-invasive alternatives, reporting resources, Best Management Practices (BMP) and decontamination protocols. A plant identification and pest prevention guide will be provided as a resource that complements the training and highlights key species for identification and reporting as well as provides resources such as protocols for cleaning their gear/shoes/dogs. Cleaning gear ensures that potentially invasive seeds or other pests will not track to different parts of the island. With community participation, the introduction of new invasive species can be prevented. New educational materials on Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) will be prioritized, including ohia’s cultural and ecosystem importance, as well as decontamination protocols to mitigate the spread on Kauai. A new communications and outreach effort will be launched to increase public awareness and support work to respond to the newly-detection on Kauai. Funding will provide salary for the positions needed to implement and maintain the programs. Educational (e.g. Plant ID guide, pest prevention guide, BMP resources) and promotional (e.g. decals, tri-fold brochure) materials are essential for the island-wide success of the program. KISC maintains awareness about current invasive species that may arrive from neighbor islands through communication with other ISCs and conservation groups throughout the state. Workshops and educational materials are continually updated with information on new species of concern. For example: Educational material on the human health risks associated with rat lungworm disease and the available mitigating actions are now included the workshops and displays. KISC has a well-established outreach program involving the local community, schools, partners, and various businesses and agencies. KISC will continue to educate the community at large with displays and messages at various venues (e.g. fairs, libraries, resorts). Science-based invasive species activities will continue to be developed and implemented for school students (e.g. Little Fire Ant school testing activities). KISC will continue to reach a wide range of audiences with social networking sites. KISC will also continue to maintain and update our informative website. Professional quality newsletters and blogs will be published through out the year. Educational material (e.g. pest alerts, posters, brochures) and promotional branding items are essential for the island-wide success of the KISC outreach programs and goals. KISC is a part of the Kauai Rose Ring Parakeet working group and Kauai Rapid Ohia Death Advisory Group and has been tasked with providing outreach material and presentations to key stakeholders.

UH PCSU KISC Outreach FY19 Final Report 

14. Maui Invasive Species Committee/MISC Outreach & Education

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $81,699

Abstract: Over the last nineteen years, MISC and MoMISC have developed robust and effective ways to educate and engage the public about invasive species. Public awareness inspires people to report suspect plants and animals and encourages landowners to allow access to private property for survey and control actions. An educated public helps generate support for funding. The ISCs will address goals, strategies and priorities of the HISC Strategic Plan and state biosecurity plan. This will include: statewide coordination through the HISC outreach working group; engagement of a broad range of stakeholders with year-round activities in the community; and culturally relevant and inclusive activities. Approaches will include: print and broadcast media; newsletters; maintenance of websites; classroom visits and teacher workshops; responding to public inquiries; and strengthening ties with the landscape industry. The proposed work includes aggressive outreach campaigns about rapid ohia death and rat lungworm disease for Maui County. Stakeholder behaviors will be addressed using the techniques developed in community-based social marketing; proposed projects involve work with the community immediately affected by coqui frogs, and the landscape and hotel/resort community. The ISCs’ outreach program is cost effective. MoMISC’s exceptional community reach has helped prevent establishment of coqui frogs and little fire ants on Molokai by surveying new plant arrivals. On Maui, early detection of little fire ant locations has helped avoid more costly work in the future, and public pressure has helped overcome landowner resistance to control efforts. The projects have a high likelihood of success as outlined above. Staff are exceptionally knowledgeable about the impacts, context and options for controlling invasive species; outreach staff has more than ten years’ experience working at MISC. The proposed project is relevant to multiple sectors. The three-partner collaborative approach to conservation tour-guide training continues to grow in demand. MISC was the first entity chosen for a pilot internship program funded by Hauoli Maui Loa foundation. Maui’s master gardeners are working with outreach staff, and the annual Malama i Ka Aina award has become a coveted recognition within the landscape community. The monthly column in the Maui News tackles the full suite of invasive species issues including health, agriculture, tourism and natural resources. MISC staff have had the opportunity to work closely with the developers of community-based social marketing on projects involving the landscape industry.

UH PCSU MISC Outreach FY19 Final Report 

15. Oahu Invasive Species Committee/OISC Outreach

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $125,322

Abstract: The Hawaiʻi Interagency Biosecurity Plan identifies an engaged and supportive community as key to the plan’s successful implementation. This proposal will support HISC funding priorities 8 and 9 to create engaged and supportive communities locally and statewide. Funds will provide OISC staff salaries and supplies to disseminate information about invasive species to Oʻahu residents that live, work and recreate where OISC target species may occur. OISC will also participate in statewide outreach initiatives including the statewide Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death outreach working group, the HISC Public Outreach Working Group (POWG), Spot the Ant, Stop the Ant month and Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. With HISC funds, OISC will engage the public through tabling events, published articles, community presentations, school visits, media appearances, volunteer events and social media. OISC’s priority messages are: Healthy forests are necessary for an abundant water supply; plant native or non-invasive plants; buy local, clean gear between hikes and outdoor activities; declare all produce, plants and seeds you may be bringing into the state; don’t release your pets and report suspect pests to the statewide pest hotline. OISC will also distribute Little Fire Ant (LFA) testing kits to the general public and to students through classroom presentations.

UH PCSU OISC Outreach FY19 Final Report 

RESEARCH

16. Building Research Capacity to Support IS Plant Management

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $134,000

Abstract: The mission of this project is to make progress in management research and application technology of invasive plant species in Hawaii. We propose three objectives to support better strategy, tactics and technique. 1. Develop bioeconomic models for deploying HBT operations in the East Maui Watershed (EMW) This is a progression from FY18 to develop spatially explicit bioeconomic map layers depicting optimal management strategies. Bioeconomic modeling measures dynamic population trends dictated by management (harvest) intensity, in concert with the biological constraints of the species and habitat. For invasive species management, it is essential to predict how populations migrate over space and time to determine optimal counter measures and sustainable control strategies. Utilizing empirical data layers from the East Maui Watershed, we’ve developed models depicting the spatio-temporal impact (e.g., dispersal, persistence and recruitment) of a satellite miconia, management efforts to detect and eliminate miconia and the limits of suitable habitat for miconia. Combined, these models can inform management as a decision-support platform prioritizing tactics to generate the most sustainable, cost-effective outcomes. These products are currently undergoing scientific peer review or are in preparation. In FY19, this project will develop a bioeconomic model with space and time elements to miconia management priorities in the EMW informed by: (i) biological impact (ii) management translating into protection (iii) habitat suitability delimiting the total area of interest and (iv) valuated watershed assets. Each of these layers will be translated into a normalized probability surfaces at pixel-scale resolution. These layers combined will establish an approach to calculate cost-effectiveness prioritizing protection of the highest-valued assets by locally eradicating satellite miconia deemed the most imminent threats with optimal intervention schedules. Scientifically, we will be conducting risk analyses to reduce uncertainties in the model parameters building a more robust tactical platform. We will also start to explore opportunity cost projections based on decisions to prioritize allocation of limited management resources that will result in local infestation in areas below the value threshold. 2. Develop sUAS as an invasive species management platform In FY18, we received FAA permission to dispense economic poisons from sUAS. The next step will be to secure an agricultural aircraft operator certificate, via examination by the Honolulu Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) review and inspection of documentation (e.g., SOPs, maintenance records, etc.), aircraft, personnel (i.e., skills test), and facilities. With this certification, we will develop and calibrate the utilities of the DJI Agras MG-1S as a pest management platform on several invasive species of interest. These procedures will be incorporated into the training curriculum and operations manual for aerial pesticide applicators. Finally, we will coordinate with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture Pesticide Branch, to host a remote pilot aerial pesticide applicator workshop with hands-on training in flight planning, calibration, operations, maintenance, and record keeping. This will also include a pilot skills test mandated by 14CFR§137.

UH CTAHR IS Plant Management Research FY19 Final Report 

17. Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle/CRB Detection & Response

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

Abstract: The multiagency program responding to an incipient population of coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) on Oahu is one of the largest in Hawaii’s history. A primary funder of this program is the USDA’s Farm Bill, however these funds have restrictions in certain budget categories. In previous years, HISC has provided critical funding, particularly for these restricted budget categories. Local or state-level funding such as HISC further demonstrates the need for this response program to our federal partners and encourages their continued support. Several avenues of applied research and have been identified that would benefit the response program, but may not be appropriate for other funding programs such as Farm Bill. These applied research and response objectives constitute the majority of this proposal. OBJECTIVE 1. MAINTAIN THE CRB COLONY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII. An arthropod containment laboratory was previously established at the University of Hawaii partially with HISC funds. The purpose of this facility is to produce CRB life stages for researchers in Hawaii and overseas to study CRB control and detection methods, as well as behavior. This facility is the core requirement for all current and future CRB research activities. Specimens from this colony have been used by three research laboratories in Hawaii, and one research laboratory on the US Mainland. Specimens are also requested both locally, nationally, and internationally for education and outreach programs. Funding is requested to maintain this colony and ensure all procedures and safeguards are in place to comply with the HDOA CRB possession permit and the standard operating procedures developed for this facility. OBJECTIVE 2. FIELD-EVALUATE CULTURAL METHODS FOR ELIMINATING CRB LARVAE AND/OR BREEDING SITES. We have recently developed methods in the laboratory that may have an impact on the ability of CRB larvae to survive or properly develop in breeding sites. These methods need to be evaluated in the field as part of an integrated management strategy. Methods include 1) the use of Epsom and other salts or fertilizers to promote plant root growth and inhibit larval development, 2) the use of solarization to elevate breeding site materials to temperatures lethal to CRB, and 3) incineration of infested (or potentially infested) breeding material. OBJECTIVE 3. DEPLOY SMART TRAPS AND CONTROLLED BREEDING SITES. In the previous year, we and our partners of developed a new stainless steel trap accommodating a large amount of compost and other attractant material, on the theory that CRB tend to aggregate based on pheromones or other signaling. We have also have started testing the lighting preferences of CRB using a field-deployable lighting device that can illuminate any of 6 different wavelength LEDs with programmable modulation and diurnal cycles, with extensive testing especially on Guam with significantly larger populations of CRB. Finally we have been developing an embedded system with a condenser microphone array and imaging sensor to enable the automated detection and reporting of CRB in or near traps. For the upcoming year, we propose to integrate these systems to evaluate the hypothesis that larger traps can be effective for promoting the aggregation of CRB to provide more effective control especially in areas where heavy management of alternative breeding sites has been practiced, and to prevent the spread of foraging adults to new areas with more attractive nesting sites. We will weatherproof the embedded surveillance system and operate it with photovoltaic panel and battery to operate continuously in the field, communicating through WiFi if available or slow data rate satellite modem for simple binary alerts where WiFi is not available. We will accumulate image and acoustic data from the system to integrate into improved algorithms for effective discrimination of CRB from other events. Finally, we will attempt to improve the efficacy of the trap by using lighting schemes and potential chemical attractants identified by collaborators at USDA-APHIS and Guam Department of Agriculture. We are also requesting funds for miscellaneous expenses that are not appropriate for other funding sources. These expenses include the maintenance of vehicles used in the CRB response effort (these vehicles were previously purchased with CRB funds), and phone and data plans for electronic devices (phones and tablets) used by staff for both safety purposes and data collection.

UH CTAHR CRB Detection & Response FY19 Final Report 

18. Hydrogel Ant Bait Development, Year 2

UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources/CTAHR, $55,000

Abstract: An absence of practical methods for controlling invasive ants that are primarily attracted to sweet liquid foods has been a persistent problem. In contrast to species like fire ants and big-headed ants, that are attracted to oils and are well-controlled with granular baits, sugar-loving species are typically best controlled with sugar water-based baits dispensed in bait stations. In natural or agricultural landscape settings, deployment of numerous bait stations quickly becomes extremely laborious, costly, and in most cases prohibitive. Unfortunately, several of the most destructive established ant species in Hawaii belong to this sugar-loving group, including species that invade and impact natural areas, like the Argentine ant, yellow crazy ant and glaber ant, as well as urban and agricultural pests like white-footed ants and the odorous house ant. In addition, some worrisome new threats, like the tawny crazy ant currently invading the US mainland, belong to this group. A recent advance has employed polyacrylamide crystals, or hydrogels, to convert liquid baits into an easily dispersed granular form. These hydrogels, used as soil amendments in horticultural and forestry applications, absorb many times their weight in water and then slowly release it as they dry. They also absorb water containing dissolved sugar and pesticides, which ants can imbibe directly from the dispersed granules. This approach is being used experimentally in attempts to eradicate Argentine ants in the California Channel Islands and yellow crazy ants at Johnston Atoll. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) also has water-absorbing properties, but has the advantage of being biodegradable, and showed promising results in initial testing at Johnston Atoll. Another biodegradable water-absorbing medium based on alginate was recently developed at UC Riverside. These media, which I refer to collectively as water-storing granules (WSG), represent a promising new tool for invasive ant control in Hawaii. However, no commercial pesticides are yet labelled for this use pattern, and a variety of questions need to be addressed to develop this as a usable approach in Hawaii. This includes non-target risks as well as standard attractiveness and efficacy trials. HISC funded an initial year of research in FY18 to begin addressing these questions. In the first year of this project (FY18), I am focusing on several initial aspects. First, I am investigating risk of direct consumption of baits by non-target pollinating insects and by native ground-foraging birds. This is being accomplished with two approaches: 1) video recording of sugar-water laden WSG (without pesticides) at field sites with active pollinators and native shore birds to observe visitors to the granules, and 2) broadcasting WSG spiked with a protein marker in field plots, and subsequently testing for presence of the marker in pollinators sampled from the plots. In a second component, I am conducting ant bait preference and repellency trials with the three different WSG types (polyacrylamide, TVP, alginate) and pesticides of interest (thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and indoxacarb) on two target ant species (yellow crazy ant and Argentine ant), and testing the water-retention performance of the three WSG types. Third, I will conduct initial efficacy screening of the most attractive WSG and pesticide combinations for the two target ant species in 25 x 25 m plots. I propose to build on this work with a second year of funding for the project in FY19, focusing on additional efficacy testing and investigation of secondary non-target risks of this tool. Promising formulations of WSG types and pesticide types, as determined in year 1 studies, will be tested for effectiveness against the two target ant species in 50 x 50 m plots. These follow-on efficacy tests will provide additional, larger-scale assessments of ant-reduction performance, and will aim to determine lowest effective application rates. Concurrently, I will test for pesticide residues that may lead to secondary exposure for pollinators or other insects, such as in soil, plant pollen or plant nectar. Two of the pesticides of interest (thiamethoxam and dinotefuran) belong to the neonicotinoid class of chemicals, which have been shown to be absorbed by plants and expressed in their tissues under certain use patterns, such as commercial agriculture. This work will be conducted in collaboration with the lab of Dr. Qing Li at UH. Work involving Argentine ants is being conducted at Haleakala National Park; work involving yellow crazy ants and non-target risks is being conducted at James Campbell Wildlife Refuge, Kaena Point NAR, and Ka Iwi State Park. Additional year 2 work should also be possible at these sites. The end goal is to obtain a Special Local Need label for WSG use for effective and safe pesticides. I have had favorable discussions on this topic with representatives of Syngenta, which holds the patents for thiamethoxam and indoxacarb.

UH CTAHR Hydrogel Ant Bait Development Y2 FY19 Final Report 

19. Hawaii Alien Plant Informatics Project, Year 2

UH Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $33,753

Abstract: Alien plants represent a large component of Hawaii’s vegetation, with known naturalized (wild-growing alien) plants comprising over 50% of species and occupying about 63% of Hawaii’s land area. In addition, more than 10,000 cultivated species have been recorded. Numerous experts have contributed to our ability to identify and record many species as naturalized for each island, but science-based criteria to sort and track species according to their specific invasion status is lacking despite the essential need for coordination between botanists and resource managers. For instance, the terms “adventive”, “naturalized” and “invasive” are inconsistently used and island-wide eradications are not tracked, presenting a communication challenge with potentially large consequences. Furthermore, taxonomically robust species lists are not combined with information on invasion risk or finer-scale distribution data. This lack of understanding thwarts answers to our most important questions, including: which species can we still prevent from crossing borders? Which species should be prioritized for eradication? For which well-established species should we develop long-term management strategies (e.g. biocontrol)? Luckily, a more detailed picture of alien plant distribution and behavior can be discerned from decades of herbaria vouchers and field data collected by numerous organizations and individuals. However, these data were (and still are) collected using disparate methods and are housed in multiple places. Thus, a synthesis of alien plant data and creation of statewide data infrastructure are urgently needed to better inform alien plant management through increased and integrated data accessibility. Funds will support Year 2 of a 3-year PhD biodiversity informatics project that will compile alien plant information into a data portal designed with Hawaii’s managers/researchers in mind. This project has been discussed with managers from KISC, BIISC, OISC, MISC, CGAPS and scientists from UH-CTAHR, HPWRA, Bishop Museum and NTBG, who agree that a data portal would be a strong tool to identify important trends in alien plant invasions and facilitate decision-making for efficient control and eradication of harmful invaders. Subsequently, the data portal will be used to assess 1) alien plant diversity and distribution, including latent sources of infestation statewide and potentially eradicable species, 2) floristic homogenization trends across the archipelago, including spatial relation to high value native habitats, and 3) drivers of alien plant distribution in Hawaii. Year 1 (In progress): 1) Synthesize data from invasive species groups, herbaria, HPWRAs, species checklists, offshore/incipient lists and forestry records. 2) Gather interagency feedback to identify data needs. 3) Use analyses to find anomalous herbarium records (e.g. outside known range, possible misidentification) and verify suspect naturalization records. 4) Publish a collaborative guiding document using peer-reviewed criteria to define terminology and status designations when reporting new species records. 5) Assign a status for each alien species according to available data. Year 2 (FY19 request): 1) Continue to amend records and mine ecological and geographical data from non-digitized vouchers. 2) Conduct analyses of combined data to identify sampling bias and little-known but high risk areas for incipient invasion. 3) Execute targeted field surveys and/or collaborate with on-island specialists to fill knowledge gaps and verify the status and distribution of select species (with emphasis on new invaders). 4) Incorporate new data and adjust species’ statuses. Year 3 (FY20 request): 1) Perform diversity and geospatial analyses to address research questions 1-3 (above). 2) Finalize the framework and launch the data portal on a UH server for a trial period. 3) Develop a long-term data portal maintenance and transfer plan with interagency support. KISC’s 2015 – 2018 early detection program acted as a prototype for these methods. It identified >40 new naturalized records, 14 species for KISC’s Pono Nursery Endorsement phase-out list, and 43 potentially eradicable species to prioritize based on invasive impacts and feasibility. A data portal will provide a powerful tool to access and query interconnected data. Although an initial investment is required, this project builds infrastructure allowing natural resource managers to make data driven decisions over the long term and more easily collaborate on statewide issues. Open source software can reduce the long term costs of storage, licensing and management for continuous updates and streamline data-sharing, particularly with herbaria digitization programs to ensure accurate species identifications alongside distribution data. This project will provide a rigorous data assessment to inform management decisions, providing insight into plans for a unified inter-island data strategy.

UH PCSU Hawaii Alien Plant Informatics Y2 FY19 Final Report 

20. Mongoose Toxicant Efficacy Trial

USDA, National Wildlife Research Center, Hawaii Field Station, $18,414

Abstract: Small Indian mongooses (Herpestes auropunctatus), originally introduced to Hawaii for rat control in sugarcane fields in the 1890s, are serious predators of native wetland, seabird and upland forest avian species in the Hawaiian islands, as well as in other introduction sites worldwide. Mongooses are well established across most of the main Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii, Oahu, Maui and Molokai) where they pose a threat to the eggs and nestlings of native ground-nesting birds. The island of Kauai harbors critical bird habitat that is currently thought to be free from the threat of mongoose predation. However, a road-killed lactating adult female mongoose was found on the island of Kauai in 1976 with numerous sighting reports over the past few decades throughout the island. Multiple sightings in early 2012 resulted in the capture of two adult mongooses near Nawiliwili and Lihue, Kauai in May 2012. An additional adult male mongoose was captured at the Lihue air cargo facility in October 2016. The threat of accidental or intentional introductions to other mongoose-free islands in the Hawaiian chain and other Pacific locations highlights the need for a comprehensive menu of control techniques, including attractive and palatable baits and effective toxicants, to quickly respond to reported sightings or incipient mongoose populations under a diversity of scenarios. Mongooses also present a health risk to humans as hosts of leptospirosis in Hawaii and the Caribbean, and as a rabies reservoir on several islands in the Caribbean. Hawaii has the highest prevalence of leptospirosis in humans requiring medical treatment in the United States. The high populations (up to 5.7/ha) of mongooses and their habitation near abundant streams and ponds used for recreational activities is likely a significant route of transmission of the bacteria from mongooses to humans. Prevalence of leptospirosis in mongooses has been estimated at 18.4% in some areas of Hawaii, compared with up to 26.7% for some rodent species. Eradication of introduced mammals is a powerful conservation tool, however mongoose eradication has been attempted only on few occasions and with limited success. A known total of eight eradication campaigns and many control campaigns have been conducted to remove or reduce island mongoose populations. However, even with their limited scope, these attempts probably prevented further declines or even extirpations of native species. Very few teams have the technical expertise to remove mongoose successfully, even from small islands. Such lack of expertise is reflected by past failures and little progress beyond local trapping control programs. In Hawaii, live-traps (Tomahawk) and registered (SLN No. HI-980005) diphacinone (50 ppm) wax baits (applied within bait stations) are employed. However, these methods have been less successful in areas with low mongoose density or high alternate prey density. USDA NWRC Hawaii Field Station researchers have previously completed field studies evaluating various potential lures, attractants, and bait types. Mongooses in this study foraged over a wide area (mean home range estimates were 21.9 and 28.8 ha at two study sites) and readily investigated the various novel food baits, including fish, beef and egg-baited stations with revisits over multiple days. However, long lasting lure and palatable bait still needs to be developed and trialed in the field. Additionally, 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. Based on these findings, USDA NWRC applied for, and received partial funding from HISC FY18, to identify a toxicant formulation for invasive mongoose control in Hawai‘i. USDA NWRC has since begun this research, moving forward with a toxicant registration assessment, and the development and testing of a bait matrix for a selected candidate toxicant. Here we are requesting support for the next component needed to identify an effective mongoose toxicant formulation, a GLP (good laboratory practice) cage efficacy trial. We will conduct this cage efficacy trial with toxic baits formulated with the active ingredient chosen based on the results from our current ongoing research. This trial will be conducted according to GLP standards, which incur additional expense for training, recordkeeping, reporting, and quality assurance inspections. GLP standards require a quality assurance inspection; the travel expense line in the budget refers to the necessary travel to bring our Quality Assurance Unit Leader from the NWRC headquarters in Fort Collins, CO for an inspection. Adherence to GLP standards is required for EPA data submissions used in support of a registration application.

USDA NWRC Mongoose Toxicant Efficacy FY19 Final Report 

21. Phylogenetic Origins & Biosecurity Concerns of Stinging Box Jellyfish in Hawaii

DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, $1,907

Abstract: This project will investigate the systematic status of the problematic box jellyfish in Hawaii, currently identified as Alatina moseri, a species locally known for its recurrent circalunar aggregations at Waikīkī. Cubozoan medusae, or box jellyfish, are recognized globally for their sophisticated visual apparatus, strong swimming ability, complex mating behavior, and for being among the most venomous animals known. Preferred habitat for the group includes shallow tropical and sub-tropical near-shore waters, areas that frequently coincide with human recreation. The frequent result being dangerous human encounters due to painful, in some cases, lethal stings. On the Island of Oahu (Hawai’i), each month between 8-12 days after the full moon, hundreds, at times thousands of box jellyfish (Alatina moseri) arrive in the shallow waters of Waikīkī Beach (Thomas et al. 2001). Aggregations occasionally result in mass stinging events at this popular tourist destination, posing substantial social and economic challenges. Although box jellyfish cause beach closures annually in various coastal regions globally where tourism is economically important, including Waikīkī, Hawaii’s busiest beach for both visitors and locals, very little is known biologically about the status of this species. Information including taxonomy, mechanisms triggering mass aggregations, and associated systematic background remain unknown. Box jellyfish have been documented in the Hawaiian Islands since 1877 when Theodore Ballieu, a French commissioner to Hawai’i, collected a specimen in Honolulu reported as Charybdea alata (Reynaud, 1830). The first specimens were reported in Waikīkī in 1948 with “very powerful stinging cells” (BPBM accession record). Edmondson (1952) also reported that “swarms suddenly appeared” at Waikīkī Beach in 1951 (BPBM accession record). More recently this species has appeared in Waikīkī Beach surveys every month since August 1994 (OSLS records). Thomas et al. (2001) discussed an 8-12 day influx cycle, and Chiaverano et al. (2013) analyzed correlations of oceanographic parameters with abundance at this location over a 14-year period. The results of this study have allowed scientists to begin to understand potential basin-scale drivers of temporal variability in box jellyfish aggregations. We know that this is a widespread, oceanic species that has been recorded throughout the Hawaiian archipelago since the 19th century. But recent preliminary molecular analyses have shown that the Hawaiian species shares haplotypes with the species collected on the Great Barrier reef (Bentlage et al. 2010) and in the tropical Atlantic (Lawley et al. 2016). These studies used a very small sample size of one or just a few individuals from Hawaii, and relied on ribosomal DNA markers, and concluded that the three box jellyfish included in the phylogenetic analysis, Alatina moseri (Hawaii), A. mordens (Australia) and A. alata (Atlantic) could be synonyms. Based on these preliminary results and the fact that A. alata was the first of the three closely related species described (Reynaud, 1830), and the geographic type locality was the tropical Atlantic, this project will test the hypothesis that the box jellyfish established in Hawaii is not native, and was introduced in the 18th or 19th century, and is A. alata rather than A. moseri. The project proposes collaborating with Dr. Brenden Holland, an Assistant Professor at the Hawaii Pacific University, and a specialist in bioinvasions research and computational phylogenetics, to conduct the proposed research. Dr. Holland has proposed to test the hypothesis that A. moseri is a synonym of A. alata (Caribbean), by focusing sampling efforts on A. moseri from multiple Waikīkī influx events as well as opportunistically seek samples from additional Oahu locations including Honolulu Harbor, and neighbor islands. Results of the proposed project will likely have relevance to understanding, predicting and preventing introduction and establishment of hazardous cubomedusae in Hawaii as well as other global localities, where dangerous interactions between box jellies and humans occur. Although our primary motivation is fundamentally to determine the source and diversity of Alatina sp. in Hawaii, only by gaining an understanding of the systematic background and factors leading to the localization of this phenomenon can we begin to strategize solutions to this hazard, which we feel is likely due to an introduced species.

DLNR DAR Box Jellyfish Phylogeny FY19 Final Report 

22. Using Genetic Techniques to Determine the Unknown Diversity & Possible Alien Origin of Sponges Present in Hawaii

UH, Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, $49,145

Abstract: Efforts to detect and prevent alien introductions depend on understanding which species are already present. This is particularly important when working with taxonomically challenging groups like marine sponges (phylum Porifera), where morphological characters are highly limited, and misidentifications are common. Although sponges are a major component of the fouling community, they remain highly understudied because they are so difficult to identify. The Keyhole Sponge is already present in Hawaii, but others like Terpios hoshinota, which is invading many locations across the Pacific, kills corals and turns the entire reefscape into a gray carpet that would be devastating to Hawaii tourism if introduced here. However, many gray sponges look alike, and it is only through the combined use of morphological and genetic characters that most sponges can be identified reliably. To date, there have been very few taxonomic assessments of sponges in Hawaii, and only the most recent of these has included DNA barcodes with vouchered specimens to confirm the initial identifications. Most of the early studies did not provide museum specimens, and the few vouchers that exist from these studies were dried which precludes DNA comparisons. These early studies also describe very few morphological characters to justify their identification, and none of them compared their identifications to the original holotype specimens. Thus, it is difficult to use these previous studies as a baseline dataset against which to determine which species might be native, and which have already been introduced without anyone realizing. Given that, it is not surprising that these previous studies have underestimated the species diversity of sponges in Hawaii. The published species diversity of Hawaiian Islands is estimated to be 50-100 species. However, a dedicated sampling of the sponge community in Kaneohe Bay has already found more than 200 species, most of unknown origin, present in this one location alone. Our goal for the past two years has been to collect each species to create a museum voucher, both mitochondrial and nuclear barcodes, and with high quality micrographs depicting key morphological differences needed to positively identify each sponge. This project will form the basis for our proposed project here to develop a guide and genetic database that will allow identification of sponges from the environmental DNA (eDNA) assay we plan to develop in the future. This identification work is a key first step required to develop a baseline for what is already present in Hawaii, and to allow us to develop an early detection tool based on such eDNA sampling of ballast water and hull scrapings in the future. Our previous work has created the most comprehensive collection of the marine sponge diversity for Hawaii to date, including both natural habitats as well as artificial structures (including docks, moorings, boat hulls, settlement plates) throughout Kaneohe Bay. Despite two years of focused effort however, new species continue to be discovered and sustained collection efforts are necessary to provide a complete understanding of the true baseline of sponge species diversity in Hawaii. We propose to continue this work to curate this collection into both a field guide and genetic database against which future samples can be compared. We will provide a baseline of the unknown diversity and likely origin of sponges already present in Hawaii; and 2) begin to develop an identification guide and accompanying genetic database against which to compare future eDNA samples from other locations that do not have taxonomic surveys.

UH HIMB Sponge Biodiversity FY19 Final Report 

22. Laying the Groundwork for Landscape-level Mosquito Suppression to Protect Endangered Forest Birds & Human Health from Mosquito-borne Disease in Hawaii

DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife/DOFAW, $58,502

Abstract: The endangered endemic forest birds in Kauai are at critically low numbers: the total number of Akikiki birds is around 468, Akekee 945 birds and Puaiohi 487 birds. Coinciding with these population declines, the prevalence of mosquito-borne avian malaria has increased on the Alakai Plateau, strongly implicating disease-driven population declines. Even the once common Iiwi has seen a severe reduction in range and abundance and is now listed as threatened due to threats from mosquito-borne diseases. Changes in precipitation and surface hydrology due to climate change may have altered density and permanence of larval mosquito habitat, thus increasing distribution and abundance of mosquitos. Concurrently, Aedes japonicus, an important potential vector of human diseases, has invaded the Alakai Plateau. Currently, we experimentally employ Bacillus thuringensis israelensis (Bti or “dunk”), a naturally-occurring bacteria that kills only mosquito and midges, to control them in breeding habitat as we find it. This is a time-consuming and temporary method. Innovations in landscape-level mosquito suppression and eradication may allow managers to more efficiently halt declines and protect human health. Incompatible Insect Technique (IIT) uses naturally-occurring strains of Wolbachia, an endosymbiotic bacteria of mosquitoes, to facilitate incompatibility and infertility through cross matings. Sustained releases of male mosquitoes infected with incompatible Wolbachia will suppress wild populations. One objective of this proposal is to support development of this technique at UH by funding a student research assistant. To meet regulatory approval for initial releases, and achieve successful deployment and suppression, key ecological parameters (population density, seasonality, dispersal, and location of emergent populations or larval mosquito habitat) need to be assessed. A second objective is to determine these parameters and further effective monitoring techniques of Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes japonicus populations in the Alakai to target future control efforts. Efforts made now to document basic ecology of mosquitos in the Alakai and at lower elevations will provide the critical tools and parameters needed for successful IIT control, and will enhance immediate local control. Mosquitoes found on the Plateau may migrate from lower elevations as well as hatching there. We will trap mosquitoes using 10 CO2 and gravid traps, and quantify and describe larval mosquito habitat on stream and upland transects. As we find larval habitat during research activities, we will collect mosquito samples for future isotope (to determine migration) and disease analysis. Traditional control methods (e.g. using Bti to eradicate larvae in pools or mechanically filling pools) will then be used to destroy the habitat and fulfill our third objective, namely to protect avian and human populations from disease and buy time for the development of more persistent landscape level control measures. Our fourth objective is to catch and screen forest birds for disease to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of avian malaria and pox, and the spatial overlap of diseased birds and mosquitoes. Blood samples will be collected from birds and analyzed with genetic techniques at the University of Northern Arizona for the bacteria that causes avian malaria. Birds will also be color banded while in the hand to assist with future population and survival estimates. This work has the added advantage of helping to increase our knowledge of the population and survivorship, particularly as a function of disease, as birds will be later resighted. The fifth objective is to promote understanding among local people of the threats of mosquito-borne diseases to endangered forest birds and human health, and the importance of this new tool for the survival and recovery of these species and disease reduction. SUMMARY OF OBJECTIVES (1) support development of Wolbachia-based IIT at UH (2) ascertain key mosquito ecology parameters as follows: a) determine relative abundance, seasonality, and survivorship, using elevational transects, and targeted or opportunistic catches on the Alakai Plateau; b) continue to assess larval mosquito distribution and habitat use; c) analyze disease prevalence trapped adult mosquitos and larvae (3) locally eradicate mosquito larvae in core bird breeding habitat using Bti and map mosquito breeding habitat so that future action can be taken to reduce it (e.g. draining, filling, weed and pig control). (4) assess disease exposure of birds and gain understanding of infection rates of avian malaria. (5) conduct public outreach on danger of introduced mosquitoes to endemic bird species and human health

DLNR DOFAW Mosquito Control FY19 Final Report 

23. Himalayan Ginger Biocontrol

USDA, US Forest Service, $21,208

Abstract: Biocontrol research led by CABI-UK has targeted Himalayan ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) since 2008. Support from sponsors in New Zealand and Hawaii has enabled CABI to develop important governmental collaborative links in India to facilitate surveys, export natural enemies, train students and build capacity in India for field research. This research has culminated in identification and deposition of a suite of insect and fungal agents, and host range testing has allowed prioritization of the most damaging and specific species. The very specific shoot mining chloropid fly, Merochlorops cf. dimorphus, was selected for comprehensive study for both Hawaii and New Zealand. In the field, the fly is seen to physically stunt the plant and prevent flowering and seed set as a result of the larval mining in the stem. Testing to date indicates that this natural enemy will utilize Hedychium gardnerianum but not other Hedychium species or related gingers. Continued funding to CABI is requested to complete host specificity studies for this fly and facilitate its import to Hawaii for rearing and final quarantine screening. Landcare Research (NZ) and The Nature Conservancy Hawaii funded much of the early exploratory studies for this project, with funding also provided by HISC and the Forest Service. Landcare has provided the bulk of continuous funding to develop the chloropid fly and prepare data for an Environmental Protection Assessment to New Zealand authorities. Additional funding in 2018 from the Hawaii Watershed Partnerships Program is ensuring progress toward release approval for both New Zealand and Hawaii. The current effort by CABI is focused on completing surveys in India, securing new permits for export of natural enemies, propagating test plants, maintaining colonies of natural enemies and consolidating knowledge on their potential for biocontrol. Formal identification of the chloropid fly through conventional taxonomic as well as molecular means is underway, and this publication will further support applications for release. Detailed information on biology and rearing of the fly will facilitate its rearing and final screening in the USFS biocontrol quarantine in Volcano, Hawaii. We request funds to continue Hawaii’s support of the CABI project through 2019 so that CABI can begin to provide USFS with flies and rearing expertise beginning in 2019.

USDA USFS Himalayan Ginger Biocontrol FY19 Final Report 

24. High Priority Invasive Plant Biocontrol

USDA, US Forest Service, $77,121

Abstract: Following on surveys for natural enemies in Costa Rica and Brazil in the early 2000s, our biocontrol program has focused on developing selected agents which appear to hold the greatest promise for impacting miconia and other weedy melastomes. Initial studies by teams of students and post-docs in the native range generated a wealth of information on biology, host range and impact of agents on miconia. As resources and knowledge of each species’ biology have allowed, agents have been brought to Hawaii for evaluation in quarantine facilities managed by the Forest Service or the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. In 2016 we completed testing a butterfly species that appears to hold the most promise among leaf-feeding enemies of miconia. We have been facilitating work at Hawaii Department of Agriculture with logistical support, and Clemson University, through a co-authored USDA grant, to develop a nematode that severely galls Miconia species and related melastomes in the native range. Our overall strategy for miconia biocontrol is to develop a suite of agents that attack different parts of the plant, with the goal of damaging miconia in multiple ways to lower its overall fitness. Another invasive melastome of major importance in Hawaii, Clidemia hirta, has been a target of biocontrol efforts since the 1970s, but remains poorly controlled in Hawaiian forests. Our project with Clemson evaluates the shoot galling nematode, Ditylenchus gallaeformans, that also attacks miconia. We also are studying of a fruit galling wasp discovered in 2015 in the course of studies of a related wasp (discovered on Miconia calvescens in 2007 by a HISC-funded post-doc). We have successfully reared and begun specificity testing with the Clidemia wasp. These little known wasps (Allorhogas spp.) open a new opportunity for managing a critical life stage of invasive melastomes – their bird-dispersed seeds. All testing so far confirms expectations that this insect is narrowly host-specific. Its galling severely deforms each fruit and disrupts normal seed production, with potential to significantly reduce the spread. 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. 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 tibouchina flea beetle, pending its release following an EA and permit application currently under development. Meanwhile some of our collaborations outside Hawaii have begun to generate new potential agents for other high priority weeds. A decade of research by CABI in the United Kingdom has culminated in identification and host range testing of a promising natural enemy of Himalayan ginger. The chloropid fly, Merochlorops cf. dimorphus, has larvae that bore into the developing ginger stem, stunting the plant and preventing flowering and seed set. This highly specific agent should be ready to import to Hawaii in 2019, however in advance of shipment we will need to begin propagating host plants and prepare methods for rearing the insect. Another agent, developed by USDA-ARS in Florida for biocontrol of Christmas berry, the Brazilian shoot-feeding thrips Pseudophilothrips ichini, will also soon be ready for import. In this case Hawaii Department of Agriculture will likely take the lead, however USFS staff will make important contributions to technical development of the EA for this agent and preparations for release and monitoring on Hawaii Island. Finally our albizia biocontrol project has identified several potentially specific natural enemies, which in the near future will also need to be reared and tested in quarantine in Hawaii. In 2019 we propose to import the first of these and begin developing our methods for manipulating albizia trees within quarantine containment – clearly not a small challenge. All of this work is dependent on having sufficient staff to maintain insects and their hosts and test plants in quarantine. HISC support of two full-time technicians will enable us to pursue multiple ongoing projects. We also propose to start molecular studies of Allorhogas spp. to better define genetic variation within this group, which will further strengthen its candidacy for biocontrol. HISC funds also facilitate continuing development of the nematode gall-former against clidemia and miconia. Although progress with this nematode in Hawaii has been delayed due to lack of facilities, we are taking advantage of an ongoing USDA-funded genetic study and nematode rearing at Clemson. We seek support for international travel and facilitation of additional testing of this agent in South Carolina and its native range.

USDA USFS Invasive Plant Biocontrol FY19 Final Report 

PREVENTION

25. Hawaii-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment

UH, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit/PCSU, $112,838

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.

UH PCSU HPWRA FY19 Final Report 

 

FY19 Call for Proposals

The FY19 Call for Proposals and online application form for interagency funding from the Hawaii Invasive Species Council is available at:
https://hiscfunding.formstack.com/forms/fy19

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

 

Reporting Guidelines for FY19 Funded Projects Data (Coming soon)

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