Mamalu Poepoe: Strategic Biosecurity for Airports

Mamalu Poepoe is an interagency airports monitoring project administered by the HISC, utilizing resources across HISC’s constituent agencies. “Mamalu Poepoe” connotes a circle of protection, and this project is meant to enhance monitoring on airport facilities around the state in order to protect our natural resources, agriculture, human health, and tourism resources.

Mamalu Poepoe was developed by the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH), Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Hawaii Department of Transportation (HIDOT), and the University of Hawaii (UH), and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), which is the administrative home of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC). An ad-hoc working group of staff from these agencies has identified the following areas of overlapping interest that will be addressed by this project:

  • HIDOT seeks to understand and find ways to mitigate the presence of harmful species at airport facilities that impact the facility’s operation or experience of airport users.
  • HDOH seeks to improve its monitoring and research efforts regarding vectors of human disease at airports, primarily mosquitoes.
  • HDOA seeks to improve its monitoring and research efforts regarding agricultural pests at airports, namely invasive ants, coconut rhinoceros beetle, and africanized bees.
  • UH seeks to improve research on invasive species and their economic impacts. UH is also the home of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and its Invasive Species Committees (ISCs), which seek to improve invasive species detection and control statewide.
  • DLNR is the administrative host of the HISC, which is providing interagency coordination for the project, including assisting in hiring the Project Coordinator and providing fiscal management.

More information can be found in the Mamalu Poepoe Strategic Plan. The plan will continue to be updated over the course of the project as new operating procedures and data become available.

Dr. Leyla Kaufman is the program coordinator for Mamalu Poepoe.