Legislative Reference Bureau releases invasive species study

Posted on Feb 3, 2016 in News, slider

The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) has released a report titled Can’t See the Forest for the (Albizia) Trees: An Invasive Species Update. This report, required by legislation passed during the 2015 legislative session, provides an update to the 2002 LRB report Filling the Gaps in the Fight Against Invasive Species. The 2002 report analyzed gaps between agencies and recommended structures for handling coordination of invasive species issues across relevant agencies in Hawaii. The following year, the legislature created the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.

The new update analyzes the progress made by the state over the 13 years that have passed between studies. Through surveys, the LRB tabulated $57M in expenditures on invasive species programs in Hawaii in FY14 and summarized input on invasive species governance and coordination. The full report can be found on the LRB website.

Recommendations from the report include:

  1. Hawaii should develop a comprehensive, statewide biosecurity plan to effectively prevent the introduction and control the spread of invasive species.

  2. The Legislature should take the action necessary to effect the statutory and regulatory changes proposed in a comprehensive, statewide biosecurity plan, and to provide sufficient funding and support for its development and full implementation, ensuring that moneys thereafter are allocated and expended according to the biosecurity plan.

  3. The Legislature should give consideration to amending the organizational structure of HISC to provide clearer authority to direct interagency coordination and provide resources and support for priority actions necessary in the fight against invasive species.

  4. The Legislature should provide sufficient funding and resources needed to increase capacity of agencies to engage in preventive actions throughout the State.

  1. With respect to funding for inspection and other efforts necessary to prevent or control invasive species in the State, the Legislature may wish to revisit a Bureau 2002 recommendation to provide a stable, dedicated means of funding for invasive species operations, including rapid response actions.

  2. In consultation with the Governor concerning state priorities and needs, the State’s congressional delegation should prioritize action on issues that lay exclusively within federal jurisdiction regarding the protection of Hawaii from invasive species that may arrive either from the United States mainland or from foreign nations.

  3. The Legislature may wish to consider pursuing the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization’s suggestion to use an existing case study of the economic impact of a particular invasive species to determine the necessary steps and data requirement for assessing the impact of future invasive species.