FY08 Funded Projects

The HISC disbursed $4M in FY08 to support projects relating to invasive species prevention, control, outreach, and research. A full description of FY08 activities can be found in the 2009 legislative report. Individual project summaries and final reports are below.


West Nile Virus Prevention
Hawai’i Department of Health, $375,000

To develop the capacity of the Department to prevent the establishment of West Nile Virus by providing supplies and support for the State Laboratory, Vector Control branch and Environmental Education to promote awareness and public participation.

Final Report (excerpt from the 2009 legislative report)

Hawai'i-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment
Hawai’i-Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, $111,400

To sustain two technicians to continue the screening of plants grown and used commercially in Hawai’i via the locally developed Weed Risk Assessment (WRA). So far the Maui Association of Landscape Professionals, the Landscape Industry Council of Hawai’i, Kaua’i Landscape Industry Council, the O’ahu Nursery Growers Association and a number of individual companies have agreed to adopt the voluntary code of contact that includes screening plants using the WRA and promoting non-invasive alternatives.

Pacific Biosecurity
Pacific Island Learning Network, $30,000

To support improvements to biosecurity measures taken in other Pacific Islands. This is expected to improve local capacity and reduce the number of pests moving between islands in cargo and will allow Hawai’i to more effectively target invasive species coming from that region.

Prevention of Invasive Ants
Hawai’i Ant Projects Coordinator, $50,000

This award is to enhance protection of Hawai’i’s environment from harmful alien ants, with special emphasis on preventing inter-island spread of the Little Fire Ant and the establishment of Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA). In early 2007 the Hawai’i Invasive Ant/RIFA prevention plan was updated. To this end, the interagency Hawai’i Ant Group was resurrected in order to get input and buy in on potential plan revisions. The plan identifies the actions needed to address this threat. 

West Nile Virus Response Coordination
West Nile Virus Interagency Working Group, $75,000

For West Nile Virus (WNV) and Emergent Disease Inter-agency Response Coordination implemented to avoid the impacts of WNV through detection and prompt eradication of outbreaks.  This is needed to improve inter-agency coordination and response preparedness and will work with the existing West Nile Virus Inter-Agency Working Group.

Hull Fouling and Ballast Water Coordination
DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, $95,000

To support prevention projects to minimize the introduction of alien aquatic organisms in Hawai’i from hull fouling and ballast water.  This would include funds for data management, outreach material, training and consultation and, potentially, a remote operated vehicle to facilitate the inspection of ships.

Final Report


Aquatic Invasive Species Response Team
DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, $395,000

The AIS team will work on various alien algae management initiatives including the Super Sucker project as well as continue to develop an early detection framework for aquatic alien species.  In addition, the AIS team will continue to control Snowflake Coral infestations around Kaua’i and continue the eradication effort in Port Allen.

Final Report

Kaua'i Invasive Species Detection and Control
Kaua’i Invasive Species Committee, $270,000

For the detection and control of incipient invasive species in Kauai County.

Final Report

O'ahu Invasive Species Detection and Control
O’ahu Invasive Species Committee, $424,500

For the detection and control of incipient invasive species on O’ahu. This includes an increase for O’ahu which did not have separate funds allocated by the legislature for Coqui frog control and some funds for botanists searching for incipient weed populations.

Final Report

Maui County Invasive Species Detection and Control
Moloka’i and Maui Invasive Species Committee, $370,000

For the detection and control of incipient invasive species in Maui County.

Final Report

Big Island Invasive Species Detection and Control
Big Island Invasive Species Committee, $295,000

For the detection and control of incipient invasive species in Hawai’i County.

Final Report


Statewide Public Outreach Program
Hawai’i Invasive Species Council, $312,000

A statewide outreach program is sought in cooperation with the public and private sector and targets both visitors and residents to increase voluntary compliance of quarantine laws, avoid accidental introductions of invasive species, and maintaining an effective pest hotline reporting system that delivers timely information to managers on the ground. This has been accomplished by establishing three public outreach specialist positions to carry out these tasks. A public notice of request for proposals will be made so as to repeat a successful small grant program designed to support community based public outreach that supports HISC goals. A rewrite and reprint of the CGAPS 1996 brochure- “The Silent Invasion” will be partially funded by the materials budget- the remainder is to support any media projects undertaken by staff during the year. Also included is the stipend for two Americorp interns which will be matched with Americorps funds. This previously included projects from a broad array of organizations and community groups, individuals and staff.


  1. Outreach staff, project support: $189,000
  2. Materials: $60,000
  3. Requests for proposals: $50,000
  4. Stipends Americorps: $13,000


HISC research and technology evaluation committees completed a review (late in 2007) of 48 research and technology proposals following request for proposals that attracted 12 coqui frog and 36 general invasive species proposals. A total of 21 reviewers looked at some or all of the proposals, including staff and experts from DOA, DEBDT, DOH, DLNR, HISC, USDA, UH, Bishop Museum, USGS etc. A core group met at the University on November 29, 2007 to review the top ranked projects.

Fifteen projects were selected for funding. Click on any project title for more information. For full bibliographic references to any citations, contact the DLNR Invasive Species Coordinator.

Survey for insect enemies of Bocconia frutescens in Costa Rica
Johnson/USDA FS, $16,444

Summary: The Principal Investigator will work with colleagues in the University of Costa Rica to identify host specific natural enemies of Bocconia frutescens. B. frutescens is a shade tolerant bird dispersed tree invading East Maui and parts of the Big Island. It is spreading quickly into relatively pristine undisturbed native forest; is able to colonize fern filled gulches and is increasing in cover and frequency in these habitats.

Biocontrol of Rubus ellipticus using insect agents in China
Johnson/USDA FS, $42,955

Summary: Specific natural enemies of yellow Himalayan raspberry will be the focus of search efforts in China. Originally only found on the Big Island it has spread to Maui through trade in hapu’u trunks. It has invaded deeply into pristine forests at Volcanoes since its arrival in the 1960s. It forms dense impenetrable thickets.

Green and healthy Hawaii: identifying and introducing alternative ornamental landscape plants in response to invasive species issues
Kaufman/University of Hawai’i, $120,516

Summary: This project is focused on identifying and evaluating alternative non-invasive ornamental plants to use in place of known invasive species currently in use by industry. The work will involve consultation with landscape industry experts to identify alternatives, determination of their non-invasive status, field testing of plants, and production of outreach material.

Final Report

Ecological, hydrological, and economic impacts of miconia in Hawai'i
Lee/Entrix Enviro Consultants, $96,999

Summary: To test assumptions about miconia’s impact on soils and hydrology. Initiate assessment of long term impacts of miconia through comparison with Tahiti where the problem is more advanced, and damaging. Provide economic estimates of watershed damage from miconia in Hawai’i. Host a regional conference on the ecological impacts of miconia.


An early detection system for invasive marine species: development and proof-of-concept of a taxonomic mircro-array
Toonen/University of Hawai'i, $69,728

Summary: The goal is to design and fabricate a taxonomic microarray that can quickly and quantitatively be used to identify the presence of a set of species, from a mixed sample of plankton or boat hull scrapings. Species selected will include known and potential invaders not yet established in Hawai'i.

Evaluating impact of Puccinia psidii rust strains on Ohi'a
Hauff/DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, $36,049

Summary: This project aims to document the impacts of a variety of strains of ohia rust on Ohi’a through tests carried out on a variety of Ohi’a types from Hawaii, but carried out in Brazil where it is believed that Ohi’a rust originates from.

Problem Statement:

In April 2005 a new disease was detected on ‘ōh‘ia seedlings in a nursery on O’ahu. The disease was eventually identified as Puccinia psidii Winter, known as guava or eucalyptus rust, but locally dubbed ‘ōh‘ia rust (Killgore and Heu). By August 2005 the disease had spread to all of the main Hawaiian Islands. The disease has a very broad host range of species in the Myrtaceae family (Simpson et al., 2006). Native to South America is can have significant impact on Myrtaceae species from Asia, Australia, and the Pacific islands where exposure to the disease has only recently occurred through introduced plantations of species such as eucalyptus.

In Hawai’i, the disease has been found on 23 different plant species growing in the environment (Robert Anderson, pers. comm.) including the native species Metrosideros polymorpha, Eugenia koolauensis, and E. reinwardtiana. The disease is causing dramatic defoliation of rose apple (Sygyzium jambos) throughout Hawai’i’s watersheds. The damage to other species is limited to small lesions and occasional stunting of shoots. Partial defoliation of Metrosideros polymorpha has been observed, but only sporadically.

There is strong evidence of host specialization of this pathogen with isolates from one host plant species not necessarily infecting other known host plant species (Glen et al., 2007). This existence of different disease strains is supported by observations of differing host ranges in areas where the disease is found. For example, Eucalyptus spp. are highly impacted in Brazil but eucalyptus trees in Hawai’i have not been found infected in the environment. Likewise, the allspice (Pimenta dioica) industry was wiped out in Caribbean Islands (MacLachlan, 1938), but the same species commonly planted in landscaping in Hawai’i has not been infected.

There is an enormous amount of concern among foresters and conservationists in Hawai’i that strains not yet introduced to Hawai’i could be more virulent on M. polymorpha (Loope and LaRosa, 2007). The importance of M. polymorpha to Hawaii’s forest ecosystems cannot be understated. The tree is dominant or co-dominant in 80% of Hawai’i’s remaining native forests and provides habitat for countless endangered birds, plants, and invertebrates. This matrix species also provides important watershed cover preventing erosion and allowing rainwater to percolate through the ground to aquifers that supply households, farmers, and industry with the water they need for survival.

In 2006, Dr. Shaobin Zhong with the University of Hawai’i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences program characterized 15 microsatellite markers on the genome of P. psidii that can be used to differentiate strains of the disease (Zhong et al., 2007). His preliminary work on 12 samples taken from Hawai’i’s forests showed the samples to be homogenous and similar to one of the samples sent from Florida. Further genetic analysis of samples collected on a comprehensive survey funded by the USDA Forest Service and carried out by UH researchers is scheduled for November 2007. This analysis will confirm whether Hawai’i only has one strain of the disease.

In August 2007, the Board of Agriculture passed an interim rule restricting entry into Hawai’i of plants and plant material in the Myrtaceae family coming from areas where Puccinia psidii is known to be present. Known hosts that were regularly imported into the state as green fillers for the florist industry include eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.), myrtle (Myrtus communis), and waxflower (Chamelaucium uncinatum), all of which were being imported from areas known to be infested. The interim rule is only in place for one year while a permanent rule is developed. There is a strong need for scientific knowledge supporting the adoption of a permanent rule. Specifically the state needs documentation of different genetic strains existing outside of Hawai’i and their potential impact to Hawai’i’s environment and economy.

The proposed project is to utilize Dr. Zhong’s preliminary work to analyze disease samples from Brazil, as well as places where it has been introduced such as Florida and California. The different strains distinguished by the genetic analysis will be used to inoculate ‘ōh‘ia seedlings in Brazil, and possibly Florida and California, to determine susceptibility. This will allow us to analyze the risk of ‘ōh‘ia becoming severely impacted by introduction of disease strains not yet present in Hawai’i.

Chemical ecology of the little fire ant for detection delimitation and control in Hawaii
Siderhurst, $82,500

Summary: This project aims to identify and isolate little fire ant pheromones that may be useful as attractants to be used to detect and or control the ant in new sites where it is currently unknown to occur, or where it is having negative impacts on valued resources and human health.

Final Report

Determining the efficacy of fungicide to protect endangered species from the rust Puccinia psidii
Uchida/University of Hawai’i, $34,810

Summary: Trials to determine types and amount of fungicide needed to control Ohi’a rust on a small scale where it affects rare native species.

The effects of cooking on diphacinone residues in feral pig tissue
Pitt/USDA APHIS WS, $31,050

Summary: This project aims to address concerns about the use of diphacinone containing baits as a rodenticide to reduce the harmful impacts of rodents on Hawai’i’s threatened and much depleted native flora fauna. Although strict rules are to be adopted limiting the hunting of pigs in areas treated with diphacinone – and it is known that pigs that eat the baits do not accumulate levels of the chemical that would pose a risk to human health. Via laboratory tests this study will accurately document the risks related to incidental consumption of pigs by humans where the pigs have eaten baits.

Final Report

Invasive ant control for native ecosystem preservation and restoration in Hawaii
Krushelnycky/University of Hawai’i, $73,726

Summary: Trials will be undertaken on potentially effective insecticides that may be used to control ants in Haleakala National Park on Maui where ants are negatively impact native vertebrate and invertebrate species.

Final Report on Gourmet Liquid Ant Bait on Argentine Ants

Final Report on Granular Ant Bait on Argentine Ants

Hawai'i’s invasive plant species: an interactive key for the identification and management of invasive species in Hawai'i
James/Bishop Museum, $25,122

Summary: An online interactive key will be developed for common invasive plant species. In addition management methods will be described for each species. This will allow anyone be they expert or member of the public to correctly identify these species using a simple set of characters presented in an appealing visual way.

Barn Owl and Rat: invasive predators of endangered seabirds
Penniman/University of Hawai’i, $38,860

Summary: Barn owl traps will be developed to facilitate control of this species which is contributing to the decline of seabirds nesting on Lana’i. In addition their diet will be studied. Rats will be monitored and controlled – these are the other invasive species contributing to seabird decline at the site.

Developing a database for the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment System
Harrison/University of Hawaii, $16,000

Summary: A reorganization and systemization of the data gathered in the process of undertaking weed risk assessments. This is needed to facilitate more consistent data collection, and improve the management of the process. Currently each risk assessment is stored in a separate spreadsheet, more than a thousand species have been assessed and many more assessments are planned.

Overcoming site limitations in the control of coqui frog populations
Penniman/University of Hawai’i/Maui Invasive Species Committee, $75,000

Summary: This study aims to test the use of large agricultural sprinklers as a means to deliver standard control measures (dilute citric acid) to frogs in what is the only (as yet) uncontrolled population of frogs on Maui at Māliko gulch. The site’s difficult terrain and dense vegetation has hindered control efforts to date. Eradication may be feasible if this population can be controlled and future introductions from the Big Island can prevented.

Dermal toxicity of aqueous solutes in coqui frog
Mautz/University of Hawai’i, $22,397

Summary: This laboratory based study will test the effectiveness of a number of aqueous solutes for the control of coqui frogs and compare them to existing methods using citric acid and hydrated lime. Compounds to be tested for control effectiveness are citric acid, hydrated lime, sodium citrate, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, dextrose and dextrin.

HISC Support and Overhead

DOFAW overhead: $60,400

Central Services Fee: $210,000

Staff and Support: $146,700

Contingency fund: $80,000