Maui News

State Lawmakers to Receive Invasive Species Update

January 12, 2016, 10:14 AM HST
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Fire ant image courtesy W. Nagamine & the Hawaiʻi State Department of Agriculture.

Fire ant image courtesy W. Nagamine & the Hawaiʻi State Department of Agriculture.

The Senate Committees on Water, Land and Agriculture, Economic Development, Environment and Technology; and House Committees on Energy & Environmental Protection, Water & Land and Agriculture will hold an informational briefing on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, at 10 a.m. to get the latest updates on invasive species threats to Hawai‘i.

The committees will hear from state departments, government and non-profit agencies regarding pests and plant diseases that have become established in Hawai‘i, and what is being done to prevent them and stop them from spreading.

Several live invasive species, including a snake, lizard and noxious plants that endanger the island’s natural biodiversity, will be on display during the briefing.

Mosquito.  Maui Now courtesy photo.

Mosquito. Maui Now courtesy photo.

“Our state faces huge issues, including the outrageously high cost of living, homelessness, the need for affordable housing, and inadequate school, road and park infrastructure,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the WAL committee. “What we’re trying to do here today is to make sure that invasive species stays front and center in discussions here at the Legislature. The challenges we face with invasive species like rapid ohia death, little fire ants, mosquitoes spreading dengue fever and coqui frogs are no less important and have the potential to devastate our way of life and our economy if we don’t take this fight seriously.”

“The spread of invasive species has significantly impacted our local businesses and communities. Hawaii Island alone has been devastated by alien pests such as the coffee berry borer and little fire ant,” added Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the Agriculture Committee. “It’s important that the Legislature hears from all on the front lines of this battle so we can collaboratively and effectively stop the spread of invasive species. We have been unable to set up a successful line of defense, and until we do invasive species will continue a relentless destructive path.”

Coqui frog. Photo credit HISC.

Coqui frog. Photo credit HISC.



  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Hawaii Invasive Species Council
  • Department of Agriculture – Plant Quarantine Branch
  • Department of Agriculture – Plant Pest Control Branch
  • Invasive Species Committees
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife
    Watershed Partnerships
  • Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Aquatic Resources

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice.



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