Categorized | Education, Environment

Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week celebrated on the Big Island



Governor Abercrombie kicked off the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) with a proclamation yesterday in the Capitol Auditorium. Big Island residents can participate on their phones, at free training workshops, and as volunteers. Councilman Zendo Kern and the Hawaii County Council were honored with the Hawaii Island MVP award. For Introducing and unanimously approving the ordinance to allow the county to enter occupied private property to remove hazard trees and other unsafe flora, after adequate notice has been given to property owners. If the property owners do not remove the hazard themselves, the county will arrange removal and send them the bill. This ordinance is precedent setting in allowing a county agency the authority to enter private property for the removal of an invasive species endangering neighbors and community, including the damaging albizia tree. See the full list of HISC winners and honorable mentions at

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) awards honor individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. Members of the legislature presented the awards in the categories of Hottest Hotline Report, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2013.

HISAW Events

Be a Beetle Buster & Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees:

  • People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining this special “mission” to survey all coconut trees in Hawaii for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. The public is invited to take photos of the crowns of coconut trees and post them to the “Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees” mission on the Project Noah website or via mobile app. The photos will be reviewed by the Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management class to assess the presence or absence of this pest across the state. Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving distinctive v-shaped cuts in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state, if they aren’t detected and eradicated. The Beetle Buster Team will flag photos that show suspected beetle damage for follow up surveys. The project will go live on Monday March 3 and be ongoing– For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to:

Hawaii Island Volunteer Opportunities:

Albizia Training Workshops

The public is invited to free trainings on how to control Albizia safely and effectively, held by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC). Throughout the hands-on training, volunteers will apply their skills to trees endangering the communities of East Hawaii. Gloves, hatchets, herbicide, and refreshments will be provided. Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hat, bug repellant, and sunscreen, and bring lunch. All Training Workshops are from approximately 9:00am- 2:00pm. For more information please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

  • Waianuenue, below Hilo Medical Center – Wednesday, March 5th — Participants will assess and treat patch of albizia trees threatening access to Hilo Medical Center. Hazard trees in the road easement are being managed by HELCO, while community volunteers will treat the trees farther back from the road. The non-hazardous tree work will prevent albizia from returning to the easement, and preserve grazing land in the heart of Hilo. Meet, at 9:00am, at Carvalho Park upper parking lot.
  • Puainako St. Extension, Waiakea – Thursday, March 6th — Volunteers will learn to estimate tree height and distance from the road and will treat trees just outside of the road easement. If time allows, teams will work down Puainako St. to prevent small trees in the drainage from becoming a danger to motorists and tearing up the stone work. Meet, at 9:00am, 1.5 miles mauka of Komohana Ave. on South side of Puainako St.
  • Black Sands Subdivision, Puna – Saturday, March 8th — The “Albizia Demonstration Project,” in Black Sands aims to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to halt the spread in their neighborhoods. Monthly training workshops are held in the Black Sands area to teach the public how to control albizia in their own backyards. Meet at 9:30am at Black Sands Community Park, on Iolani Street. Directions from Highway 130: turn into One Ele`ele Road. Take the first left onto Ocean View Parkway. Take the next right onto Diamond Head Street. Drive 0.4 miles and turn left on Iolani Street. The park is 0.2 miles down, on the right, with parking on the side of the street. BIISC staff will also be at the intersection of Hwy. 130 and Upper Puna Road to direct volunteers to the Community Park.

Kohala Watershed Partnership Volunteer Days, Kohala – March 15th and 29th

  • Volunteers will work on native species planting, invasive plant control, and trail maintenance at the Koaia Sanctuary. The Koaiʻa Corridor Native Plant Sanctuary & Restoration Project’s goal is rehabilitation of degraded pastures and reforestation of a 2-mile riparian corridor, totaling 360 acres, between Waiakamali and Luahine Streams on leeward Kohala Mountain. Habitats range from mesic forest to wet forest. KWP will provide transportation to the work site as well as tools, gloves, plants and supplies. For more information, visit…

Visit the HISAW website at for a full list of volunteer activities across the state.

Governor Abercrombie has made invasive species an administration priority by supporting his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC and endorsing 2014 legislative initiatives proposing up to $5 million to meet operating costs of Invasive Species Programs. “Protection of our environment from invasive species must be a top priority. We are experiencing a biological crisis and deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, our natural resources and our economy. A multitude of invaders – such as the little fire ant that can blind animals and destroy nesting birds and hatchlings, the coconut rhinoceros beetle, and parasites attacking coffee crops – graphically illustrate the seriousness of the issue,” he said.

To learn more about NISAW, visit To learn more about HISAW

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