Purpose: To gather information regarding invasive species. Specific areas of interest include challenges and needs of the National Park Service, existing legislation, legislative solutions, and use of partnerships for managing invasive species in and around National Parks.
Witness Panel 1
Dr. Lloyd LoopeResearch ScientistU.S. Geological Survey
Testimony of Lloyd Loope, Ph.D., Research Scientist
USGS, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Haleakala Field Station, Maui, Hawaii
In response to questions posed by Senator Daniel Akaka
Field Hearing on Invasive Species
Subcommittee on National Parks
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
August 9, 2005, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Senator Akaka: What are some of the invasions that pose the worst threats to the parks
in Hawaii? How did these invaders get to Hawaii in the first place and what damage
do they do? What measures are needed to prevent more of the same?
Senator Akaka and Senator Wyden, thank you so much for the opportunity to give the best answers I can to these challenging questions. I came to Hawaii in 1980 as the first Research Biologist for the National Park Service at Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui. My job was to conduct research and advise the park on strategies and techniques for protecting its biodiversity and ecosystems. I was transferred to my current agency, U.S. Geological Survey, in the mid-1990s, with little change in mission and fortunately more authority to work outside the park.
In the 25 years I’ve been in my job on Maui I’ve learned the hard way that
by far the greatest threat to the national parks and the highly endemic island biota is the barrage of invasive non-native species introductions. Many of them are introduced intentionally, including most of our worst invasive plants, as for example the invasive tree Miconia, which was regarded as just another pretty plant when it was introduced to Hawaii in about 1960. Many others – including insect pests and diseases – are not introduced on purpose but are hitchhikers primarily on horticultural and other agricultural goods that come in through our ports-of-entry – our airports and harbors – both from foreign countries or from the U.S. mainland
Hawaii, an isolated oceanic archipelago with 10,000 endemic species that occur nowhere else in the world, is especially vulnerable to biological invasions. One consultant to USDA (Russell McGregor) back in the 1970s noted that per unit area, the rate of alien insect introduction in Hawaii is 500x that of the continental United States. And it’s no better today, yet remarkably Hawaii still has largely intact natural areas. Yet Hawaii doesn’t get any special consideration from the federal government’s effort at our borders for prevention from invasive species. Allowing the NPS to work with and assist in funding of partnerships to combat invasive species before they reach park boundaries seems to me to be a sound first step in untying the hands of the NPS to more fully address the invasive species threats to our natural and cultural heritage.
Often there are huge gaps among agency mandates. An important event in my personal education was an outbreak of rabbits at Haleakala National Park that took place in 1990, 15 years ago this month. The park dodged a bullet and eradicated the rabbits, but not until we had removed 100 rabbits. Afterward, we learned that a thoughtless pet owner had released about 6 rabbits in the park 10 months earlier. It was one of the more spectacular success stories I’ve ever been involved with. If we hadn’t succeeded, the island of Maui, including the cabbage farmers in the upcountry agricultural area, would have had to deal with millions of rabbits within a few years. Maui people instinctively realized this, and the park has never enjoyed so much praise from the local community as during those months right after we eliminated the rabbits. But we learned that if the infestation had been outside the park, no one other than the landowner would have had a mandate to eliminate the rabbits. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture told us that their mandate was to encourage rabbit raising, in cages, of course. We wondered whether, and still wonder, if the rabbit infestation had occurred just outside the park boundary on ranch land, for example, would the park have been able to legally act to eradicate rabbits in cooperation with the ranch? The national parks definitely need such a mandate.
The rabbit incident inspired me while still working for the NPS, to take on the Miconia issue in 1991 after that destructive neotropical tree was first discovered on Maui in the Hana area, about 5 miles from the park. Then park superintendent Don Reeser, though very supportive of my efforts, cautioned me that people might question whether a NPS employee had any authority to get involved with on-the-ground work on land outside the park. Fortunately, partners recognized the severity of the situation and came forward to work with us in a succession of events that eventually led to formation of the island invasive species committees. But the National Park Service desperately needs authority to work with partners and spend funds outside park boundaries to protect the parks. There are many examples of this need, but I believe there are no better examples than rabbits and Miconia on Maui.
I mentioned above that many of the destructive invasive species that threaten the parks and Hawaiian biodiversity were introduced intentionally and many others were introduced unintentionally. Prevention of such introductions to Hawaii, both intentional and unintentional, at U.S. and State borders (ports of entry), is almost entirely under the mandate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Prevention of invasive pests that threaten natural areas is, however, at best a secondary priority for any of these federal or state departments. For Homeland Security, the priority is obvious – national security. For the agriculture departments, the priority (quite understandably) is protecting agriculture. Border protection is of course an extremely difficult undertaking and secondary priorities understandably tend to fall through the cracks. But Hawaii needs special protection if there is to be hope of protecting more than fragments of its natural heritage into the future. I must say that in my opinion HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch under Neil Reimer is striving as best they can to prevent threats to natural resources as well as agriculture. Dr. Reimer as well as Mark Fox of The Nature Conservancy, part of the second panel today, will address the phenomenon of federal preemption and some measures that could be effective toward shoring up the best prevention efforts of HDOA.
Some very damaging invaders of have recently breached federal and state border control efforts. Many of these are not just threats to natural areas but threats to horticulture, agriculture, and in some cases human and animal health as well. HDOA has an informative system of New Pest Alerts at http://www.hawaiiag.org/hdoa/npa.htm
Adequately conveying the severity of Hawaii’s current invasive species crisis as it affects national parks, endemic biodiversity, and Hawaiian culture in Hawaii is a daunting task, but I’ll briefly summarize the status of just six recently introduced pests that are especially damaging. I could be wrong (and would be delighted to stand corrected) but I’m pretty sure that the ones that likely came to Hawaii from foreign countries would not have been considered actionable quarantine pests if intercepted by DHS/USDA at the international Ports of Honolulu or Kona, because none of them would be considered threats to mainstream U.S. agriculture. This may well be a rational national response to the challenging demands of protecting U.S. agriculture from foreign pests in this age of free trade. But I think it is important to at least consider the cumulative toll being taken on the natural and cultural heritage of Hawaii and Pacific islands, as manifested in national parks and elsewhere.
Erythrina gall wasp (Quadrastichus erythrinae): This species was first reported on Oahu in April 2005. It was originally probably from Africa but most likely passed to us from Taiwan (where the species is invasive and recent outbreaks occurred) in flowers or nursery material. All of a sudden, this very tiny wasp (males are 1mm long, females 1.5mm) is currently in the process of killing almost all Erythrina on Oahu, both the endemic species (wiliwili) and the cultivated species. There are recent reports of new neighbor island records of the gall wasp near the Kona (Hawaii island) airport (7/21/05), the Kauai airport (7/26/05) and downtown Kahului, Maui (7/30/05). Sadly, the prospects for Maui’s Pu'u-o-Kali wiliwili preserve and the wiliwili in all the national parks on Hawaii island are absolutely frightening. As little as three years ago, the magnificent native wiliwili trees on Maui seemed to be "bulletproof." Three years ago a seed-eating bruchid beetle (Specularius impressithorax) from Africa suddenly arrived and was soon attacking almost all wiliwili seeds. Today, as a result of arrival of the Erythrina gall wasp, the possibility of survival of wiliwili, until now one of the few abundant endemic tree species in remnant areas of lowland dry areas of Hawaii, into next year is even in doubt. This is especially unfortunate because of the traditional importance of wiliwili for native Hawaiians in making outriggers of canoes, surfboards, and lei.
For updates on this rapidly evolving issue, see http://www.hear.org/issues/wiliwilionmaui/
`Ohi`a rust disease (Puccinia psidii): Another plant trade-related introduction, this newly established (April 2005) rust, most likely arrived with a plant shipment from Florida or possibly a foreign country somewhere in the neotropics, poses a potentially formidable threat to Hawaii's `ohi`a (Metrosideros polymorpha) forests. This is of course alarming since `ohi`a comprises over 80% of Hawaii’s still-intact forest. The rust seems to have a broad host range within its family (Myrtaceae, including mountain apple, guavas, eucalyptus, etc.). This rust disease that attacks new, actively growing leaves is not just a threat to Hawaii’s forests. New Zealand will be looking out to protect its beloved Metrosideros forests. Australia is definitely concerned for its 600+ endemic species of Eucalyptus. Though it has so far been detected only in forests on Oahu, Maui HDOA has found `ohi`a rust disease in shipments from Oahu to at least two big box stores on Maui.
Nettle caterpillar (Darna pallivitta): Another one from Taiwan, this is a human health threat (various levels of discomfort ranging to occasional anaphylactic shock and blindness) as well as a serious environmental pest, attacking palms and related plants. Dr. Arnold Hara of UH-CTAHR in Hilo has stated (quoted in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin) that it is a worse pest than the notorious coqui frogs. The vector via which it arrived is obviously nursery material, and it is likely spread daily on Hawaii island (along with coqui, etc.) by infested nurseries. In spite of HDOA efforts at interisland quarantine, Maui HDOA has documented it at least once in a shipment from the Big Island to a Maui nursery. Unless some biocontrol agent is located and processed rapidly through the extremely restrictive system, this pest will soon be in rain forests of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata): This tiny neotropical ant has devastating effects on biodiversity and human quality-of-life in its invaded range in far-flung parts of the world (e.g., Galapagos, New Caledonia, West Africa). It was first detected here in Puna, Hawaii, in 1999, and HDOA is now reporting it from 50 sites on Hawaii island. Its localized spread after its initial discovery has been associated with transport of nursery plants. There is an HDOA interisland quarantine for little fire ant, and to date it remains confined to Hawaii island, except for a small population on Kauai that is under control but not eradicated. The poorly understood effects of this species in blinding mammals, perhaps by stinging their corneas [e.g., P.W.Walsh, P. Henschel, and K.A. Abernathy, 2004, Logging speeds little red fire ant invasion of Africa. Biotropica 36(4):637-641] are just now starting to appear in housecats in the Puna area of Hawaii island.
Scale insect of hala (Thysanococcus pandani): Hala (Pandanus tectorius) is common to abundant in many Hawaiian coastal ecosystems and an extremely important plant species for native Hawaiians, who have traditionally used it for cordage, thatching, healing, decoration, etc. The scale insect arrived on the island of Maui in 1995, apparently on a shipment of hala brought in to a botanical garden from somewhere in the western/southern Pacific. Hala is currently sickly with yellowing leaves over much of windward East Maui, though the insect’s effects have not yet reached the Kipahulu section of Haleakala National Park. Hala is an important component of the national parks in the Kona area of Hawaii island. Long-term effects of scale attack on hala populations are likely to be severe, but that is uncertain at this point in time. The South Pacific island of Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, apparently lost its Pandanus in the 1920s from a similar accidental insect introduction.
Cycad scale or sago palm scale (Aulacaspis yamatsui): This hearing is focused on national parks in Hawaii, but my agency, the USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, also does work in other Pacific islands, including Guam, the location of War in the Pacific National Historical Park. Guam has more than one million trees of the Micronesian endemic cycad Cycas micronesica, a magnificent tree that reaches heights of 80-100 ft, and all currently seem to be at risk from attack by this scale insect. Cycad scale reached Florida, transported on cycads from native Thailand in 1996, reached Hawaii (which has no native cycads) on cultivated cycads from Florida in 1999, and reached Guam from Hawaii in 2003. There are said to be 30 nurseries in Guam that bring in nursery stock from Hawaii. Guam is said to be tightening up its regulations for horticultural imports because of recent pest incursions, including cycad scale and coqui frogs.
And finally I must mention a species not in Hawaii or any Pacific island yet -- the Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA, Solenopsis invicta) that is poised to invade from either side of the Pacific Rim – from California (where Hawaii gets most of its goods and where RIFA was first discovered in 1998) and China/Taiwan/Hong Kong (where RIFA first got a foothold in 2004-05). It seems clear that RIFA can invade Hawaii and Pacific islands based on various models of potential habitat, as well as by the fact that it has invaded many Caribbean islands over the past two decades.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to submit for the record as well my article "The Challenge of Effectively Addressing the Threat of Invasive Species to the National Park System.” This was published last fall in the journal Park Science, and I have an electronic copy.
Note: The views expressed in this testimony are those of the author, given as a conservation scientist in response to Senator Akaka’s questions, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USGS, the Department of the Interior, or the United States Government.
Mr. Michael SoukupAssociate Director for Natural Resources, Stewardship and ScienceNational Park Service
STATEMENT OF MI
CHAEL SOUKUP, ASSO CIATE DIRE CTOR FOR NATURAL RESOUR CE STEWARDSHIP AND S CIEN CE, NATIONAL PARK SERVI CE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUB COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOUR CES, CON CERNING OVERSIGHT OF THE PROBLEM OF INVASIVE SPE CIES ON PARKLANDS.
August 9, 2005
Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to provide an update to the Committee on the accomplishments of the National Park Service in battling invasive species on parklands.
Invasive species proliferation is considered one of the greatest threats to our natural and cultural heritage. Invasive species encroachment is implicated in the listing of 42% of all species protected by the Endangered Species Act. Invasive plants are estimated to cause more than $20 billion per year in economic damages and affect millions of acres of public and private lands across the country. Of the 83 million acres managed by the National Park Service, 2.6 million acres are infested by invasive plants. Examples of invasive animal species plaguing the parks include feral pigs and goats, hemlock woolly adelgid insect, and New Zealand mudsnail.
Recognizing that invasive species cross geographic and jurisdictional boundaries, collaborative efforts among Federal, State, and local entities and willing private landowners can be highly effective in managing a shared problem. For the National Park Service, one of the barriers to such collaboration is the lack of the authority to expend Federal funds for work outside of lands it manages where there is a clear and direct benefit to park natural resources. According to a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report from February 2005, of the four major land management agencies examined by the GAO, the National Park Service was the only Federal agency that did not have this authority. This lack of consistency among Federal agencies is an impediment to effective collaboration and cooperation among potential partners to manage invasive species, especially with willing adjacent landowners.
To address this problem, the Administration recently has transmitted to
Congress a draft legislative proposal entitled, “the Natural Resource Protection Cooperative Agreement Act.” The proposal would provide the Secretary the authority to protect park resources through collaborative efforts on lands inside or outside of National Park System units. The legislative proposal would ensure the protection of private property rights by only authorizing collaborations with willing private landowners.
With the continual arrival of new invaders to Hawaii, the problem of non-native species occupying park areas only increases. For example, the
Coqui comun frogs, which reach cacophonous densities estimated to be between 10,000 and 40,000 per acre, are beginning to appear in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Coqui comun will decimate forest invertebrate fauna and significantly alter nutrient cycling in Hawaiian forests, while also degrading the natural quiet of the park and impacting the tourist industry. A recently arrived rust, Metrosideros polymorpha, found on ohia trees in plant nurseries on Oahuand Mauihas the potential to seriously harm this most abundant native tree species and other key species in native ecosystems in . Hawaii
Invasive marine algae are rapidly invading the Hawaiian Islands and other Pacific Island groups. These invaders are both financially and ecologically devastating. They can overgrow and kill corals, devastate coral habitat, alter ecosystem processes, and significantly impact the health and biodiversity of coral reef communities. With Hawaii’s tourism industry so dependent on marine resources, these impacts can result in major financial losses.
The Park Service is embarking on a two-year project to rapidly assess the threat from invasive marine plants within and adjacent to National Parks in Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa. Given the known distribution of invasive marine plants in shallow water habitats of the Hawaiian Islands, we must document these plant distributions and abundance in the Pacific Island Parks before they cause damage to marine resources and native or endemic species are lost. One area that has been invaded is Kaloko fishpond, located in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Kona coast of Hawaii. The historic fishpond is an 11-acre, spring-fed, natural embayment enclosed by a man-made stone wall. Red alga has entered the pond and currently covers about a third of the bottom. In addition to restoring this important native Hawaiian historic site, our concern is that the invasive algae will spread to the reef adjacent to the fishpond and throughout the Kona coastline. In cooperation with University of Hawaii, the Park Service is conducting a removal project to evaluate methods to diminish and control this invasion and prevent its spread. These methods include biological control using herbivorous fish, manual removal, shading, and re-cropping.
The National Park Service has been a pioneer in combating threats to resources posed by invasive species. This work began with the grassroots efforts of staff in many parks; a few examples include the removal of feral pigs at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, burros at Grand
Canyon National Park and purple loosestrife at Acadia National Park. As more and more invasives have encroached on parklands over the last century, the National Park Service has expanded its efforts to develop more complex and aggressive programs and policies to prevent, control and manage invasive species. For example, at Yellowstone National Park, staff has removed thousands of nonnative lake trout since 2000 because they were displacing native cutthroat trout, an important food source for grizzly bears. In New Mexico, invasive African oryx grew to a herd numbering more than 4,000 in White Sands National Monument. Because of resource damage, the park initiated a comprehensive control program in 1999 and successfully removed all oryx from the park. At St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Wisconsin and Minnesota, a boat inspection program has been initiated with the State of Minnesota and Federal agencies to prevent the spread of invasive aquatic plants and zebra mussels into the Riverway. This prevention program was initiated to stop the introduction of zebra mussels that were outcompeting threatened and endangered native mussels. By aggressively taking steps to eliminate or prevent establishment of invasive species, native populations of animal and plant species can thrive on parklands.
As part of the National Park Service’s Natural Resource
Challenge, a new management strategy was created for addressing invasive species in parks. Modeled after the approach used in wildland fire fighting, field-based Exotic Plant Management Teams (EPMTs) provide highly trained, mobile strike forces of plant management specialists who assist parks in the identification, treatment, control, restoration, and monitoring of areas infested with invasive plants. There are now 16 teams covering 209 parks nationwide. This successful model has now been adopted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Student Conservation Association as well. The success of the EPMTs derives from its ability to adapt to local conditions and needs while still serving multiple parks within a broad geographic area.
The Department of the Interior’s
Cooperative Conservation Initiative ( C CI) is an innovative and collaborative program through which land management agencies partner with landowners and communities to battle invasive species and restore natural areas. During 2003 – 2004, the National Park Service has received about $6 million dollars for invasive species work, primarily weed management efforts. Since 2000, the EPMTs have entered into over 40 different cooperative efforts throughout the United States with more than $4 million dollars in matching support from public and private sources. In 2004 alone, volunteers contributed over 4,000 hours to our weed management efforts. In addition, we anticipate that the Noxious Weed Act recently passed by Congress will help provide financial and technical support to our State partners in controlling weeds. Finally, through a new Student Conservation Association partnership, student teams are being fielded to build our capacity and to train new invasive species management professionals to work beyond our boundaries.
As a result of over 20 years of active ecosystem management starting with fencing and feral animal control, followed by invasive plant control and rare plant stabilization, spectacular recovery of native vegetation and associated fauna have occurred at Haleakala National Park, protecting one of the richest and most ecologically intact ecosystems within the National Park System. Thirteen endangered plants and five endangered birds are harbored on parklands along with dozens of rare plants and a diverse array of native arthropods. However, many non-native species threaten to invade native habitats at the park potentially reversing this recovery. For example, miconia, an invasive tree, feared as the “green cancer”, would transform arguably the best remaining Hawaiian rainforest, and the only remaining home of two critically endangered forest birds, the Maui Parrotbill and Akohekohe, into the green and purple monoculture that has become the fate of the forests in Tahiti. Pampas grass and silk oak also threaten to convert native grasslands and forests into single invasive species stands. So far these three species have been eradicated from parklands through a joint partnership effort. However, reinvasion from adjacent lands remains a threat.
Invasive animals are perhaps an even more imminent threat to parks in Hawaii. For example, the veiled chameleon has escaped as a result of the illegal pet trade and is considered by island biologists to have the potential for decimating native bird populations similar to what the brown tree snake has done on Guam. Much more work needs to be done to keep these and other invasives out of parks.
As mentioned above, collaborative efforts are critical in managing the problem of invasive species. To this end, the National Park Service has been an active member on many partnership committees. At the national level, the National Park Service participates in a number of interagency partnerships and cooperative efforts of the National Invasive Species
Council (NIS C), including the control of invasive plants such as tamarisk and leafy spurge in the western United States. NIS Cis an inter-departmental Council charged with coordinating Federal invasive species programs and is co-chaired by Secretary Norton. The National Park Service participates in the taxa-focused Federal coordinating organizations for invasive species, the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FI CMNEW), the Federal Interagency Committee on Invasive Terrestrial Animals and Pathogens (ITAP), and was recently invited to be a Federal member of the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force. Participation in these national efforts provides the National Park Service with opportunities to draw on broad expertise, identify shared priorities, pool resources, and work collaboratively on invasive species issues of national significance.
The National Park Service also works actively with partners at the regional and local levels. For example, we are a member of the Maui Invasive Species
Committee, an informal partnership of private, county, State and Federal agencies and individuals that has for the last three years worked to control invasive species through $1.6 million dollars in county and State grants. A similar effort led by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee is working to coordinate invasive management actions on the island.
I would like to highlight an example of a very successful public-private partnership, which is occurring here at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The Olaa Kilauea Partnership on the island of Hawaii is a cooperative land management effort involving State and Federal entities and willing private landowners. The goals of the partnership are to enhance the long-term survival of native ecosystems and manage 420,000 acres across multiple ownership boundaries. Management and research are currently focused on removing or reducing impacts from feral animals such as pigs, invasive plants and non-native predators, restoring native habitat and endangered species, and providing education and work training in fencing, native plant horticulture and other conservation work to Kulani
Correctional Facility inmates. Other partners include the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve, the Kamehameha Schools, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USGS Biological Resources Division, the USDA Forest Service, and the Nature Conservancy. The Partnership has jointly fenced 14,100 acres on State and private lands and eliminated the feral pig population from 9,800 acres, while controlling feral pigs in an additional 4,300 acres.
The Partnership also offers valuable educational and cultural benefits by providing staff and field sites for hands-on environmental educational activities for teacher workshops and student programs. The private landowner involved in the Partnership plans to restore the ranch adjacent to the park and use the entire area for conservation, cultural enrichment and education.
The most cost-effective and successful strategy for battling invasive species is preventing them from ever entering our national parks. New and innovative programs are being established in a handful of parks to institutionalize prevention programs. In cases where this is not possible, the sooner new introductions are detected and addressed the greater the likelihood of eradication. The National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring (I&M) Program networks are helping parks develop monitoring programs for the detection of new invasions so a quick response can ultimately remove the threat before it becomes unmanageable. The information is also used by EMPTs for identifying treatment areas and coordinating control projects with parks.
The battle to manage the widely recognized and increasing problem of invasive species in our national parks has brought together a broad-based coalition of public and private agencies, citizens and organizations with the shared goal of protecting our national heritage. The Department’s commitment to take aggressive action to prevent and manage invasive species is evident by the support of programs such as the Natural Resource
Challenge and the Cooperative Conservation Initiative.
We applaud your efforts Mr.
Chairman to bring recognition to this growing problem of invasive species on parklands across the Nation. This concludes my statement and I will be happy to answer any questions that you or members of the Committee may have.
Mr. Don ReeserFormer SuperintendentHaleakala National Park
STATEMENT OF DONALD REESER,
VOLUNTEER, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING OVERSIGHT OF THE PROBLEM OF INVASIVE SPECIES ON PARKLANDS. HALEAKALA NATIONAL PARK August 9, 2005
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to provide my perspective on the National Park Service’s battle against alien species. I am recently retired from the federal government, having served at
, Park Naturalist 1965-1968, Ranger/Resource Manager at Hawaii Volcanoes N. P. 1968-1979, Muir Woods National Monument , Chief of Resources Management and Watershed Rehabilitation, 1979-1988 and Redwood National Park , Superintendent, 1988-2005. Haleakala National Park
When I transferred to
, in 1968, there was concern by biologists for the impacts to native biological resources by the thousands of feral goats and pigs that roamed the park; however there was little support by the public or higher officials at the time for necessary action. Programs to control these animals by the National Park Service (NPS) were largely perfunctory. By documenting feral animal impacts and demonstrating success in excluding feral animals from large fenced areas, public perceptions and understanding gradually changed through the years. Discredited was the widespread notion that control of feral animals was enough to save native species. Finally acknowledged, was the reality that total exclusion of feral animals is necessary to achieve native ecosystem preservation and restoration. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
In the 1963 Leopold Report on Wildlife Management in National Parks, one sentence summed up to me what the policy was to be pursued: “A visitor who climbs a mountain in
, ought to see mamane trees and silverswords, not goats.” Hawaii
Since the early 1970s, the National Park Service has been a leader in ecosystem preservation. Feral animals in
national parks are being effectively excluded by internal and boundary fences. Park interpretive programs emphasize ecosystem preservation and the problems associated with invasive species. Resource management divisions, with supporting United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division research assistance, have been established, dedicated to ecosystem preservation and restoration. Active involvement with watershed partnerships is ongoing and crucial in addressing invasive issues adjacent to park boundaries. An Exotic Plant Management Team is assigned to host park, Haleakala, to help respond to the needs of several parks in Hawaii . Hawaii
Park ecosystem preservation has come a long way since the 1970s in dealing with invasive species. Besides feral animals, we had a full plate of non-natives to deal with including rats, mongooses, faya tree, kahili ginger to name a few. However, today we have new invasive species such as coqui frogs, miconia and leaf hoppers. While resource managers worked on programs to deal with existing pests, new ones were arriving on the scene. Park managers now fear that the brown tree snake and red fire ant will soon be added to the control list.
Airports and harbors are the obvious pathways for new arrivals that threaten public health, agricultural crops and native ecosystems. On
Maui, the NPS plays a proactive role in trying to affect change in the infrastructure and the scope of interdiction activities at . NPS challenges to the airport improvement environmental compliance documentation, resulted in an alien species program requirement that was appended to the final record of decision. Risk assessments conducted by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture confirmed the validity of park concerns. Nevertheless, after nearly a decade of meetings and discussion among key agencies, there remains substantial resistance or apathy for the implementation of effective and adequately staffed interdiction programs at Kahului Airport where implementation of an alien species action plan was mandated. Recent legislation, sponsored by Congressman Ed Case, which would require the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior to expand Federal efforts to prevent the introduction in Hawaii of non-native plants, animals, and plant and animal diseases, if enacted, may help achieve the needed changes at airports and harbors. Kahului Airport
Harbors as an avenue for invasive species have not received the attention they deserve because they are long standing existing operations. However in the last year, a proposal for Superferries operating between islands has raised concerns for accelerating the spread of invasive species between islands. The NPS testified before the Maui County Council that the enormous increase of loaded vehicles entering
Mauiwill cause adverse impacts to park ecosystems. Many of these vehicles aboard the superferries will be carrying invasive plant seeds such as miconia, fountain grass, as well as, insects, spreading them from sea level to 10,000 feet elevation. Probable impacts to a national park require analyses and mitigations under the National Environmental Protection Act. Hawaii Department of Transportation has declined to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
National parks should be outstanding examples of ecosystem preservation and principal leaders in combating alien invasive species. Major challenges facing the NPS include: 1) dealing more aggressively and effectively with established invasive species using traditional methods, as well as, seeking and employing new biological controls, 2) gaining clear authority for targeting certain invasive species outside park boundaries rather than waiting to fight them in the park, and 3) preventing the establishment of new pests species in Hawaii.
Additional funding for invasive control and ecosystem restoration programs is an obvious need. Eroding park bases from inflation and mandated programs have made it tough for park managers to keep adequate funding in resource protection programs.
Special legislation, that makes it easier for the NPS to assist adjacent park partners in attacking ecosystem changing species such as miconia, is desperately needed. Guidelines for Recreational Fee Demonstration program revenues received at entrance stations and from commercial operations at national parks need to be liberalize for funding serious invasive species problems inside and on adjacent partnership lands.
Thank you, Senator Akaka, for your many years of support of funding for fencing and alien species control; the national parks are far better shape today because of your vision and commitment to the preservation of native Hawaiian plants and animals.
Witness Panel 2
Mr. Mark FoxDirector of External AffairsThe Nature Conservancy of Hawaii
Testimony of Mark R. Fox, Director of External Affairs
The Nature Conservancy, Hawai‘i Program
Field Hearing on Invasive Species
Subcommittee on National Parks
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources U.S. August 9, 2005, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Senator Akaka, thank you for hosting this hearing and for the opportunity to testify on invasive species issues and legislative solutions to this serious threat. My name is Mark Fox, and I am the Director of External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i.
The mission of The Nature Conservancy is to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. With the support of approximately 1 million members, The Nature Conservancy has protected more than 120 million acres and 5,000 river miles around the world.
The Hawai‘i Chapter of the Conservancy has been in operation for 25 years and we currently manage a network of 12 preserves encompassing about 32,000 acres across the main Hawaiian islands. In addition to our core field work on our own preserves, we work with public and private colleagues throughout the state to organize and operate partnership entities that help protect and manage the islands’ globally unique, but extremely fragile natural resources.
Examples of these partnerships include the five Island Invasive Species Committees that you hear a lot about today, and nine watershed partnerships around the islands that are managing nearly 1 million acres of
’s most important forested watersheds. Another example of such collaboration can now be enjoyed here at Hawai‘i Hawaii . With leadership from the entire Volcanoes National Park Congressional delegation, we acquired and transferred to the Park Service the 115,000-acre Kahuku Ranch. That single transaction, valued at $22,000,000 and completed in 2004, expanded the Park’s land ownership by one-half and is the largest single conservation land acquisition in the history of the State. Hawaii
BACKGROUND ON INVASIVE SPECIES
Our organization’s experience over the last quarter century demonstrates that the single greatest threat to the survival of
’s natural environment is the damage done by non-native, invasive species. Indeed, more than 90% of our field work and that of our conservation partners in Hawai‘i is directed to preventing, detecting, and controlling invasive species, both plants and animals, that alter and ultimately devastate the islands’ natural environment. Hawaii
As you know, however, this is not just an environmental problem. Under unfortunate circumstances, we are finding strong allies across a wide variety of sectors including the visitor industry, health care, agriculture, and real estate as we all try to figure out how to deal with pests ranging from alien algae that blanket coral reefs, mosquito borne diseases, fire ants and stinging caterpillars, forest-choking weeds, ear-splitting coqui frogs, and costly crop diseases.
We have been working hard over many years to physically control invasive species once they have arrived and become established. However, it is only in the last 10 years that we have undertaken an organized effort in Hawai‘i to affect public policy with respect to invasive species. Our work at the county, state and federal levels includes efforts to enhance recognition of the ecological, economic, health, and lifestyle threats from invasive species, to secure more funding to address these threats, and to support improved government policy in this area.
INTERIOR DEPARTMENT LEGISLATION
We appreciate the leadership of Senator Akaka and Senator Wyden in sponsoring important bills that move us in the right direction of addressing pressing invasive species policy needs. The Natural Resource Protection Cooperative Agreement Act (S. 1288) will help with a very practical problem that has challenged the National Park Service. This important legislation addresses the fact that no authority now exists to allow a park to expend resources or enter into partnerships to control imminent invasive species threats outside park boundaries. The provisions of S. 1288 would simply and effectively resolve this problem, as well as provide additional authority for the Park Service to enter into collaborative relationships that will benefit park resources. We trust the Administration will support this legislative version of the principles underlying the President’s Executive Order on Cooperative Conservation.
The Park Service has the expertise to provide significant national leadership in this area. For example, using the teams that fight wildfires as a model, the National Park Service established Exotic Plant Management Teams (EPMT) across the country to serve as a highly-trained, mobile strike force that now protects hundreds of National Parks from the threat of invasive plants. Thanks to this program, the Pacific Islands EPMT proactively manages aggressive weeds in all the national parks in
, protecting rare native communities from invasion. Hawai’i
We also appreciate your planned reintroduction of the Public Land Protection and Conservation Act (S. 2598, 108th Cong.). This measure creates an excellent framework of federal granting authority to assist states with assessment and rapid response to invasive species threats, and to foster partnerships to control pests on and adjacent to Interior and Forest Service lands. This bill would provide an important additional source of revenue to leverage existing state and local funding for invasive species, including funding for rapid response programs to eradicate incipient invasions before they become widely established. Together with other members of the National Environmental Coalition on Invasive Species, the Conservancy endorses this legislation and looks forward to working with you to gain passage of this bill.
PREVENTION AND QUARANTINE
We can and will spend vast amounts of time and money battling pests that become established in Hawai‘i and elsewhere in the
. However, it is a documented fact that the most effective, especially cost effective, way to deal with invasive species is to prevent their introduction in the first place. United States
Legislation designed, in part, to prevent the further introduction of aquatic invasive species to the
, has already been introduced in both the House and Senate (S. 770 and H.R. 1591/1592). The Conservancy supports the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act (NAISA), which is a comprehensive legislative approach to the threat of aquatic invasive species. This bill will cover all waters of the United States , including marine and coastal waters, as well as inland lakes and streams. The provisions providing for the pre-screening of intentional introductions and the establishment of an early warning system coupled with rapid response capability are important new authorities that would protect all of our nation’s aquatic resources, whether Great Lake, trout stream, bayou, or coral reef. U.S.
The need for NAISA is demonstrated by existing invasions of national parks. For example, the
mud snail was accidentally introduced into New Zealand by recreational fishermen. This tiny snail is now alarmingly abundant and could prove to have major effects on some of the most pristine streams in the country. Likewise, the hitchhiking zebra mussel has spread to Yellowstone National Park and is now smothering rare and endangered native mussels in the NPS administered St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. Wisconsin
Another major threat to the resources of many National Parks is the existing and potential effects of introduced forest insects and diseases. The forests of such eastern parks as
and Great Smoky Mountains National Park no longer represent the primeval forest of the Shenandoah National Park Appalachians. The most noticeable missing tree is the American chestnut, which was virtually eradicated during the early 1900s by the introduced chestnut blight. Other trees in the Appalachianshave succumbed to and are threatened by a succession of invasions. Increasing attention is currently focused on the hemlock woolly adelgid pest, which is killing the towering hemlocks that form unique ecosystems of great beauty and biological importance. This year, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Health Management program will fund more than $350,000 to map and develop a response to this pest in Great Smoky and , the Shenandoah National Parks Blue Ridge Parkway, and several smaller historic park units. The response to this alien invader will probably rely largely on biological control and attempts to breed resistant trees. might soon face an even greater menace, the sudden oak death pathogen. This plant disease, currently found in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where it is killing oaks and infesting other trees and plants in California and Point Reyes National Seashore, can easily be spread by the movement of nursery stock. If the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Protection Service (APHIS) fails to prevent such transmission, sudden oak death could infect a high proportion of the oak trees in Redwoods National Park Great Smoky Mountainsand other parks, as well as the rhododendron shrubs that contribute so much to spring floral displays.
In addition, white pine blister rust is killing ninety percent or more of high-elevation five-needle pines in Glacier,
Yellowstone, and Crater LakeNational parks. The disease was recently found in the mountains above Great Sand Dunes National Park. As the disease continues to spread in the Rockies, it will threaten pines in and Rocky Mountain Great BasinNational parks.
As noted above, much of the National Park Service’ current effort to combat introduced forest insects and pathogens is funded through the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Management Program. Chairman Charles Taylor of the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee has provided key Congressional leadership to increase funding for this program. However, the agency responsible for preventing introductions of forest pests and eradicating those that evade border controls is USDA APHIS. Unfortunately, APHIS has not received adequate funding to carry out effective eradication programs targeting even the pests which pose the greatest risk, such as the emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle. Congress and the governors of affected states have urged the Administration to provide emergency funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation, but the Administration has so far rejected such requests.
Turning more directly to the issue of prevention and the threat of new pest introductions in Hawai‘i, I would like to offer some specific comments on inspection and quarantine activities at ports of entry. While this may not be directly within the jurisdiction of this subcommittee, it is an area of critical importance to any entity trying to manage invasive species threats.
As a direct result of National Park Service leadership, a model for prevention is being realized on the
where we are all benefiting from improved understanding of pest risks and enhanced quarantine and inspection capacity at islandof Maui . These enhancements include additional inspectors and a modern and secure inspection facility that will soon be constructed at the airport. Kahului International Airport
This process, which began with a proposed runway extension, was not easy for anyone involved particularly on an island that relies heavily on visitor and cargo arrivals to support its economy. However, the model now being established at Kahului airport is the product of hard work and understanding by a number of individuals and agencies like the National Park Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and others.
The important progress at Kahului airport traces back to
leadership, particularly Superintendent Don Reeser who is here today, that insisted on the importance of protecting against new pest introductions. This position by the Park Service was primarily for the protection of the globally unique resources at Haleakala National Park , but it also was based in the much broader appreciation of the role of natural landscapes on Haleakala National Park Mauiand across the island chain. After all, ’s natural environment is what drives our visitor economy, provides the year-round climate for our diversified agriculture industry, delivers the most basic necessities like clean fresh water from healthy forested watersheds, and allows us the lifestyle that all residents enjoy. Hawaii
It is also worth noting that the Park Service in Hawai‘i and
has been a leader in protecting globally significant resources from feral animals, including pigs, goats and sheep. Channels Island National Park
Even with this spirit of collaboration and example of success at Kahului airport, there are formidable challenges to developing a truly effective prevention system—right up to and including the United State Constitution and the free market principles this nation is founded upon. For centuries this country has promoted the important notions of free trade and open boarders to commerce.
The Constitution’s Commerce Clause (Art I., Sec. 8, Clause 3) and Supremacy Clause (Art VI, Clause 2) set that stage by giving Congress the authority to regulate commerce with other nations and between the states, and confirming that federal law is the supreme law of the land. In the area of pest prevention, the federal Plant Protection Act takes it a step further by specifically preempting states from being more restrictive than the federal government in regulating the movement of plants and plant products. (7 USC § 7756) The federal government is not so preemptive with respect to regulating the movement of animals, both terrestrial and aquatic.
The differences in Hawai‘i state law regarding the introduction of plants and non-domestic animals (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §§ 150A-6.1 and -6.2) directly reflect the preference for movement of plants through federal preemption of state regulatory regimes. Basically,
uses a black list (noxious weed list) approach to plants, and a white list approach to animals. What this means is that virtually all plants are allowed to be introduced to Hawai‘i unless on a very short noxious weed list (~80 identified plants). Conversely, no non-domestic animals are allowed entry into the state unless on one of two short approved lists. Hawaii
The State of
‘i runs directly into federal preemption if it wishes to strengthen its statutes regarding plants or implement stricter state quarantine regulations. The only available choice is a long and laborious process of securing approval for heightened restrictions on a species-by-species basis from the Secretary of Agriculture. (7 USC § 7756(b)(2)(B)) Hawai
With this problem in mind and recognizing Hawaii’s unique risk from invasive species, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would provide Hawai‘i with additional federal support on incoming quarantine inspections and establish an expedited process for the State to implement regulations to protect itself from pest threats. In particular, H. R. 3468, the Hawaii Invasive Species Prevention Act, would:
§ Mandate federal quarantine protection for the State of
‘i to prevent the introduction of invasive species, including a system of post-arrival protocols for all passengers and cargo; Hawai
§ Allow for federal enforcement of State quarantine laws;
§ Establish an expedited review process for the State of
‘i to impose restrictions on the movement of invasive species or diseases that are in addition to federal restrictions; and Hawai
§ Allow the State of
‘i to impose limited emergency restrictions upon the introduction or movement of a pest or disease. Hawai
We hope you will review this bill and consider introducing a companion measure in the Senate.
Brown Tree Snakes and the Department of Defense
The build up of
military activities in the global war on terrorism has resulted in unprecedented growth and movement of military personnel and cargo at many installations in the U.S. and abroad. Current and planned expansion of military facilities on Guam are putting enormous pressure on military facilities there and, as a result, on U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services personnel tasked with inspecting the vast amounts of cargo leaving Guam. Available funding from the Departments of Defense, Interior and Agriculture for Wildlife Service’s inspection operations has been level for about a decade and has, therefore, not kept pace with the military’s massive operational expansion on United States Guamand elsewhere in the Pacific. Additionally, Wildlife Services personnel, equipment and canines are being housed in substandard facilities, if not crowded off Anderson Air Force Base altogether, and cargo is regularly leaving Guamwithout any inspection.
In the last two weeks of June alone:
§ 7 military aircraft left
Guamuninspected by Wildlife Services personnel.
§ These aircraft contained 131 military household goods packouts.
§ These packouts included 312,780 lbs. of cargo.
§ This cargo was bound for locations throughout the Pacific, the
mainland, and U.S. Europe.
§ Final destinations included temperate locations such as Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Okinawa, Puerto Rico, California, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Louisiana where brown tree snakes could survive year-round and pose significant ecological, economic and human health threats.
(Source: USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services,
The 2003 reauthorization of the federal Sikes Act (16 USC §§ 670a-670f) included a pilot program requiring that the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) for Anderson Air Force Base on Guam contain specific elements on invasive species. We recommend a review of this pilot test, including consideration that it be applied to all Defense Department INRMPs through either further amendment to the Sikes Act or the annual Defense Authorization Act.
We also recommend specific requirements concerning not only the impact of invasive species to natural resources on military bases, but also the threats posed to outside locations as the result of exports of pests in military transport. Further, it is important that invasive species mitigation, especially regarding the movement of pests in military transport, become an integral component of the budgeting for base operations and military readiness. Important language that would have required this type of consideration was stricken from the Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act of 2004 before it passed the Congress last year.
Thank you again for this opportunity to offer The Nature Conservancy’s comments on the critical issues related to invasive species policy. The global economy and our ability to quickly and efficiently move people and goods around the globe benefit all of us. However, these same modern advancements are exponentially elevating the potentially catastrophic threats of invasive pests and diseases. We greatly appreciate your recognition of this serious issue and your willingness to take a leadership role in enhancing federal policies and resources to address this problem.
Dr. Neil ReimerBranch Chief, Plant QuarantineHawaii Department of Agriculture
Testimony of Neil J. Reimer, Ph.D., Plant Quarantine Branch Chief, Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Field Hearing on Invasive Species
Subcommittee on national Parks
U.S. Senate Committee on energy and Natural Resources
August 9, 2005, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Senator Akaka and Senator Wyden, thank you for conducting this hearing and for granting me the opportunity to testify on existing legislation and legislative solutions as it relates to invasive species. My name is Neil Reimer. I am the Branch Chief for the Plant Quarantine Branch within the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA).
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s mission is to ensure that agriculture is a respected and significant driver of the State’s economy. The Plant Quarantine Branch within the Hawaii Department of Agriculture is mandated by state law to protect Hawaii’s agricultural and horticultural industries, as well as the State’s natural environment and human health through the interdiction and exclusion of invasive alien species. Invasive species regulated by the branch include non-domestic animals, plants, and microorganisms that may be harmful and/or pathogenic to humans, animals, plants, and the environment.
Our counterparts within the federal government include Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Department of Agriculture Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). CBP is mandated to enforce federal agriculture importation laws for material arriving from foreign sources. USDA enforces domestic quarantines for the movement of certain pests between states, and FWS enforces animal importations through the Lacey Act.
Recently, there has been heightened awareness of the problems associated with the entry of invasive alien species into Hawaii and increased interest and concern in protecting Hawaii’s environment and endangered species. The demand that HDOA continue to exclude invasive alien species from Hawaii is growing as evidenced by the strong concerns engendered by the Kahului, Maui airport runway extension project and the creation of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council under the governors office, to name a few.
The Kahului Airport runway extension project consisted of plans for major improvements for the airport on Maui to enhance airport services and operational safety. These improvements included lengthening and strengthening of an existing runway, constructing a new, state-of-art, cargo handling facility, expanding bulk fuel storage capacity and distribution lines, and improving airport roadways and support facilities.
A joint Federal-State Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identified alien species introduction as an environmental risk associated with direct overseas flights landing on Maui at Kahului Airport. Because of concerns regarding the adequacy of the EIS, the U.S. Department of Interior (USDOI) asked the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to undertake a review of the environmental assessment and to make recommendations. CEQ convened working sessions involving the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Interior, and Agriculture, and the State of Hawaii Departments of Transportation, Agriculture, and Land and Natural Resources, to address appropriate mitigation measures. These discussions led to adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), dated August 24, 1998, and signed by participating federal and state agencies, for the “Prevention of Alien Species Introduction through the Kahului Airport”. One result of this MOU was implementation of a risk assessment of invasive species introductions at Kahului Airport.
The Kahului Airport Pest Risk Assessment (KARA) involved intensive inspections of checked and carry-on-baggage by inspectors and detector dog teams; inspections of aircraft cabins and cargo holds of mainland flights; and 100% inspections of agricultural products shipped by air cargo.
A total of 1,897 commercial direct overseas flights, with 399,463 passengers and crew on board, were inspected. Agricultural commodities in baggage or the aircraft cabin were found in 1,539 of the 1,897 flights. While passengers and the aircraft were found to be potential pathways of entry of agricultural commodities and pests into Maui, the risk of pest introduction through these pathways was found to be small. Inspectors examined 4,644 agricultural items recovered from the cabins of aircraft or the carry-on or checked baggage (4,396) of passengers. Passengers declared 3,873 of the 4,644 agricultural products intercepted by inspectors. The remaining 771 agricultural items (16%) were interceptions of items that were not declared on Plant and Animal Declaration Forms distributed on the aircraft prior to landing. Only 11 of the 771 intercepted items were found to be infested with a pest and were confiscated.
Detector dog teams monitored 422 flights in the baggage claim area and found 1,143 agricultural products in baggage. Apples, bananas, and oranges were the products commonly intercepted. Only 3 restricted agricultural commodities were found, all Florida citrus without proper documentation for entry into Hawaii. These were confiscated and destroyed. Passengers declared 343 of the 1,143 agricultural items intercepted by the detector dog teams. The remaining 800 items (70%) were interceptions that were not declared on Plant and Animal Declaration Forms distributed on the aircraft prior to landing.
Cargo was identified as a high-risk pathway for the entry of pests into Maui. A total of 480 different agricultural products were identified in cargo shipments and subjected to inspection. Pests were found on 114 different agricultural products: 51% of the products were infested less than 10% of the time; 49% of the commodities were infested more than 10% of the time. A total of 1,401 insect interceptions were made on agricultural commodities. Of the 279 species intercepted, 125 were not known to occur in Hawaii; 103 were established in Hawaii; and 51 were of undetermined status. One hundred fifty-six interceptions involved plant disease organisms, 47 of which were determined to be pathogenic species.
A total of 1,401 interceptions were made in the 130-day blitz for an average of 10.8 interceptions per day for the KARA. This compares to an average of 782 interceptions per year (2.1 quarantine pest interceptions per day) on a statewide basis for the years 1995 through 2001.
These numbers give information on the problems with prevention of invasive species importations at one port of entry. In fact, this is a limited port of entry in that only certain commodities are allowed into the state through this port. The problem is worse at other ports.
To address the problems found in this risk assessment, inspector staffing at the airport was increased from 5 to 14 inspectors, positions were changed from temporary to permanent, and a cargo inspection facility will be built, among others.
Once an alien species bypasses prevention efforts at the ports and becomes established in the State it is virtually impossible to eradicate. The result is spread throughout the State including into the National Parks. What follows is environmental degradation, loss of species diversity, extinction of species, and other continuous economic losses for the rest of history. It has been well demonstrated that it is less costly to prevent the entry of invasive species than it is to attempt to control them once established. Therefore, there should be a strong focus on prevention efforts to ensure that the problem never arrives.
In these prevention efforts in Hawaii, a number of issues have surfaced which could be addressed by federal legislation. I will include three in this testimony; preemption, brown tree snake, and border inspections.
In the past, Hawaii has asked for exemption from the preemption clause (sec. 436) in the Plant Protection Act. The preemption clause establishes that no state may regulate in foreign commerce any article, plant, biocontrol organism, plant pest, or noxious weed to control, eradicate, or prevent the introduction of the pest into the state. It also established that the state may not regulate these pests in interstate commerce unless the state’s regulations are equal to or less restrictive than the federal regulations. The clause does allow for the states to petition the Secretary of Agriculture to add additional restrictions on a case by case basis.
A request to exempt Hawaii from the importation of ivy gourd fruits was denied because of a USDA finding that it did not represent a pest risk to the United States. This was in spite of Hawaii's testimony that ivy gourd is one of the State's most serious noxious weeds. This aggressive vine has invaded the lowlands, covering up trees and telephone poles alike. If a Federal preemption clause had been invoked on the regulation that allowed the interstate movement of honey bees, it would have also allowed honey bees to enter the State even though Hawaii does not have the Varroa and tracheal mites, has a State law that prohibits the entry of honey bees, and has the means for keeping them out of the State through interstate cargo, baggage, and mail inspections. If bromeliads were allowed to enter Hawaii with media attached as proposed earlier and a preemption clause had been invoked, it would have been an avenue for tropical biting midges to enter the islands and become established. The State is still very much concerned about the preemption in Federal rules governing the importation of orchids grown in media from Taiwan, and proposals for importations of orchids from other tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Orchids are normally held in quarantine in Hawaii because of the many various snails, slugs, ants, beetles, biting flies, and viruses that have been found associated with even bare-rooted plants. The State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Orchid Growers Association (HOGA) requested USDA to be more restrictive on the requirements for orchid imports into Hawaii. At a minimum, the request was to allow for inspection of the imported orchids. The main concern was for the accidental importation of slugs and snails as has been seen on orchid imports in the past. HOGA has initiated a lawsuit against USDA because of this decision. The importation of orchids in media without any inspection or quarantine will exacerbate an already serious problem that affects one of Hawaii's major ornamentals.
Finally, an exemption from the Federal preemption clause is especially important for places like Hawaii when one also considers that Federal quarantines are frequently established to protect major crops that are grown in the continental U.S., which it should. Because of climatic differences between the continental U.S. and the non-contiguous states, however, Hawaii's most important crops are considered minor. Case in point, for several decades mealybugs have been entering the continental U.S. on foreign bananas. These bananas are inspected and released by federal agencies in California (U.S. port of entry) based on bananas not being a major agricultural crop in the continental U.S. and, therefore, banana consumed as food not being considered a high pest risk. Banana was and still is a major crop in Hawaii, however. Whenever mealybug-infested bananas enter Hawaii from California, they are treated by freezing, fumigated with methyl bromide, or rejected. In 1984, a mealybug on bananas from Central America that had entered the U.S. via California became established in Hawaii and found its way onto some Hawaii flowers that were exported to California. The flowers were rejected in California. The mealybug is still being found on bananas that are imported into Hawaii from Central America via California.
Awareness of these issues has prompted Representative Ed Case to introduce a bill (HR 3468) which would provide additional inspections and establish an expedited process for States to seek approval of the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior for specific prohibitions or restrictions upon the introduction or movement of invasive species from domestic or foreign locations to Hawaii. HDOA hopes you will review this bill and introduce a companion into the Senate.
Brown Tree Snake
Hawaii is concerned with the impact increased military activities on Guam will have on the State of Hawaii. The impact to Hawaii of the proposed expansion and the cumulative effects of current and future expansions of the Air Force and Navy on Guam need to be considered.
Current military activities on Guam have increased the risk of accidental importation to Hawaii of brown tree snake and other alien species. Brown tree snakes have been intercepted eight times in Hawaii in association with the movement of military aircraft, equipment, supplies, empty containers and household goods of military personnel. An increase in military movement will increase the risks for the movement of these pests to Hawaii.
The brown tree snake was likely introduced to the island of Guam in materials moved by the military during the late 1940’s. The snake has caused, and continues to cause, significant economic, ecological, and human health impacts to Guam. The brown tree snake is responsible for the extinction of 9 of 13 native forest bird species on Guam. The brown tree snake causes frequent electrical power outages and is a concern for human health and safety. Snakes currently occur at high densities on Guam and there is a significant risk that these snakes will be transported off Guam in military transport and cargo.
Similar impacts would be experienced in Hawaii should the snake become established here. Experts estimate the potential economic impact to Hawaii would be between $400 million and $1.8 billion annually.
Hawaii would like to see 100% inspection of military vehicles and household goods, as well as 100% coverage by an interdiction program at Guam sea ports and airports. It is important that invasive species mitigation, especially regarding the movement of pests in military aircraft, cargo, and personal effects, become a required component in military budgeting for base operations. The military needs to take responsibility for the movement of these pests. This is especially problematic during times of war as the movement of military equipment increases but the repercussions of not taking this into consideration are the movement and establishment of invasive species which will cause ecological, health, and economic losses long after the war is over and potentially for all future generations.
Following September 11 the inspections of agricultural commodities from foreign ports for invasive species has shifted from USDA/PPQ to DHS/CBP. Federal agriculture inspectors have been reassigned from PPQ to CBP with assurances that there would not be any decrease in the inspection of foreign agriculture commodities for invasive species. The reality appears to be that the focus within CBP has shifted from invasive species detection to the detection of potential acts of terrorism. This has become a great concern among the state departments of agriculture as an increase establishment of invasive species from foreign sources will have a severe negative impact on the agricultural economy. Many of these pests will also reach the National Parks. A mechanism needs to be found to ensure that the inspection for invasive species from foreign sources remains a high priority within the federal government.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before this committee. Some of these concerns may appear to be removed from the National Park system but all of the alien invasive species that are currently causing serious problems in the parks came into the State from outside sources, many unintentionally. We appreciate you taking the time to listen to testimony on these serious issues.
Ms. Mindy WilkinsonInvasive Species CoordinatorDivision of Forestry and Wildlife
Testimony of Dr. Mindy Wilkinson, Invasive Species Coordinator
Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Field Hearing on Invasive Species
Subcommittee on National Parks
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
August 9, 2005, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Aloha Senator Akaka. Thank you for traveling here to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to experience our unique and diverse Hawaiian ecosystems. My name is Mindy Wilkinson and I am the Invasive Species Coordinator for the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources. Finding solutions to the impacts caused by invasive species is one of the key priorities of our Department.
While I’ve been asked to discuss legislation and legislative solutions with you today I will only be able to do this by describing the partnerships, collaborations and lifetimes of hard work that have gone into preserving what you see around you. The partnerships and innovations in management developed in Hawai’i serve as models for developing better legislative solutions to the problems caused by invasive species.
Cooperating to control invasive species across landscapes has improved management of native ecosystems by including entire watersheds and allowing ecosystems to function instead of relying on constant mitigative measures to make up for the loss of key pieces of habitat. For many invasive species concerns, waiting to initiate management until they are on your property or have crossed a regional boundary is not sufficient. The most effective option for avoiding degradation of ecosystems by invasive species is prevention followed by early detection and rapid response to these species, no matter who’s land the species is found on. It is important to not risk loosing another acre, another host plant or native bird to Brown Treesnakes, Red Imported Fire Ants or the next threat around the corner. Protecting
from invasive species by working together to improve our prevention and quarantine network and preventing the establishment of invasive species and eradicate incipient populations of invasive species is key to preserving our ecosystems. Hawai’i
The State of Hawai’i is committed to invasive species management through the stewardship of our own lands which includes the 102 year old forest reserve system and through partnerships including the Invasive Species Committees that manage newly established invasive species and Watershed Partnerships that allow neighboring landowners to collaborate to manage landscapes. In 2003 the Hawai’i State Legislature created the Hawai’i Invasive Species Council to provide Cabinet level leadership and the Governor subsequently asked key Cabinet members to participate as well as committing $4,000,000 in new state funding to improve programs devoted to invasive species prevention, early detection and rapid response, research and the application of new technology and public outreach.
With the cooperation of the Counties, Federal partners and private groups we have:
- carried out research at our ports to identify the goods and vessels that pose the greatest risk of introducing invasive species,
- expanded our operations to control invasive species that threaten the environment and economy as well as creating an innovative aquatic species response team that will help protect our vital reefs,
- provided 17 research and technology grants totaling $600,000 to improve our ability to respond to invasive species, and
- created an integrated invasive species outreach program to link together groups representing public health, agriculture, environment and tourism.
Our goal is to provide the commitment and matching funds to encourage increased participation by our partners.
The National Parks Service has contributed greatly to conservation in Hawai’i and has made great strides in the two aspects of invasive species management that provide the most significant long term biological impact, prevention and early detection and rapid response. The National Resources Protection Cooperative Agreement Act S. 1288 will build on the contributions that the National Parks have made and allow cooperation and partnerships that will continue to benefit both the resources of the National Park as well as the State of Hawaii.
Those of us that live and work in Hawai’i and appreciate the results of the conservation of native ecosystems owe so much to our local National Parks. So much of what is locally assumed to be Conservation Management 101 was developed locally by National Parks resource managers. While the introduction of invasive weeds that have altered and replaced native forests spread out of control, the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Resource Manager Tim Tunison recognized that by setting aside Special Ecological Areas and managing them intensively, tracks of valuable native ecosystems could be preserved. By focusing on the outlying populations of invasive plants instead of the heavily infested cores of the populations the rate of spread could be slowed, stopped and potentially a strategy for the island wide eradication of invasive species was developed and is applied across the state by the Invasive Species Committees.
Even the threat posed by direct flights from the mainland to the island of Maui was not given adequate consideration until Haleakala National Park Superintendent Don Reeser stood up to the expansion at Kahului Airport that without mitigation would have increased the rate of introduction of invasive species. His support prompted years of study and effort that among other successes have produced a Pest Risk Assessment that details the highest risk pathways for the introduction of invasive species as well and the development of a new quarantine facility at the airport that will allow the inspection of incoming goods and thereby reduce the risk to Maui. Even the mechanism that allows agencies to pool resources to hire the Invasive Species Committee and Watershed Partnership field crews that carry out invasive species management is based on the original Parks Cooperative Studies Unit that evolved to include all of Hawai’i.
The Natural Resource Protection Cooperative Agreement Act S.1288 is a positive extension of the partnerships that Hawai’i’s National Parks have fostered. By providing protected areas that act as laboratories for the most intensive cutting edge management the NPS fosters the development of a valuable core of dedicated individuals. The insights from the management of the parks themselves can lead to conservation measures that improve the conservations of lands across boundaries to include entire landscapes. From working together to stop the spread of the invasive tree Miconia into native rainforests to partnerships with neighboring landowners to create tracts of cooperatively protected forests the National Parks in
are one of our most valuable partners. Hawai’i
Protecting Hawai’I from Invasive Species
Hawai’i is the most isolated island group in the world but the regulations that we rely on to maintain our unique environment are written with a continent in mind. Hawaii needs special consideration and special protective measures. Many of the species that have spread across the mainland United States have not arrived here and will not get here without the aid of a direct flight or shipment. Even native species from the mainland US and those species no longer considered a national interdiction priority are of utmost importance for Hawai’i to be able to intercept on arrival. Recent studies funded by the Hawai’i Invasive Species Council and carried out by the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture expanded on the initial risk assessments carried out at the Kahului Airport on Maui and have shown that even pre-inspected goods contain insects and pathogens not known to occur in Hawai’i.
While the inspections of goods leaving
are for the protection of Hawai’i , California has no comparable federal inspection of incoming domestic goods and is left vulnerable to the import of materials both domestic and foreign containing invasive species that threaten our health, economy and environment. We rely completely on our environment and its protection must become our foremost concern. H.R. 3468 will reduce the risk to Hawai’i from uninspected goods. We support the intent of H.R. 3468 and ask that you consider introducing a companion measure in the Senate. Hawai’i
Brown Treesnake Coordination and Cooperation
The state of Hawai’i is extremely fortunate in having so many treasured endemic flora and fauna remaining in the islands. Invasive species threaten that heritage. The impact that even one invasive species can have on Pacific Island flora and fauna has been made clear by the cases of Tahiti where Miconia, the invasive tree from Central and South America has replaced over 2/3 of the forests, and on Guam where the Brown Treesnake introduced by United States military traffic has caused the extinction of 9 of the 13 remaining native bird species. Miconia has already arrived and is a high priority for control on all Hawaiian island where it occurs. It is equally a high priority to prevent the introduction and establishment of the Brown Treesnake.
In 2003, legislation was introduced to the Hawai’i State Legislature that would have required all cargo arriving from Guam must be inspected by USDA Wildlife Services. One of the barriers to passing this legislation at the time was uncertainty as to whether or not a certification method could be developed for cargo originating on Guam. Through a cooperative agreement funded by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council a Wildlife Services a pilot program was developed to test both the cost of the inspection process and the seal or verification of the cargo. Based on preliminary results, the pilot program did work and it now seems feasible to develop a system to increase the standards applied to civilian cargo departing from Guam. In our view efforts to prevent the establishment of Brown Treesnakes in Hawai’i will be less effective unless all high risk cargo departing from Guam is subjected to the same level of inspection effort. All entities moving materials from Guam to Hawai’i must be willing to participate in an interdiction effort that prevents the spread of the Brown Treesnake.
In the Pacific we are fortunate to have a tradition of working together. The Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act of 2004 was a welcome recognition of the personal commitment of many dedicated individuals and cooperation between agencies. The greatest success of all from Hawai’i’s perspective has been that no Brown Treesnakes have been captured on Hawaiian soil since the initiation of the Wildlife Services inspections of military and civilian aircraft and cargo on Guam. We have concerns that Wildlife Services is not receiving adequate funding to continue these services and that increased military activity in and through Guam will increase the risk of a future Brown Treesnake introduction. We hope that the various military services will increase their support and participation in the Brown Treesnake interdiction efforts as their operations expand.
The statement of the sense of Congress in the Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act of 2004 is that there should be better coordination on control, interdiction, research, and eradication of Brown Treesnakes. We believe it is vital that the preventative steps needed to protect the Pacific islands from Brown Treesnakes become part of the operation directive given to all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, that carry out operations that may spread invasive species that would cause long-lasting harm. The original congressional statement of concern over Brown Treesnakes provides this directive. We hope it will be included in future appropriations that support operations on Guam:
“No Federal agency may authorize, fund, or carry out any action that would likely cause or promote the introduction or spread of the brown tree snake in the United States or the Freely Associated States. All Federal agencies must consider brown tree snake interdiction issues when planning any activity that may cause the accidental introduction of any brown tree snake to uninfested areas in the United States and the Freely Associated States.
Each Federal agency shall provide cooperative support, such as office space, laboratory space, laboratory animal holding facilities, kennel facilities, short- and long-term housing for staff, access to infested snake lands, commissary privileges, power, water, and communication lines to Federal agencies and staff of Federal agencies conducting brown tree snake control, interdiction, research, and eradication.
Each Federal agency that manages any lands where the brown tree snake occurs shall fund the control and eradication of this species.”
Thank you for the chance to offer a management agency’s perspective on invasive species issues in Hawai’i. We believe that continued support for interagency partnerships that ensure there are no gaps between invasive species prevention, early detection and rapid response efforts, as well as supporting research and outreach programs, is key to our continued success.
Witness Panel 3
Ms. Julie LeialohaManagerBig Island Invasive Species Committee
Testimony of Julie Leialoha - Manager
Big Island Invasive Species Committee
Field Hearing on Invasive Species
Subcommittee on National Parks
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
August 9, 2005, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
As the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) Manager, I am responsible for ensuring that our program complies with our strategic plan. A plan that was developed with the aid of all of our participating partners, including staff of the National Park Service who have been instrumental in developing control strategies of invasive species within its boundaries. BIISC is a voluntary partnership of private citizens, community organizations, businesses, land owners, and government agencies such s the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, the National Park Service, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, the University of Hawaii, the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, united to address invasive species issues on the island of Hawaii. Partnerships of this nature are imperative in today’s complex world of dealing with invasive species. Others have already pointed out the tremendous influx of invasive organisms we face everyday. How do we fully address the impacts of invasive species on our natural environment, cultural heritage significant to Hawaii, as well as meet economic goals and growth of our islands. I refer back to partnerships such as BIISC.
Though agencies may have boundaries, invasive species have no boundaries and very few environmental limitations. BIISC along with the other island invasive species programs was formed to fill a void in assisting other agencies in its war on invasive species. We strive to avoid the creation of a new bureaucratic structure, and instead focus on working with existing organizations and agencies to achieve goals. We are one of the few agencies that deal’s with invasive species on private property while also assisting partner agencies, such as the State Department of Agriculture, Department of Land and Natural Resources and the National Park Service. Our program priorities are organized around a key list of “target” invasive species, a hit list of sorts. This hit list is intended to identify plants and organisms that pose a serious threat to Hawaii so control measures can be organized. The main goal is for effective pest prevention before it becomes a serious problem requiring enormous resources. We call this early detection and rapid response. Like all the other ISC, we prefer to measure success in terms of pest infestations prevented, contained or eradicated. The only way we can do this, is to work with our partners. Like any other program, our resources are limited. We are happy to assist our partners when we can, and often request services of our partners as well. Most of the federal lands on the island of Hawaii are identified as “high resource value” lands. Lands immediately adjacent to federal lands are also considered high priority for protection purposes. BIISC spends a portion of our financial resources to ensure that invasive species stay out of high value resource zones like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and would like to see park service employees involved in these control efforts as well. Invasive species will breach federal lands from the outside and vice-versa. All available resources should be utilized to attack the problem as a whole. We should not allow political boundaries to dictate invasive species control efforts. Obviously for this reason, the islands invasive species committees were formed to fill that gap. However, we simply cannot do it alone. It is imperative that our Federal brethren be authorized to work with its partners including fiscal expenditures outside of its jurisdictional boundaries. Though scientific partnerships help programs like BIISC create solid control efforts on the ground, we lack the staffing resources many of these organisms require to make a dent. Combining efforts makes the most sense. Our goal is not only to work with our partner agencies, but create community cooperators to help control targeted species within their own communities. Community partnerships are also instrumental in invasive species control efforts.
Our community partners have been very involved in invasive species control efforts, particularly with controlling coqui frogs, which has been the focus point of invasive species lately. I call it the flavor or the month, since there are other invasive species that require the same amount of attention this little frog is currently getting. There are other threats that pose a much larger problem and they don’t make any noise, such as the little red fire ant, that can blind domestic animals, which many of us believe will be a much larger problem than coqui, or a new species of mosquito recently identified on the Big Island known to be a carrier of west nile virus.
The question was posed of what invasive species poses the greatest threat to the National Park. For Hawaii Island, I would have to say coqui frog. This tiny frog is now zapping a tremendous amount of BIISC resources. Breeding populations exist on the boundaries of this park and the march continues, as there have been confirmed captures of this pest within the parks boundaries. The next species could be the Little Fire Ant, or perhaps the stinging nettle cattepillar, or a host of invasive plant species. The list is endless. The key is to identify the threat before it becomes a problem, coordinate a rapid control response, and utilize all existing means to eradicate the threat immediately.
Ms. Teya PennimanManagerMaui Invasive Species Committee
STATEMENT OF TEYA M. PENNIMAN, ESQ.
MAUIINVASIVE SPECIES COMMITTEE
PACIFIC COOPERATIVE STUDIES UNIT
RESEARCH CORPORATION OF THE
SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
August 9, 2005
, HAWAI?I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
I am pleased to present testimony on the use of partnerships in Hawai?i to address the impacts of invasive species on our environment, economy and quality of life. Hawai?i is an excellent forum to discuss invasive species, not only because of the wealth of resources at risk here, but also because of the innovative approach the
has developed. As the Manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, I would like to highlight the importance of partnerships at all levels of our work. Aloha State
Partnerships are the key to bridging jurisdictional and resource gaps. Partnerships help tap the collective knowledge of local scientists, resource managers, and policy makers and focus their problem-solving abilities on the most pressing invasive species issues. Partnerships help generate and leverage funding to get workers on the ground when government agencies may be unable to take direct action. Partnerships help ensure that actions are coordinated, not duplicated, to maximize efficiency and ensure the wise use of limited resources.
1. Effective Partnerships are Needed to Control Invasive Species
As is true throughout the 50 States and all
territories, invasive species in Hawai?i know no boundaries. When a species is found on private, county, state and federal lands, jurisdictional conflicts or uncertainty can arise, hindering efforts to quickly mount an effective response. Additionally, for many natural resource agencies, addressing invasive species threats often falls into the category of extra – as opposed to primary – responsibilities. At times, despite the best intentions of government agencies to cooperate on cross-boundary issues, significant jurisdictional and resource gaps exist, affecting our ability to detect and engage a coordinated response to invasive pests. U.S.
Given the plethora of potential targets affecting Hawai?i, knowing when to marshal and deploy appropriate resources requires having a clear set of decision criteria. Without an existing system or infrastructure, critical response time can be lost. Often, the public must be engaged in efforts to detect or control a target species. Thus, ongoing education and public outreach efforts are essential to building and maintaining public support. Yet, the public is susceptible to becoming war-weary, if too many or conflicting messages are broadcast about each new invasive pest to reach our shores. Clearly, a means for coordinating efforts at the local level is needed in order to be effective at detecting and responding to invasive pest species.
2. Partnerships in Hawai?i
In Hawai?i, on each of the major islands – Kaua?i, O?ahu, Maui, Moloka?i, and Hawai?i – an Invasive Species Committee (ISC) is working to prevent the establishment of new invasive species, control targeted incipient species, and educate and involve the public in prevention and control activities. On
Maui, concerned local resource managers first began meeting in the early 1990’s to consider how to stop the spread of Miconia calvescens and other closely-related plants. The group recognized the need to broaden the scope of activity and formed the Maui Invasive Species Committee in 1997. The Committee secured funding to hire staff in 1999. Today, we have nearly 30 staff members working to control targeted terrestrial plants and animals in the . Countyof Maui
MISC’s work has been possible only because of exemplary commitment from our partner agencies. MISC’s partners include the following private landowners, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations: the County of Maui; State of Hawaii, including the Department of Land & Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture; National Park Service; US Fish & Wildlife Service; USDA Forest Service; USDA Wildlife Services; US Department of Defense; and several other community-based companies and nonprofits, such as Maui Land & Pineapple Company, and The Nature Conservancy. Financial support from these and other agencies and organizations, such as the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, has allowed us to make significant progress detecting and controlling a host of target species.
However, MISC’s partners do much more than simply provide funding. Local knowledge of natural resources and threats has been critical to MISC’s effectiveness. Agency representatives, among the most knowledgeable in the state, if not the nation, meet bi-monthly to share information, evaluate potential target species, suggest management practices, and review progress. Most of
Maui’s committee members have been involved with MISC since its early beginnings, fourteen (14) years ago.
The existence of the Invasive Species Committees, along with their demonstrated ability to translate action plans into concrete results, was a significant factor in convincing the Hawai?i legislature and administration to dedicate $8 million in state funding for invasive species over the last two years. Because the ISCs had the infrastructure to put more crew to work combating miconia, coqui frogs, pampas grass, and other identified pest species, it was possible to quickly demonstrate results from additional funding. Additionally, because receipt of State funding was contingent upon generating matching funds from non-State sources, federal funding was crucial to securing these additional funds over the last two years. These funds supported four components of a state-wide strategy: prevention, response & control, research & technology, and public outreach.
The Hawai?i model has practical applications nationwide. Representatives from Hawai?i regularly participate in national workshops, review panels and symposia, including a recent workshop on pythons in the
. MISC is collaborating with economists at the Everglades National Park to apply cost/benefit analyses to management of the invasive weed, miconia. MISC staff is working to introduce local teachers to a Maui-based science curriculum developed under the leadership of Universityof Hawai?i . Using this curriculum, students on Haleakala National Park Mauiare learning to capture and identify ant species to help detect any incipient populations of fire ants.
Similar efforts to select and prioritize target species, evaluate ongoing activities, and share knowledge and resources are occurring across the state, on each island. The Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) provides an important statewide forum for invasive species issues. These island-based partnerships along with CGAPS are helping to sustain a successful collaboration of private landowners, government agencies and nonprofits.
3. The Role of Federal Partners
One of driving reasons for our work is to keep invasive pests out of the natural areas, including the spectacular Haleakala National Park, by surveying and controlling target species elsewhere on the island. We frequently work in residential areas and at the interface of natural areas and rural lands, often in habitats that have already been largely altered. Our crews rarely see the pristine habitats they are protecting. Thus, our efforts, which are supported by state and county funds in addition to federal funds, provide significant benefits to federal resources, in particular, park resources. As noted above, invasive species have no respect for political or jurisdictional boundaries. Two of our primary target species, pampas grass and miconia, have been found within park boundaries. Without continued vigilance, these species would flourish within the Park. Allowing the National Park Service to use federal resources for work on invasive species outside park boundaries, as contemplated in the Natural Resources Protection Cooperative Agreement Act, S. 1288, is not only logical from a resource management perspective, but also equitable, from the perspective of shared responsibilities among partners.
Other cooperative funding avenues are essential to maintain the progress we have made on pushing back the most threatening species on
Mauiand elsewhere in the islands. The life history and sheer competitiveness of most invasive pests require a long-term commitment to the effort. Continued and enhanced cost-share federal programs, such as the Cooperative Conservation Initiative, and the Federal Noxious Weed Bill, will be essential to ensuring on-the-ground success. New funding sources are needed to address species such as the coqui frog.
Effective partnerships are essential to detect and control the most serious invasive plant and animals threats, but are not adequate without other important components. In addition to response and control, Hawai?i must be able to develop and implement meaningful prevention measures to stem the seemingly endless onslaught of new pests that are sapping our resources and decimating our irreplaceable natural treasures. The Hawai?i Invasive Species Prevention Act, introduced in the House, would be a positive step in this direction by helping to reduce the risk of unwanted introductions to Hawai?i. Continued efforts to find safe, host-specific biocontrol agents must continue to be supported. In summary, innovative approaches are working in Hawai?i. The need for continued partnering and additional resources is critical. Your vision, interest and support are crucial to our work. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Mr. Peter SimmonsRegional Operations DirectorKamehameha Schools
Friday, August 05, 2005
Testimony of Peter Simmons
Regional Asset Manager
Land Assets Division/Endowment Group
Subcommittee on National Parks of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
My Name is Peter Simmons I am testifying today on behalf of Kamehameha Schools. I am the Regional Asset Manger of our Land Assets Division on
. Our divisions’ areas of responsibility on Hawaiÿi Island Hawaiÿi Islandinclude 292,000 acres of Agricultural and Conservation lands on . Hawaiÿi Island was created in the early 1920’s in the ma kai lower portion of the ÿili (smaller land division) of Keauhou which is in the ahupuaÿa (larger land division) of Kapapala, Kaÿü. These lands were owned by KS and they were given to the Federal Government; they comprise the core of the park. These lands include Halemaÿumaÿu Creater and the lands surrounding it. In subsequent years, through a series of transactions Hawaiÿi Volcano National Park acquired from KS the remainder of our ma kai lands in Keauhou. In total about 30,000 acres of former KS land is a part of HVNP. In addition, the national park at Puÿu Honua ÿo Hönaunau was acquired from KS. Hawaiÿi Volcanoes National Park
We share 26 miles of boundary with the national park which includes 11 miles of HVNP’s recently acquired Kahuku property. At times, in the past our land use and the parks were similar (cattle were grazed in the park in its early days) as they were on our lands. Sometimes our land uses have been complementary as is the case today in that our weed and ungulate control at Keauhou, Kaÿü enhances the parks environmental as their control of certain aggressive exotic species helps us achieve our environmental goals more efficiently. There are places where our management activities and strategies differ from those of the park. Presently we believe that while there are lands on which we desire to have no ungulates, there are other lands where we believe that the native ecosystems can and do significantly show signs of improved health by reducing but not eliminating ungulates. In some of these lands we have hunting, in some of these lands we have grazing especially to reduce fire risk through the reduction of fuels especially pyrophytic exotic grasses.
Before the current era of large-scale, watershed, land partnership, there was sharing sometimes more limited than others of information, values and goals that influence how we viewed and mitigated the presence of aggressive exotic plants and animals. In the present era of watershed partnerships with the park and others, our alignment of values, agreement of common goals and accelerated and open information sharing is proving to be successful in the battle to control aggressive alien organisms.
We are grateful to have HVNP as our neighbor, partner and friend in conservation. Areas where we can improve our control over exotics pests are being addressed and include:
Ø Fire modeling and control (Exotic plants generally reoccupy the land after fires),
Ø General community and landowner education and outreach, (neighborhood plants, cats mosquitoes negatively affect the quality of our native plants and animals), and
Ø Endeavoring to reach deeper understanding Na mea ÿo Hawaiÿi (Hawaiian Culture) to understand the indigenous culture’s perspective on ethno-ecological issues.