Posted February 22, 2016 by Rachel Smith
Its the 4th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week! Throughout the week, KISC would like to acknowledge all the hard work that has gone into invasive species management and removal, and also like to bring extra awareness to the persistent threat of invasive species in Hawaii. Invasive Species pose some of the greatest challenges to conservationists, and cost the US over $100 billion in economic losses annually. Likewise, over 40% of the the threatened and endangered species in the US are at risk due to invasive species.
Invasive Species are lurking right outside our doorsteps and anxiously waiting for the opportunity to flourish in Hawaii’s year round growing season and non-predatory environment. While you can trust KISC to continue working towards eradicating incipient invasives, there are a number of things you can do to help prevent the spread of existing invaders as well as not introducing any new pests.
If you haven’t yet signed up to be a “Guardian of the Garden Isle“, please do so, and make a pledge to help protect Kauai! And here is a list of some steps you can take to help protect Kauai from invasive species:
- Clean your gear! Cleaning your boots, backpacks, tools, truck tires, or dogs after hiking, camping, or hunting can help stop the spread of seeds and hitch hiking pests. Tiny seeds can hide inside the tread of your shoes, pockets in your rain coats or packs. Seeds can even hide inside your dog’s fur. So please be careful to leave the seeds behind before moving yourself and your gear to a new location.
- Don’t dump aquariums, live bait, or release pets into the wild. While some animals are fun to care for in our homes, they can often times be invasive when introduced to a non-native environment, especially in a place like Hawaii, where there are not many predatory species.
- Plant Pono! Replacing invasive plants in your yard with non-invasive plants helps stop the spread of invasive species. Invasive plants can easily spread from a backyard into a natural area or forest. Check out the Plant Pono website for good replacement plant ideas. And check out the KISC Pests page to learn what invasive plants KISC will remove for free from your yard.
- Buy Local! Buying plants from nurseries who source locally or propagate on island, is key in protecting Kauai from invasive species that can easily hitch hike in plants from other islands. For example, Coqui Frogs, and Little Fire Ants are widespread in some nurseries on Big Island. Don’t be afraid to ask a nursery associate if the plants you are buying, were sourced locally.
- Spread awareness, not pests! Start a conversation, stay informed, or get involved! There are great opportunities through social media, blogs, legislation, and volunteer days, where the general public can actively take a role in invasive species work.
There are two opportunities this week for you to get involved and learn about invasive species. (See flyers below) Hope to see you there!