UPDATE ON INVASIVE SPECIES THREATS TO HAWAI‘I PRESENTED TO LAWMAKERS

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
January 12, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Senate Committees on Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA), Economic Development, Environment, and Technology (EET), and House Committees on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP), Water & Land (WAL), and Agriculture (AGR) are holding an informational briefing on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 10 a.m., in conference room 325 to get the latest updates on invasive species threats to Hawai‘i. The committees will hear from state departments, along with government and non-profit agencies on what pests and plant diseases have become established in Hawai‘i and what is being done to prevent and control them from spreading.

Several live invasive species, including a snake, lizard, and noxious plants, which endanger the island’s natural biodiversity will be on display during the briefing.
“Our state faces huge issues, including the outrageously high cost of living, homelessness, the need for affordable housing, and inadequate school, road, & park infrastructure,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, Chair of the WLA committee. “What we’re trying to do here today is to make sure that invasive species stays front and center in discussions here at the Legislature. The challenges we face with invasive species like rapid ohia death, little fire ants, mosquitoes spreading dengue fever, and coqui frogs are no less important and have the potential to devastate our way of life and our economy if we don’t take this fight seriously.”

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

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

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/hearingnotices/HEARING_WLA-EET...

# # #