Hawaii News

Governor proclamation encourages collective action against threats from invasive species

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HISAM proclamation ceremony, May 10, 2024. PC: DLNR

At Friday’s proclamation ceremony celebrating Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM), Gov. Josh Green helped bring focus to the risks that invasive species pose to the environmental and economic health of Hawaiʻi, the good work taking place to combat them, and the importance of a cooperative approach in the effort.

“If we don’t have a good grip on invasive species, the fabric of Hawaiʻi can unravel,” said Gov. Green on Friday.

May 2024 marks the seventh year the Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council has hosted HISAM in coordination with the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, island invasive species committees, and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). What started as a seven-day experience has grown into a month-long community event dedicated to educating and mobilizing Hawaiʻi residents and visitors to help protect our islands against invasives. Festivities include in-person activities, webinars, volunteer trips, individual and business awards, keiki games, and more.

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“Invasive species can have devastating and long-lasting impacts on communities and the natural environment if not managed properly,” stated the Hawaiʻi DLNR in a public release on Friday. “For an island state where 80-90% of our food and goods are imported and the threat of new pests entering the landscape is always present, biosecurity is a pressing issue. Within the past year, little fire ant infestations have increased on Oʻahu, coconut rhinoceros beetles have spread to Kauaʻi, and invasive grasses played a major role in devastating fires on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island.”

The DLNR says strong coordination and collaboration among state departments, federal agencies, organizations, and communities is key to better invasive species management and a more biosecure state.

“A shared kuleana and collective mindset is what gives Hawaiʻi the best chance for lasting success,” according to the DLNR.

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The theme of HISAM 2024 is “Who protects Hawaiʻi from invasive species? You do.” and sheds light on the personal actions everyone can take to help prevent and manage invasive species.

The DLNR recommends simple efforts such as not planting invasive species in your gardens, reporting new pests, and volunteering with local organizations goes a long way.

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