By LISSA FOX
Even the largest wildfires start small. The 1988 Yellowstone fire started with a single lightning strike. The 2002 fires in Colorado and Utah started from burning love letters.
The blaze now burning on Maui and the fire on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii island both started with a single spark in the early 1980s.
What fire, you ask? Fireweed is burning across the hills of Upcountry Maui, and pastures are ablaze with little yellow flames. Fireweed, or Senecio madagascarensis, is a small shrubby plant from South Africa with a reputation for spreading like wildfire.
On Maui, the yellow daisylike flowers carpet the pastures around Makawao and Kula, creeping south into Ulupalakua and Kanaio. A survey of alien-plant populations along Maui roadsides done in 2000 and repeated in 2009 shows an explosion of fireweed. Forest and Kim Starr, who conducted the surveys, say fireweed has spread faster than any other alien-plant species they monitored and now covers tens of thousands of Maui acres.
Guam – Department of Agriculture Wildlife Biologist Diane Vice confirms that customs officials discovered a Coqui Frog inside a live plant shipment that came in from Hawaii yesterday. This is the fourth Coqui Frog spotted on Guam.
The frog is of particular concern to biologists like Vice because she says it can rapidly reproduce and that they are notoriously loud. The coqui frog is a proving to be an expensive problem in the state of Hawaii where there are efforts underway to try to curtail their growth, which have cost Hawaii millions of dollars.
Said Vice, "It’s really important we don’t get the coqui frog on Guam because they really make loud noises, which can affect our every day life, our sleep as well as economically it has been very detrimental in Hawaii."
These beautiful winged animals were all over this island.
Then, the brown tree snake entered and changed our ecosystem forever. Most of the birds that were found only on Guam will never be seen again. They are gone forever because of one invasive animal.
Christmas opens the door for more invasive animals to show up on Guam.
Last week employees at Cost-U-Lessfound a tree frog that wasn’t supposed to be on Guam hiding in a Christmas tree. The poor little frog didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. He was just hiding.
His presence on the Christmas tree brings up a very real threat to Guam’s environment. Any time a new animal enters the ecosystem, it has an impact.
Should the layoffs go forward in November as planned by Gov. Linda Lingle, not all Maui-based inspectors will disappear, according to Carol Okada, manager of the Plant Quarantine Bureau in the state Department of Agriculture.
There are inspectors in 10 positions covered by special funds who will not be affected, including six funded by the state Department of Transportation. But the six positions paid out of the state’s general fund are on the budget-cutting hit list.
Anna Mae Shishido, Maui County supervisor of the Maui Plant Quarantine Branch, wrote a letter expressing her concern about the impact of the layoffs to two Maui lawmakers – state Sen. J. Kalani English and Rep. Joe Souki.
She said the Transportation Department’s special fund specifies that the six inspectors it pays for would work at the Kahului Airport – which means they wouldn’t do maritime inspections.
As a result, Matson and other containers carrying produce, animal feed and other agricultural material would need to go to Honolulu first for inspection, Shishido said. Diverting that cargo to Oahu would mean extra handling of Maui-bound containers, adding delays and costs for consumers.
The layoffs would also mean that more than two dozen certified nurseries on Maui would no longer be able to self-certify their plant shipments to other states because state inspectors would not be available to conduct semi-annual nursery re-certification inspections, she said.
Shishido said she was alarmed about the potential for infestations of alien species without maritime inspections on Maui.
"We anticipate increased infestations of stinging nettle caterpillars and coqui frogs on Maui and new infestations of little fire ants and the varroa mite, which have not been found here so far," she said. "The safeguards we have worked so hard to put in place will be drastically decreased or completely gone. Maui will be exposed."
Reminder…Herbicide Field Day on Wedelia & Sedges
This Friday, April 4, 2008
To: Landscape & Golf Course Industries
Wedelia is often used as a groundcover. However, some people consider it a weed and efforts are currently being taken to place it on the invasive weed list. Recently an herbicide trial was conducted with Sedge-Hammer (SledgeHammer | Sledge-Hammer), Manage, Certainty, Monument, and Image for the control of wedelia, purple nutsedge, green kyllinga, and white kyllinga. You are invited to attend a field day to observe the herbicide effects on wedelia and the early results on these sedges.
Date: April 4, 2008 (Friday)
Place: Meet at Maui Community College Greenhouse, Kahului
Time: 11:00 to 12:00 pm
Registration Deadline April 3.
To register you may call the Cooperative Extension Service at 244-3242 x222 or x230.
Please notify us if you require special assistance or if you need directions to attend this event.
- One (1) pesticide credit from the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture will be provided for categories 3 (Ornamental & Turf) and 10 (Demonstration, Research & Instruction).
- Golf Course Superintendents Association of America educational credits will also be awarded.
- One (1) UH/CES Landscape Advisor IPM credits will be provided.
This project is supported in part by the County of Maui.
Norman M. Nagata
Extension Agent (Landscape, Turfgrass, Ornamental Plant)
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Cooperative Extension Service
310 Kaahumanu Avenue, Bld. 214; Kahului, Maui, Hawaii 96732
Tele. (808)244-3242 x 230, Fax (808)244-7089
HONOLULU, June 8 (UPI) — An invasive caterpillar with a nasty sting has turned up on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The stinging nettle caterpillar first entered Hawaii through Hilo via an illegal shipment of seedlings from Taiwan in 2001, KITV-TV, Honolulu, reported.
The problem was brought under control around Hilo, but now the pest has jumped to Oahu, where it was discovered last week in a commercial nursery.
“If you rub against the caterpillar, it has a very strong burn (which) can burn for a few hours,” said Neil Rheimer of the state Department of Agriculture.
The state is setting up traps at the nursery to attract the moths that lay eggs and spread the problem. The caterpillars were discovered on raphis palm trees after workers complained about being stung last week.
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