HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Paolo DiGiovanni
It is "National Invasive Species Awareness Week" in Hawaii.
Invasive species are a growing concern in the islands. From brown tree snakes to fireweed, the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is trying to spread the word across the state.
HISC is hosting educational activities this week to help inform residents about what is native and what is not.
Invasive species affect everything from natural resources, food security, health, cultural heritage and Hawaii's economy. Tim Richards, President of the Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, is specifically worried about fireweed. The 'flower', which is native to Madagascar, is toxic to livestock when consumed and causes slow growth, liver malfunction and even death.
"If you look at the total affected acreage in our state right now it seems about 800,000 out of 4 million acres is affected," said Richards, "Projections if we don't do something is that could increase to 1.8 million in the next 10 years. So almost half of our state."
The Hawaii Cattlemen's Association worked with the Governor, and the state department of agriculture to release the Madagascan Fireweed moth, a natural predator to the weed.
The public is encouraged to participate in Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week by joining in Hawaii Bioblitz. The Bioblitz objective is to have people across the state take pictures of plants and animals in Hawaii and submit them online. Local experts have volunteered to help identify what is native, non-native or invasive.
More information can be found at www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com