Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region
 

Invasive Species Program

The Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office’s Invasive Species Program was formally established in 2002 to coordinate the prevention of the establishment of introduced invasive species that negatively affect or have the potential to affect the USFWS trust resources and their habitats within the Pacific Ecoregion. The program supports the development and implementation of control, management, and eradication techniques for incipient and established invasive species populations as well as providing cross-programmatic technical assistance for habitat restoration and species recovery.

Photo of Mamane tree damage Some Invasive Species programmatic areas of focus are aquatic invasive species (invasive marine algae, fish, invertebrates, and amphibians such as bullfrogs), invasive non-native terrestrial plants, insects and pathogens (ants and forest diseases), mammalian predators (rats, mice, mongooses and feral cats), avian health (mosquito-borne diseases such as avian influenza and West Nile virus), and feral ungulates (pigs, deer, and goats).

Mouflon sheep browse damage to an endemic
Mamane tree on Mauna Kea, Island of Hawai‘i
- Photo credit Dan Clark/USFWS

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)
Invasive Species Program AIS staff work with internal and external partners to prevent, control, mitigate effects, and eradicate aquatic invasive species in the Pacific and other related invasive species determined, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State and Federal Partners, and the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force to have impacts on trust resources. In the Hawaiian Islands, technical assistance provided by AIS staff has resulted in USFWS support of the “Supersucker” mechanical removal tool for invasive marine algae control; support of an Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator in the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Aquatic Resources; implementation of the Hawai‘i Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan; coordination of AIS workshops; and raising awareness of critical invasive species prevention, detection, and identification training (e.g., electrofishing certification and Triploid Grass Carp Inspection/Certification).

AIS staff are instrumental in capacity building among Pacific Ecoregion partners and provide leadership with regard to nonnative invasive fish control, mitigating invasive species impacts to trust resources in aquatic environments (e.g., fish exclosures and bullfrog management), pathway risk management through implementing Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles, and serving on invasive species advisory committees in Hawai‘i and the Pacific Islands. Photo of biologists sampling fish

Fish and Wildlife Biologists sampling fish
 in an Oahu stream - Photo credit Dan Clark/USFWS

Avian Health
Diseases such as avian influenza is endemic in wild populations of waterfowl and many other species of birds. The emergence and spread of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Asia has elevated concerns about potential expansion of this virus to Pacific Islands and the Americas. Largely due to speculation that migratory birds are vectors, state and federal wildlife agencies, have been called upon to develop an early detection system to determine if and when the virus arrives.

Photo of Josh Fisher Surveillance efforts in the Pacific Ecoregion have been a collaborative effort between the USFWS Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office Invasive Species Program, USGS Honolulu Field Station and the US Department of Agriculture (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services) in Hawai‘i and Guam. The surveillance program has been extended in the Pacific through partnerships with the State of Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, Palau Conservation Society, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources in American Samoa. Samples have been collected from shorebirds, ducks and geese in Hawai‘i, Territory of Guam and American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands and Palau, using a variety of capture methods. The most commonly sampled species have been Pacific golden plovers, ruddy turnstones, Philippine turtle doves (Guam) and mallard ducks. Of the more than 11,000 samples collected in the Pacific Ecoregion since 2006, no HPAI has been detected. Current efforts have shifted primary attention towards investigating morbidity and mortality events throughout the Pacific Ecoregion.

Fish and Wildlife Biologist Josh Fisher and partners collect bird fecal samples in James CampbellNational Wildlife Refuge, Oah‘u to test for Avian Influenza - Photo credit USFWS

Brown Tree Snake
The introduction of the brown treesnake to the Territory of Guam has caused significant ecological, economic and human health impacts. Priorities of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office Invasive Species Program are to prevent the introduction of the brown treesnake to other Pacific islands, and to control the snake population on Guam.

Brown treesnake Invasive Species Program staff provides coordination for multi-agency brown treesnake control efforts regionally and nationally through the legislatively mandated Brown Treesnake Working Group, and has one staff member permanently stationed in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands within the Division of Fish and Wildlife dedicated to brown treesnake issues. This position is funded by the Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and managed through a cooperative agreement between the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.
Brown treesnake -
Photo credit USFWS

Mammalian Predators
Introduced rodents (several species of rats and mice), the small Indian mongoose (Herpestes auropunctatus), and feral cats (Felis catus) have had devastating impacts on oceanic islands worldwide. The continued presence of these species in the Hawaiian Islands for example, has profound impacts to native plant and animal communities, and is a serious impediment to native species recovery efforts.

Long-term, landscape-scale rodent management has been historically used in agricultural situations, and is being accomplished to a limited extent for conservation purposes. In addition, successful introduced rodent eradication efforts on islands have a fairly extensive history. The Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office Invasive Species Program provides partner agencies and other stakeholders with technical assistance in implementing control strategies targeting introduced rodents for the protection and conservation of native species. A successful integrated control program requires strong support and continued cooperation among Hawai‘i conservation land stewards, industry and the public.
Photo of rat damage to the fruit of endemic hoawa
Rat damage to the fruit of endemic hoawa -
Photo credit © Jack Jeffrey

For more information:
Dan Clark
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office
300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Room 3-122
Honolulu, HI 96850
(808) 792-9400
(808) 792-9581 fax

 

Last updated: September 20, 2012
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