Aloha from Alaska & Hawaii: Removal of Invasive Species Project
Invasive species are plants, animals, or other organisms that are introduced to a given area outside their original range. They can have numerous negative economic and environmental impacts on the areas that they invade such as decreasing native biodiversity, causing widespread loss of habitat, disease, hybridization, and competition for food, space, and other resources. Almost half of the native species in the United States are endangered because of invasive species. An estimation of $137 billion, covering approximately 100 million acres, is spent every year in the United States towards controlling invasive species and the damages they inflict upon properties and natural resources.
QRI, in collaboration with Tetra Tech, is taking the opportunity to treat invasive species in areas of Hawaii and Alaska. Hawaii is more susceptible to invasive species invasion because it is an island and has an increasing invasive species problem that threatens their endangered plants and animal species such as Black-necked Stilts (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), Hawaiian common moorhens (Gallinule chlororopus sandvicensis), Hawaiian Coots (Fulica alai), and Hawaiian ducks (Anas wyviliana). We will be focusing on removing and pruning ironwood trees on Bellows Air Force Base in Hawaii and also removing invasive species and noxious weeds including Broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), Christmas Berry (Schinus terebinthefolius), Comb Hyptis (Hyptis pectinata), Giant Toad Plant (Stapelia gigantea), Hamakua Pamakani (Ageratina riparia), Ironwood (Casuariana equisetifoilia), Lantana (Lantana Camara), Sacramento Bur (Triumfetta semitriloba) and Silk Oak (Grevillea robusta) and out-plant this area with approved native Hawaiian plants on Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station in Hawaii. Alaska may become more susceptible to invasive species due to global climate change continuing to warm the landscape. We will be focusing on treating approximately 30 acres of invasive Bird Vetch (Vicia cracca), Sweet White Clover (Melilotus albus), and Narrow Leaf Hawksbeard (Crepis tectorum) on Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska to prevent further expansion and encourage re-establishment of native vegetation and also remove invasive European Bird Cherry (Prunus padus) from riparian areas of Ship Creek (approximately 200 acres) on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska to prevent additional downstream escapement and encourage re-establishment of native vegetation.