Pampas grass has been eradicated from Hawaii Island, reports BIISC: Big Island Now
Invasive pampas grass has been uprooted from all known locations on the island of Hawaii.
The Big Island Invasive Species Commission announced the eradication of the grass on Tuesday. There are two species of pampas grass in Hawaii, Cortaderia jubata and Cortaderia siloana; Both are listed on the state’s noxious weed list.
Removal of the plants by BIISC crews took time, as permission from property owners was required for most sites, according to a BIISC press release.
“Locating and contacting property owners can present a significant challenge to monitoring efforts, but overall most homeowners have been cooperative and eager to support the removal of the invasive plant from their property,” the release stated.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture helped secure access for the removal where permission was difficult to obtain. When BIISC crews removed the last known plant in 2019, they replanted the area with native mamaki trees.
Although most adult plants are removed early in the eradication schedule, with seeds potentially spreading up to 20 miles, scanning for pampas grass near known sites requires a significant investment, explains Joel Brunger, supervisor of field operations at BIISC. For time. .
“After we remove the adult plants, we have to go back and do regular sweeps looking for new keiki as long as the seeds are viable,” Pronger said. “For pampas grass, that’s six years.”
BIISC said pampas grass is still sold worldwide in the horticultural and landscape trade. During the eradication effort, BIISC developed the Plant Pono Program, a nursery support and education effort aimed at stopping the sale of invasive plants in Hawaii.
Certified Plant Pono nurseries voluntarily pledge to sell only non-invasive “pono” plants. There have been no sales of pampas grass in Hawaii for the past several years, although seeds purchased online still pose a risk of introducing invasive plants.
“People often look at widespread invasive plants like Albizia or Cledemia and wonder, why didn’t anyone do something about it before it got this bad?” asked Frannie Brewer, BIISC’s director of communications. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Identify what’s happened that could potentially be the next serious problem, and eliminate it before it spreads for decades.”
Once harmful species reach a certain point, complete eradication becomes so expensive — in the tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars — that removing the species is no longer possible, Brewer explains.
Currently, BIISC is targeting a number of other plants for eradication, including the Mollucca berry, a sprawling, thorny species, and a holly tree that can take hold in native forest areas.
As with pampas grass, public reporting is a critical tool in efforts to eradicate invasive plants. To learn how to identify and report target species, visit www.biisc.org.
(Tags for translation) Big Island Invasive Species Committee