Group of people holding certificates
Representing the UH Mānoa Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and the Invasive Species Committees at the State Capitol are Keren Gundersen, Lori Buchanan, Lynnette Kinoshita, David Duffy, Teya Penniman, Rachel Neville and Jan Schipper.

The county-based Invasive Species Committees, projects of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit at UH Mānoa, were among those honored recently by Hawaiʻi State Senator Mike Gabbard for their work on the front lines combating invasive species.

In a floor presentation, Senator Gabbard said, “Mahalo to the dedicated men and women of the Invasive Species Committees for their diligence in preventing, controlling and eliminating the most threatening invasive plant and animal species to preserve our native biodiversity. They work hard to keep Hawaiʻi naturally beautiful as it should be.”

The Invasive Species Committees are island-based partnerships on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi and the Big Island that work with government agencies, non-profit organizations and private businesses and landowners to protect each island from the most threatening pests with a proactive approach.

Each committee has a staff that includes a field crew who works across thousands of acres every year to rapidly respond to and control new invasive pests. The groups target species that have high potential to severely impact the economy, environment, agriculture, human health and quality of life, such as fast-spreading miconia trees, noisy coqui frogs and stinging little fire ants.

The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, working with the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi, provides logistic and personnel support for the committees. The unit has a 34-year history of working to protect cultural and natural biodiversity in the Pacific while encouraging a sustainable economy through basic and applied research on conservation biology and management of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources.