THE SENATE

S.R. NO.

112

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2020

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE RESOLUTION

 

 

urging the department of land and natural resources to convene a task force OF GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE STAKEHOLDERS to identify long-term solutions to control and eradicatE albizia in hawaii.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, the Falcataria moluccana, commonly known as the Albizia tree, was first introduced to Hawaii in 1917; and

 

WHEREAS, Albizia trees are capable of growing up to fifteen feet per year, and this rapid growth rate produces trunks and limbs that are structurally weak and brittle and prone to "sudden limb shear" or "sudden branch drop"; and

 

WHEREAS, the Albizia's rapid growth crowds out native species, its nitrogen fixing abilities change natural ecosystems, and the tree produces large quantities of seeds in light pods that can easily be dispersed over large distances; and

 

WHEREAS, this combination of features makes Albizia trees hazardous to public safety, native plant species, and critical infrastructure systems; and

 

WHEREAS, Senate Resolution No. 41, S.D. 1, Regular Session of 2013, urged the Invasive Species Council to develop and implement a comprehensive interagency plan for the control and eradication of Albizia throughout the State and to find partners to use Albizia trees that are removed, and urged the Department of Agriculture to investigate biocontrol agents for the control of Albizia; and

 

WHEREAS, the 2018 report prepared by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and its partners, entitled "Strategic Plan for the Control and Management of Albizia in Hawaii" (Strategic Plan), identified approximately twenty thousand acres of Albizia infestation on Oahu and forty-three thousand acres on the eastern side of Hawaii island, and gave Albizia a score of eight (high risk invasive) on the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment scale; and

 

WHEREAS, according to the Strategic Plan, the Department of Transportation reportedly spent $1,000,000 per mile to remove one thousand Albizia trees on Kauai, with the removal of one large tree costing as much as $10,000, and the Hawaii island branch of the Department of Transportation estimates that ninety percent of all calls received for fallen trees for the past several years have involved Albizia; and

 

WHEREAS, public utilities spend thousands of dollars annually on vegetation management programs to address Albizia and other invasive species' encroachment on electrical and telecommunication lines; and

 

WHEREAS, in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014, hundreds of Hawaii island residents were stranded for days with their roads blocked and without power for months because of fallen Albizia, and according to the Strategic Plan, Hawaiian Electric Light Company estimates it spent $13,700,000 responding to damage from Iselle; and

 

WHEREAS, the susceptibility of Albizia trees to inclement weather conditions combined with a tendency to grow in dense stands make them an especially worrisome hazard in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster; and

 

WHEREAS, the Strategic Plan identifies objectives and implementation tasks to assess impacts; control methods; planning; and legislative, policy, and funding work that needs to be done; and

 

WHEREAS, the Legislature and Governor recognize that the Albizia has become one of Hawaii's most detrimental invasive plant species; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2020, that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is urged to convene a task force of government and private stakeholders to identify long-term solutions to control and eradicate Albizia in Hawaii; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Albizia task force is requested to be comprised of:

 

(1) A member to be appointed by the President of the Senate;

 

(2) A member to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

 

(3) The Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, or the Chairperson's designee;

 

(4) The Director of Transportation, or the Director's designee;

 

(5) The Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, or the Chairperson's designee;

 

(6) A representative of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council;

 

(7) A representative of the Office of the Mayor from each of the counties with expertise in emergency management and specifically, vegetation management;

 

(8) A representative of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.;

 

(9) A representative of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; and

 

(10) A representative of a telecommunication company that operates in Hawaii, to be selected by the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources;

 

with the chairperson of the Albizia task force to be selected by the task force members; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force is encouraged to solicit participation from individuals as well as organizations or agencies from the public and private sectors in areas throughout the State that are affected by or perform work related to invasive Albizia; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife shall provide administrative support to the task force; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, upon request of the task force, the Legislative Reference Bureau shall assist in the preparation of the report; provided that, before August 1, 2021, the task force shall submit a draft to the Legislative Reference Bureau, including any information and materials deemed necessary by the Legislative Reference Bureau, for the preparation of the final report; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the task force, with the assistance of the Legislative Reference Bureau, is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022, which is requested to include:

 

(1) An analysis of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council's "Strategic Plan for the Control and Management of Albizia in Hawaii" (2018), including its objectives and implementation tasks and how government and private stakeholders can assist in carrying out these objectives and implementation tasks;

 

  (2) An estimate of the costs to the State, counties, and private sector to address the control and eradication of Albizia for the last three years;

 

(3) Recommendations, if any, for changes to state or county agencies' vegetation management programs to assist with the control or eradication of Albizia;

 

(4) Identification of funding sources, including federal, state, county, or private sources, that are used or may be used to control and eradicate Albizia; and

(5) Recommendations, if any, for legislation relating to the following:

 

(A) The ability of private landowners, public utilities, government agencies, or other entities to control or eradicate Albizia;

 

(B) Addressing problems with Albizia and establishing a permanent funding source that could assist in the control or eradication of Albizia; and

 

(C) Allowing government agencies and public utilities to control or eradicate Albizia and other species that might exist on private property, if such vegetation poses a threat to critical infrastructure or public safety; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the Senate; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources; Director of Transportation; Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture; Hawaii Invasive Species Council Program Supervisor; Mayors of each county; Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.; and Chief Executive Officer of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Albizia Control and Eradication; Task Force; DLNR; LRB; Report