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Maui and Hawai‘i Island ask for funding

July 26, 2012
The Maui Weekly

The Associated Press - Organizations trying to control or eradicate species from coqui frogs to fire ants and fountain grass are asking the Hawai'i Invasive Species Council for $2.9 million in funding for the current fiscal year--including some $260,000 to control axis deer on Maui and the Big Island.

Budget cuts have left the council with only $1.8 million to distribute, however, meaning not everyone will get what they asked for. Further, federal funding the groups had been relying on in recent years is drying up, leaving them more reliant on the council to keep their operations running.

The team combating pests in Maui County needs money to fight dozens of invasive plants, coqui frogs, parakeets and a rapidly expanding population of axis deer.

A county survey estimates deer have caused $1 million in damage to farms, ranches and resorts over the past two years.

The Maui County Invasive Species Committee wants to study the population to determine how many deer there are on Maui, come up with strategies to control and harvest the animals, and increase public awareness about them.

Its Hawai'i Island counterpart asked the council for nearly $400,000 to survey and control 11 plant species, including mangrove. It submitted a separate request for more than $160,000 to eradicate axis deer.

The council will let committees know what their allocation is early next month.



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