You can now connect with the Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC) using the COM Connect app on a smartphone. It’s a mobile communication tool that gives citizens the ability to alert Maui County officials to various issues like abandoned vehicles, potholes, graffiti as well as report invasive species.
“One of the ways to keep [Maui] beautiful is by preventing outbreaks of invasive species,” said county Managing Director Keith Regan in an Oct. 19 news release. “Using COM Connect, we can help MISC identify these invasive species, where they are located and they in turn can dispatch their field staff.”
Invasive species on the MISC list that people should report include coqui frogs, Little Fire Ant (LFA), miconia, pampas grass, ivy gourd, blessed milk thistle and fountain grass.
“Maui County residents are the eyes and ears of MISC,” said MISC Manager Adam Radford. “We can’t be everywhere all the time and reports from the community are essential to successfully finding our target species before they become a problem for the community. For example, the public has found and reported almost every known occurrence of the Little Fire Ant on Maui and community members regularly alert us to single coqui popping up in neighborhoods.”
The COM Connect application, developed and hosted by SeeClickFix, has been available to Maui County residents since March 2015; the app is free and is available in both Android and iOS. Since being made available to the public COM Connect has had 574 requests for service from the public, of which 486 requests have been completed.
“This tool is another step towards involving our citizens in the fight against invasive species,” said County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons. “The easier we make it for people to report invasive species the easier it will be for MISC to respond before these species gain a foothold and negatively impact Maui Nui.”
Photo of Little Fire Ants: Hawaii Department of Agriculture