Volunteers Needed to Eradicate Fountain Grass in HOVE
The ongoing massive fire in the Pahala area showed the significant fire hazard in the arid southeast portion of the Big Island, and Ka‘u officials and residents are looking to get ahead of the game.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has made a call for volunteers to assist the park and the Ocean View Community Association with the removal of fountain grass from roadsides in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.
The noxious weed is not only a problem in the sprawling Ka‘u subdivision but can also pose a threat to the Kahuku Unit of the national park located adjacent to and above HOVE.
Volunteers are asked to meet at the Ocean View Community Center at 9 a.m. Saturday. They should bring lunch, water, a hat and sunscreen.
Fountain grass, a highly flammable bunch grass native to North Africa, is the bane of resource managers at the park and elsewhere.
Its clumps not only burn quickly but also spread rapidly, as the plant is one of the few invasive species that can colonize young lava flows which otherwise would serve as a natural firebreak. It also chokes out native plants.
In 2005 the noxious weed contributed to the rapid spread of a 25,000-acre wildfire that forced the evacuation of Waikoloa Village in South Kohala.
For information on the eradication effort contact HVNP ecologist David Benitez at 985-6085 or by email at [email protected]