Letter: Continuing fight against invasive species – Pacific Daily News


The Guam Invasive Species Master Plan prioritizes the control and removal of these pests. Pacific Daily News

Invasive species have become pervasive negative influences on societies worldwide. The cause for much of this in recent decades has been the vast increase in rapid movements of people and goods from one area or country to another. Invasives are moved about along with people and goods.

Today’s Sunday Forum asks: “What more must be done to improve efforts to fight invasive species on Guam?” As an entomologist with the Biosecurity Division of the Guam Department of Agriculture, I would like to address this question by noting some of what we are doing now, and things we hope to implement in the near future.

Our Biosecurity Division is still new and trying to expand its capabilities. As we are able to do so, we plan to increase our public involvement as follows:


  • Increase our efforts at public outreach and support, including education.
  • We have received a grant from the US. Department of the Interior to assist with the little fire ant situation and provide a website for public education and assistance.
  • For over 17 years we have been involved in annual biosecurity training involving the University of Guam, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others in cooperative educational efforts for the training of regional and local inspection officers.
  • We are working with the Mayors’ Council, Guam Invasive Species Council, Guam EPA, Department of Public Works and other GovGuam agencies to find solutions to the green waste management problem on Guam, which also impacts invasive species proliferation and spread.

Public help

  • (We seek to) enlist members of the public as first detectors of invasive species, especially those people often in areas where invasives may first turn up, such as air and sea ports, plant and produce importers’ establishments, pest control companies, farms and plant nurseries, etc.
  • The coconut rhinoceros beetle was first noticed on Guam by a private individual who had seen it in the Philippines and brought it to the attention of local scientists.
  • Continue and improve response to Pest Hotline calls; work to get the staff available to make it a 24 hour/day service.


  • We host and help organize regional Invasive Species Council meetings, many of which take place here, since Guam is the transport hub for Micronesia.
  • Improving Regional Biosecurity Plan for Micronesia and Hawaii coordination during the current update process, including increased interaction with the Department of Defense.
  • Working toward creation of a Micronesian Safeguarding Initiative proposal to increase involvement and funding from USDA in the region.
  • Engaging with the Western Governors Association and its chair, Gov. David Ige of Hawaii, in his Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative for the western part of the U.S. This could also bring in additional resources and cooperative efforts to assist Guam.
  • Continue to work with the Pacific Plant Protection Organization and Secretariat of the Pacific Community and other Oceania-wide biosecurity and environmental organizations.
  • Assist Soil and Water Conservation Districts and USDA Wildlife Services with the feral swine problem that destroys crops and increases soil erosion, leading to the decline of our reefs. Feral swine also have the potential to spread serious human diseases, such as leptospirosis and Japanese encephalitis to our citizens.

More funding

  • We have received recent grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 
  • We hope to expand external funding into Micronesia with the new safeguarding initiative for the region.


  • We intend to have agricultural inspection specialists work more closely with Customs & Quarantine Officers at the ports of entry.
  • We want to help establish improved inspection facilities and procedures at both the Port Authority of Guam and the A. B. Won Pat Guam International Airport.
  • We are planning to change the assessment method of the invasive species inspection fee to streamline calculations of the fee and improve its collection. This will make it less burdensome for businesses to comply with the fee regulation.
  • We will continue to assist UOG researchers and extension personnel to find and implement an effective control procedure for the coconut rhinoceros beetle so our coconut trees can recover.

Through these and other ongoing efforts, we will work to continue and improve our fight against invasive species on Guam. We wish to enlist and encourage the help of every affected citizen, business and organization on Guam.

Russell K. Campbell, Ph.D., is an entomologist and chief of the Biosecurity Division at the Guam Department of Agriculture.



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