One of the more rewarding successes over the past year was the Friends of Midway Atoll (FOMA) being able to raise the funds necessary to support Invasive Plant Bio-Technician Rachel Santulli. That allowed the continuation of efforts directed at the eradication of Verbesina, a highly invasive plant that gravely impacts the viability of Midway’s seabird colony. To have slowed down efforts due to lack of funding in Spring of 2023 could have proven to be a major setback for complete eradication. FOMA was able to raise over $12,000 to support Rachel being able to stay on for an additional six months as the eradication crew lead. Thus far the 20 year effort to eradicate Verbesina has proven that with sustained and constant vigilant effort, invasive species can be brought under control. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now inching ever so close for complete eradication to be possible soon on Eastern and Spit Island within Kuaihelani, the backbone of heaven.
Invasive Species Bio-tech Rachel Santulli finds an aggressive and non-native mature verbesina weed amidst the native naupaka on Sand Island in Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge // April 2023, photo by: Ann Bell