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Organizations work together to control coqui frogs

As Coqui-Free Waimea continues its work to “keep it quiet,” CFW is partnering with other community groups sharing an interest in the town’s quality of life.

Recently CFW volunteers and members of The Waimea Trails and Greenways took an evening walk along the Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea nature trail to listen for coqui frogs. Coqui calls had been reported in neighborhoods along the trail. The group heard no frogs, but will continue to monitor the trail when wetter weather returns. Coqui frogs need moisture and remain in damp debris on the ground when conditions are too dry to climb and call for mates.

Residents near the trail, as well as anywhere in town, are urged to call the coqui hotline, 885-FROG, to report hearing the invasive pest.

At the July Waimea Community Association meeting, County Research and Development Director Laverne Omori reported on progress in purchasing citric acid for coqui groups around the island. In May, CFW volunteers had asked Mayor Billy Kenoi for a “government-community partnership” to control coqui by using the county’s purchasing power to supply volunteers with the only currently approved substance. Omori said she’d discovered that the high cost of citric acid, which is about $2 a pound, is due to a tariff. She said she had contacted the state’s congressional delegation to request waiving the tariff.

“We need this stuff to be cheap,” she said.

Kohala Watershed Partnership crew chief Cory Dwight assisted CFW and neighborhood residents at a coqui hunt on Puanuanu. Coqui-Free Waimea is now a project of KWP, whose mission is to protect the Kohala Mountain. Coqui frogs in Waimea threaten the delicate life-giving ecosystem of this important watershed. The work made a good dent in the infestation in that neighborhood, but repeated treatments will be necessary. If you hear coqui on Puanuanu, call neighborhood captain Avi Okin, 887-1535.

Coqui-Free Waimea participated in the open house at Spencer House, as part of an effort to turn the historic home into a community center. KWP coordinator and founding member of CFW, Melora Purell, said the open house was “a great opportunity to connect with so many community members.”

Upcoming events: surveys of neighborhoods reporting frogs to pinpoint frog locations, followed by hunting and spraying evenings. If you want your neighborhood quiet, call 885-FROG and support surveying and treatment.

Coqui-Free Waimea is a volunteer group that helps neighborhoods to locate and eliminate frogs. Call 885-FROG to report frogs in Waimea and to help. Send tax-deductible donations made out to The Kohala Center with “Coqui-Free Waimea” on the memo line to P.O. Box 437462, Kamuela, HI, 96743. “Like” us on Facebook. For more information, visit coquifreewaimea.org.