Environment & Ecology

A New Invasive Species – Hala Scale

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

“Pala ka hala, momona ka wana” is a saying connecting activities on the land with those in the ocean. In this case, when the hala fruits are ripe, the sea urchin or wana is fat and ready to eat. Now, hala will need to overcome a new nemesis that may not allow its fruits to ripen.

In 1995, the Hala Scale was discovered in a shipment of hala plants from the South Pacific to Hana, Maui. From there, it quickly spread to other islands. It was recently confirmed on Molokai in Puko`o and is believed to have been on the island for more than five years.…

It’s Wedgie Season

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

It’s Wedgie Season

Nene O Molokai News Release

Drawing by Michael Furuya

October and November is fledging season for wedge-tailed shearwaters. “Wedgies,” as they are affectionately called by wildlife biologists, are part of a mixed flock of seabirds that commercial fishermen rely upon to locate schools of ahi and other marketable fish. Young birds fledge from burrows excavated into coastal cliffs to life at sea. The uau kani, or wedge-tailed shearwater (Puffinus pacificus), is 17 inches in length from bill to tip of tail, with a wingspan of 38 inches. Adult birds leave coastal colonies at dawn to feed on fish and return after dark.…

Krazy for Kolea Kontest Winners

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Nene o Molokai press release

This year marked the 17th annual Krazy for Kolea Kontest, and a kolea reported by Joe Kitagawa proved to be Molokai’s early bird, marking the beginning of the fall migration of the Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva). At 11:21 a.m. on July 29, a kolea flushed from a pasture at the Kamakou Preserve. Joe wins a Kolea Research Hawaii T-shirt from the Hawaii Audubon Society and a gift certificate for one scoop of ice cream at Kamoi Snack-N-Go.

The kolea is a swift flying shorebird and has been clocked migrating at 118 miles per hour, although an average of 56 to 60 mph is more typical.…

Keeping an Eye on the Algae

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Keeping an Eye on the Algae

DNLR staff documented gorilla ogo growth along Molokai’s south shore during a Sept. 4 visit. Photo by Catherine Cluett.

On a fishing trip along Molokai’s south shore in late July, fisherman Clay Ching noticed something strange. Huge masses of thick seaweed blanketed the shallow flats near Coconut Grove, protruding from the surface and covering hundreds of square yards in several large patches. As owner of local charter fishing company Hallelujah Hou Fishing and having spent decades trolling the area, Ching called it “epic proportions of growth” and said he’d never seen anything like it.

The algae invasion concerned him so much that he notified the Department of Land and Natural Resource (DLNR)’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR).…

Mobilizing to Cleanup the Beach

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Mobilizing to Cleanup the Beach

Photos by Bianca Moragne.

About one hundred volunteers walked along Mo`omomi’s coastline with large black and tan canvas bags, sifting through the sand and picking up marine debris that washed up on shore. Fast-food takeout containers and cups, tires and even a propane tank littered the area. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s (SCH) beach cleanup brought volunteers together to do something about the trash last Saturday.

About 7,000 pounds of plastic shards, rope, nets, bottles, wrappers and other trash was removed from Mo`omomi Beach thanks to hard work from the Molokai community, said SCH Executive Director, Kahi Pacarro.

“We’re here because we love the beaches and want to keep them clean,” Pacarro said.…

Beautiful and Dangerous

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Beautiful and Dangerous

Some plants growing in your garden may be beautiful, but as invasive species, threaten native vegetation and could potentially lead to damage of native forests. Such is the case for Kahili Ginger, a species of decorative plant that local experts say is coveted for its large flowers but in fact is highly invasive.

“If it gets out of control [in a garden] and into the natives forests, we can lose thousands of acres of forests [as seen on other islands],” said Lance De Silva, forest management supervisor for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife on Maui, who regularly comes to Molokai to assist with invasive species control.…

A Slice of Sweet Harvest

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

A Slice of Sweet Harvest

The Davis family enjoys watermelon at their roadside stand near Rawlins’ Chevron. Photo by Jared Davis.

The summer sun beats down on the Davis family watermelon stand on Kamehameha Highway by Rawlins’ Chevron gas station every Saturday. With a pickup truck pilled sky-high with about 500 fresh, colossal, 20-pound watermelons ripened to perfection in Ho`olehua’s heat, Jared Davis sells his all-natural watermelons at his roadside stand in the summertime on Molokai.

For Davis, a third generation farmer who is keeping farming alive in his family and on Molokai, watermelons are a vital crop and livelihood for his ohana, he said.

“When I was younger there were a lot of farmers around here that planted watermelon,” Davis said.…

New Ti Leaf Virus

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

New Ti Leaf Virus

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

 Ti leaf is an important subsistence and commercial crop in Hawaii with diverse uses. An ornamental crop used for hula skirts, leis, and puolo, a bundle or container, Ti plants are also a central part of the tropical landscape with many new leaf sizes and colors. Leaves are used in the preparation of Hawaiian foods, such as laulau with pork and taro leaf, and lawalu, to wrap fish and other seafood and local starches for baking, and also as greens in floral arrangements. It also has ceremonial and medicinal uses, and Ti roots are also used in the production of liquor, okolehao.…

Hikiola Goes Solar

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Hikiola Goes Solar

ProVision Solar News Release

The Hikiola Cooperative in Ho`olehua has installed a 12-kilowatt grid-connected solar array that will provide almost all of the power needed to run the coop.  First organized in 1976 as a farm supply and marketing cooperative, Hikiola shifted to making supplies available to both farmer-members and the greater community.  Paying one of the highest rates for electricity in the nation (52 cents/kilowatt-hour this month), small businesses on Molokai have more than ample incentive to go solar electric.

“We are thrilled with the installation of the PV system,” said the Coop’s long-time manager Tina Tamanaha. “The use of alternative energy is a positive step in our mission to lower the cost of supplies for our agri-business patrons.”

Marco Mangelsdorf, President of ProVision Solar, and the installer of the Net Energy Metered photovoltaic system, noted that “with the abundant sunshine on this part of the island, the system should really crank out the solar kWhs. …

Kalaupapa Combats Climate Change

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Kalaupapa Combats Climate Change

Only one small population of ‘ihi (Portulaca villosa) exists along the crater rim – more plants are currently being introduced to the area in the hopes of increasing the number of populations and individuals to make the plant more resilient to climate change. Photo by Paul Hosten.

Although scientists cannot predict with absolute certainty the universal severity of climate change nor its impacts, the effects are threatening the country’s National Parks with significant risks and challenges. A recent study by the National Park Service (NPS) shows that any of the 289 National Parks, including Kalaupapa National Historic Park (KNHP) show that temperatures over the last 30 years are warmer now than they were in 1901..…