Environment & Ecology

Albizzia, Friend or Foe

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

The first introduction of plants to Hawaii started with the arrival of Polynesians, who brought important food and utility plants to their new home. I remember noted Hawaiian botanist Isabella Abbott calling kukui an invasive species because it displaced many natives in valleys and mountainsides.

Over the last 240 years, thousands of plant species were introduced to create new economic opportunities as a western capitalist system replaced an ancient self-sufficient system. Today, most of the vegetation found below 2,000 feet, with the exception of a few isolated coastal systems, is introduced.…

The Secret Lives of Monk Seals

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

The Secret Lives of Monk Seals

Scientists scan the beach for seals. Photo by Catherine Cluett.

A year and a half ago, scientists and community members wanting to learn more about endangered Hawaiian monk seals decided to try a new method of observation. Instead of continuing to speculate and make assumptions about the life and habits of monk seals – much of which happens under water – they decided to record it on video. Attaching satellite trackers and cameras known as “critter cams” to the backs of seals allows biologists, students and the public to gain insight into the largely obscured life of this endemic sea mammal.…

Grassroots Benefit Concert

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Grassroots Benefit Concert

Mama-T and Tubby Love were some of the night’s performers. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Last Saturday’s third annual Grassroots Benefit Concert at Duke Maliu Park celebrated homegrown, all-natural products –and the creatures that make it possible. The event’s message was “Mahalo i Na Halihali `Ehu Pua,” which means Thank You to the Pollinators, and highlighted the need to protect pollen-carrying creatures like butterflies and bees.

“Pollinators are vital to growing food, and we want to just bring that issue to light,” said Mercy Ritte, one of the event organizers.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Pathologist Matthew Goo said that butterflies face the predatory challenges of spiders, wasps, lizards and in particular, the bulbul bird.…

Record Roi Round-Up

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Record Roi Round-Up

Divers harvested over 1,000 pounds of invasive roi in the island’s second annual tournament. Photo courtesy of Dicky Dowling.

Molokai divers joined forces last month for a cause – to save native fish species by ridding the island of about 1,000 pounds of invasive roi.

“Nowadays everyone is about malama this, malama that. This is really giving back to the reef,” said local diver Dicky Dowling, who organized the second annual Molokai Roi Tournament. “That’s the most invasive species… Somebody gotta do something, you cannot just stand on the side.”

In the 1950s, the Hawaii Department of Fish and Wildlife introduced roi as a game fish for food.…

Agroforestry Workshop

Friday, March 13th, 2015

UH CTAHR News Release

What is Agroforestry? Combining agriculture and forestry is nothing new, and has been practiced for centuries by the ancients, who practiced growing plants vital to their survival in forests while also enhancing what was already there. The Hawaiian garden is one example, with trees and plants that serve our food, fiber, medicinal, cultural, and construction needs in a sustainable system that continues to feed itself, including us.

March 21 is the first day of spring, and what better way to celebrate this special day than to learn about agroforestry concepts and applications on Molokai. Speakers include Craig Elevitch, Alton Arakaki, Fred Richardson, and another off-island speaker.…

Bottles for Change Campaign

Friday, January 30th, 2015

HoloHI News Release

A Hawaii educator plans to run and bike 750 miles around Hawaii in 31 days to launch school-based conservation initiative called Bottles for Change that challenges keiki to help reduce Hawaii’s plastic footprint.

A new study estimates that there are more than 250,000 tons of plastic floating in oceans around the world, destroying marine habitat and contaminating our water and food supply. Lindy Shapiro, founder of the nonprofit Bodhi Education Project on Maui, plans to take an unprecedented, coastal expedition around the Hawaiian Islands named holoHI (the Hawaiian word “holo” means to run or ride on) – kicked off before sunrise on Jan.…

Christmas Bird Count

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Christmas Bird Count

Photo by Josiah Ching.

Community Contributed

By Josiah Ching

As part of the 115th annual National Audubon Society’s Christmas bird count, a small group of dedicated volunteers set out to conduct a survey of the bird population on Molokai. The national survey is both the longest running citizen science survey as well as the longest running wildlife survey to date. The local survey is organized by Arleone Dibbon-Young, a Molokai-based wildlife biologist. She has been instrumental in not only protecting the endangered Nene population on Molokai, she has also compiled years of data on Molokai’s avian population and has a wealth of knowledge regarding Molokai’s history.…

Subsistence Fishing Designation Moves Forward

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Subsistence Fishing Designation Moves Forward

 

Community members are joining with state officials to develop a designation for Molokai’s north shoreline that would sustainably support marine resources, protect traditional fishing practices, prohibit commercial harvest and facilitate community involvement in resource management decisions.

The Mo`omomi Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) would extend from Ilio Point on the northwestern tip of Molokai, east to Kaholaiki Bay, near Pelekunu Valley. As it is currently written, the CBSFA would follow the contours of the coastline and extend out one half mile. The Kawa`aloa Bay Protected Area is a subzone with the CBSFA, with a subset of rules specific to it.…

Judge Orders Hold on GE Enforcement

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

A federal judge in Honolulu has ordered a temporary hold on enforcement of the moratorium on genetically engineered crops passed by Maui County voters on Nov. 4. Last week, Monsanto and other parties filed a lawsuit against the County of Maui, challenging the moratorium. Judge Barry Kurren granted Monsanto and other plaintiffs in the suit a temporary injunction until Dec. 5.

The county stated last week it was preparing to enforce the moratorium pending the Election Officer’s certification of election results, but the judge’s injunction will put a hold on enforcement until further court action.

Injunction is a court order for a party to do, or refrain from doing, specific acts.…

GMO Moratorium Survey Results

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

GMO Moratorium Survey Results

The MOM Hui News Release

Out of a total of 219 Molokai residents who participated in an online survey, 109, or 49.77 percent, are in support of a moratorium (temporary suspension) of all GE operations and practices within Maui County. The moratorium would last until an environmental and public health impact study is conducted and finds the proposed cultivation practices to be safe and harmless.  Of the total survey participants, 110, or 50.23 percent, were not in favor of this bill.

Chart courtesy of Mom Hui

One of those in favor shared that, “because of their history of contamination, collusion, coercion and endless greed for capital and control, companies like Monsanto cannot be trusted, and therefore independent studies need to be conducted to insure these practices taking place on our island are safe for its inhabitants and future inhabitants.”

Another individual argued that, “the State Constitution protects the public trust.…