Environment & Ecology

State Epidemic Threatens Endangered Waterfowl

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Protecting Hawaii’s wetlands and endangered water birds from modern development and invasive species has always been a concern for state wildlife departments. However, according to the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the leading threat to Hawaii’s native and migrant waterfowl species lies beneath the surface, in a toxin causing epidemic losses on Molokai and throughout the state.

Avian botulism outbreaks are the number one killer of waterfowl, according to DOFAW wildlife biologist Norma Creps. It is extremely important that wetland and wildlife management understands what avian botulism is and how to stop it from spreading because we have a lot of important migratory species and they can all be affected by it, she said.…

Stuffed and Fluffed

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Stuffed and Fluffed

After completing over 40 taxidermies in her home, Arleone Dibben-Young takes endangered Hawaiian Coot taxidermies out of their bags. Photo by Jessica Ahles

Taxidermy Hobby Contributes to Science

Arleone Dibben-Young crouched in her living room and gestured to her less-than-lively guests. An albatross occupied her coffee table, Hawaiian Coots gathered on her rug, and a barn owl lay near her couch. She has been sharing her home with more than 40 taxidermy birds she has collected, prepared, stuffed and mounted for research.

“It’s kind of a weird hobby, isn’t it?” she laughed.

Dibben-Young, Molokai’s water bird researcher, has dedicated the last three months to clean out her freezer of birds she’s acquired for the past 10 years, making taxidermies, or skins, she plans to donate to the Bishop Museum on Oahu.…

Rising from the Rocks

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Rising from the Rocks

Native plants making a comeback

Editorial by Catherine Cluett

We’re bumping along a rocky track, ascending steeply through a landscape some would call lunar. Ahead of us is mostly gray—Kawela’s barren, stony slopes and gulches, topped by a thin line of green where the mountaintops meet the sky. But I can’t help turning in my seat of our all-terrain vehicle toward the view behind us—each bump expands a breathtaking panorama of Maui to the east, Lanai’s slender back, the turquoise fingers of Molokai’s south shore reef, and the slopes of Pu`u Nana to Molokai’s west.

Panorama from about 3,000 ft. elevation showing Maui on the left, Kaho`olawe, Lanai in the center, and Molokai’s south shore reef.…

Catching Invasives

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

U.S. Department of Agriculture Molokai inspector Chevy Levasa said it was just a regular day at work for her, but a finding a fungi last year landed her some recognition. She now holds the first report in the U.S. of a strain of fungi called frog-eye spot, or P. morindae, on a noni leaf on Molokai.

“It’s such a regular part of my job, I don’t think much of it,” Levasa said.

A request went out from the USDA office on Oahu for inspectors on every island to collect noni leaf samples, and Levasa — along with Molokai Invasive Species Committee leader Lori Buchanan and her crew — responded.…

Krazy For Kolea Kontest Winners

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Nene O Molokai News Release

This year’s 16th annual Krazy For Kolea Kontest winner was an unusually early kolea on the grass at the Puko`o harbor spotted by Mia Evans on July 19. She will receive a Kolea Research T-shirt from the Hawaii Audubon Society and a certificate for a free scoop of ice cream at Kamoi Snack-N-Go.

The kolea or Pacific Golden-Plover (Pluvialis fulva) has one of the longest transoceanic migrations of any of the world’s shorebirds, with some birds flying from breeding grounds in Alaska to winter as far away as Madagascar. The species has been documented migrating at speeds of up to 118 miles per hour.…

Backyard Gardens, New Thinking

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Community Contributed

By Joe Kennedy

We have so many problems. Write down a list of the world’s most pressing problems and it will become clear that things are dangerously close to more widespread pain and suffering. Global warming, drought, flooding, starvation and warfare are increasing. Agriculture is the world’s biggest polluter in the form of soil erosion and pesticide and herbicide use.  But on the other hand, there’s a new kind of thinking out there that latches on to a certain kind of change and it’s called quantum physics. This new way of thinking is even favorably affecting farming methods and what to do with profits. …

Dream Green Team

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Talking trash isn’t usually a good thing, but a small team in Kalaupapa is changing the way people think about rubbish with their award winning solid waste management program. The Kalaupapa National Historical Park (KNHP) Green Team, comprised of five local Molokai employees, has received national recognition for the work they’re doing to make the peninsula a statewide model of waste management.

The team — Arthur Ainoa, Joseph Kahee, Brennan Lee-Namakaeha, Pa`oneakai Lee-Namakaeha, and Ryan Mahiai — has recently been named one of seven recipients of the National Park Service’s 2013 Environmental Achievement awards. The award recognizes their accomplishment of drastically reducing the peninsula’s solid waste through recycling, composting, conserving and reusing.…

A Decade of Environmental Leadership

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

A Decade of Environmental Leadership

The E Alu Pu network joined at the Ka Honua Momona International (KHM) Ali`i Fishpond August 15 to 18 to participate in a learning exchange and celebrate their 10th anniversary of environmental stewardship. Photo by Jessica Ahles

As a child, Uncle Mac Poepoe fondly remembers fishing down at Mo`omomi Beach with family and friends, but as time passed, he began seeing the area increasingly populated with unfamiliar boats and people, over-fishing in its waters.

“I said, ‘Hey we’ve got to do something about this because if this continues, we’re not going to have many fish left for ourselves,’” said Poepoe.

He came together with a group of Molokai fishermen and community members who decided they needed more public input as to how environmental resources are managed.…

Partnering for Preservation

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Partnering for Preservation

Protecting Molokai’s Watersheds

An understanding of the connections between mountains and ocean — mauka and makai — is rooted in ancient Hawaiian culture. Today, invasive species and human impacts are threatening to clog Molokai’s reef — the most extensive coral reef in the Main Hawaiian Islands — with sediment washed down from the mountain slopes. Today, scientists are doing studies to provide proof of this evidence and offer their data to help find solutions. And today, Molokai residents are meeting together to discuss those solutions and taking action to protect the island’s most valuable resources — both the mountains and the ocean.…

Soon to be Cinder

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Soon to be Cinder

The dot at bottom marks the west Molokai site of the Waieli cinder extraction operation

Cinder — a porous, low-density rock material — is used commonly on track and road surfaces and for landscaping. In high demand on Molokai, there’s currently no cinder harvesting operation on the island. That could change soon, however. Last week, Tri-L Construction was granted a permit that will allow them to operate the Waieli cinder pit in West Molokai.

The pit is located on 1.3 acres of state agricultural district land at Pu`u O Waieli, off the road to Hale O Lono in Maunaloa. After lengthy discussions over responsibility for maintenance of the access road, the Molokai Planning Commission approved Tri-L’s request for an extension of their special use permit to operate the pit.…