Environment & Ecology

Join Mo`omomi Beach Cleanup

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii News Release

For the second year in a row, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (SCH) is hosting the Mo`omomi Beach Cleanup and Community Service Project on Molokai on Saturday, Aug. 1. Sponsored by Matson, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Parley for the Oceans, this cleanup removes harmful marine debris from one of the most remote beaches on Molokai. Mo`omomi Beach, a mix of rocky and sandy coastline on the island’s north shore, is the first stopping point in the main Hawaiian Islands for marine debris coming from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

“Each Hawaiian Island has issues with marine debris but Molokai gets hit extra hard due to its open geography towards the north,” says Kahi Pacarro, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii’s co-founder and executive director.…

Mapping a Marine Menace

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Mapping a Marine Menace

 

Volunteers document patches of gorilla ogo near Alii Fishpond. Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Armed with GPS units, yardsticks and clipboards, Molokai volunteers and Oahu scientists spent three days last week peering into the island’s shallow south shore waters, looking for an invasive alien algae known as gorilla ogo.

The migrating algae, subject to wind and tides, has settled into Molokai waters and is threatening reef life.

“It can just take over an entire area and become the dominant species,” said Brian Neilson, aquatic invasive species biologist for the state’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR).  “It overcrowds native limu, and it can grow over coral colonies and smother and kill coral.”

Before any removal efforts can begin, however, residents needed to identify the areas of the shoreline most under siege.…

Community Meeting For Proposed Waikolu-Pu`u Ali`i Fence Project

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

DLNR News Release

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)  invites the  Molokai community and interested parties to an informational meeting concerning a proposed fencing and management project in the Waikolu Valley and Pu`u Ali`i Natural Area Reserve areas.  The purpose of the proposed project is to protect the natural resources of the Pu`u Ali`i Natural Area Reserve (NAR) while improving hunting opportunities within the Molokai Forest Reserve hunting units.  The fence will help to prevent entry of pigs, goats and deer into the NAR and help to prevent erosion into nearshore waters, protect fisheries and water supplies, and conserve native Hawaiian plants and wildlife.…

Eyes on the Reef

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Cheryl Corbiell

On June 6, Darla White with DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) provided the first “Eyes of the Reef” (EOR) skills training on Molokai at Kulana `Oiwi to an enthusiastic crowd of Molokai residents.

The EOR training has been designed to help ocean users such as community members, reef users, fishers, and commercial operators the skills to provide reliable monitoring and reporting on coral bleaching; coral and fish diseases; Crown-of-thorns Sea stars outbreaks, marine alien invasive species, and native species blooms. The participants learned how to detect the early signs of coral in distress.

“Threats to the world’s reefs have increased by over 30 percent, and today, 75 percent of the coral reefs in the world are threatened,” said White. …

March of the Molokai Mangrove

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Nene O Molokai News Release

Introduced alien mangrove threatens the long-term sustainability of south shore coastal resources. During 2014 and 2015, Sarah Jenkins and Lily Jenkins conducted a study on the socioeconomic and ecological impacts of introduced Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) on Molokai. The intent was to determine if the mangrove has the potential to reach the fringing reef, and if so, what are the impending socioeconomic and ecological impacts.

Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques were used to interpret aerial imagery, historic maps, and coastal surveys to map seaward migration, analyze ecological effects, and predict the future impact on Molokai’s south shore through benthic habitat modeling.…

Tackling Invasive Algae

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Cheryl Corbiell

The Molokai Gorilla Ogo Survey and Control Project was launched on Saturday, June 6 at Kulana `Oiwi by master of ceremony and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Colette Machado. She was joined by 75 people with passion, knowledge and love for the reef and ocean. For five hours, participants learned about the threat and distribution of the invasive algae on Molokai’s south shore and what other communities have tackled gorilla ogo.

Over the last seven weeks, Machado has gathered seven project partners: Kua Aina Ulu Auamo, OHA, DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Ke Kua`aina Hanauna Hou, and Kahina Pohaku Loko I`a.…

Concerns Grow Over Coconut Grove

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

Concerns Grow Over Coconut Grove

Photo by Colleen Uechi.

Molokai’s historic Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove has stood for more than a century. However, recently residents have begun to notice the deteriorating health of the coconut trees. Scattered among the healthy palms are a number of dead trees, their tall trunks ending abruptly in leafless stubs. Not only are the lifeless trees an eyesore, but the cause of their death is an increasing concern within the community.

Last December, the Molokai/Maui Invasive Species Committee (MoMISC) gathered fruit and leaf samples from the grove for testing, according to Lori Buchanan, field outreach coordinator for MoMISC. The Department of Agriculture (DOA) and UH College of Tropical Agriculture tested the samples and identified multiple pests and diseases.…

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.…