Environment & Ecology

Inspected Meat Remains Safe as bTB Outbreak Continues

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

With concern about bovine tuberculosis (bTB), which has rapidly spread across livestock herds in central and west Molokai this year, some residents have wondered, is it safe to eat meat slaughtered on Molokai? The answer is yes. 

“The Molokai Livestock Cooperative would like to assure you, our community, that the procedures of how we handle every single animal, whether it be cattle, hogs, deer or sheep, must go through a stringent inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, also known as the USDA,” wrote Randy Cabreros, interim manager of Molokai’s slaughterhouse, in a social media post last week.…

Historic Ruling to Restore Kawela Stream Flow

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

Historic Ruling to Restore Kawela Stream Flow

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

In a landmark decision last week, the state Commission on Water Resource Management unanimously ruled to restore flow levels to Kawela Stream and four others in the area, after they had been almost fully diverted for more than a century. It’s a huge victory for community members who advocated through group Molokai No Ka Heke, which filed a formal request for stream restoration in 2019. 

“After over a hundred years of Kawela waters being diverted across the island and wasted, we finally said enough is enough,” said Molokai No Ka Heke member Walter Ritte.  “The big ranching and ag operations are gone, and we couldn’t just sit and watch this precious water be thrown away.”…

Molokai TB Crisis Causes Statewide Concern

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Molokai is currently experiencing the worst outbreak of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in decades, according to officials, and they’re worried it could spread across the state, causing a massive hit to the ranching industry. 

It has already had a huge impact on Molokai’s cattle and pig populations, and officials are still trying to determine how far it’s spread. Of four infected herds from west and central Molokai, more than 100 pigs and 60 cattle have already been depopulated, and testing is ongoing, according to the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture. More than 400 more cattle have been exposed, Jason Moniz, veterinary program manager for the animal disease control branch of the state DOA, told KHON2 last week.…

Grants Available for Climate Change and Resiliency

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Maui County News Release 

The County of Maui Office of Climate Change, Resiliency, and Sustainability is soliciting grant proposals for the fiscal year 2023-24 funding cycle. 

“We welcome proposals for initiatives and programs that will advance Maui County’s efforts to become more environmentally responsible, self-reliant and less dependent on imported fuel,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “This will require a community-wide effort, and I know we’re up for the challenge before us.”

 Grant applications may be submitted from Molokai by all qualified nonprofit and for-profit organizations with proposals relating to sustainability, natural resource management, climate action, renewable energy, energy efficiency, electrification of transportation, green building, resilient housing and infrastructure projects that support walking and bicycling.…

Drought Disaster Declared

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

USDA News Release

The United States Department of Agriculture has designated Maui County and Hawaii County as primary natural disaster areas as a result of drought, making farm operators in those counties eligible for emergency loans and other Farm Service Agency assistance. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack announced the designation in an April 8 letter to Gov. David Ige. The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor report showed both counties had areas that are experiencing extreme drought during the farm growing season. 

The deadline to apply for the emergency drought loans is December 8, 2022, eight months from the date of the declaration.…

More Bovine TB Prompts Island-wide Animal Quarantine

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

More Bovine TB Prompts Island-wide Animal Quarantine

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Recent detections of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) on Molokai has prompted the state Dept. of Agriculture to issue an immediate, island-wide quarantine order restricting the movement of all ungulate animals except horses to prevent further spread of the disease. Effective last Friday, the length of the quarantine order will depend on the success of eradication or control of bTB on the island, the HDOA said. The department stated additional detections of bTB in central and the west end of Molokai in the past few months, following more cases over the past year.  

Between June 2021 and March 2022, the HDOA issued quarantine orders on six infected herds in the areas of central and west Molokai.…

Climate Change Workshops

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

Sust’ainable Molokai News Release

Please join us as Sustʻainable Molokai hosts Molokai Climate Change Workshops round two across the island – starting in Mana’e on April 7. The workshops are part of Molokai Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise Adaptation and Resiliency Plan (CCSLAR) and will include three in-person meetings and one virtual meeting.

Where will our shoreline be in 2100? The Molokai CCSLAR Plan focuses on climate change issues; particularly, how sea level rise will affect Molokai, our lifestyle and our community. The main goal is for the community to identify five to 10 most important areas, whether it be infrastructure, buildings, and/or roadways that either need to be relocated, rebuilt, or adjusted to adapt to sea-level rise.…

Kilohana Native Garden

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Kilohana Native Garden

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

With fingers caked in dirt, members of Kilohana’s fifth grade class patted native plants into the ground, learning their names, their growing habits and cultural uses. The school now has a native plant garden thanks to their efforts and the support of several local organizations. 

It’s a dream at least 10 years in the making, said fifth grade teacher Tammy Castor. She said the school previously planted a native garden area behind the campus but it fell prey to deer and wild pigs, along with not being cared for over summer vacations. A new garden took shape earlier this month in a courtyard plot at the heart of the school, where it will be sheltered from predators, watered by timed irrigation over the summer, and can be easily accessible and frequently admired by the entire school. …

Drought Sets in Before Summer

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

As the rainy season comes to a close with a dry finish, weather forecasters are predicting drought conditions to continue on Molokai. 

“The October through April Hawaiian Islands wet season is the time of year where most of the leeward areas get the bulk of their rainfall,” said Kevin Kodama, senior service hydrologist at NOAA’s Honolulu Forecast Office. “After having a rather wet December, Molokai has been quite dry since early January. As a result, severe drought has quickly returned to the island. To make matters worse, we are quickly running out of days with a reasonable expectation for relief in these areas.”…

Partner in the Spotlight: Diane Pike

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

Partner in the Spotlight: Diane Pike

NOAA News Release

Molokai’s Diane Pike stumbled into the Hawaiian monk seal world in 2008 when she volunteered to help locate a mom and pup pair that were spotted on Molokai during a NOAA aerial survey. Little did she know where that road would lead her! At that time, finding reproductive females giving birth across the main Hawaiian Islands was still a relative novelty.

Diane’s involvement in monk seal conservation expanded alongside these promising signs of recovery in the species itself. Later that year, she facilitated NOAA’s efforts to tag that pup, and in observing the process and learning about the important work happening in her backyard, she was hooked.…