Environment

News stories regarding Molokai’s outdoor environment

Between Food and Climate Change

Friday, September 11th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

Characteristics of climate change include weather extremes — very hot and very cold — as well as violent storms. We’ve seen it this year with one of the coldest winters in decades, record high summer temperatures, and more than our share of threatening storms.

One of the positive aspects of a cold winter was a bumper crop of lychee, a native to South China. Most of the older lychee varieties, including Kwai Mi, Hak Ip, and No Mai Tze require colder weather to flower than is normally found in Hawaii, while the newer ones such as Kaimana and Groff require less of a cold snap to trigger flowering.…

Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove Access

Friday, September 11th, 2015

DHHL News Release

The kupuna of Kalamaula made it clear to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) that Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove is sacred and not a place for recreation.  Following community meetings, it was decided that this significant wahipana (historic site) needed to be better cared for and protected.

DHHL consulted the State Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources because the agency has jurisdiction over historic sites and obtained authorization to clean and fence Kapuaiwa.  DHHL requests beneficiaries and members of the general public to respect the sacredness of Kapuaiwa while efforts are ongoing to work with the Department of Agriculture to continue diagnose/monitor the health of the trees so future decisions may be made about their well-being.…

Local Farmers Turn to Export

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Local Farmers Turn to Export

Molokai was once known as “Molokai `Aina Momona,” or the abundant land, providing plentiful food for a population many times its current size. While there are still many farmers and crops on Molokai, the economics of farming are making it challenging to provide for the community the way ancient Hawaiians once did. Thus, many island farmers have turned to exporting to make the numbers work.

A recent study by nonprofit Sust`ainable Molokai has found that the economy of scale – or the cost advantage of producing larger amounts – plays a key role in the success of local farmers.

“It’s all about quantity and the ability for farmers to make money,” said Harmonee Williams, Sust`ainable Molokai project manager.…

A Steak in the Local Economy

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

A Steak in the Local Economy

In Hawaii, 85 percent of calves are shipped to the mainland, said Pu`u O Hoku Ranch General Manager Jann Roney. They’re raised and butchered, and the finished product is not always sent back to the islands. However, like others around the state in recent years, Molokai ranches and businesses are working to keep the full cattle operation at home.

Molokai Ranch

Last August, Molokai Ranch launched its 100 percent grass-fed beef in an effort to establish its new pillars of animal husbandry and sustainability, said Operations Manager Dathan Bicoy.

Prepared beef dish from Molokai Ranch. Photo by Laura Pilz.

About 1,800 cattle graze 30,000 acres of pasture in Maunaloa.…

Changing Times for the Molokai Ferry

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Changing Times for the Molokai Ferry

Community Contributed

By Dave Jung, Molokai Ferry General Manager

Photo by Catherine Cluett

The Molokai Ferry has been running a fixed schedule for the last 27 years, operated by Sea Link of Hawaii. However, last year, airline travel from Molokai dramatically changed, and single engine aircraft are very fuel efficient and cheap to operate. With air fares down to $39, the ferry just can’t compete in this current price war.

A new ruling by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) allows the ferry to change our schedule on a monthly basis and may cancel a voyage when the number of reservations is below 20 passengers on either segment of a round trip 48 hours before departure.…

Summer Avocados

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

Mid-summer is the leanest season for avocado in Hawaii, but the West Indies avocado fills the void and is there for the picking. The most heat-tolerant avocado, it’s the best adapted to the lowlands of Molokai, although it doesn’t do well along the shore where salty winds and soils can cause burning of roots and leaf edges.

The avocado is native to Mexico, where it’s been eaten before 10,000 BC. It spread throughout the Caribbean, Central and South American, evolving into three distinct races: the high-quality and cold-tolerant Mexican, the tropical forest Guatemalan, and the heat-tolerant, lowland West Indies.…

Fence for Coconut Grove Generates Mixed Reactions

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) received permission last week to place a fence around Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove, a move that some residents feel will protect a historic site but others feel will prove ineffective.

Molokai’s 150-year-old grove became the subject of recent scrutiny after disease and invasive insects were discovered in some of the trees last December. The State Historical Preservation Division (SHPD), which authorized the fence, said in a statement that seeing “the affected coconut trees within the grove reinforced the need for protective fencing” for the health of the grove and the safety of the public.

Support for the Fence

At community meetings held by the DHHL and Kalamaula Homestead Association in May and June, residents voiced support for a fence.…

Molokai to Receive $1.5M for Watershed Project

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release

Molokai’s Pua`ahala Watershed Project will be one of two federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) grants to be funded in Hawaii this year. The FWS is awarding $37.2 million in grants to 20 states — including more than $2 million to Hawaii — to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened, endangered and at-risk species.

The Pua`ahala Watershed Project will receive $1,566,875. This project will secure long-term protection of Hawaii’s listed species as part of the State’s comprehensive recovery effort. The subject area contains some of the highest quality native forest habitat on Molokai.…

NextEra’s Commitment to Hawaii

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Community Contributed

Opinion by Eric Gleason, President of NextEra Energy Hawaii

Gov. David Ige’s recent comments raised important questions about our pending merger and Hawaii’s clean energy future, questions that we continue to work diligently and transparently to address. We want to make our position clear and reiterate our full and unequivocal support of the State of Hawaii’s goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. We believe our proposed partnership with Hawaiian Electric provides the best path forward to achieving what is, without question, an aggressive, yet very attainable, goal. Together, we can get there.

The renewable energy law signed by Gov.…

Changing Seasons

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent

We are in the midst of the Dog Days of summer, which runs July 3 to Aug. 11 and named after the star Sirius or the Dog in the constellation Orion. This is traditionally the hottest weather of the year, and I can’t argue that. Plants can sense subtle changes in day length and temperature in our changing seasons as the days get shorter, and the nights get longer. Long-day plants, such as corn and soybeans bask in the long hot days of summer, while others such as lettuce and kale prefer cooler days and nights.…