Environment

Ocean Robot Dives for Data in Maunalua Bay

Dec 10, 2015
Liquid Robotics
Liquid Robotics

Scientists are turning to new technologies to determine the health of Maunalua Bay. A new ocean robot is collecting data on everything from turbidity levels to pollutants in the water. HPR’s Molly Solomon took a boat tour of the bay and has this report.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka

Environmental Groups are calling on the state to suspend the collection of reef wildlife for the aquarium pet industry.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

City Miscalculates Amount of Sewage Spill at Ala Moana

Sep 17, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Exactly how much sewage spilled onto streets near Ala Moana beach last month? A new report reveals a number that’s 200,000 gallons more than what the city last reported to the public. HPR’s Molly Solomon tells us why.

Honolulu officials first said more than half a million gallons of wastewater had spewed from manholes onto streets, after heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s sewage system. Two days later, the city revised its numbers, saying only about 129,000 gallons reached the ocean.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

One of Hawai‘i’s most popular beaches is back in business. Honolulu city officials announced the reopening of Waikīkī and Ala Moana Beach after test results revealed nearshore waters were no longer contaminated. And while the beaches were closed for two days, tourism officials are hopeful it won’t impact the image of Hawai‘i as a visitor destination. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

For many tourists in Waikīkī, this week was not the Hawai‘i vacation they had anticipated.

500,000 Gallon Sewage Spill Closes Waikiki Beach

Aug 25, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

A massive sewage spill has shut down miles of beaches along Waikīkī and Ala Moana. Flooding from heavy rains caused more than 500,000 gallons of sewage to overflow from manholes near Ala Moana Center. HPR’s Molly Solomon was there and has this report.

Half a million gallons of wastewater spilled onto Honolulu streets and quickly flowed into public parks and waterways. That prompted city officials to shut down Ala Moana Beach Park and close shorelines along Waikīkī.

Flickr/Thomas Shahan 3
Flickr/Thomas Shahan 3

New research suggests small-scale fisheries could have big benefits for local communities. That’s according to a new study that highlights the economic impact of community supported reef fisheries. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

Oahu Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect

Jun 30, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Honolulu County grocery shoppers will no longer be asked the question: paper or plastic? Starting tomorrow, O‘ahu will become the final county in the state to enforce a plastic bag ban. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Windmills for Maui Landfill

Jan 19, 2015
Pixabay Commons
Pixabay commons

 Along with the rest of the state, Maui residents pay some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. While many are still waiting for the regulatory approval that could lead to broader use of rooftop solar, the county is looking to wind. Eileen Chao has more from The Maui News.

Hawaii Ice Rink Turns to Solar Power

Jan 7, 2015
Distributed Energy Partners
Distributed Energy Partners

A local ice rink is tapping into the sun to keep its facilities cool. Ice Palace Hawai‘i announced the completion of a rooftop solar power project that could cut down their energy bill by 25%. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

NOAA
NOAA

State officials are investigating the suspicious death of a baby Hawaiian monk seal on the east side of Kaua‘i. The 5-month old female was found dead from blunt force trauma at a beach in Anahola. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, authorities are now turning to the public for help.

Authorities are urging anyone with information on these monk seal deaths to call the confidential hotline: 1-800-853-1964 OR 1-855-DLNR-TIP.

www.worldwildlife.org
www.worldwildlife.org

Conservation groups are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service over a new rule that increases the amount of Big-Eye Tuna (Ahi) that can be legally caught.  The lawsuit says that a ruling issued on October 28th, nearly doubles the amount of tuna that can be caught in the central and western pacific.  Earth Justice and 3 other groups say the regulation undermines efforts to curb over fishing.  

Draft Report Says Navy Must Double Line Red Hill Tanks

Nov 13, 2014
Flickr / hihousedems
Flickr / hihousedems

A draft report by the Red Hill Facility Task Force is urging the Navy to double line all of its underground fuel tanks in the next 10 years. But navy officials say that timeline is unreasonable. HPR’s Molly Solomon has the story.

Water Flow to Be Returned to Iao Stream

Oct 13, 2014
Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

For the first time in more than a century, there will be a continuous flow of water from Mauka to Makai in Maui's Iao Stream beginning today. Since the 1800's, the Wailuku Water Company has diverted water from the Central Maui stream, but now that's changing. Eileen Chao has more from The Maui News.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

This month marks a year since more than a quarter million gallons of molasses was released in Honolulu Harbor. The massive spill, last September, resulted in the death of nearly 26,000 fish and marine life. HPR’s Molly Solomon takes a look back, one year later.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  A fatal shark attack in Australia last week has rekindled debate about whether authorities should take any steps in response. But one tactic that’s been used in the past won’t be part of the strategy going forward. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Algalita
Algalita

Researchers are tracking a growing problem in our oceans: plastic pollution. A crew of scientists has been studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch…located one thousand miles north of Hawaii. They’re currently at sea on an expedition to find out more about it, how big it is, and what it’s doing to marine life. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

  A new facility is opening on Hawai‘i Island to treat endangered marine mammals. And it’s already got its first patients. HPR’s Sherry Bracken talked with a scientist just after they arrived at Honokohau Harbor in Kona.

NOAA's New Eye in the Sky

Jul 8, 2014
oceanservice.noaa.gov
oceanservice.noaa.gov

 NOAA has a new eye in the sky over the islands.

Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are using unmanned aircraft to improve research in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. 

The Puma is a small thirteen pound aircraft that is launched from the Hi’ialakai research ship. It’s quipped with video and infrared cameras that are mounted on a 360 degree gimbal. It flies ahead of the team and takes pictures and video of everything from monk seals to marine debris.

Todd Jacobs is the Puma project manager.

Navy: 15 holes found in Red Hill fuel tank

Jun 23, 2014
Flickr / hihousedems
Flickr / hihousedems

More defects have been found in the Navy’s Red Hill fuel tank. They could be the source of a leak earlier this year that caused the release of 27,000 gallons of jet fuel.

EPA: Hawaii Gas Fined $155K in Violations

Jun 11, 2014
Wikipedia.org
Wikipedia.org

Hawaii Gas will pay $155,000 for violations at its Kapolei facility.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says an inspection revealed deficiencies in its risk management plan. These included a failure to annually certify its operating procedures as well as provide refresher training for employees. Dean Higuchi is a spokesman for the EPA.

Patricia Corcoran
Patricia Corcoran

 A set of plastic rocks found on Hawaii Island could become a new marker of human pollution. 

Scientists from the University of Western Ontario found the rocks on Kamilo beach on the Big Island, which is famous for collecting ocean debris.

They are calling them plastiglomerates and they’re formed  when plastic and beach sediment fuse together in high heat like a campfire or lava flow.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  A federal court has ruled that Maui County is violating the Clean Water Act. The problem is the release of partially-treated wastewater into waters near the shore of West Maui. Eileen Chao has more from the Maui News.

EPA Fines Destination Maui for Lead-Paint Violations

Jun 5, 2014
Flickr / wayneandwax
Flickr / wayneandwax

A Maui property management firm has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over lead-paint disclosure violations. The company, Destination Maui, failed to notify its tenants about the potential hazard. But what’s unusual is the terms they’ve agreed to. As HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the company will be paying for more than just a fine.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

  The plan to ban plastic bags in Honolulu has been delayed until next year.  Members of the Honolulu City Council introduced Bill 38 to more precisely define the word biodegradable.  Councilman Stanley Chang said the bill was deferred last week to allow more time to study the impacts of the measure. 

Experts say that there is no such thing as a 100% biodegradable bag, so advocates are pushing for an outright ban. 

Suzanne Frazer represents the Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii.  

UH Biologists Use Super Coral to Build a Better Reef

May 29, 2014
Flickr / pixtory
Flickr / pixtory

Coral reefs around the world are showing signs of decline. Recent climate assessments indicate the ocean’s temperature and acidity levels are rising. Those trends are particularly harmful to Hawaii, which is home to more than 60% of the nation’s coral. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, scientists at the University of Hawaii are working hard to make sure our reefs have a future.

Climate Change Report Shows Hawaii Sites at Risk

May 20, 2014
Flickr / Rosa Say
Flickr / Rosa Say

The affects of climate change are putting many of our country’s most iconic landmarks and cultural sites at risk. That’s according to a new report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists. They say rising sea levels, coastal erosion and increased flooding are threatening national parks across the nation…including two here in Hawaii. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more. 

Dan Dennison / DLNR
Dan Dennison / DLNR

Scientists and state officials are continuing to monitor a coral disease that’s quickly spreading across the north shores of Kauai. Large areas of reef are covered with a type of cyanobacteria, and as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the state is hoping to curb the disease by launching a new campaign. 

DLNR's Reef Response website can be found here.

Earth Day in Hawai’i

Apr 22, 2014
noe tanigawa

  Happy Earth Day!  Last week, the University of Hawai’i’s Sea Grant program convened experts from across the nation and state to offer insights and engage directly with high school and college students about sustainability.  Hawai'i may have a long way to go, but sustainability is now law, and  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa got this update from Hawai’i’s new Sustainability Coordinator.

University of Hawai’i’s Sea Grant program will post notes from the conference, “Ascent: Building a Secure and Sustainable Water and Energy Future for Hawai‘i”, as they become available.

Settlement Restores Water to Maui Streams

Apr 21, 2014
Flickr / Marcia Berkowitz Maui Hawaii
Flickr / Marcia Berkowitz Maui Hawaii

A decade–long Maui water dispute has been settled. Over the past 10 years, Native Hawaiian and conservation groups have been caught in a legal battle with Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company and Wailuku Water Company over how much water the companies should divert from Na Wai Eha, or The Four Great Waters. These include Iao, Waihee, Waiehu and Waikapu streams.

Flickr / Simon_sees
Flickr / Simon_sees

There’s been a new development in the battle over land belonging to the Turtle Bay Resort. Governor Neil Abercrombie has announced a deal that would conserve 665 acres of land on Oahu’s North Shore. The $48.5 million agreement establishes a conservation easement, protecting the coastal area from future resort development. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

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