Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea MLCD

Weekend Updates

In this issue:

Community Planting Day a Success!

NOAA Proposes Expansion of Whale Sanctuary

What is Coral?

Spotlight on Native Hawaiian Plants

Shark's Cove - Mar 27, 2015

Community Planting Day a Success!
We are so excited that our Community Planting Day was a huge success. Over 50 volunteers came out to help us plant hundreds of native Hawaiian plants in the eroded areas above Sharks Cove.

Erosion is caused by many things, but in the case of Sharks Cove, the largest factors are human use and invasive species.

Thousands of people visit Sharks Cove each year and many of those visitors forgo the designated paths and instead find their own way down to the water. By doing this, they have created areas that are no longer covered in vegetation and are bare dirt. Once the dirt is compacted, roots of new plants cannot penetrate the soil so nothing is able to grow. This leaves exposed areas that are vulnerable to erosion when it rains.

For at least 100 years, invasive plants have grown in the place of native ones here at the Cove. Unlike native plants, invasive weeds and shrubs have very shallow root systems. These plants are not good at holding back soil and they even prevent native plants from growing by out-competing them for space, light and nutrients.

This is why we are so very excited about our Community Planting Project. We are removing the invasive weeds and shrubs and replacing them with native Hawaiian coastal plants that would have traditionally grown in this area. These plants, with their extensive root systems and tolerance of sunlight, drought, salt and wind, will help to protect our reef below from erosion.

We would like to send a huge MAHALO NUI LOA to everyone who came out and helped put these plants in the ground. Together, we are helping to make Sharks Cove a healthier place for all the unique marine species that live there.

NOAA Proposes Expansion of Whale Sanctuary
Following extensive collaboration with partners including non-governmental organizations, businesses, scientists, and other members of the community, NOAA today has announced its proposed rule for expanding the size and the focus of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary to include multiple marine species.

Members of the public are invited to submit comments to the agency on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement now through June 19.

“This proposal is the result of a multi-year collaborative effort that involved considerable input from all sectors of the local community,” said Malia Chow, sanctuary superintendent. “We welcome further public review and input into our proposed new management plan as we move forward with the important job of managing this special place which is critical to both the regional economy and communities in Hawai‘i.”

In 2012, during the process to review the sanctuary’s management plan, the sanctuary advisory council’s working groups determined that while humpback whales remain the centerpiece of sanctuary protection, there is an increased need and urgency to take a more integrated approach to marine resource management.

The ecosystem-based management approach, as proposed, is backed by science and is consistent with the traditional Hawaiian approach to managing natural and cultural resources. NOAA works closely with the state of Hawai‘i, local communities and various stakeholders to protect Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources.

The proposed rule also includes a boundary expansion that adds 235 square miles of state and federal waters around O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau, bringing the total sanctuary area to 1,601 square miles, and provide the sanctuary with new opportunities to work closely with communities on priority resource protection issues.

Following this comment period, a final management plan and environmental impact statement will be prepared through a public process under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Several meetings are planned for the public to learn more about the proposal and submit comments. Meetings are scheduled for:

• April 27, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Sunset Beach Recreation Center, 59-540 Kamehameha Highway, Hale‘iwa
• April 28, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Honolulu Waldorf School, 350 Ulua Street, Honolulu
• April 29, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: Kīhei Youth Center, 131 S. Kīhei Road, Kīhei
• April 30, 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.: Kaunoa Senior Center, 788 Pauoa St., Lahaina
• May 1, 4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.: Lanikeha Community Center, 2200 Farrington Ave., Kaunakakai
• May 2, 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon: Lāna‘i High and Elementary School, 555 Fraser Avenue, Lāna‘i City
• May 4, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Kīlauea Elementary School Cafeteria, 2440 Kolo Road, Kīlauea
• May 5, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.: For people residing on and landowners of Ni‘ihau Island Ni‘ihau School Cafeteria, Puuwai Village, Ni‘ihau
• May 6, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: King Kaumuali‘i Elementary School Cafeteria, 4380 Hanama‘ulu Road, Lihu‘e
• May 7, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria, 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, Kailua-Kona

Comments may also be submitted by any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal with Docket Number NOAA-NOS-2015-0028

• Mail: Malia Chow, Sanctuary Superintendent; 1845 Wasp Blvd; Building 176; Honolulu, HI 96818.

For more information on the proposal, visit the sanctuary’s website at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/management/management_plan_review.html.

For photos and map of expansion areas, go to http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/news/press/hi-draft-mgmt-plan-review.

What is Coral?
We have been talking a lot lately about how erosion on land can kill the reef below. How does this happen? To answer this question, we must first understand what coral is.

Coral polyps are tiny animals that build protective calcium carbonate skeletons. They create the basic structure of coral reefs with the help of single-celled algae.

Coral reefs can be seen from space, but they are made by one of the world’s smallest and simplest animals - some no bigger than the head of a pin. They are able do this because of their symbiotic relationship with single-celled algae.

What is a symbiotic relationship? It’s when two things depend on each other to live because each one has something or can provide something the other needs.

Tiny reef builders:

Coral is the building block of the reef. Every coral, from small free-living individuals to huge colonies, has the same basic body plan:

 Coral polyp – the living animal, basically a sack with a stomach and a mouth surrounded by retractable, stinging tentacles. These tentacles are used to catch food.

 Corallite - a hard calcium carbonate shell that protects the polyp.

Reef-building corals are colonial and grow into distinctive shapes formed when many individual polyps growing together. These colonies form the basic structure of a coral reef.

Corallites erode over time; they are broken down and wash into the shore where they create beaches. A healthy coral reef is one where the loss of material to erosion is balanced by the growth of new coral. The reef grows when the growth rate exceeds the erosion rate.

Little helpers of coral - Zooxanthellae

Reef building coral are successful because they have formed a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae (Symbiodinium species). These single-celled algae live inside the coral polyp and producing food by photosynthesis (conversion of sunlight into energy). The polyp receives some of this food. In return the polyp provides shelter and nutrients to the algae. This gives reef-building coral two sources of food; the food they catch, and food from zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae supply up to 95% of a polyp’s food requirements and it is this extra food that enables coral to build reefs.

The bright colors seen in tropical coral are primarily derived from pigments in zooxanthellae algae. Zooxanthellae are susceptible to changes in their environment. When environmental conditions change, like rising water temperatures, zooxanthellae can die, resulting in a loss of pigment in the coral. This is called coral bleaching, because the colony turns white. Sometimes, after bleaching has occurred, corals can be recolonized by zooxanthellae and recover, but often they die as a result of this bleaching.

Coral reefs are found in clear tropical waters that are typically low in nutrients. The relationship between coral and zooxanthellae concentrates what nutrients there are and allows them to be used more efficiently by both organisms.

They work together in the following way to convert nutrients:

1. Coral polyps capture food using their stinging tentacles.
2. The digest their prey and create waste.
3. Zooxanthellae convert the nutrients in the waste products of coral into food.
4. Zooxanthellae give some of this food to the polyp.
5. Polyps consume this food and create more waste.
6. Repeat.

This efficient cycling of nutrients provides the coral with enough food to build the reefs which are the foundation for this productive and diverse ecosystem. Any threats to this relationship ultimately threaten this diversity.

So, as you can see, when soil from erosion settles on the coral reef below, it damages the fragile coral polyps and inhibits their growth. By taking care of the land, we are helping to ensure the health of our amazing reef!

Spotlight on Native Hawaiian Plants
Hawaiian Name: ‘Ulei

Scientific Name: Osteomeles anthylidifolia

Indigenous: All HI except Niihau and Kahoolawe

Description: Amazing shrubs with dark, glossy, pinnate leaves and very fragrant white flower clusters. These are one of my most favorite smelling native flowers. The flowers develop into white fleshy, fruit that ripen purple and contain up to four seeds inside. Generally this is a low crawling plant usually under four feet tall but some specimens on Maui and Hawai’i are well over twenty feet!

Distribution: This indigenous plant is commonly found in a wide range of habitats from near the ocean on cliffs all the way up through the lowland dry forest and mesic forests on all of the main islands except Ni’ihau and Kaho’olawe.

Cultural Uses: The hard wood of the larger specimens were made into ‘o’o, fishing spears, and the musical instrument ‘ukeke. The branches were bent into fishnet hoops as well as fashioned into arrow shafts. The leaves, flowers and fruit were also woven into lei and sometimes the fruit was eaten. Its no blueberry or strawberry but it tastes pretty good when eaten on the trail and you’ve been hiking for six hours and have absolutely nothing else to eat.

Landscape Uses and Care: This a great addition to any garden from a specimen plant, to a low hedge or a mass planting on a slope, it all looks good. It can even be shaped into a perfectly round ball about five feet in diameter. Few pests bother this one and its shiny leaves and beautiful flower clusters are awesome features. Once its established in the ground you don’t even have to worry about watering.

Extra Info: Other names for this plant include u’ulei or on Moloka’i its called eluehe. ‘Ulei is one of four native plants in the Rose family along with ‘ohelo papa our native strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), and two species of ‘akala (Rubus hawaiensis and R. macraei) our native raspberries.