Hawaii’s Native Birds face extinction

A warming climate allows mosquitos to move higher into our mountains. Avian malaria, carried by mosquitos, has caused the death of native birds wherever mosquitos can survive.

Mosquitos were introduced to Hawaii in the mid-1800s. They are not a welcome guest in Hawaii.

Mosquitos not only kill native birds, the are a health risk to people too.  Mosquitos are vectors for some of the most dangerous tropical diseases.  Hawaii has had sporadic outbreaks of dengue fever and several cases Zika virus have been reported in Hawaii.

Modern technology enables use to produce genetically modified mosquitos that will kill off the mosquito. What better place to eradicate mosquitos than in Hawaii?  This is a far better technique than spraying Naled and killing insect indiscriminately.

Check out this article in Science Magazine documenting the critical situation on Kauai.

August 24, 2016

The Global Aquarium Trade is highly destructive.

Use of cyanide for capturing aquarium fish is common throughout the South Pacific

Help fund research that can help stop the destruction of marine ecosystems.

Aloha Coral Reef Advocates,

tropical-fish-underwaterOur work protecting coral reef wildlife begins in Hawaii and extends globally via our award winning mobile app, Tank Watch (now available for Android and Apple devices) and with our landmark research. Since 2015 we’ve been assessing the prevalence of cyanide-caught fish in the U.S. marine aquarium trade. The destructive practice of capturing fish with cyanide, though not used in Hawaii, is used widely in the Philippines and Indonesia, the largest exporters of marine life for aquariums. We’ve discovered that millions of marine fish – at least 50% – sold in U.S. pet stores are illegally captured with this deadly poison. We estimate that 30 million fish are exposed to cyanide in capture by the marine aquarium trade each year and that over 90% of those perish within 6 weeks of exposure. Cyanide use also kills countless invertebrates and thousands of acres of coral reefs each year.

We recently presented our initial findings at the prestigious International Coral Reef Symposium, and it was well received. As a result, we were invited to join a coral reef challenge grant and crowdfunding campaign offered by Experiment.com to help raise the funds necessary to complete this important research to help save coral reefs and wildlife.

To complete this project, we need $4,620 to test at least 50 more fish (both test subjects and controls). The funds will be used to purchase the fish and essential supplies and pay for sample analysis by an independent lab. This crowdfunding campaign to raise support for our research launched today: experiment.com/cyanidefishing. We are excited to share this project with you and will post progress reports on our project page. We expect to publish this fall and will thank all of our backers in our paper.

We’re reaching out to you now to ask for your support. If you can’t donate directly, could you please take a moment to share the project? Whether via social media posts or emails to any friends, family, or colleagues interested in science and coral reefs – we need your help in order to complete this groundbreaking work and take a giant step toward protecting the wildlife we all cherish.

If you have any additional questions about the research, or how this works, I’ll be happy to answer them. Thanks for supporting this science – the reprehensible use of cyanide in fish capture must end, and YOU can help make that happen.

Learn more about our project at experiment.com/cyanidefishing. Learn more about cyanide fishing in Poisoned Waters, a report we released with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Rene Umberger
Executive Director

August 24, 2016

There are dumb ideas, stupid ideas and crazy ideas. What do you think?

Please Kokua Maunalua Bay.

Please express your views about a proposed venture to sell the opportunity to mix cremated remains with materials to create reef balls and submerge them in Maunalua Bay.

Malama  Maunalua, Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, Aha Wahine, HULI, the Portlock Community Association and the Maunalua Koko Kai Community Association oppose this proposed use of our fragile marine resource in Maunalua Bay.

The proposed artificial memorial reef will not provide any environmental benefit to Maunalua Bay and it may well have negative impacts on this fragile marine resource.  Dr. Robert Richmond, highly -recognized coral expert of the University of Hawaii, states  “the proposed designed reef will do nothing to address the root causes of decline in Maunalua Bay.”

The benefit, if any, is economic – not environmental. The commercial venture who would sell the opportunity to have ashes interred in the reef balls and submerged in the Bay.

Here’s how you can express your views:

  • Attend the Hawai‘i Kai Neighborhood Board meeting,  Tuesday, August 30 at 7:00 p,m. at Haha‘ione Elementary School, 595 Pepe‘ekeo Street.

Email your opposition to:

Senator Sam Slom: senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
Senator Laura Thielen: senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
Representative Gene Ward: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov
Representative Mark Hashem:rephashem@capitol.hawaii.gov
Suzanne Case, Chair, DLNR: dlnr@hawaii.gov

Mahalo nui for your support of a healthier Maunalua, mauka to makai.

July 23, 2016

Industrial hemp is not for getting high.

Hemp Hemp Hooray! Congratulations Cynthia Thielen

The Governor recently approved Act 228 – establishing a 5-year program to grow industrial hemp in Hawaii. This exciting program paves the way for a vibrant, local industry based on this versatile crop with over 25,000 uses/products, including building materials, nutritional and health care products, soil remediation, animal feed, with beneficial ripple-effects for our local business sector, economy and environment.

I want to thank Civil Beat for their excellent coverage of this development, and for their nice comments about my effectiveness as a Legislator:

“Beneficial circumstances and the dogged persistence of one legislator over many years intersected in this year’s legislative session in the form of Senate Bill 2659 — aka the Hemp Bill, which Gov. David Ige wisely signed into law. 

“Talk of legalizing hemp cultivation had kicked around the Legislature for many sessions, with state Rep. Cynthia Thielen keeping the conversation alive year to year…Sometimes, the good guys and the right ideas win out.

And once again, Cynthia Thielen needs our support and your vote in the upcoming August 13th Primary Election. There is no Democratic opposition and she is opposed in the primary by an ultra-conservative, tea party candidate.  This is serious. In the last election, Cynthia won by a little over 300 votes.  Joan Hood, her challenger has spent the last two years registering voters amongst her base.

If you vote Absentee, keep an eye out for your ballot as these will be mailed on July 22.

For your vote for Cynthia to be valid, be sure to fill in the box by “Republican Party” at the top left of the ballot and vote only for Republican candidates…or your ballot will not be counted. The Mayor’s race is nonpartisan so you can vote for any nonpartisan candidate as well. No Democratic candidate on the ballot has any significant opposition.

If you want to be represented in the State House by an advocate for our environment and who sincerely cares about people your choice is clear.

Vote for Cynthia Thielen.

Please share this with you Kailua friends and your social media.

‘A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia. — No task is too big when done together by all.

First it was acidification. Now its dissolved oxygen

Climate change is causing a drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in oceans in some parts of the world. But what is so alarming – the effects of this drop in the amount of oxygen all marine life require will start to become evident in just 15 years or so. At some point, the drop in the ocean’s oxygen levels will leave marine life struggling to breathe.

This isn’t some incremental threat way off in the distance. We’re talking about an existential threat to marine life that is emerging literally right now.

We’re talking about, quite possibly, the beginning of the collapse of the web of life in our oceans.

The new study – which was published in the American Geophysical Union journal “Global Biogeochemical Cycles”, funded by NSF and led by NCAR scientists – should be a stark, clear warning of what the world is facing.


Current forecast: 400 parts/million this year and 450 within 20 years. Armageddon is coming and God is not going to fix it. We have the ability, but do we have the political will? Not if Trump and the oil companies have their way.

May 18, 2016

The hotel next door

David IgeHB1850, promoted by Airbnb and Airbnb’s champions in the legislature, has passed the state house and senate by the narrowest veto-sustaining margin (14-11) and is greased to go into law unless we can convince GOVERNOR IGE to VETO it RIGHT NOW. The result will be an explosion of mini-hotels throughout our residential neighborhood. The cost of rent will skyrocket.

HB1850 will allow companies like Airbnb to rent illegal B&Bs, collect GE tax from those transient rentals and hide the illegal neighborhood busting, transient rental industry behind the vail of a legitimate rental company.


Take these easy steps NOW:

FIRST – Phone GOVERNOR IGE’s office IMMEDIATELY [(808) 586-0034] before his voice mailbox fills up. Ask him to VETO HB1850 and tell him why. Let his office know that you are a voter, a taxpayer, and are upset that HB1850 might become law.

SECOND – Send the governor your online opinion right now. Ask him to VETO HB1850. Click here to send your opinion to Governor Ige.

THIRD – Phone GOVERNOR IGE’s office [(808) 586-0034] again in a few days. Ask him to VETO HB1850 and tell him why.

GOVERNOR IGE has publicly announced that he SUPPORTS HB1850. We must change his mind.

House Finance Committee Hearing on HB 2037

There is a hearing on Tuesday, March 1, at 3:00 p.m. in Conf. Room 308 before the House Finance Committee on HB 2037, appropriating an as yet unspecified amount of funds to DLNR to host the World Conservation Congress in Sept. 2016.  Please send in testimony in support making clear that any appropriation should ADD to DLNR’s existing budget not take away from programs.  Talking points include:


  • Please do NOT take away from DLNR’s regular program spending
  • The World Conservation Congress is the oldest and largest international conservation conference in the world. It is held every four years and this is the first time it has been held in the United States.  The Congress includes cutting edge research and debate over global conservation policy issues important to Hawaiʻi.  World conservation leaders from government, non-governmental organizations, and private business attend.  It is an extremely significant event for Hawaiʻi.
  • The World Conservation Congress, like APEC, will establish Hawaiʻi as a place where the world can do business.  The benefits to Hawaiʻi include:
    • Estimated $65M in economic benefits based on 8,000+ delegates, support and workforce participants, and media
    • Significant media exposure
    • Supports state goals regarding ecotourism, conservation leadership, and positioning Hawaii as a destination for high-level and global meetings
    • Positions Hawai‘i on international platform for world conservation issues to showcase Hawai‘i’s knowledge and experience regarding natural and cultural resource management and sustainability
    • Opportunity to gather input from global conservation community to address Hawai‘i’s challenges
    • Conservation education efforts, including leadership development at the East-West Center, conservation leadership certification at the University of Hawai‘i, K-14 Youth Leadership Initiatives
    • Opportunities for participation in the World Conservation Forum,  access to IUCN’s scientific credibility, extensive networking and exposure to high-level political, economic, and social decision making regarding conservation

The hearing notice can be viewed at:


The bill (HB2037) can be viewed at:


February 20, 2016

Native Hybiscus

Talk Story Sessions Set for Rodent and Mongoose Control and Eradication Methods to Protect Native Habitats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will hold a series of talk story sessions about methods to control and eradicate invasive rodents and mongooses to protect native species in Hawai‘i. The agencies are co-leads in developing a draft programmatic environmental impact statement, which will analyze the impacts of and alternatives to controlling these invasive animals for the protection of native wildlife, plants, and habitats that support them.

“Introduced rodents and mongooses in Hawaii pose a significant threat to many of Hawai‘i’s native plants and animals,” said Suzanne Case, Chairperson of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources. “It is important that we have a discussion with a wide variety of interested people so we can comprehensively address the damage these rodents and mongoose have on Hawai‘i’s ecology, culture, and way of life.”

“We really want to hear what communities would like us to consider in this analysis, including what methods should be considered and what are some alternatives,” said Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Methods to control rodents and mongooses in urban and agricultural areas currently exist, but those tools and methods aren’t always effective or available for use in conservation areas. This process will look at rodent and mongoose control efforts worldwide, and document the most appropriate ones that could be used in Hawai‘i.”

The talk story sessions will be held on the following dates and islands:

Oahu from 6:30 to 8 pm:

February 25 (Thursday) at the McKinley High School cafeteria at 1039 S King Street, Honolulu, HI 96814
March 17 (Thursday) at Hale Ponoi at 91-5420 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, HI 96707

Moloka‘i from 5:30 to7:30 pm:

March 1 (Tuesday) at the Mitchell Pauole Center at 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, HI 96748

Lana‘i from 5:30 to 7:30 pm:

March 3 (Thursday) at Lana‘i Public Library at 555 Fraser Ave, Lana‘i City, HI 96763

Kaua‘i from 6 to 8 pm:

March 7 (Monday) at the Waimea Neighborhood Center at 4556 Makeke Road, Waimea, HI 96796
March 8 (Tuesday) at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria at 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihu‘e, HI 96766

Maui from 6 to 8 pm:

March 10 (Thursday) at Lahaina Civic Center at 1840 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
March 11 (Friday) at Kahului Community Center at

In addition to these talk story sessions, the public is invited to submit written comments through April 7, 2016. Comments may be made to either agency for joint consideration in the following ways:

Electronically: http://www.regulations.gov <http://www.regulations.gov> . Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2015–0026.
U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2015–0026; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
Website: http://www.removeratsrestorehawaii.org click on “Get Involved” and enter a comment.

For More Information:

Christine Ogura, 808-282-9442 <christine_ogura@fws.gov>
Dan Dennison, 808-587-0407

Once the comment period closes, both agencies will review the comments received and begin development of the document. For the Service, comments previously submitted during the first comment period do not need to be resubmitted. The draft programmatic environmental impact statement will be published in both the Federal Register and the Environmental Notice and provide another public comment period for review. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/nativerestoration/ <http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/nativerestoration/> or http://www.removeratsrestorehawaii.org <http://www.removeratsrestorehawaii.org/> .

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/pacific <http://www.fws.gov/pacific> , or connect with us through any of these social media channels at facebook.com/USFWSPacific, flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/, tumblr.com/blog/usfwspacific or twitter.com/USFWSPacific.

The mission of the Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources is to “Enhance, protect, conserve and manage Hawai‘i’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of the people of Hawai‘i nei, and its visitors, in partnership with others from the public and private sectors.” For more information, visit www.dlnr.hawaii.gov <http://www.dlnr.hawaii.gov> or at facebook.com/hawaiiDLNR



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