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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Maui, We Have A Problem. A Big, Big Problem

In an attempt to create an artificial reef off of South Maui, an estimated +100,000 lbs of concrete blocks were dropped into the water.   This is the first video (turned in to Hawaii Ecotube) of the results...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

All the Colors of the Rainbow in Kahana Stream

"I wish I knew what it was. I doesn't look like any natural phenomenon I am familiar with, but then I don't know all the natural wonders Maui can offer, ( I saw my first pink snails the other day!) .pH was in normal range, there was some slight specific conductance reading indicating some dissolved solids, It does not smell like volatile organics ..."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Need more Hawksbill Help!

Aloha Turtlers,

I’m very glad to announce that all of our Kealia and Kawililipoa (that was relocated from Kealia) nests have been very successful this season, yielding heaps of hawksbill hatchlings! This is extremely good news for the hawksbill species, and those of us who enjoy seeing and helping hatchlings make it to the sea safely. We only have one nest left before the season is pau, so this is your last chance to join in the nest watch fun until next year.

We’ll be starting to camp at this sixth and last nest at Kealia this Wed, Nov 3rd through Nov 12th (at the latest, depending on emergences). If you’re interested in day or night watches, please respond with your availabilities to Angie. We’ll send more information then.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Very Sad News For Latest Hawksbill Hatchlings - Please Help!

I met Glynnis at the site this morning, and we picked up more dead hatchlings (and there are still a few left that I couldn't scrape off the road between cars racing by). There were probably nearly 100 killed. This is an unknown nest to us, as tracks were never reported, and looking at the calendar it seems to have been laid before the first Kealia nest was found. It's on a narrower section of the beach, so high tides could've erased the tracks.

We put up a black cloth fence behind the nest site, held down with rocks so no more can make it through onto the road again. I'm heading back there now with my wonderful volunteers to make sure this doesn't happen again. We'll set up vigil tomorrow during the day as well, so if anyone wants to turtle sit the nest please give me a call. We're also awaiting the first nest (that we did know about) to hatch, as tonight is night #65. It's night #56 for the second nest so we'll be keeping a close eye on that one too. Busy, busy!
Please, please, please, call Skippy, Glynnis, and myself right away(!!!) when something like this is found!

Original Note...
We had an unfortunate emergence this morning, probably somewhere after 6 AM at Kealia. Unfortunate because many of the hatchlings turned toward the road and didn't make it. XXXXXX was walking the beach, but unfortunately had her dogs, without a leash, and couldn't do much to help. Great that she was there and called me and I was able to run right up there. There was a Highway Cleanup crew working and I solicited them over to help. We carefully checked the area and found 16 hatchlings in the brush and weeds that we moved to the open sand to run to the water. XXXXX arrived and we searched the area for another hour only finding one more hatchling.

Which Would You Prefer to See?

This is an amazing site with insights of international issues, as well as for Maui and Hawaii Nui.  Please Click the link below to view more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of the 2009 Turtle Nesting Season

Aloha Turtle Enthusiasts,

After ~2 weeks of night patrolling for our 2009 nesting hawksbills, Kulu and Kalohe, we never discovered signs of any more of their nests at Kealia. We were hoping to locate them laying more nests so we could do some satellite tracking research, but considering how late it is in the season it’s not a surprise that they were done nesting after their last nests. Another possibility is that they went to different beaches to nest and we simply didn’t hear about it.
There was an extremely unfortunate incident that happened near the Maui Lu Resort along South Kihei Rd a couple of weeks ago. Unknown to us, a hawksbill nest was laid atop the dunes and when the hatchlings emerged they became disoriented by the streetlights, signage lights, and car lights and crawled onto the road instead of finding the ocean. Only ~30 hatchlings were saved with a total of 88 dead and dying hatchlings found on the road. We located the nest and excavated it but there were only two live ones left.
At this point we can’t say for sure if Kulu, Kalohe, or a different turtle altogether laid this Maui Lu nest. The incubation time period coincides best with a nest that Kulu could’ve laid before we found her first one of the season at Kealia. It’s not uncommon for turtles to nest in different locations, and these nesting sites are less than two miles away. As we were excavating the nest, we found out that a turtle (most likely this nester) had been found two months ago and folks helped her get back across the road to the ocean. The bright coastal lighting almost certainly disoriented her as well, and she probably barely missed getting run over herself! We will be including this stretch of coastline in our patrols next year for sure, and although it’s not practical to build a turtle fence around the whole island, something needs to be done…
There was a similar lighting-related disorientation incident with a green sea turtle nest in Ka‘anapali a week afterwards. Again, we didn’t know about the nest until hatchlings were found on the boardwalk (attracted inland towards the resort lighting). Luckily there wasn’t a road there, and passersby helped numerous hatchlings to the ocean before we found the nest. As both green and hawksbill nesting increases in brand new locations all around Maui, this serious problem will become more common. For more information on this topic and what you can do to facilitate “turtle safe lighting”, please visit our website.
The only positive piece of information that came out of the Maui Lu incident was that at least the hawksbill hatchlings developed successfully there. Hopefully this will be the case for the three Kealia nests, and the Kealia nest we relocated to Kawililipoa, but if not that will still provide us with some clues for solving this unproductive nest mystery.
Just like we’ve been doing since the beginning of this project in 1996, we’ll be monitoring the four nests we have left this season very closely. Starting on October 5th, we’ll be camping at the first Kealia nest. Due to the close dates of the subsequent nests we may be camping almost every night this month (depending on incubation success/durations). Once hatchlings become known, we’ll be scheduling daytime watches as well since we’ve had hatchlings emerge during all hours of the day and night. We need your help! Here’s your chance to join in the fun of helping us make sure every hatchling makes it to the ocean safely. Please contact us with your October availabilities, day or night, and we’ll send you specific details.

Mahalo to all who have helped so far this season!!!

Hawksbill Recovery Project

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Shout Out To All That Helped Hawaii's Beaches

Thanks to the many people and organizations that Helped to Clean Hawaii's Beaches.  Imagine if just a few of us took it upon ourselves to fill up one trash bag from the beach every day.  Imagine if EVERYONE was pono and took their opala with them when they left the beach.
LOOK AT ALL THOSE BAGS ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD and off the Beaches and Dunes!!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Needs of the Many Should Outweigh the Needs of the Few

This is my personal response as Founder of Hawaii Ecotube to a comment posted today - placed below, and is meant to address those of you that do not know me personally. I will only leave this post up for a short time, as this will be the last thing I will say on this matter – on this website anyhow. Because really, this isn’t what I meant for this website to be…

Yes, I DID work for DLNR – Division of Aquatic Resources (as a diver) to be exact, and I have seen first hand that there are a multitude of things causing the decline of our ocean resources here in Hawaii. I can also say I wish there was just one thing we could do to fix all of the woes. Truth is (as I see it) there isn’t, and everyone that uses the resources is going to have to participate in a little give and take. I started this website so that all people could have a say – whether I personally agree with them or not - and deliberate topics in hopes that a mutually beneficial solution (to all of a resource’s users) could be obtained. I, personally, believe that all people have a right to use the resources, and if one or more of those resource users causes a negative effect on the whole – changes need to be made. I applaud those that join in on the process, whether I agree with them or not – because I hope that the process will eventually prevail for the greater good.

I left the Division months prior to starting this blog site. I’m assuming all the stuff placed in quotes is to imply that I said them (see below). This is out and out not true. Also, what I say was and will continue to be on my behalf and only my behalf. I have (in my mind) tried to speak for the all the critters in nature (because to me - it takes all of them to make a system work) that do not have a voice in our forums and courtrooms, and will continue to do so.

My statement on a “witch hunt “was not directed at all the fine folks who are rallying to stop something they believe in their hearts to be wrong – as I said, I do have an opinion on Aquarium Collecting. Those that know me personally know what it is, and I will continue to join in the process and voice my opinion in hopes that what I believe to be right will prevail. The witch hunt I am speaking of - is the demonizing of individuals and organizations that are joining in on the process to arrive at a solution that is mutually beneficial for all of us today, and most especially for future generations.

This is Ms. Umberger's comment to my "In Response" blog...

John Mitchell? From the DLNR? Oh... now it all makes sense! "Extraction, good - marine tourism, bad" Don't touch the sea urchins - don't feed the fish - but hey, you aquarium collectors, you're alright... sustainable even.... breaking apart the reef to get feather duster worms, "not a problem", collecting over 2 million hermit crabs since 2000 and shipping them off to the mainland? "sustainable! (as long as scuba tours keep their grubby hands off them, that is...)" ....unbelievable....

"Better to be known as a sinner than a hypocrite" (please don't take that personally)

You're also wrong - this is not a one person blatant witch hunt. There are thousands and thousands behind me, John.
Rene Umberger

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In Response.

It has come to my attention that Hawai’i Ecotube’s decision to temporarily pull a post on aquarium collection has spurred some criticism, and I would like the opportunity to explain the rationale behind this action. The decision was based on the realization that the post had ceased to follow our own policies and the site’s mission statement. 
Let me first say that personally I DO have opinions about the Aquarium Trade and its regulation, but the website I helped to create does not allow me to post them there - I have chosen to go about it the democratic way - place my name on lists, testify in panels, etc. in hopes that what I want to see happen does.
It is unfortunate that we at Hawaii Ecotube are being accused of hiding the truth, for as we see it "truth" is not necessarily the opinion of one person, but rather the collective agreement of all parties involved.  History has shown us that "truth" as dictated by one person rarely turns out good for the rest of us (feel free to contact us for a couple of historical examples).
Hawaii Ecotube was set up to create awareness and allow all parties involved to have a place for dialog with the hopes that issues could be hashed out in a way that OUR resources will be around for future generations.  
Our Mission Statement:
"Your opportunity to highlight and learn about both positive and negative environmental issues concerning those of us who love Hawaii. The purpose of this site and its associated YouTube Channel is to accumulate photographic and video documentation of short- and long-term instances of natural resources impacts. The intent is to raise awareness through objective documentation of these impacts and occurrences, initiate an honest dialog, and provide a forum for progressive improvements as well as showcase current and ongoing sustainable practices."
The post was actually originally edited to fulfill the Rules on Comments listed on the website. Recent correspondence pointed out that subsequent comments were not in line with our own policy, prompting us to pull the post. We at Hawaii Ecotube have decided that after this (in our opinion) blatant attack on our integrity the post will remain pulled until other members of the community wish to continue with a dialog on this topic in accordance with the rules we have outlined for the site and not perpetuate a blatant witch hunt (in our opinion) by one person.  Thanks to the internet, that can be done on one's own website.
Thank you,
John Mitchell
Hawaii Ecotube

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Seeking Forum Topic Submissions!

‘A’ole I Pau Ka ‘Ike I Halau Ho’okahi
Knowledge Is Not Found In Only One School
Seeking Topic Submissions! WHAT WE’d LIKE TO SEE…
A topic that you are currently passionate about and have a side on…state your side (we highly suggest you use current factual data and reference where this data comes from(PLEASE remember that it is 2009 and that data from let’s say 1930 (although interesting) isn’t as relevant ).
Submissions that have at least two sides will be the first to be posted.
There are many sides to any given issue, and with this in mind we will be launching the ‘A’ole I Pau Ka ‘Ike I Halau Ho’okahi forum section
In 1 1/2 Weeks!
It is simple really…
1. Although the folks at Hawaii Ecotube have opinions - we are not here to choose sides - only offer a place for these interactions to take place - a mutually neutral arena.
2. No Bashing - State your case, offer your data, offer your facts and give references as to where this data comes from- THATS IT!
3. Make no attempt to pander your company, organization, etc. Hawaii Ecotube reserves the right to omit this information from your text prior to publishing.
4. If someone wishes to contact an individual personally - they shall contact Hawaii Ecotube and we will get authorization from said person to contact them via email only.
5. Original topics will get a one month run and then will be archived – the debate can continue until (hopefully) a resolution is met – but there is plenty to talk about and we’d like to give everyone’s topic a chance to be heard.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something New Is Coming Soon!

‘A’ole I Pau Ka ‘Ike I Halau Ho’okahi
Knowledge Is Not Found In Only One School

Introducing Hawaii Ecotube’s new forum
There are many sides to any given issue, and with this in mind we will be launching the

‘A’ole I Pau Ka ‘Ike I Halau Ho’okahi forum section
In Two Weeks!
It is simple really…
1. Although the folks at Hawaii Ecotube have opinions - we are not here to choose sides - only offer a place for these interactions to take place - a mutually neutral arena.
2. No Bashing - State your case, offer your data, offer your facts - THATS IT!
3. Make no attempt to pander your company, organization, etc. Hawaii Ecotube reserves the right to omit this information from your text prior to publishing.
4. If someone wishes to contact an individual personally - they shall contact Hawaii Ecotube and we will get authorization from said person to contact them via email only.

PSA From Pa'ia Youth and Cultural Center


Monday, August 31, 2009

In Case There Are Any Questions About This Practice

Restaurants that readers have reported - serving Shark Fin Soup on Maui!

Visit the Links section to start a petition to STOP this from continuing on Maui!

China Boat in Kahana
Check out item #26.

Dragon Dragon - Maui Mall, Kahului
What are your thoughts readers?

Update: Here is contact info for China Boat, provided by a facebook fan

China Boat:
Angela Tay
3846 Lower Honoapiilani Rd
Lahaina, HI 96761
Click here to send an email to

Hawaii Ecotube's July EcoHero - Pauline Feine

Pauline Fiene has a degree in biology from St. Olaf College and is especially interested in Hawaiian nudibranchs, two of which have been named for her, Hallaxa paulinae and Hypselodoris paulinae. She has studied Hawaiian marine life for over twenty years, discovering many new species of marine animals and publishing a paper on the annual spawning of Hawaii's most abundant species of coral, the first time spawning had ever been recorded for this species worldwide. She is coauthor of several books including Molokini - Hawaii's Island Marine Sanctuary; and Diving Hawaii and Midway; and with Cory Pittman just launched the Hawaiian nudibranch website Very enthusiastic about sharing what she has learned with interested divers, she takes the time to make sure that they see the details and unique animal behaviors that make diving so interesting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

June EcoHero!

Congratulations to Hawaii Ecotube's June EcoHero - Kihei Charter School's Honu Heroes!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

P.S.A. on Hawaii's Reefs from Kihei Youth Center

Hawaii Ecotube is proud to post this (with more to come) Public Service Announcement from the kids of Kihei Youth Center.

The clips in this video were filmed and edited by the youth of Kihei Youth Center, who spent hours doing shore snorkels as well as several trips sponsored by Trilogy Excursions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do you think Hawaii's Coral Reefs are valuable?

"The tour operator also disputed the state's contention that the coral was valuable."

Proposal would lower fine for coral reef damage
POSTED: July 21, 2009

HONOLULU - The state is proposing to reduce a fine to a Maui tour boat operator from $542,950 to $130,000 - a reduction of more than 75 percent - for damaging coral off the coast of the Maui Prince Hotel in July and August 2007.

The proposed settlement is on the agenda for the state Board of Land and Natural Resources' meeting Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. in the land board's conference room in the Kalanimoku Building in Honolulu.

The board imposed the heavier fine Oct. 24 after it found Makena Boat Partners killed, damaged or dislodged 538 individual coral colonies when its Kai Kanani catamaran dropped anchor off shore of the hotel.

Responding to a complaint, officials with the department's Division of Aquatic Resources inspected and found the boat's heavy chain had dragged along the bottom, scouring and knocking over the coral reef.

Lawyers for Makena Boat Partners immediately appealed the board's decision by requesting a contested case hearing, which was granted. Attorneys for the tour operator also petitioned the U.S. District Court for exoneration from or limitation of any liability. The contested case proceeding was stopped, pending a resolution of the federal case.

Through negotiations between the state and Makena Boat Partners, the parties agreed that the tour operator would pay $127,621.75 to the state's Commercial Fisheries Special Fund, plus administrative costs of $2,378.25.

"Staff believes the settlement value of $130,000 represents a fair resolution of the pending dispute," a staff report to the board said, noting that the original fine was the maximum amount the panel could have imposed.

Now, the proposed settlement "reflects staff's detailed evaluation of the value of resources damaged. Staff believes that the proposed settlement amount properly balances the extent of harm caused to the stony corals, the ecological service value of the coral specimens and the relative value of the overall area impacted.

"Staff is also in favor of the proposed settlement due to the uncertainties and risks of litigating this matter in the federal courts," the report said.

It also says the settlement "compares favorably" with the resolution of the Kai Anela case, which was settled in September for $396,915, "given the relative quality of the impacted resource." At the time, it was the largest fine imposed for damaging coral.

The Kai Anela was a dive boat operated by Maui Snorkel Charters Inc., which operates as the Maui Dive Shop. The 32-foot boat sank twice, once in September 2006 and again two days later when it was being raised for salvage. Both times it crushed the reef, damaging an estimated 1,230 to 1,494 coral colonies in a 14,600-square-foot area.

Maui Dive Shop also had its permit to operate within the Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation District suspended for three months.

The damage from the Kai Kanani occurred when it dropped anchor on a coral reef in July 2007 to make room for a second boat, the Kai Kanani II, at the permitted mooring.

The second boat had been brought over from the Caribbean, and the Kai Kanani was to have been donated to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Makena Boat Partners objected to the state's research methods and its assessment of damage caused by the Kai Kanani's anchor and chain. The tour operator also disputed the state's contention that the coral was valuable.

In November 2007, Makena Boat Partners paid criminal penalties of $200 for damage to stony coral and $200 for damage to live rock in a case prosecuted in District Court.

PLEASE CHIME IN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hawaii Ecotube's July Ecohero Nominations are Coming In!

Aloha kakou,
I like to nominate Pauline Fine for July´s EcoHeroes 2009.First she´s shared her immense knowledge about the ocean during the C.O.R.A.L card workshop in may.But I´m also impressed, meeting her continuously early in the morning, cleaning up an area in Kalama Park.For me she is an allday heroe, being pono every day without making big noise about it.
Mahalo Anadebi

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June EcoHero nominations: Vote now!

Hawaii EcoTube would like to announce the June nominees for EcoHeroes:

Honu Heroes ... read more here.

Katie Velasquez ...whose Letter to the Editor kicked off the shark fin soup response in Hawaii.

Please cast your vote in the poll to the right.

And start sending us your nominations for July's EcoHeroes! Email us at:

A message from our May Hawaii EcoHero!

We would like to share this message from May's Hawaii EcoHero Robin Bond, Jr.
Message From Robin Bond Jr.

And the winner is...

Hawaii EcoTube would like to congratulate the winner of the May EcoHero contest... Robin Bond, Jr.!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The end of Shark Fin Soup at Kirin - Waikaloa Village, Hawaii Island!!!

This letter was posted this morning to Our Facebook Fan Page. It appears we have a victory in the No Shark Fin Soup front. The posted letter seems to indicate (from the manager) that Hilton's Waikaloa Village restaurant - Kirin is removing the item from their menu!!!! Congratulations and thanks to all that sent in their letters - this is all about you!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tracking the No Shark Fin Progress on Hawai'i Island

Check out what your concern is starting!!! Keep It up!

The Initial Letter -
I read your good letter on "sustainability". But did you
realize your Hilton Waikoloa Village [Hawaii]has shark fin
as a food item on its menu? Cutting fins off and dumping
live sharks is horrible and is depleting our oceans of these
vital predators. This menu info is going out world-wide on
the internet and will turn people off Hilton Hotels. Please
tell me you are ending it! thank you!.

The Response -
Thank you for contacting the Hilton Internet Contact
Center. It is my pleasure to assist you today with your
We are terribly sorry for what you saw on the internet
regarding shark fins served at the Waikoloa
Village and have taken the liberty of forwarding your
email to the Guest Relations department at the Hilton
Corporate office for further review and follow up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's the facebook buzz on shark fin soup in Hawaii?

The recent post on shark fin soup sightings generated a lot of buzz in the local community, here on our main site, and definitely on facebook. Here are some screenshots (click on the images to open larger version in a new window):

from CORAL's Fan Page:

from the Friend Page (we are phasing this one out...become a fan instead):
and finally from Hawaii EcoTube's Fan Page:Add ImageFeel free to send in your own facebook screenshots of any Hawaii EcoTube-related dialog! Email us at
Add Image

Helping You Help Us!

Hi Everyone! Thanks for all the positive support so far, especially on facebook! We'd like to start a dialog about how we can make this site more user-friendly, and promote interactive dialogs here. We have adjusted the Blogger comment settings to hopefully make it easier to post your thoughts and responses. Now if you could let us know if this is effective, or if you have any other suggestions, please let us know by clicking on the "comment" section below this post.
We want this site to grow into a community, and what becomes of Hawaii EcoTube is entirely dependent on what You, the user, submits and contributes.

Hawaii EcoTube accepting June EcoHero nominations through the end of this week!

Send in your nominations now by emailing us at Next week we'll post a poll so you vote!

We'd like to congratulate last month's winner, Robin Bond, Jr, who received the most votes!

We would like to applaud his efforts and will be sending in a letter of Thanks via local newspapers, and we encourage others to think outside the box as Robin has done to seek solutions to that which concerns us!

Stay tuned for another exciting announcement from Hawaii EcoTube!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Nominations - Kihei Charter School's Honu Heroes

The Honu Heroes are students from the Kihei Charter School, Middle School STEM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering/Environment, Math). While being led by their teacher, Peg Temple, and others, to increase their research opportunities, they became engrossed with helping honu (green sea turtles). Their goal is to work together to help clean our environment and improve the health of the turtles.
Check out the link below for more info - -

Kihei Charter School's Honu Heros

June EcoHero Nominations are coming in!

I wish to nominate Liz Foote. This wonderful person works tirelessly to save Hawaii's reefs and their inhabitants. I simply cannot think anyone who is more deserving.
Katie Grove-Velasquez

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shark Fin Soup on Maui? Really?

Letter to the Editor (Maui News) posted by one of our followers.

Island restaurants play role in the destruction of sharks by Katie Grove-Velasquez

from the facebook buzz, here's a list of other restaurants in Hawai'i that readers reported have shark fin soup on the menu:
Dragon Dragon, Kahului Maui
China Boat, Kahana Maui

Thursday, May 28, 2009

SeaHawaii Fish Feeding Tour

from YouTube: "SeaHawaii dolphin tour includes feeding Hawaii's tropical fish in the open blue ocean."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

EcoHero Nomination: Mayor Charmaine Tavares and Everett Dowling

Ecoheroes Nomination – Mayor Charmaine Tavares and Everett Dowling for Envisioning Sustainable Wastewater Management. It has been said that politics makes strange bedfellows. So do good ideas. One good idea that we can all support is the future of Maui’s wastewater management that was envisioned by Mayor Charmaine Tavares and developer Everett Dowling on Friday May 22. 2009. The vision is sustainable wastewater management powered by solar energy with 100% reuse of treated effluents. The occasion was the Blessing Ceremony for the photovoltaic system at the Makena Resort Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Phase I produces 150,000 kWH annually offsetting 50% of the facility’s energy usage. With the addition of Phase II, the facility will be net-zero energy. Over 25 years, the photovoltaic system will save 4,400 barrels of oil and offset 5600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike other wastewater treatment plants in Maui County, Makena Resort does not inject its effluent into the ground. Instead the treated effluents are mixed with brackish water and used to irrigate the resort golf course. (Information provided by The Dowling Company) The County of Maui currently operates three large wastewater treatment plants that inject treated effluent into the ground water. From 1997 to 2008, the plants at Kahului, Kihei, and Lahaina injected an estimated combined total of more than 51 billion gallons of wastewater into the groundwater. (Data provided by Steve Parabicoli, County of Maui water reuse coordinator). Although these effluents are treated, there is mounting evidence of environmental damage to the nearshore environment due to the pollution load in the wastewater. ( A group of South Maui residents, concerned about pollution in waters off Kihei, is going to court to try to stop Maui County from injecting wastewater effluent from its sewage treatment plant into the ground ( A recent EPA proposal to renew an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit for the Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant resulted in wide-spread opposition and a call for effluent reuse from a diverse cross section of the community including resource managers, research scientists, environmental advocates, fishermen, cultural practitioners, students, and members of the general public. A revised draft permit is currently available for public review and comment (, with stricter limits than originally proposed for injectate volume, mass of nitrogen and concentration of bacteria. At the blessing of the Makena Resort Wastewater Reclamation photovoltaic system, Mayor Tavares delighted injection well opponents and wastewater reuse proponents alike with her announcement of Maui County’s goal to achieve 100% reuse of effluent and elimination of injection wells for wastewater disposal. In the past, the major stumbling block for water reuse has been funding for the needed upgrades to wastewater treatment, storage, and distribution lines. Reuse has not taken priority in the County’s limited wastewater management budget. Because electricity for wastewater management is the largest line item in the County’s budget (more than $200 million per year), the photovoltaic technology being demonstrated at Makena by The Dowling Company offers a light of hope at the end of the wastewater tunnel. If County of Maui wastewater treatment plants can be powered by solar energy, the resulting savings can be used to develop improved treatment and water reuse systems. This is an economic and environmental win-win that:§ Saves money in wastewater treatment operations§ Reduces reliance on oil to produce electricity;§ Uses US technology and local resources, keeping dollars in the US rather than foreign economies§ Reduces carbon footprint and accompanying global climate impacts§ Reduces potable water use for irrigation§ Reduces injection of treated sewage effluent into fragile marine environments Funding of photovoltaic and water reuse infrastructure could be achieved by a combination of private investment, and stimulus package funding through public programs such as the State Revolving Loan Fund. According to the Water Environment Federation (This Week in Washington May 15, 2009), the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved legislation May 14 that would authorize $38.5 billion over five years for state clean water and drinking water revolving funds and other programs to repair infrastructure and improve water quality. In addition, the bill includes $45 million over five years for EPA's WaterSense program, a voluntary water conservation program similar to the agency's Energy Star program. It also would authorize $250 million for watershed improvements and $50 million for a nationwide grant program to address agriculture-related water quality issues. The legislation includes incentives for green infrastructure projects and to help low-income communities. A research and incentive program would promote water conservation, efficiency, and recycling.Photovoltaic systems can be funded through private investment and tax incentives. The Nature Conservancy recently funded a photovoltaic project through a Power Purchase Agreement in which the cost of the system was capitalized up front by a private investor and will be paid over time by the Conservancy as the user. The group will buy the power generated by the renewable energy system at a reduced rate below current utility pricing. The agreement structures the tax incentive provided by the state and federal governments to encourage users to install photovoltaic systems, to enable the investor to take the tax credit and thereby reduce the cost to the non-profit which otherwise could not use the tax credit. ( has a unique opportunity to develop truly sustainable wastewater management program that conserves energy, taxpayer dollars, and potable water; provides local employment and economic benefit; and protects the marine environment that is the basis of the Hawaiian way of life.
Submitted by Robin Knox, Water Quality Consulting, Inc. & Aquanimity NOW

Monday, May 18, 2009

Needless Urchin Deaths

Hello Ecotube Team:
I wanted to call attention to a deadly practice that occurs on some of the large snorkel boats. After bringing urchins and other animals onboard to show customers the urchins are being tossed overboard. They land in areas of open sand where urchins are never naturally found, many of them upside-down, to die what we can only imagine from our own life experience, to be a stressful and painful death.
Attached are some not-very-good photos of the results of this practice. The first photo is of an urchin upside-down in the middle of open sand. The second is what that urchin looks like after several days upside-down. Although it is still alive, the spines and tissue are gone from the top of the urchin. The 3rd photo shows what happens to most because no one is there to rescue them. This is not limited to collector urchins. Red pencil urchins are also used, as in photo 4. I guess urchins are considered throw away animals.
Haloa Point is where I have seen this the most. In some areas there are many urchins or urchins skeletons in various stages of decline scattered across the bottom. It is sickening.
How can we get the word out to these boats that this is not acceptable?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is it true?

Check out this link, a Letter to the Editor from Maui News: "Is state park releasing waste into Iao Stream?"

Anyone have time and interest to go check this out and document it?

Update 5/22: Katie Velasquez went to check out the situation but couldn't find anything to document,
and Robin Knox followed up with Maui's Department of Health representative.... Here is his response:

"I checked with the Wastewater engineer and he found that Kepaniwai Park has a septic system. The County upgraded the wastewater system from the old cesspool. The Iao State Park is still using a cesspool for wastewater disposal. The Wastewater Branch of the Dept. Of Health has approved plans to upgrade the existing system to a septic system. The plans were approved in 2005, but the change has not yet been implemented.
Hope this helps."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Positive Environmental Hero of the Month

ANNOUNCING Hawaii Ecotube's first (ongoing) Contest
Let 'em know you're proud by submitting photos or video of an individual or group doing their part and making Hawaii (in particular Maui) a better environment. Be it trash pick-up, passing on useful/truthful information, community work event, etc. - let us and the rest of the Hawaii Ecotube public know and we will highlight them here as the Positive Environmental Hero of the Month.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snorkeler Behavior at Molokini and "Turtle Town"

This YouTube video came to our attention via email; the submitter expressed concern at the practices seen at 3:43, 7:19, 8:30, 9:19, 10:30 and 11:09.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Interpretive materials available to guests aboard Trilogy V

An example of a positive practice to highlight here on Hawaii EcoTube: Educational and interpretive materials available to passengers aboard Trilogy Excursions' sailing catamaran.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photos of marine life souvenirs in Maui shops

These photos were taken over a year ago at two different shops in Lahaina, Banana Wind (Lahaina Cannery Mall) and Cool Maui Stuff (Kahana Gateway Shopping Center), after a concerned resident observed marine life and coral for sale at those locations. This is another example of a usage for Hawaii EcoTube as a forum to initiate dialog and raise awareness about retail practices.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Runoff and sedimentation from 2007 storms

These photos are from storm events in 2007, documenting runoff and sedimentation around Wailuku and West Maui. Hawaii EcoTube now has created a forum to post photos such as these; please submit your photos and videos to us and note the specific location, sites and areas.