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Audubon Society to operate Waimea Falls Park

Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris today announced the selection of the National Audubon Society to operate Waimea Falls Park under a 30-year lease agreement with the city. The city bought the 1,800-acre North Shore park for only $5 million from its bankrupt owner, and has been seeking a new caretaker ever since. The Audubon Society proposal, unveiled late last year, had earned the support of dozens of local and state-wide nonprofit groups, as well as several North Shore businesses and hundreds of residents.

Ancient, modern ways with water explored

Traditional Hawaiian values need to be reflected in water resource management, a UH faculty member told the crowd at the Waikiki Aquarium Thursday night. UH Hui Konohiki faculty member Ka’eo Duarte contrasted the traditional Hawaiian view of water resources with that of a western hydrologist, differences that he said he personally exemplified in some ways.

Kauai’s blind cave creatures get sanctuary

[ Kauai Wolf Spider ]The only known habitat for two of Kauai’s strangest endangered animals recently received critical habitat designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The eyeless wolf spider and one of its prey, a shrimp-like eyeless amphipod, both live deep inside the dark, damp caves of Kauai’s Koloa District, and nowhere else in the world. Yet the size of the area covered by the designation was reduced by 94 percent after private landowners told the agency that the original proposal could have cost them millions of dollars.

Broader view of ecology urged

Science could benefit from seeing the Earth from the traditional Hawaiian point of view, said Dr. Carlos Andrade, assistant professor of Hawaiian Studies at UH-Manoa. Speaking last night to a standing-room-only audience at the Waikiki Aquarium, Dr. Andrade said, “Resources don’t need management, people need management.”

Dolphins, sea lions sent to support Iraq war

Two Atlantic bottlenose-dolphins — likely trained in Hawai`i — were deployed to the Middle East to help coalition forces. The dolphins, named Makai and Tacoma, were sent to the port city of Umm Qasr where they will help locate underwater mines. While there were reports over the weekend that Takoma had gone AWOL, Navy officials reported late Sunday that he’d returned about 48 hours later.

UH scientists find life below sea floor

Living organisms surviving under 300 feet of solid rock and sediment at the bottom of the ocean may sound like something from Jules Verne, but a team of researchers led by UH scientist James Cowen have found them in a deep borehole in the northeast Pacific. Their work was recently published in the journal Science.

UH licenses bioplastic technology

Someday soon your leftover lunch may be transformed into useful plastics such as trash bags, diapers, or even a lunch box, thanks to research at the University of Hawaii. A scientist at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology has developed a new, environmentally friendly way to transform table scraps into biodegradable plastics using bacteria.

Kaua`i, Ni`ihau land marked ‘critical habitat’

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the designation of nearly 53,000 acres of land on the islands of Kaua`i and Ni`ihau as critical habitat for 83 endangered and threatened plant species. The area covered by the designation is half that originally proposed, after the agency took note of concerns raised by hunters and Navy leaders from the adjacent Pacific Missile Range Facility.

Biologists hope to save rarest of Hawaiian birds

[ The Po`ouli/Courtesy FWS ]  

There are only three of them known to exist on Earth — one male and two females — and they live in some of the most remote forest habitats on Maui. The po`ouli (Hawaiian for “black head”) are thought to have lived in Hawaii for centuries, but were only discovered by scientists thirty years ago. And on Monday a “last-ditch effort” will be launched to bring them into captivity and establish a breeding pair, hopefully saving them from extinction.

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