VIDEO SERIES: Puna community meets over mangroves

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September 4, 2010 – Pahoa, Hawaii

Video by David Corrigan

A divided community met in Pahoa to discuss the recent poisoning of invasive mangroves along some Hawaii shores.

The meeting, called by Mayor Billy Kenoi and tightly moderated by executive assistant Hunter Bishop, gave supporters and opponents of the project a chance to articulate their position in a public forum. Residents were also given the opportunity to comment.

The poisoning is part of an ongoing red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) eradication project spearheaded by the environmental group Malama o Puna, and has killed large swaths of targeted trees at the Wai` Opae Marine Life Conservation District, Isaac Hale Beach Park at Pohoiki, and Onekahakaha beach park in Hilo.

The County of Hawaii, Big Island Invasive Species Council, U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, Hawaii Department of Health and Hawaii Tourism Authority have partnered with Malama o Puna in the project, which the county says employs an approved herbicide and manual means of eradication.

However, the county says a number of residents have expressed concerns that the approval process for application of the herbicide to remove the red mangrove did not require a public hearing prior to the start of the project. Syd Singer, known for his passionate defense of certain invasive species, opposed the project, especially for its failure to first conduct an environmental assessment. Malamo o Puna says the law did not require a EA for the type of eradication they were conducting. Singer’s legal challenge to the project is currently pending in Third Circuit Court.

Community comments on mangrove eradication project

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(August 31, 2010 – Pahoa, Hawaii)

Members of the Puna community voice their opinion during a special meeting in Pahoa. Residents are divided over the issue of mangrove eradication along the coast.

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Malama o Puna talks about mangrove eradication project

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(August 31, 2010 – Pahoa, Hawaii)

Malama o Puna representatives Rene Siracusa, Ann Kobsa, and Nohealani Casperson give their closing remarks at the community mangrove meeting.

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Syd Singer gives his closing remarks

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(August 31, 2010 – Pahoa, Hawaii)

Syd Singer, who stands in opposition to the mangrove poisoning and says that an EA – in the very least -needs to be conducted first, gives his closing remarks at the Pahoa community meeting.

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Mayor wraps up the community mangrove meeting

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(August 31, 2010 – Pahoa, Hawaii)

Mayor Billy Kenoi, who called the community meeting and has not publicly taken a stance on the mangrove eradication effort, ends the event with a speech reminding residents about the importance of having a respectful dialog on the divisive issue.

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4 Responses

  1. Nani Pogline

    The huge subject of pollution has been horribly neglected in the mangrove erradication movement. Our environment is not the same as it was in the era of the native ecosystems. Now we have land clearing run off, artificial nitrogen and phosphorus from agriculture, chemical pollution, air pollution, and human sewer finding its way. Mangroves are world famous for retaining and absorbing all of the above. These are natural and free treatment plants (and these “scientist” want us to worry about beach access in the few low lying areas of mangrove forest?). The low nitrogen evolved native ecosystems cannot deal with these human impacts. Let alone the impacts of global warming and ozone depletion on the native ecosytem. The problems mangroves cause for the native ecosystems cannot possibly equal the problems of human impact and pollution. This is being witnessed in studies along the Maui coast. Marine ecosystems are dieing because of pollution. These are problems we should be focused on, not killing mangroves and adding yet more poisons to our seriously trobled world environment.

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  2. Nani Pogline

    Acid Sulfate soil is typical in the sediments where mangroves grow. Acid sulfate soil disturbance: “When murky water goes clear over a short period of time following soil disturbance, it is a good indicator that acid sulfate soils have been exposed.” “Some Known adverse impacts of ASS in coastal lowlands: Poor water quality, fish kills and pathogens, loss of critical habitiat areas, acid erosion of infrastructure, and need for rehabilitation of disturbed areas.” http://www.ozcoast.org.au/indicators/acid_sulfate_soils.jsp

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  3. Bobert

    Who do you believe? The soft spoken biologist or the loud mouth that makes controversy out of peoples good intentions. What incentive do these environmentalists have for doing this? I feel this job, Singer has taken upon himself to represent, the whiny, loudmouth spokesperson… is all for publicity and profit . Singer has written books and profited from the coqui controversy. He reminds me of a Dictator when I hear him speak. You can hear it in his voice that he is not willing to reason or listen to the other side of the story. Want to know what is going on? Get involved. Get educated. This was no secret to me and I have no inside information. His only point is that the public should be notified of such projects. Obviously this should be a community based decision. A scientific community based decision. This guy is a spin doctor and gets people all in a tissy by deleting important facts about the issue.When the facts are on the table these hero’s , many of them VOLUNTEERS are in essence being spit on, in order to protect the AINA they have dedicated their lives to. What does Alien plant eradication have to do with genocide? He has made direct quotes comparing this issue with the oppression of the Jews and the Hawaiian people. Shame on you deceiving oppressed races to think there is a link between coquis, strawberry guava , mangroves and human genocide? Mangroves pose a threat to critically endangered species, ecosystems like reefs and will very soon prevent ocean access to an Island community that needs this more than overpriced playgrounds. I bet if snakes came here, Singer would be singing the same tune. Leave the snake alone. My huge property is a snake sanctuary but ecotourism and agriculture are Hawaii’s future. This is seriously ridiculous. He should not be invited to these speeches, all he does is bring out the most negative feelings in everyone. Shame Shame Shame. Why don’t YOU run for Office? It is possible your keiki might grow up to resent you for taking away opportunities, by teaching one sided arguments to them. Singer you are not my voice not even close. All I hear is HATRED in yours. and the same can be said for Solomon. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree but I am sure you have heard that one before. Go home and figure out how to profit from the real issues surrounding our community. Again this is just my opinion which I am entitled to.

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