Archive for the ‘Ocean’ Category

Sand sifter challenge winners

November 20th, 2014
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Winners

Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks took first place in Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Rise's first Ultimate Sand Sifter contest last Saturday. Photos by Nina Wu.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning at Kalama Beach Park in Kailua.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, along with RISE, a core program of KUPU, organized the First Annual Ultimate Sand Sifter Challenge, and invited 20 finalists out of dozens of submissions to demonstrate their models on Saturday, Nov. 15.

The winner was a two-level screen sifter designed by Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks that offered an educational message while separating out microplastics from the sand. Second place went to photographer Ken G. Kosada and third place to surfer and beach cleanup volunteer Harrison Piho. Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks plans to use the $2,500 cash prize (presented by solar company Revolusun) to enhance their educational facility and fund their island restoration projects. And, they decided to give $300 to Kosada and $200 to Piho.

As for the winner, they get another $2,500 to replicate several of their sand sifters for use by volunteer organizations.

There was creativity, ingenuity and enthusiasm, but most of all, there was one goal in common — to figure out how to get these microplastics, pieces of plastics broken down by ultraviolet rays, out of the sand and out of the ocean.

Kailua, a five-mile stretch of fine, white sand, is often named as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It's the one that President Barack Obama once jogged on in his bare feet (before he was elected president). And yet, look closely near the high tide waterline, and you will see microplastic debris in that fine, white sand.

Saturday's event was an all-family affair, with plenty of enthusiastic students. Several teams from Punahou School (aspiring engineers from 7th to 10th grade), as well as a team of fifth and sixth-graders from Ho‘ala School in Wahiawa and a student from Kamakau Charter School who created a sand sifter for extra credit, were out demonstrating with their designs.

Ho‘ala School science, math and service teacher Maggie Pulver was able to teach several lessons at once while her students — Ian Shelton, Storey Welch and Christian Ward — designed and put their sand sifter to the test.

Ken Kosada, 2nd place winner, Ultimate Sand Shifter contest, created a spinning device out of recycled items.

Ken Kosada, 2nd place winner, Ultimate Sand Sifter contest, created a spinning device out of recycled items.

The designs were as simple as reused tubes, bucket and jars to more elaborate, spinning bins made from recycled bicycle rims and refurbished wood pallets. They had to be human-powered, without the use of fossil fuels, and designed and built for no more than $300.

Second-place winner Ken Kosada is already tweaking his design in preparation for the 10th annual Da Hui North Shore Clean-Up this Saturday (Nov. 22) at Turtle Bay Resort.

Piho, a regular beach cleanup volunteer and avid surfer from Wahiawa, had one of my favorite designs — a double baby stroller frame plus shoe rack that he found on the sidewalk left out for bulky curbside pickup. He said his design was mobile, and that you could push it across the beach, sifting debris out of the sand. He used simple twist-ties to assemble his sand sifter together.

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Third-place finalist Harrison Piho with his mobile, repurposed double stroller sandshifter design.

Third-place finalist Harrison Piho with his mobile, repurposed double stroller sand sifter design.

 

57 tons

October 30th, 2014
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An endangered Hawaiian monk seal hauled out on large net at Pearl and Hermes Atoll Photo Credit: NOAA

Caption: Hawaiian monk seal hauled out on large net at Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
Photo Credit: NOAA

The 57 tons of marine debris that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration divers removed from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands during a 33-day mission this month is just a fraction of all that's out there. The Star-Advertiser story ran in the paper Oct. 29.

For the Green Leaf, the images are a reminder of just how much work remains to be done out in the isles, also known as Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, as well as of the impact of all the plastic that ends up in the ocean ecosystem. For the team of 17 divers sailing aboard the Oscar Elton Sette, it was rewarding to at least have made a dent in the amount of derelict fishing nets and plastic litter in and around the tiny islands, atolls and sensitive coral reefs.

"The amount of marine debris we find in this remote, untouched place is shocking," said Mark Manuel, chief scientist for the mission. "Every day, we pulled up nets weighing hundreds of pounds from the corals. We filled the dumpster on the Sette to the top with nets, and then we filled the decks. There's a point when you can handle no more, but there's still a lot out there."

Divers encountered – and rescued — three sea turtles tangled in different nets at Pearl and Hermes Atoll.

They were also able to remove a "super net" measuring 28-by-7-feet, which took several days. The net weighed 11-and-a-half tons and had to be cut into three pieces and towed back to the Sette separately. Luckily, it will no longer be out there, posing an entanglement risk for marine wildlife like the sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and seabirds, or damaging corals.

On the shorelines of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, the team surveyed and removed nearly 6 and a quarter tons of plastic trash, paying special attention to the bottle caps and cigarette lighters that are commonly consumed by birds. They removed and counted thousands of pieces of plastic, including (take note):

>> 7,436 hard plastic fragments

>> 3,758 bottle caps

>> 1,469 plastic  beverage bottles

>> 477 cigarette lighters

NOAA has led the mission every since 1996, removing a total of 904 tons of marine debris, to date, including this year's haul. The nets are transported back to Hawaii and converted to energy through the Nets to Energy partnership with Covanta Energy and Schnitzer Steel.

"This mission is critical to keeping marine debris from building up in the monument," said Kyle Koyanagi, Pacific Islands regional coordinator for NOAA's Marine Debris program. "Hopefully we can find ways to prevent nets from entering this special place, but until then, removing them is the only way to keep them from harming this fragile ecosystem."

Marine debris is a global, everyday problem that affects everyone. Anything manmade, including litter and fishing gear, can become marine debris once lost or thrown into the marine environment, but the most common are plastics. "There is no part of the world left untouched by debris and its impacts." Visit marinedebris.noaa.gov to learn more.

NOAA diver conducts towboard surveys at Midway Atoll. Photo Credit: NOAA

NOAA marine debris staff sorting marine debris on Midway Atoll after conducting shoreline surveys. As you can see, most of it is plastic. Photo Credit: NOAA

Keep the Sea Free of Debris art contest

October 15th, 2014
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NOAAMarineDebrisartcontest

The "Keep the Sea Free of Debris" art contest is on.

NOAA Marine Debris invites students from Kindergarten to 8th grade to create artwork that shows 1) how marine debris impacts the oceans (and Great Lakes) and 2) what you are doing to help prevent marine debris.

The contest officially starts today (Wed., Oct. 15). Students have until Nov. 17 to submit entries (postmark date).

The goal of the contest is to raise awareness. Winning entries will be featured in NOAA's 2016 Marine Debris calendar. To learn more about marine debris, visit www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.

Each entry must include a piece of artwork and description, to be filled out on the entry form. The entries must be on a single sheet of 8.5-by-11-inch paper, landscape direction, using any art medium including colored pencils, crayons and paint. However, the artwork must be hand-drawn by the student. Computer graphics will not be accepted.

The entries can be mailed to:

Marine Debris Art Contest
ATTN: Asma Mahdi
NOAA Marine Debris Program
1305 East-West Highway Rm #10203
SSMC4, 10th Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Click here for complete contest rules and to download an entry form.

Expanding a monument

August 21st, 2014
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Should the boundaries of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument be expanded?

President Barack Obama announced at an ocean conference in June his intention to expand the monument's boundaries from 50 to 200 miles from shore, using his executive authority, as reported in the Washington Post.

The total area covered would more than double the monument from about 83,000 square miles to more than 755,000 square miles, west and south of Hawaii, making it the largest network of protected areas on Earth.

PRIA Map_Credit_Pew

President Obama is expected to make a decision after public input, though there is no specified timeline or date in which he will do so yet.

The White House Council on Environmental Quality, on behalf of NOAA and FWS, invited the public to a town hall meeting Aug. 11 at Ala Moana Hotel. Comments were also accepted via email until Aug. 15.

There was overwhelming support from Hawaii, according to environmental activists.

More than 200 attended, and roughly 50 commented publicly, including individuals from Maui, Molokai, Kauai and Miloli‘i on the Big Island, the last traditional fishing village in Hawaii. The large majority were in favor of expanding the monument to protect the ecosystem from the shore to the deep sea as well as to create a refuge for endangered species. Also, to keep the area safe from drilling and mining.

More than 135,000 U.S. citizens submitted letters, 1,500 from Hawaii residents. More than 30 non-profits including the Sierra Club Hawai‘i, Conservation Council for Hawaii, KAHEA, Surfrider Hawaii and others sent a group letter in support.

Some opposition came from the Western Pacific Regional Fishery  Management because of concerns from commercial fishermen.

The monument was established by George W. Bush in 2009, covering roughly 83,000 square miles, which extend 50 nautical miles from the shores of  seven islands and atolls: Howland, Baker, Jarvis islands and Johnson, Wake and Palmyra Atolls and Kingman Reef.

Collectively, the Pacific Remote Islands are home to 14 million seabirds of 19 species, 22 species of marine mammals, seven of which are endangered, including the blue whale, m ore than 240 seamounds and some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world.

It is also home to some of the healthiest populations of green and hawksbill sea turtles.

"By protecting the entire ecosystem from the shore to the deep sea, we ensure that all the links in the food web remain intact," said Alan Friedlander, director for the Fisheries Ecology Research Lab at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

 

Conservation commitments

July 18th, 2014
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Kai ceremony celebrating commitments to the environment by Maui Nui Makai Network. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Kai ceremony combining ocean waters celebrating commitments to the environment by Maui Nui Makai Network. Photo by Sean Marrs.

The Hokule‘a Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage received new commitments by members of the Maui Nui Makai Network on Wednesday, July 16.

In a kai ceremony at noon, six communities of the newly formed Maui Nui Makai Network pledged new commitments to members of the voyage at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The ceremony followed an hour-long presentation by members at the 2014 annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference.

Kahu Sam Ohu Gon III combined ocean waters from each site as a symbol of shared commitments to community-based management of the six communities that make up an ahupua‘a on Maui. These commitments were recorded in a book that will be carried on board the Hokule‘a, which are to be completed by the voyage's conclusion in 2017.

Among the Network's commitments to one another:

>> Protect and restore healthy ecosystems

>> Share and learn from their diverse experiences

>> Help one another malama (care for) their areas

>> Perpetuate Hawaiian values, including kuleana

"We are a group of like-minded people who have shared aspirations to care for our marine resources," said Ekolu Lindsey of Palanui Hiu, current chair for the network. "The ocean is the foundation of our island culture and we need it to be healthy and sustainable. We are working toward sustainable reefs and fish for our future."

Members of the Network currently include: Kipahulu ‘Ohana and Na Mamo O Mu‘olea in east Maui; Wailuku Ahupua‘a Community Managed Makai Area in central Maui; Palanui Hiu in Lahaina; Hui Maalalama O Mo‘omomomi in Molokai; and Maunalei Ahupua‘a Community Managed Makai Area in Lanai.

Members of the Maui Nui Makai Network with Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Members of the Maui Nui Makai Network with Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson, fourth from left, and Kahu Sam Ohu Gon III, right. Photo by Sean Marrs.

Sand Sifter Challenge

July 3rd, 2014
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SandSifterChallenge

Got creative design and build talents?

Then get ready for the first Ultimate Sand Sifter Challenge by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and Kupu. Both organizations are challenging contestants to design the ultimate sand sifter to remove microplastics from Hawaii's beaches. Microplastics, tiny pieces of broken-down plastic that wash ashore from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, are a hazard to marine animals that consume them.

If you've ever visited any windward Oahu beach, look down and what you may think are colorful shells are actually tiny pieces of plastic.

Deadline for online submissions is due Sept. 26.

Register with your name, affiliation, email, a phone number and then, simply, a drawing and description of your sifter design. The sifter must be human-powered (using no gas or fossil fuels) and should be designed and constructed for under $300, with an emphasis on reused, recycled and sustainable materials.

"Marine debris is going to continue washing ashore until we as global citizens drastically reduce our use of unnecessary plastics," said executive director Kahi Pacarro. "Until that time, in order for our beaches to remain the nicest in the world,  the public will need to #cleanyobeach! Sand sifters make our work easier and will promote newer ideas to make our work more efficient and educational."

Last summer, RevoluSun donated a sandsifter for a beach cleanup at Sandy's Beach. Check out their design.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii will announce the designs that have been green lighted Oct. 3. Participating individuals then have until Nov. 14 to build their sand sifters. The final competition will be held Nov. 15 at Kailua Beach Park. Winner gets $2,500 plus an additional $2,500 to build their sand sifter for partner organizations that clean Oahu's coastlines.

Can you design and build a sand sifter to separate out microplastics? Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

Can you design and build a sand sifter to separate out microplastics? Photo courtesy Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii.

NRDC's annual beach report

June 25th, 2014
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The Natural Resources Defense Council's annual report on clean water at beaches across the U.S. is out. Hawaii had two that ranked among the 35 "superstars." Photo by Nina Wu.

The Natural Resources Defense Council's annual report on clean water at beaches across the U.S. is out, www.nrdc.org/beaches. Hawaii had two that ranked among the 35 "superstars" for water quality, but water pollution continues to be a problem in Hawaii and nationwide. Photos by Nina Wu.

First, the good news.

Two Hawaii  beaches – Hapuna Beach State Park on the Big Island and Po‘ipu Beach Park on Kauai —  made it to the Natural Resource Defense Council's list of 35 "superstar" beaches for consistently meeting water quality safety thresholds.

Now, the bad news.

Serious water pollution continues to be a problem at many  U.S. seashores, with massive stormwater runoff and sewage overflows being the largest known sources.

Ten percent of all water quality samples collected last year from 3,500 coastal and Great Lakes beaches in the U.S. contained bacteria levels that failed to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's most protective benchmark for swimmer safety. So contamination levels at the nation's beaches remain essentially unchanged from last year.

Hawaii ranked No. 8  (out of 30), with samples exceeding the benchmark by seven percent in 2013. Want to know which beaches had the highest percent exceedance rates of the Beach Action Value (BAV) of 60 enterococcus bacteria colony forming units per 100 ml marine water in a single sample?

Waimea recreation Pier State Park (44 percent), Hanalei Beach Park (34 percent) and Lumaha‘i Beach (33 percent) on Kauai; Analani Pond (30 percent) on the Big Island; and Kahanamoku Beach in Honolulu (36 percent).

Hey! Wasn't Kahanamoku Beach in Waikiki (the one near Hilton Hawaiian Village) recently ranked No. 1 by Dr. Beach? Go figure.

Now, the seven percent exceedance rate is actually an increase, the highest level to date, in the past five years, which generally hovered between 3 and 4 percent.

We all know that sewage overspill is a major problem at some of our most beautiful windward and North Shore beaches, and continue to be a problem. When the water's brown, stay out. The state department of health is hopefully posting warnings and advisories on a regular basis.

There are also 17 repeat offenders at beaches from California to New York that exhibit chronic water pollution problems. Luckily, none of those beaches were in Hawaii.

“Sewage and contaminated runoff in the water should never ruin a family beach trip,” said NRDC senior attorney Jon Devine. “But no matter where you live, urban slobber and other pollution can seriously compromise the water quality at your favorite beach and make your family sick. To help keep us healthy at the beach and stem the tide of water pollution, our government leaders can finalize a critical proposal – the Clean Water Protection Rule – to restore vital protections for the streams and wetlands that help sustain clean beaches.”

The results and full report are available in the NRDC's annual "Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches."

You can also find your zip code on a searchable map at www.nrdc.org/beaches.

BeachImage

World Oceans Day at Honolulu Museum

June 3rd, 2014
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med_logoWorld Oceans Day is Sunday, June 8.

World Oceans Day was conceived in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and born following the passage of a United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2008. For those of us who live in Hawaii, surrounded by ocean, the day should have more than a passing significance.

This year, the Honolulu Museum of Art is teaming up with PangeaSeed to present World Oceans Day Hawai‘i — a multimedia event from June 6 to 12 connecting local marine conservationists with filmmakers, scientists and ocean enthusiasts. The Conservation Council for Hawai‘i presents the sea keiki fun zone 9:30 a.m. June 8 at Doris Duke Theatre for kids ages 7 to 11.

There will  be art exhibits, Sleep with the Fishes: Kozyndan and Olek (June 6 to 12, Honolulu Museum of Art School), as well as a film festival exploring the ocean depths, conservation issues and all the life in it, followed by panel discussions.

SushiGlobalCatch

Check out "Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache," "Sushi: The Global Catch," "Revolution" (see trailer above), "Shadow Reef," "Sustainable by Design: Volcom Pipe Pro 2013+2014," "Malama Maunalua, "Mantas Last Dance," "Plastic Paradise" and  "Extinction Soup," among many others.

For updates, visit World Oceans Day Hawaii on Facebook.

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Ocean trash: a people problem

May 21st, 2014
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top-10-items

The tally from the Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup is in, and no surprise that cigarette butts still top the list of the Top 10 items collected. Candy wrappers came in second, followed by plastic beverage bottles and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers across the globe picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in September , the most ever collected in the event's history, according to a report released today (May 21, 2014). The new total, according to the Ocean Conservancy, is an indicator of the tremendous amount of ocean trash found on shorelines, in the ocean and waterways around the globe.

The Conservancy, while celebrating the volunteer effort, is also using this occasion to make a worldwide appeal to find solutions to stopping the trash that ends up in the ocean at its many sources.

"Ocean trash truly is a global problem that affects human health and safety, endangers marine wildlife, and costs states and nations countless millions in wasted resources and lost revenue," said Andreas Merkl, Ocean Conservancy's president and CEO. "At its core, however, ocean trash is not an ocean problem; it is a people problem — perpetuated by the often unwitting practices that industry and people have adopted over time. But I am convinced we can solve it if we have the audacity to confront the problem head-on."

The full trash index is available online.

To put it in another perspective:

>> Trash collected by volunteers would fill roughly 38 Olympic size swimming pools, or weigh about the same as 823 male African elephants.

>> The amount of fishing line collected would go up and over Mt. Everest five times.

>> The number of bottle caps found would carpet three football fields, laid side by side.

>> There were enough items found to furnish an entire studio apartment, including an air conditioner, sink, fridge, stove,  microwave, washing machine, couch, tables and chairs, TV set, coffee table, rug, curtains and mattresses!

>> There were also most of the items needed for a wedding, as well as items necessary for caring for a baby. More unusual items included a plastic eyeball, 1904 typewriter, blonde wig and trampoline.

What you can do? Here are 10 Things You Can Do to help keep the seas trash-free:

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Helping Vans Triple Crown Go Eco

November 19th, 2013
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Helping Triple Van Crown surfers and surf-goers recycle and tread responsibly on the ocean. Courtesy photo.

Helping Vans Triple Crown surfers and surf-goers recycle and tread responsibly on the ocean. Courtesy photo.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii is collaborating with Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on Oahu's North Shore to make this year's series of professional surfing events more eco-friendly and environmentally responsible.

The non-profit built custom, recycling and compost stations which will be on hand daily while the surf contests are going on. Members will also talk-story with event-goers about the impacts of plastic on coastal pollution.

Sustainablesurf.org brought Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii on board as part of their strategy to certify the Vans Triple Crown as a Deep Blue Surfing Event, which is a trademarked label for events with a certain set of green guidelines that focus on reducing waste, energy, transportation and impacts on climate change while increasing community support.

SCHtriplecrownTriple Crown, now in its 39th year, brings surfers and spectators from throughout the world to Oahu's North Shore, continuing a rich, surfing heritage of progression, high-performance and power surfing.

Throughout Triple Crown contest events (which started Nov. 12 and run until Dec. 20), including the Reef Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup and Billabong Pro, members of SCH will maintain the recycling and composting stations with the goal of diverting 40 percent of trash from the landfill and H-Power.

The crew will also educate competitors, staff and spectators on ways to reduce their impacts on the coastlines by sharing tips on reducing plastic and the destructive impact of single-use plastics.

SCH is also helping to reduce transportation costs.

Recyclables will be donated to families on the North Shore, while food scraps will be composted.

"Partnering with the Vans Triple Crown to increase awareness of the detriments of our overconsumption of plastic is directly in line with our mission of inspiring coastal stewardship," said SCH executive director Kahi Pacarro. "We believe cleaning the beach starts at home, and by encouraging the reduction of waste we can also improve coast quality. Fewer items entering the waste stream equals fewer items able to wash ashore."

To learn more about Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, visit schawaii.org.