Tag Archives: Hawaii

Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”

 

Endangered Species List is Finally “Buzzing”

by Amy Lignor

 

Although it would be a heck of a lot nicer to say that the Endangered Species List was getting smaller and smaller because creatures are being saved every day and they’re all now thriving, this is actually a tale of the list getting larger, but having that increase be a good thing.

Endangered Species List, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Xerces Society, bee protection, Hawaii, yellow-faced bees, get the buzz
Photo by John Kaia

The list has never “buzzed” at any point in our time, but after a great deal of turning away from a particular species that seriously needed help, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finally added seven species of yellow-faced bees (from the state of Hawaii) to the U.S. Endangered Species List. And because of this move, there is now hope that they can be saved by the special protection that the federal government claims it will give to them.

 

Extra protection is more than important when it comes to these species, because bee populations all across the country have been declining. Not a lot of people even noticed; for 90% of the population, bees are still a species you either run away from so as not to get stung, or swat them in the air. It took a lot of time to make people see that bees are a necessity to this planet and the consistent decline of the species has been frightening.

 

It was a decade ago that 33 different bee species were placed on an FWS “watch list” because of the concern. Then, the concern turned to real fear. The seven types of bees now defined as being endangered are: Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea and Hylaeus mana, and are the very first bees in the country to be protected.

 

The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that actually petitioned the U.S. back in 2009 to protect the bees. Especially seeing as that the common North American bee, the rusty-patched bumble bee, was moving closer and closer to extinction. These seven that did make the list, however, are native only to Hawaii, and without them left to pollinate, various plants would go the way of the do-do, as well. Now all we have to do is make others see that there are a variety of bees vanishing that the rest of the country absolutely needs.

 

The bee’s diverse habitats are becoming devastated by various activities, such as building and industry, as well as from fire issues. With the loss of bees goes the loss of native vegetation which would then harm grazing practices. In other words, conservationists are breathing a sigh of relief that the FWS has added them to the list and is finally taking the bee issue seriously.

 

With the seven bee species now federally protected, the next step in the saving process can begin. Such as, authorities can now focus their conservation efforts on helping the bee populations recover before it’s too late. Although this first step took ten years to come to fruition, now everyone must concentrate on better control and management of natural bee habitats. Currently these species are found in areas that are quite small and surrounded by land developments, meaning that federal lands must be officially designated so that the bees can come back from the brink of death.

Source:  Baret News

Watching a Long-Time U.S. Paradise Become a Trash Heap

 

Watching a Long-Time U.S. Paradise Become a Trash Heap

by Amy Lignor

 

When someone thinks of the word “Hawaii,” the last thing one envisions in their mind is a place of ruin. Hawaii has always been looked upon as a vacation paradise; a place you choose to travel when you need to head away from the job and the winter weather to enjoy fun in the sun. But Hawaii has gotten into some serious trouble as of late. No longer does this state fall under the American “amber waves of grain” mantra. Not even close. In fact, the waves found in the Hawaiian archipelago are basically…full of trash.

vacation paradise, Hawaii, microbeads, marine life, trash plague, ocean life, plastics
Marine debris on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii

 

Vast amounts of plain old garbage have been washing up on shore, littering Hawaii’s once extremely clean and pristine beaches. It is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that has been working night and day in an attempt to keep critical parts of the ocean clear of this marine debris, removing approximately fifty-seven tons of it from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. But despite all the agency’s good and hard work, the state sees no end in sight. They are, on a daily basis, inundated with trash – the largest percentage of it being the plastic variety.

 

This is not “new” news. Back in 2011, when the devastating tsunami hit Japan, agency’s assumed that debris would be washed up on Hawaii’s islands as part of the aftermath. Oddly enough, however, after a survey done (August-November, 2015) between Hawaii’s Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) and North Pacific Marine Science Organization, it was found that the actual criminal element behind what looks to be waves of endless trash is not Mother Nature. The tsunami was not responsible for the huge amount of plastic items appearing.

 

DLNR’s Chairwoman, Suzanne Case, stated only a couple of days ago that: “Most of what was mapped is common, everyday items that someone haphazardly tossed onto the ground or directly into the water.”

 

In other words, the trash being seen is coming into Hawaii’s archipelago from anywhere and everywhere. Because of the state’s position, the current is carrying massive amounts of waste directly to Hawaii’s coast. Case went on to say that the items found are getting caught up in ocean currents, with much of the garbage making land, mostly on north and east facing shores.

End result? What was once a state recognized globally for its beautiful beaches is no longer being seen that way.

 

The environment is threatened heavily. Some of the items of debris are extremely large, including; fishing gear, tires, and bits of foam – even pieces of completely abandoned water/fishing vessels. This increased number of plastic landing on Hawaii’s shoreline is affecting the wildlife in horrific ways. Evidence has been found showing that marine life, as well as the seabirds have been ingesting bits of trash, which has become detrimental to their health.

 

The conclusion is this: the trash is threatening to destroy many habitats in and around Hawaii that are critical to the environment. Coral reefs that play home to some extremely unique species are at risk. Here is where the world’s biggest sponge was recently discovered by scientists off Hawaii’s coast; a creature being put in a dangerous environmental situation because of the increased waste rolling around in the ocean…sent there by a careless world and nothing more.

 

People should know that marine debris is not only a huge threat to wildlife; it can also bring negative effects to the health of humans. Scientists still cannot say for a fact what happens to the human body that eats a fish that ingested plastic particles in the ocean, and it’s highly difficult to see when it will get worse. The trash is such a problem in U.S. waterways that, at last report, more than eight trillion microbeads of plastic have flooded streams, rivers and lakes.

 

President Obama is aware of the issue, and signed a bipartisan bill back in December stopping sales and distribution of all products containing these microbeads being consumed by marine life. Even with that done, however, these waves of (absolutely preventable) trash continue to plague a one-time/long-time paradise.

 

Source:  Baret News