The mangroves at beautiful Pohoiki on the island of Hawaii is now being poisoned. Last year, these very same mangroves were used by a film crew for the movie, ‘The Tempest.’
I watched them filming this movie at that spot. It was used for its beauty and magical ambiance. Now, the trees have holes in them where poison was injected, and the trees are leafless and dying. The water will get foul. What an unnecessary waste and destruction of a healthy environment, one of the few popular surfing and boating spots on the Big Island, and one of the rare places with the necessary environment where mangroves can grow.
Here are the serious problems that have surfaced regarding this mangrove eradication:
The lead group is the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC). All these Invasive Species Committees are public-private partnerships, and have inherent conflicts of interest.
For example, Malama o Puna, a local private non-profit group, is a partner of BIISC and is doing the poisoning. The County of Hawaii gave the permit, and is a BIISC partner. The US Fish and Wildlife gave a grant for this, and is a BIISC partner. The DLNR did not require an Environmental Assessment (EA), and is a BIISC partner.
Who is objective when these are all partners? Notice, the organizations defining the problem, funding it, permitting it, and receiving the funds to do it are all partners. There should be checks and balances between agencies protecting the environment. On these committees, they work as one, so there is no longer any balance or impartial oversight.
If there was a need for mangrove removal, there should have been a competitive bidding process and an EA. There was no public comment. The BIISC is acting like this is their island to do with as they like.
This project involves state money, as well as Federal money. The state funding agency for this eradication was the Hawaii Tourism Authority. This is not a tourism issue. There needs to be an investigation into the HTA and a reprimand, at least, to prevent them from funding invasive species control. In fact, the mangroves can help tourism for their beauty.
The Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) has shown it is useless and powerless. They told me to ask Malama o Puna, the offending party, why they had not done an EA.
That was all the OEQC had to offer about this breach of HRS 343 law, which defines the EA process, and which the OEQC is supposed to be administering. The OEQC should be able to require EA’s and penalize those who do not do one. As it now stands, the OEQC is impotent, and all they do is publish the Environmental Notices and watch as government agencies, corrupted by their involvement in these Invasive Species Committees, ignore the law.
Where is the oversight? Where is the enforcement of HRS 343? These mangroves are on public land which is also shoreline and conservation land. The poisoning is being done with state and federal money. And this is an irreversible eradication. These are all triggers for an EA.
The only recourse for the public is a lawsuit to force an EA, which is expensive and beyond most members of the public. As a result, the EA process, and HRS 343, are a joke, and everyone in these Invasive Species Committees know this. All the need to do is decide on what they want to kill next, and get their machine moving. The Hawaii legislature has seemed very willing to give them money and carte blanche, a recipe for environmental disaster.
Finally, we found evidence that this attack on the mangroves on the Big Island is a test for similar attacks planned for O’ahu and Molokai. There really was no need to kill our mangroves.
There are so few, less than 15 acres total on the entire Big Island, with very limited suitable habitat for them. This was a blatant experiment, poisoning and leaving the trees to rot as opposed to a more expensive removal process.
So get ready for your islands to be poisoned. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is trying to save the mangroves, which have been proven beneficial to coral reefs! Google “coral reefs mangroves” to see.
Hawaii’s environmentalism has indeed gone mad. They are now polluting and poisoning a clean, healthy environment. Hawaii’s legislators must stand up to this and break up these Invasive Species Committees, which are corrupted, conflicted, and destructive.
Sydney Ross Singer is the Director of the Good Shepherd Foundation in Pahoa, Hawaii’