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> March 1, 2018 - Maui case leads Big Island to mull wastewater discharge
> Feb 24, 2018 - Mass of rope, nets in Ka'u adds to debris on state's shores
> Dec 3, 2017 - Local activists, industry reps testify on sunscreen ban
> Nov 2017 - Men fined for capturing a Hawaiian green sea turtle
> May 25, 2017 - Maui Passes Foam Ban
> May 24, 2017 - Artist donates portion of travel poster proceeds to HWF
> May 9, 2017 - HWF sea turtle sign used at Sea Life Park on Oahu
> May 1, 2017 - HuffPost interviews HWF's Lamson about plastic pollution

Maui case leads Big Island to mull wastewater discharge
March 1, 2018 - HILO — Environmental officials are bracing for local repercussions from a U.S. appeals court ruling that Maui County violated the federal Clean Water Act in handling its treated wastewater.
   "Our team at Hawaii Wildlife Fund is very concerned about the numerous ecosystem threats created from land-based sources of pollution, including sewage and agricultural runoff," said HWF's Vice President, Megan Lamson, adding, "We are hopeful that this Circuit Court ruling will serve as a reminder to each of our island's county and state regulators that injecting semi-treated sewage and excess nutrients into our coral reefs is simply unacceptable and needs to be stopped immediately."
   The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said sewer systems that discharge effluent into the ocean, even if it arrives there through groundwater, are required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.
   "At bottom, this case is about preventing the county from doing indirectly that which it cannot do directly," the court ruled. The lawsuit was filed by Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club-Maui Group, Surfrider Foundation and the West Maui Preservation Society, which were represented by Earthjustice.
> Read article in West Hawaii Today

Mass of rope, nets in Ka'u adds to debris on state's shores
February 24, 2018 - HAWAII ISLAND — A tangled mass of rope estimated to weigh in excess of 40 tons washed ashore last month in Ka'u, the latest in an uptick of seaborne debris accumulating on Hawaii shores.
   Hawaii Wildlife Fund is working with state and federal partners to coordinate removal of this massive rope bundle. HWF President Bill Gilmartin estimates that through its Marine Debris Removal Project HWF has recovered more than 246 tons of garbage from Hawaii's shores in the past 15 years. "That should be enough for all of us to consider our use of plastics and to employ the five R's: Refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle," Gilmartin said.
   This recent entangled agglomeration of fishing rope and nets was swept onto Kamilo Point, an area often referred to as "Plastic Beach" because of the high volume of seaborne refuse that washes ashore there. With the help of thousands of community volunteers and business partners, HWF conducts regular beach cleanups at Kamilo Point.
   "We are working to remove this derelict fishing gear bundle as quickly as possible to help protect Hawaii's native wildlife," HWF Vice President Megan Lamson said, adding that beach cleanups go hand in hand with HWF's marine debris education programs, as "our keiki are our future."
 > Read article in Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Local activists, industry reps testify on sunscreen ban
Dec 3 2017 - WAILUKU — Saying there is "no such thing as reef-safe sunscreen," representatives from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association spoke out against Maui County's proposed ban on sunscreen containing certain chemicals at a Maui County Council meeting Friday.
   The bill, introduced by Council Member Elle Cochran, would prohibit the sale and use of sunscreen carrying oxybenzone and octinoxate, which scientists blame for coral reef damage. It passed out of the Cochran-chaired Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee on Nov. 13 and was up for a first reading at the full council Friday.
   Because of a large amount of public testimony, the council recessed until 9 a.m. Monday without taking action. Public testimony on agenda items is closed.
   Maui County could be the first in the country to enact such a ban. But that's come with potential legal challenges, which is why some council members were hesitant to send the bill out of committee.
   The majority of residents who addressed the ban on the sunscreen chemicals spoke in support of the bill. Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, testifying from Molokai, said that the island relies on its extensive fringing reef for subsistence and cultural practices. Hannah Bernard, executive director of the Hawaii Wildlife Fund, acknowledged that sunscreen is not the only thing damaging the reefs, but she said that "what we can change, we must. Taking the oxybenzone out of the sunscreen is just one small step we can take," Bernard said, adding, "Maui has been the leader in taking care of the aina with our plastic bag ban, our polystyrene ban, and now, if we ban oxybenzone in our sunscreens, the whole world will continue to see Maui as the leader in the environmental movement."
   Experts at the Nov. 13 committee meeting said that some spots off South and West Maui have exceeded toxic oxybenzone and octinoxate levels for coral. Craig Downs, executive director of the nonprofit Haereticus Environmental Lab in Virginia, said the two chemicals can lower the resilience of coral reefs to bleaching and can affect the development of fish and coral larvae.
   Sunscreen industry representatives speaking against the ban warned of "the unintended consequences" to human health of not using sunscreen and claimed there's "no such thing as reef-safe sunscreen." They represented the Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the national trade association for manufacturers of over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements.
   "I don’t feel there's any detrimental harm to industry," Councilwoman Cochran said. "They can continue business as usual. Sell a different product. We will buy a different product from you, just not that one."
> Read article in The Maui News

Men fined for capturing a Hawaiian green sea turtle
November 2017 - Two visitors from the U.S. mainland sparked outrage when they posted a photo of themselves holding a Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu). The caption of the photo boasted: "Missing the time we risked a $20,000 fine to catch a sea turtle with our bare hands."
   The tourists have now paid a $750 fine for harassing the helpless marine animal, bringing closure to this alarming event on a Hawaii Island beach.
   On Maui, where green sea turtles are known to come up onto the beach to bask, Hawaii Wildlife Fund's Honu Watch Team is on location protecting them every day of the year.
   "Our team is teaching thousands of people every year how to show respect for these incredible animals, educating them to view turtles from at least 10 feet away both on land and in the water," explained HWF Executive Director Hannah Bernard, adding, "As public awareness rises, behaviors like these are no longer tolerated.”
   To report a suspected marine animal violation, please call the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1974 or the DLNR DOCARE statewide hotline: 1-808-643-DLNR (3567). To report marine animal emergencies (including injured or dead sea turtles) call NOAA’s new statewide reporting number at 1-888-256-9840.
> Read More on NOAA's website

Maui Passes Foam Ban
May 25, 2017 - Due to the efforts of Hawaii Wildlife Fund and a coalition of groups and individuals, the Maui County Council unanimously passed a bill to ban the sale and use of polystyrene foam containers throughout Maui County. The new ban will take effect at the end of 2019.
   "This major victory was a result of years of advocacy in the battle to reduce toxic marine debris from entering the ocean," HWF Director Hannah Bernard said.
   The new foam ban followed years of meetings on Maui and Hawaii Island, culminating in a presentation by HWF's Megan Lamson before the Maui County Council. Her scientific expertise assisted the Council's decision.
   "This ban is the first of its kind for the state, and we hope to support similar legislation that is in the works on Hawaii Island," Lamon said. She coordinates HWF's Hawai'i Island Marine Debris Removal Project.
   Other groups instrumental in moving this bill forward were Maui Huliau, Surfrider Foundation Maui, Swell Consulting and Sharkastics. Join the effort by supporting your local foam-free establishments.
   For more info, contact

Artist donates portion of travel poster proceeds to HWF
May 24, 2017 - OAHU - "This is the start of a direction I've been wanting to take my art," explains artist Benjamin Burch of Los Angeles, when talking about his recently released "Hanauma Bay" travel poster available for purchase online at Etsy. The 12x16-inch poster is printed on 190 natural rag archival paper. It is one of a series he has created that have a Hawaiian theme.
   To help Hawaii Wildlife Fund with its work to protect marine wildlife and ecosystems, Burch is donating 30 percent of the proceeds of 20 prints to HWF. "Each print will be specially numbered with a turtle icon to show you helped the cause," he said. "Thank you so much for all your support and like for my work!"
   Burke is a professional artist who works primarily in animation production and illustration, revealing his passion for design and storytelling through his art.
> Visit Burke's Etsy webpage

HWF sea turtle sign used at Sea Life Park on Oahu
May 9, 2017 - OAHU - Hawaii Wildlife Fund offered Sea Life Park on Oahu a little help in creating a new educational sign for the facility's Honu Green Sea Turtle exhibit.
   Sea Life Park's new educational display includes the "Resting Zone for Honu" sign that HWF's Honu Watch Project team created to educate the public about basking green sea turtles (honu) on Hawaii's beaches. The park chose the sign to illustrate its "don't harass honu" message.
   The Honu Green Sea Turtle exhibit is one of many educational exhibits and interactive programs in the east Oahu attraction, which houses dolphins, sea lions, rays, sharks, native fish and sea turtles.
> View Sea Life Park educational panel

HuffPost interviews HWF's Lamson about plastic pollution
May 1, 2017 - KAMILO POINT - Remote, undeveloped coastlines on the Hawaiian islands are renowned for their natural beauty. But Kamilo Point, a far-flung beach in the rural Ka'u district of the Big Island, is not.
   On the island’s southeastern side, Kamilo Point looks like a wasteland, despite its tide pools and pockets of lava rock. The ocean's currents and powerful trade winds deposit thousands of pounds of man-made trash on this beach each year.
   [article truncated]
   Local organizations, including Hawaii Wildlife Fund (HWF), have cleaned these coastal trash magnets for decades. But, like clockwork, mounds of trash find their way to the shore.
   "The Hawaiian archipelago acts like a sieve, collecting debris that was floating around the Pacific Ocean and accumulating it along our shores," Megan Lamson, who coordinates HWF's Hawai'i Island Marine Debris Removal Project, told The Huffington Post.
   "The solution is not to encourage more people to come to Kamilo to clean up," she told HuffPost. "The solution will come with [humans] reducing our dependence to plastics, especially single-use items that we can do without."
> Read full article at Huffington Post


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