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Natural Resources Defense Council
Natural Resources Defense Council

The federal government has introduced a new plan to manage noise pollution in our waters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration outlined a 10-year strategy, called the Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap, that aims to reduce impacts on marine mammals.

Maui Hospital Woes Could Spell Cuts Ahead

Sep 6, 2016
Maui Memorial Medical Center
Maui Memorial Medical Center

The transition of three state-run Maui medical facilities to Kaiser Permanente has hit another snag. The move will now be delayed until next summer. The decision has left hospital officials worried about further cuts to services and staff.

Coral Surveys 2.0: New Technology Maps Reefs

Jun 23, 2016
XL Catlin Seaview Survey
XL Catlin Seaview Survey

The bigger picture surrounding the state of our reefs just became a bit clearer. New technology and imaging data are helping scientists quickly survey coral reefs from around the world. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

Equipped with a 360-degree underwater camera and three powerful processing units, a collaborative research project has become a coral data goldmine.

Hawaii’s Ice Epidemic: How Did We Get Here?

May 26, 2016
Flickr / Klaus Stiefel
Flickr / Klaus Stiefel

Crystal meth first came to Hawai‘i in the 1980s. Over the next several weeks, Hawaii Public Radio and Honolulu Civil Beat are doing a series of podcasts and radio reports called Hawai‘i’s New Ice Age: Crystal Meth in the Islands. Today, HPR’s Molly Solomon looks at how the drug first arrived in the islands.

Listen to the full episode by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes.

DLNR
DLNR

Scientists are getting a better idea of how sharks behave and why so many attacks have occurred off Maui. The study, commissioned by the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources monitored more than 40 tagged sharks in waters off Maui and Oahu. HPR’s Molly Solomon shares their findings.

Carl Meyer is used to getting up close and personal with one of Hawai‘i’s apex predators. He’s spent the past two years tagging tiger sharks in Hawai‘i to study their behavior. He cues up a video from a camera he attached to a shark off Maui in January, peak mating season for tiger sharks.

Stop and Smell the Corpse Flower — If You Dare!

May 13, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

This corpse flower is no shrinking violet. And anyone who caught a whiff of it in bloom this week at Foster Botanical Garden certainly knows the pungent blossom lives up to its name.

Scot Mitamura, a horticulturist at the gardens, said the corpse flower, or Amorphophallus titanium, started to open Thursday afternoon. The plant, originally from Sumatra, Indonesia, takes 10 years to blossom from seed. It then unleashes its signature smell when it reopens every two to five years.

Leading Coral Experts Prepare For Symposium in Hawaii

May 11, 2016
Flickr / NOAA's National Ocean Service
Flickr / NOAA's National Ocean Service

Hundreds of the world’s top ocean scientists will gather in Honolulu next month for the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium. It’s the first time the conference will be held in Hawai‘i. 

Leading coral experts say it’s a critical time for our reefs. Warming sea temperatures and increased ocean acidification are continuing to stress these ecosystems. Human activity has also taken a toll: overfishing, runoff of sewage and sediments from the shore.

Solar-Powered Plane Plans Return to the Skies

Apr 4, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

After nearly nine months on the ground, a solar-powered plane will return to the skies. The Solar Impulse 2 will continue its flight around the world, possibly as early as April 15th. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited Kalaeloa Airport for a test flight and has this report.

At an altitude of more than 7,000 feet, pilot Andre Borshberg glides the solar plane over parts of west O‘ahu early one morning. It was the first time he’s returned to the cockpit since last July, when he made history flying solo from Japan to Honolulu, a nearly 118-hour trip.

Ohia Death Leaves Imprint On Native Culture

Mar 31, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Hula’s most prestigious festival Merrie Monarch begins tonight. For more than 50 years, hula hālau from across the islands have descended on Hilo for the three-day competition. But some traditions are being altered this year, in light of a rapidly spreading disease that’s killing Hawai‘i’s ‘ōhi‘a trees. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Music fills the empty gym of St Francis School in Mānoa. Dancers line up for one last practice before heading to Hilo to compete in Merrie Monarch. One of their kumu, Robert Keano Ka‘upu, yells out notes as they glide onto the floor.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

One of Hawai‘i’s oldest and most culturally important native trees is under siege from a mysterious disease. So far more than 34,000 acres of ‘ōhi‘a trees have died, and it's left scientists scrambling for a solution. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited the Big Island forest where it all began.

About 40 minutes south of Hilo, in the Leilani Estates subdivision in lower Puna, is what scientists are calling ground zero for Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.

Whale Of A Headstand: Rare Humpback Sighting At Sea

Mar 9, 2016
NOAA
NOAA

Scientists are reporting peculiar behavior among this season’s humpback whales. A recent video by NOAA's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary shows a female humpback standing upside down with her tail sticking out of the water, performing a sort of underwater headstand.

Sanctuary response coordinator Ed Lyman says the rare behavior has a name: tail-sailing. It’s fairly common among right whales in the southern hemisphere, but is rarely observed in humpbacks. So far they’ve seen this in four different whales off Maui and O‘ahu.

Hawaiian Monk Seal Vaccinations Begin On Oahu

Feb 22, 2016
Flickr / Robin Wendler
Flickr / Robin Wendler

Researchers say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population is on the rise. But so is the threat of a fatal virus that could wipe out the native species if it reaches Hawai‘i. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports on new efforts to prevent a future outbreak.

In case you’ve ever wondered how to vaccinate a wild Hawaiian monk seal, the first thing you’ll need is one of these. “This is a pole-syringe,” said Michelle Barbieri, holding up a 4-foot long spring loaded pole. She’s a veterinarian for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian monk seal program.

Merrie Monarch Without Ohia?

Feb 17, 2016
Merrie Monarch Festival
Merrie Monarch Festival

With Merrie Monarch approaching late next month, hula hālau across the state are beginning to prepare for the upcoming festival on Hawai‘i Island. For some that means gathering plants and flowers that represent the mele, or song. It’s a tradition that’s brought countless hālau into native ‘ōhi‘a forests, where the lehua blossom grows. But a rapidly spreading disease is prompting some to call for an all-out ban this year. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii

Scientists say a disease killing hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees on Hawaii's Big Island is spreading. Recent aerial surveys show the acreage of infected trees has more than doubled in the past two years. State, county and federal agencies collaborated to conduct the surveys by helicopter last month. The fungal disease, called Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, was found in 34,000 acres of ‘ōhi‘a forest. Rob Hauff is the Forest Health Coordinator with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Hooked On The High Seas

Jan 27, 2016
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala
SOI / Michelle Schwengel-Regala

A research ship in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is not the kind of place where you would expect to find artists. But a new partnership is bringing together art and science through a residency program on board The Falkor, part of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. HPR’s Molly Solomon caught up with a local fiber artist who was able to hop aboard.

TMT: Hawaii Telescope Still In Limbo

Jan 25, 2016
Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.
Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.

The future of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawai‘i Island’s Mauna Kea remains uncertain. Construction has been halted on the project since protests began last April. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled the permit invalid, sending the matter back for a new contested case hearing.

Flickr / Tchami
Flickr / Tchami

Most people in Hawai‘i are familiar with the Hawaiian green sea turtle, frequently spotted on island beaches. Far less common is its cousin, the hawksbill turtle. With only 100 breeding adults left in Hawaii, much is still unknown about the endangered species. But recent research suggests the answers may lie in its shell.  HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

NOAA: No Need To Panic, The Whales Are Still Coming

Jan 6, 2016
Flickr / Bellevue Fine Art Repro
Flickr / Bellevue Fine Art Repro

It seems humpback whales aren’t in any rush to get to the islands. Each winter, more than 10,000 migrate from Alaska to Hawaii’s warmer waters to mate, birth and care for their young. But as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the whales are behind schedule.

A couple weeks ago, Ed Lyman got a call about a separated whale calf off Lahaina, Maui. He’s a response coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “We responded, motoring to an offshore of Lahaina,” recalled Lyman. “We saw not a single whale the whole run, and then nothing on the way back.”

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

Hundreds of thousands of native ohia trees are dying off because of a new fungus. The disease is spreading across the Big Island and state officials are hoping to contain it before it reaches other islands. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Ocean Robot Dives for Data in Maunalua Bay

Dec 10, 2015
Liquid Robotics
Liquid Robotics

Scientists are turning to new technologies to determine the health of Maunalua Bay. A new ocean robot is collecting data on everything from turbidity levels to pollutants in the water. HPR’s Molly Solomon took a boat tour of the bay and has this report.

Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.
Thirty Meter Telescope Corp.

The state’s highest court has revoked a permit for construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled that due process was violated when it approved the permit for the telescope before holding a contested case hearing. TMT may now have to go through the process again if they still want to construct the $1.4 billion telescope. 

Michele Reynolds/USGS
Michele Reynolds/USGS

Rising sea level and climate change could leave some atolls in the Pacific and Indian Ocean uninhabitable. That’s according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, researchers worry that could happen sooner than you think.

The study was recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

City Miscalculates Amount of Sewage Spill at Ala Moana

Sep 17, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Exactly how much sewage spilled onto streets near Ala Moana beach last month? A new report reveals a number that’s 200,000 gallons more than what the city last reported to the public. HPR’s Molly Solomon tells us why.

Honolulu officials first said more than half a million gallons of wastewater had spewed from manholes onto streets, after heavy rains overwhelmed the city’s sewage system. Two days later, the city revised its numbers, saying only about 129,000 gallons reached the ocean.

USGS
USGS

Lava flowing from Kīlauea is the subject of a new study. Researchers from Hawai‘i and the mainland are partnering on a three-year project to better understand active volcanoes. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, it could lead to improved predictions and disaster preparedness.

Dealing with an active lava flow can be unpredictable. Pāhoa residents learned this firsthand, after spending months in limbo as lava neared the Big Island town. A new study may pinpoint ways to better assess volcanoes.

New Technology Gives Hope to Epilepsy Patients

Sep 9, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

15,000 people in Hawai‘i currently live with epilepsy. The condition causes recurrent seizures inside the brain, but a new technology is giving hope to patients. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Jesse Cabillon doesn’t remember exactly when the seizures began. That’s because he was six weeks old when his parents first started to notice unusual behavior. "My parents said I would turn to my side and my eyes would roll back," said Jesse, now 30 year-old.

Hurricane Fatigued? You're Not Alone.

Sep 2, 2015
NOAA
NOAA

We’re halfway through Hawai‘i’s hurricane season and we’ve already seen nine tropical cyclones. Fortunately, none have posed a serious threat to the islands and no tropical storm or hurricane warnings have been issued so far. But state officials worry not only about the rest of the season - but also about fatigue and a dangerous complacency. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

500,000 Gallon Sewage Spill Closes Waikiki Beach

Aug 25, 2015
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

A massive sewage spill has shut down miles of beaches along Waikīkī and Ala Moana. Flooding from heavy rains caused more than 500,000 gallons of sewage to overflow from manholes near Ala Moana Center. HPR’s Molly Solomon was there and has this report.

Half a million gallons of wastewater spilled onto Honolulu streets and quickly flowed into public parks and waterways. That prompted city officials to shut down Ala Moana Beach Park and close shorelines along Waikīkī.

Critical Habitat Expanded for Hawaiian Monk Seals

Aug 20, 2015
Flickr/Jim Mullhaupt
Flickr/Jim Mullhaupt

More protections are on the way for the Hawaiian monk seal. Federal officials issued a final rule on the marine mammal’s critical habitat, expanding it by nearly 7,000 square miles. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, the new rule could go a long way in helping the endangered species survive.

Read the full ruling here:

Flickr/Thomas Shahan 3
Flickr/Thomas Shahan 3

New research suggests small-scale fisheries could have big benefits for local communities. That’s according to a new study that highlights the economic impact of community supported reef fisheries. HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

Matson to Pay State $15.4M for 2013 Molasses Spill

Jul 29, 2015
Hawaii Department of Health
Hawaii Department of Health

The state and Matson Navigation Co. have agreed on a $15.4 million settlement. The Hawai‘i-based shipping company was responsible for a leak in 2013 that released more than 230,000 gallons of molasses, devastating coral and marine life in Honolulu Harbor.  And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, it’s one of the largest settlements of its kind.

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