2023 Case Study

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    Keeping the Rosy Wolves Away: Reducing Time Costs of Predator Exclusion Fences
    ( 2023-05-12) Hee, Charlton ; Atkins, Claire ; Oleson, Kirsten
    Habitat loss and predation by introduced species have contributed to the decline and extinction of land snail species across the globe. Predation of Hawaiian land snails, kāhuli in the Hawaiian language, by rodents (Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus, Rattus exulans, and Mus musculus), Jackson’s Chameleons (Trioceros jacksonii), and Rosy Wolf snails (Euglandina rosea) have intensified in recent decades. Dramatic declines in recent years can be attributed to the unrelenting spread of the Rosy Wolf snail, a carnivorous species introduced to Hawai‘i as a biocontrol measure for other non-native snail species. Without predator-exclusion fences (exclosures) to surround and shelter kāhuli populations, the density of predators on the landscape does not allow for the persistence of vulnerable populations. The Snail Extinction Prevention Program maintains a growing number of exclosures across the islands, but the person-hours required to ensure sites remain predator-free divert resources from high-priority kāhuli species yet to be protected. Hiding decoy Euglandina at random within an existing exclosure, we designed a study that compared the time costs and efficacy of three search strategies: quadrant, random-quadrat, and random-transect. We identified random-transect searches to be the most efficient method, requiring the least amount of search effort to successfully find decoys. Our findings directly impact SEPP’s ability to reverse kāhuli population decline, allowing the program to better budget its resources by factoring in the hidden costs of maintaining predator-free areas. Knowing an exclosure’s resource requirements upfront enables project managers to accurately calculate the number of exclosures their programs are able to maintain given their available staff resources.
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    Engaging Hiking Communities in Natural Resource Decision Making: A “Willingness to Pay for Hiking Nā Ala Hele Trails” Survey Design
    ( 2023-05-12) Heu, Cherryle ; Apilado, Destiny ; Ragone, Noah ; Oleson, Kirsten
    NREM 601 students partnered with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to design a survey tool that will further the Nā Ala Hele Trail and Access Program's goal to construct, restore, and maintain public trails and accesses. Currently, Nā Ala Hele Trials are being degraded at a rate faster than they can be maintained due to the impacts of overuse. DOFAW is trying to generate a revenue flow in order to fund trail maintenance but does not have the necessary information to implement a socially, economically, and ecologically appropriate payment system. The objective of the survey tool is to engage with the community most connected to Hawaiʻi’s trails, understand their willingness to pay for trial use and measure the potential for negative outcomes so DOFAW can design an appropriate trail system. This project documents the process of designing this survey tool and provides insight into the future steps of DOFAW's project.
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    Waikalua Loko Ia Renewable Energy Final Report
    ( 2023-05-13) Leigh Engel ; Alyssandra Rousseve ; Aaron Wehrman ; Kirsten Oleson
    Many loko i‘a (fishponds) across Hawai‘i face degraded coastal ecosystems, and destruction of nursery habitats which have disrupted their capacity for fish recruitment and pond productivity. Growing anthropogenic effects such as urbanization, channelization and residential and economic development have disrupted natural loko i‘a systems, resulting in kiaʻi loko (fishpond caretakers) observing a five year decline in suboptimal stocking density (estimated to be 2,000+ pua per acre per year) (Conservation International Hawaiʻi Program, Center for Oceans Report, 2020). With natural stocking of fish becoming more difficult, many loko i‘a are attempting to fill this critical gap by developing efficient and economically viable onsite holding and grow out facilities for targeted commercial and subsistence marine species. To limit operation cost and reduce environmental impacts, multi-trophic aquaculture incorporates the production and waste of cultivated native species of fish, limu, sea cucumbers, and bivalves where the waste products of one species serves as a nutrient source for another. Specifically at Waikalua Aquatic Institute however, these robust acclimation centers for rearing juveniles require multiple rounds of filtration to incorporate water sourced from the nearby loko i'a, resulting in high energy demands and reduction in system efficiency and economic viability. Operational costs associated with high energy filtration systems of these aquaculture systems must be addressed to reduce high electric costs and still be able to sustainably support local food security and indigenous sovereignty.
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    Piloting a Management Survey for Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea
    ( 2023-05-11) Carter, William ; Kauka, Tatum ; Teper, Aaron ; Oleson, Kirsten
    After investigating the social and ecological issues associated with the areas which the nonprofit organization, Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea, stewards, and identifying knowledge gaps of previous research, a management survey built off of existing efforts which focuses on ecological and socio-cultural indicators will help to support Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea's future management plans. This group worked alongside the organization to help develop then pilot a final Management Survey. Kapo'o (Sharks Cove) is one of the area in which they steward and faces continuous issues such as overuse and environmental degradation. Therefore, the group piloted the survey here which provided insight into further survey adaptation and implementation.