If I bought a house that happened to have a swimming pool — not my favorite landscape element — I would hope that the feature would be geometric, at least. If it instead were kidney-shaped, I would fill it in with loads of sand and peat moss and turn it into a garden of the prettiest swamp flora, full of pitcher plants and Japanese and Louisiana irises.
If the pool were a much preferred circle, square or rectangle, I would make it uniformly 22 inches deep, grow lots of aquatic plants in containers, throw in a few small koi and spend the years watching them grow.
I have no intention of doing this, by the way, because I already have a pond. My garden would seem lifeless without it, however, I would offer this general advice about decorative ponds, besides the shape. Make them bigger than you think you need. Small ponds are harder to keep clean and algae-free, and the water temperature fluctuates too much for the good of flora, fauna and owner. Another hard-earned lesson: Set it up so that the pump and the filtration box sit out of the water. This will reduce maintenance further and keep you out of the pond.
No ornamental pond is complete without waterliles. Part of the magic of a waterlily is that its flower inhabits two realms. It is born in the submerged crown and journeys upward to the dry world, where it opens to the delight of the aerial circus of pollinators and to the thrill of the gardener looking for beauty in the heat of summer. Continue reading
Cellana Inc. said it has begun producing oil from algae grown at its Kona facility and is on track to begin commercial production by 2014.
The Big Island company is harvesting up to one ton of algae a month in ponds at its 6-acre facility at Keahole Point. The company estimates it will be able to grow up to 60 tons of algae capable of producing 3,800 gallons of oil per acre per year.
The oil can be refined into a variety of products, including biodiesel for automobiles and power generation plants. Other uses include animal feed, cosmetics, nutritional oils and industrial chemicals.
Oil-rich algae is considered an attractive crop for biofuel production because of its relatively high yield compared with other crops. Algae can produce up to 11 times more oil per acre than the oil palm nut, the next-highest yielding feedstock, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Algae yields are as much as 145 times higher than soybeans, the department said.
“Over $100 million has been invested to date in our Kona demonstration facility, our algae strains and the process we use to grow, harvest and separate our algae biomass, which puts Cellana on a very short list of leading companies in the emerging algae-based biofuels and bioproducts industry,” said Martin Sabarsky, Cellana’s chief executive office. Continue reading
Kona-based Cellana LLC has received a $5.5 million federal grant to develop animal feed from algae grown at its facility at Keahole Point.
The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be combined with $1.6 million raised by Cellana for the project titled “Developing a new Generation of Animal Feed Supplements,” according to a news release from the office of U.S. Sen Daniel Inouye. The project began May 1 and runs through April 30, 2014.
In addition to animal feed, algae can also be used to produce oil that can be refined into a variety of fuel products, including biodiesel that can be burned in automobiles and power plants.
“By developing a cheaper form of animal feed from marine algae we allow our livestock and dairy industry to remain competitive by reducing the amount of revenue they direct to feeding their animals,” Inouye said in the release.
“I would like to laud Cellana’s efforts to move Hawaii away from the use od imported fossil fuels while developing innovative new products form one of our most readily available resources,” he said.
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) – Kauai environmentalists and business interests are clashing over whether to renew a federal permit that would allow a shrimp farm to continue discharging effluent into the ocean.
Sunrise Capital, a unit of the Missouri-based Integrated Aquaculture International, wants to renew its Environmental Protection Agency permit for a shrimp farm in Kekaha.
Sunrise currently produces white shrimp at its facility, mainly for local consumption and breeding stock for export. The firm has plans to produce everything from kahala, moi, oysters, clams, seaweed and algae to produce jet fuel.
George Chamberlain, a founder of Integrated Aquaculture International, told about 50 people gathered at a public hearing Wednesday that the effluent discharge ”has no impact,” according to the Kauai Garden Island.
Other supporters, who comprised about half of the audience, were focused on economic concerns.
”We need those jobs again,” said Tony Ricci, a resident. He contended critics are blowing out of proportion potential problems with discharges.
But other residents and representatives of environmental groups criticized the permit renewal.
Rayne Regush of the Kauai branch of the Sierra Club said her organization opposes the company’s application. If it were renewed, she said the frequency of monitoring should be increased, water-quality testing should also look for bacteria, and monitoring data should be made available online to the public. Continue reading
WAIMEA — Blessed with some of the purest seawater in the world and sunny growing conditions, the owners of the Kekaha shrimp farm have big plans for their small operation.
Currently producing white shrimp mainly for local consumption and broodstock for export around the world, Sunrise Capital, owned by the Mainland-based Integrated Aquaculture International, has plans to eventually produce everything from kahala, moi, oysters, clams, seaweed, even algae to produce jet fuel.
That makes them, as Dr. Carl Berg of Lihu‘e says, a concentrated aquatic animal production facility, something Dr. George Chamberlain agrees with.
Chamberlain is a director of Integrated Aquaculture International and president of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (gaalliance.org), and conducted a two-hour informational meeting about the Kekaha aquaculture farm at the Waimea Theatre, just before a state Department of Health public hearing on the farm’s application for a permit necessary to discharge farm effluent into the ocean.
The DOH will either approve or deny the continuation of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit, required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and monitored by DOH. Continue reading
Maui News staff writer Harry Eagar’s Nov. 15 column expressed unfounded opinions that trivialized a serious community issue. Sewage disposal is no laughing matter. It is a quality of life issue for all who live on Maui, our visitor industry and those voiceless ones who inhabit Maui’s waters.
Concerns about the connection between effluent disposal, water quality and reef decline are shared by scientists and environmental professionals tasked with safeguarding water and natural resources. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources (hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/pubs/MauiReefDeclines.pdf) identified land-based pollutants as part of the problem causing coal decline. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maui County to characterize the pollutants in the effluent and to identify where the effluent goes after injection. The state Department of Health has declared coastal waters near the wells as impaired due to presence of nutrients and other pollutants (hawaii.gov/health/environmental/env-planning/wqm/2006_Integrated_Report/2006_Chapter_IV_Assessment_of_Waters.pdf).
There is substantial evidence that the effluents injected into the groundwater at county treatment plants is reaching the ocean. The presence of effluent indicators in ocean water was found by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Geological Survey. There is no scientific evidence supporting Eagar’s assertion that coral not only eat sewage, but love it. Continue reading
Isabella Abbott straddled two worlds and excelled in both, mentoring and inspiring generations of scientists and native Hawaiian cultural practitioners.
The world-renowned algae taxonomist and ethnobotanist “loved her people,” said Hi’ilei Kawelo, director of Paepae O He’eia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to caring for Heeia Fishpond. “She loved her culture, but she also excelled at it through Western science. She’s someone to look up to (who showed us) that we can do both. We can exist and practice our culture, but also develop this love of science.”
The retired University of Hawaii at Manoa ethnobotany professor remained a resource to many in the scientific and native Hawaiian cultural community until her death Thursday, while surrounded by friends and family. She was 91.
A longtime member of the board of directors of the Bishop Museum, Abbott wrote more than 150 research papers and eight books.
“We always saw her as the Energizer Bunny,” said Allen Allison, Bishop Museum vice president. “She just lit up every room that she was in.”
Born in Hana, Maui, and reared in Honolulu, Abbott got her first limu lessons under her Hawaiian mother’s tutelage, and went on to become the foremost expert on Central Pacific algae. Continue reading
Who knew algae had such depth?
A research team from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, led by University of Hawaii doctoral student Daniel Wagner, has discovered a photosynthetic algae called symbiodinium at ocean depths of nearly 1,300 feet, roughly twice as deep as any previous finding.
The algae, which were found on samples of black coral species around Hawaii, are commonly associated with shallow-water, reef-building corals, which rely on the algae for nutrients. However, symbiodinium, which requires sunlight to photosynthesize, had not been detected below 656 feet before and typically lives in depths of about 130 feet.
Wagner said the algae was found in very low densities, suggesting that it was not a likely nutrient source for the black coral. He said it was possible that the algae found on the black coral was dormant, dying or possibly feeding off of the coral.
“But it’s only a guess at this point,” said Wagner, 28 “As is usually the case, you uncover one thing and it leads to 10 new questions.” Continue reading
Hawaiian sugar grower working on crops to fuel ships, planes. HONOLULU — The federal government has turned to a 130-year-old Hawaii sugar grower for help in powering the Navy and weaning the nation off a heavy reliance on fossil fuels.
It will spend at least $10 million over the next five years to fund research and development at Maui cane fields for crops capable of fueling Navy fighter jets and ships. The project also may provide farmers in other warm climates with a model for harvesting their biofuel crops.
Hawaii has become a key federal laboratory for biofuels because of its dependence on imported oil as well as its great weather for growing crops. Factor in the heavy military presence at places such as Pearl Harbor, and the islands become an ideal site for the government to test biofuel ideas on a commercial scale.
“Hawaii is kind of the perfect storm of opportunity,” said Tom Hicks, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for energy. Continue reading
A University of Hawaii coral research project doesn’t sound like a major threat to the environment, but it has been stalled because researchers have been unable to get an exemption from the law requiring a costly environmental impact statement.
UH researchers can’t take tissue samples from live coral or remove test plates with new coral growth until the EIS issue is cleared up, said Michael Hamnett, executive director of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii.
The delay is hurting research aimed at saving coral from the effects of things such as storm water runoff, Hamnett said. Several million dollars in research grants could be in jeopardy if the issue isn’t resolved, Hamnett said. Continue reading