Albatross nesting area

Letter from Wildlife Biologist Brenda Zaun to DLNR

Permit Application for fence

Bruce Laymon’s Fencing Permit Application claims no endangered wildlife, no archaeological history, no Hawaiian presence at Lepeuli

Archaeological Sites

Letter from Hope Kallai to DLNR documenting archaeological sites, with photos and maps

Surfrider Foundation Letter to Waioli Corporation, owner of land adjacent to Larsen’s Beach

Surfrider Foundation is an organization committed to the following:

From Surfrider Foundation Revised By Laws, 2008.
1.2.4 Operating Principles of the Surfrider Foundation: The Surfrider Foundation has adopted the following principles to guide and govern its activities and the activities of its Chapters:

a. The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the planet’s coasts are necessary and irreplaceable and is committed to preserving natural organic and inorganic diversity and integrity of the coastal environment.

b. The Surfrider Foundation is committed to protecting the right to free and open, low impact access to the world’s coastlines, waves and beaches and acts at all levels to preserve this right of access.

c. The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection, rehabilitation and restoration of native coastal ecosystems.

Letter to Waioli Corporation

To: Waioli Board Members

Subject: Suspending vegetation clearing and mowing

The coastal portion of Lepeuli provides habitat for the federally protected Hawaiian monk seal and green sea turtle. The near-beach terrestrial habitat contains native Hawaiian plants and provides a nesting area for Laysan albatross. The intent of Conservation District permit requirements is to afford protections for these animal species and plant species and to prevent alteration of the fragile environment.

To illustrate how this CDUP has fallen short, please read the comments below, from experts who are extremely credible sources (some of whom you may know). They convey the urgency for implementing a temporary stop-work of the vegetation management along the Lepeuli coastline.

1. Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals. According to Mimi Olry, DVM Kauai Monk Seal Response Coordinator, Division of Aquatic Resources/DLNR the seals have been using the beach and back dune area for resting, giving birth and rearing their young. Three pups have been raised in the area under desecration. The seals, and especially the pups, have been observed by biologists to rest high up on the beach, in the grassy area and under the shade of the beach heliotrope trees. These trees should not be removed — they were not approved by DLNR for removal. Cattle should not be allowed in this area, especially during the summer pupping months when cattle can physically injure them by trampling and with disease carrying feces.

2. Endangered Green Sea Turtles. According to sea turtle authority specialist George Balazs of the National Marine Fisheries Service, green sea turtle nests have been found on the upper levels of this beach. These are offered protection under the shade of the trees and coastal vegetation. Lepeuli is recognized as one of the few remaining sites on the main Hawaiian Islands providing terrestrial habitat for sea turtles.

3. Laysan albatross & Ironwood Trees. Brenda Zaun, Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was the former wildlife biologist for the Kauai National Wildlife Refuge Complex from 2002 through 2008. She states she has visited the subject area numerous times to monitor the Laysan albatross pairs that annually nest at Lepeuli. Although not listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, they are afforded protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Ironwood trees (Casuarina) provide suitable habitat for nesting and offer slope stabilization. She writes: “The ironwood trees provide shade, prevent tall grass from growing on the ground beneath them, and the needles provide nesting material”. Regarding fencing, Zaun states: “if a fence is built it would be less intrusive for the birds and potentially prevent take, if the work were conducted when the albatrosses are not present; August, September, or October.”

4. Cattle vs. Native Plant Species. Ms. Zaun also writes, “I saw large old naupaka stands almost denuded by the introduction of cattle on a couple of properties west of Larsen’s a few years ago. Cattle and albatrosses and cattle and native plants are not compatible. The landowner will not have successful native vegetation nor successful albatross nests within a grazed area. The introduction of cattle does more extensive harm to the native plant communities than does the presence of mildly invasive non-native trees such as beach Heliotrope. Native plant species including naupaka, the sole species listed by the lessee for preservation, will be destroyed by cattle walking on them and eating them.

Please trust that these federal government agents have more expertise in their respective fields than the local DLNR field staff who have been on-site. They provide the factual basis for concerns that the damage to the beach habitat may have already negatively impacted the ecosystem and its species. We ask the board to suspend the vegetation clearing and mowing in the Conservation District and the Special Management Area as soon as possible. Removal of trees and other vegetation, especially during this rainy season, will undoubtedly lead to greater erosion of the soils and damage to the coastal habitat.

Carl J. Berg, Ph.D. Zoology

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