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Soil Erosion pollutes coastal waters around the island of Molokai - Hawai

Monday, January 10, 2011

The GoogleEarth image (2007) above is of part of the Molokai (Hawaii) coast some 6 km west of Kaunakakai.  It is rather typical of coastal water pollution caused by adjacent watershed erosion problems that is causing serious problems to inshore fishery, coral reefs, and tourism. In this image you can see the area of polluted water (red arrows). to the north you can see some major point source erosion of uncultivated land (blue suns).  In the center is some intensively cultivated land, much of it unprotected and another point source erosion site.  I would imagine that if the yellow and blue sites were properly protected much of the ocean sediment would be reduced, as was the case of a point source erosion area in Vanuatu that was protected by Don Miller and had significant impact in reducing nearby coastal water pollution.

There are a number of people now working with the Vetiver System in Hawaii, among them is Bradley Sakamoto who farms near Kaunakakai.  He is very aware of these problems and is trying to get his community to take notice of the problem and do something about it.  Bradley is turning to the Vetiver system for the technical part of the solution.  Below are some images from Bradley showing the sort of land that he is planting vetiver hedgerows on and the great growth of vetiver on these soils.  Vetiver seem to grow very well under Molokai conditions!!

Molokai is just one island amongst thousands in the tropics that have serious erosion and coastal pollution problems.  All of them could use VS.  Its just a matter of getting serious and stepping up to do something about it.

Dick Grimshaw


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