Day 2 of the big cleaning in progress at the Kanahâ wildlife sanctuary and at Amala Place
As Maui County crews and contractors continued to clean up garbage, personal effects and abandoned vehicles on a mile-long stretch of Amala Place, staff from three DLNR divisions (Land, Forestry and Wildlife, Conservation and Application of resources) began to remove illegal camps from the neighboring state. land.
Supported by a large team of contractor HTM, the clean-up crews moved from the road to the Kanahā Pond State Wildlife Refuge, which state officials said “was severely affected by the strong presence of people living on Amala Place “.
Sasha Smith, forestry technician in the Forestry and Wildlife Division of DLNR, manages the sanctuary for native and migratory birds. She directed crews to camps, some described as “quite large and elaborate”, and hidden in naupaka bushes on the makai side of Amala Place.
Smith detailed the challenges and issues associated with a strong human presence right next to the shrine. “Over the past decade people have probably had an impact on the natural resources of the bird sanctuary, but over the past year the situation has become much worse,” she said. Smith was unable to do any work, such as removing the invasive weeds, as people set up camp right next to the protective fence around the 150-acre shrine.
DOFAW is working with the county on this week’s cleanup to help combat the impacts of illegal camps on the wildlife preserve. Scott Fretz, manager of the DOFAW Maui branch, removed Smith and other workers from the sanctuary for their own safety. “There have been incidents where our staff have been harassed, unauthorized entry into the sanctuary and vandalism.” commented Fretz.
“We are also concerned about the potential health risks in the area from garbage and waste dumped over the fence and into Kanaha Pond, which is one of the most important breeding habitats in the State for Endangered Waterbirds. ” The protective fence surrounding the sanctuary was damaged, allowing predators like feral cats and rats to prey on the birds. Smith reports encountering drug paraphernalia, needles and other potentially dangerous items.
The pond is also an important wintering area for many migratory birds that breed in northern climates such as Alaska and then annually fly over the Pacific to Hawai’i.
On Monday, Lt. John Yamamoto of the DLNR Conservation and Resource Enforcement Division and his officers stationed half a dozen camps in the bushes next to the beach, warning people they should move today. hui. State officials say crews encountered at least two illegal campers who were told to leave before contract crews and heavy equipment entered.
Yamamoto said, “We all have compassion and empathy for people who are depressed. However, they must realize that an ecologically sensitive wildlife preserve is not the ideal place to set up permanent camps, destroy them and have an impact on native birds. ”