Renewed Awareness to Restore Islands' Coral Reefs

Governor Linda Lingle
Governor Linda Lingle
Athline Clark
Athline Clark

KANEOHE BAY (KHNL) -- There's a renewed push to monitor, restore, and maintain our islands' coral reefs, after the effects land development continue to hammer away at these fragile ocean organisms.

Friday, Governor Linda Lingle helped launch the international Year of the Reef, a way to raise awareness of the reef's struggle to survive.

Prestine, yet barely seen.

Unless you decide to seek them out.

Living coral reefs still grace the shallow waters off our island shores.

But, not as much as before.

At least, not near the major islands.

Governor Lingle, knows this -- first hand.

''I will tell that was magnified after my visits to the then, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, Papahanaumokuakea," Lingle said.  "We were actually in the water and saw, I don't want to say, what a real coral reef looks like. But, one that is not as disturbed as the one we might see around the developed islands and it truly is magnificent."

With an official proclamation, the governor kicked-off a year long series of events aimed at bringing heightened awareness to the value and importance of our delicate coral reefs.

The State Land Department is partnering with a number of public, private and non-profit organizations to educate our community on the threats to the reef's survival.

But, state officials say helping coral reefs really begins with us as individuals.

''Anything you put on the the land is going to end up in the ocean," said Athline Clark with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.  "Make sure you don't throw anything down the storm drain. Remembering the fish, keep the reef healthy. When you fish, take only what you need and leave the rest for the next generation."

And beyond.