Friday, January 16, 2004

Beach Bummer

The Kihei Community Association, sick of dealing with huge mounds of algae covering the Waipuilani Beach Reserve in Maui, Hawaii, has just received a $250,000 EPA grant to develop an effective seaweed control. As reported in The Honolulu Advertiser, the beach is having a particular problem with Hypnea musciformis, a non-native seaweed that is thought to have been introduced in a failed attempt at cultivation back in the 1970s. The Maui County government has purchased a modified potato-digging machine, known as a "beach master," and will also use some of the grant money to pay for dump trucks to haul the seaweed away. The mechanical control has been successful, but scientists are also paying attention to elevated nutrient levels in the water, as the potential cause of the massive increase in seaweed growth.

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