Lāna‘i Native Species Recovery Program (LNSRP) was the first Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project (MNSRP) program. It began in 2006 with the discovery of a significant breeding colony of ‘Ua‘u or Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis) on Lāna‘ihale. The program identified threats to the seabirds and developed strategies to minimize them. With the purchase of the island of Lāna‘i by a new owner in 2013, MNSRP has been denied right of access to continue working there.
Inventory and Monitoring
MNSRP conducted annual acoustic and visual surveys to determine the extent of the breeding colony. MNSRP has located more than 80 Hawaiian petrel burrows and have followed reproductive success for several years.
Tagging Hawaiian Petrels
In 2006 and 2007 MNSRP collaborated with USGS to deploy satellite tags on Lāna‘i and Haleakala to determine the foraging and ranging behavior of chick-provisioning adults. In 2011 and 2012 MNSRP participated in tagging adults at known burrows with geo-locator tags to learn the ranging and foraging behavior of wintering Hawaiian petrels. For more information about this work, please see Seabird Tracking.
The Lāna‘ihale program has worked to improve and increase Hawaiian petrel breeding habitat by removing habitat-altering invasive plants such as strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) and faya tree (Morella faya). The project has carried out herbicide control of strawberry guava and faya tree on over 50 acres. MNSRP cleared and initiated restoration efforts on six acres of heavily invaded habitat. With the help of students and volunteers with weeding, seed collection and propagation, out-planting and fencing, this project shows the potential to reclaim the native forest. This work benefits the birds, native plants, and overall ecosystem health of the Lāna‘ihale watershed.
MNSRP detected and documented predation of seabirds by rats, feral cats, and barn owls. In order to reduce these threats, MNSRP has conducted extensive year round predator control throughout the Lāna‘ihale seabird colony and watershed.
Christine Costales was the first of many Lāna‛i residents hired by MNSRP. Over the eight years of the Lāna‛i Native Species Recovery Program existence she led the field crew and did public outreach and education. Programs were integrated with classroom activities and field work to benefit the watershed and the species which depend upon that native habitat, including the seabirds. Christine worked in Lāna‛i High & Elementary, with guests and employees at the resorts and in numerous community events to teach local folks about the life histories of the seabirds and the native plants of Lāna‛ihale. She continues to teach about the natural resources of Lāna‛i as a staff member of Pulama Lāna‛i.