By Wendy Osher
A Maui man will be honored this week with an award for his role in bringing awareness to a threatened seabird colony in West Maui.
Isao Nakagawa, a local fisherman and retired Maui Land & Pineapple Company employee found remains of pre-dated shearwaters (ua‘u kani) in 2001 at Ha-wea Point in Kapalua.
At the time, state officials say there were only 16 known burrows of the native species. As of this year, authorities say the colony has grown to over 1,000 burrows, and is the island’s largest colony of ua‘u kani.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will present Nakagawa with the award during a presentation this weekend. DLNR Wildlife Biologist, Dr. Fern P. Duvall II, will present Nakagawa with “The Harvard Kennedy School for Public Leadership’s Award for Innovations in Government” for his exemplary and innovative role as a Seabird Colony Champion.
On another note, Nature Conservancy officials say restoration efforts at the Moʻomomi Reserve on Molokaʻi have improved habitat for the uaʻu kani at that location as well, with the number of burrows there increasing from three nests in 1999 to 704 nests in 2012.