2011 marks the second year of MLTís successful stewardship activities at Mo'omomi Preserve, adjacent to MLT's Mokio Preserve. This parnership further strengthens the relationship between MLT and The Nature Conservancy. The MLT was contracted by TNC in 2010 to take over stewardship activities at TNC's Mo`omomi Preserve. MLT Field Staff remove kiawe, perform weed control, and manage predator trapping. MLT also assists TNC with bird banding at the recovering wedge-tailed shearwater colony within the preserve.
The 921-acre Mo'omomi Preserve on the northeast corner of Moloka'i is one of the last remaining strongholds for native coastal plants and animals in Hawai'i, a holdoverto from an ancient era.
Strong and steady northeast trade winds shape the dunes of Mo'omomi, creating linear dunes a mile long and hundreds of feet wide. At first glance, these dunes appear nearly barren. Yet within these vast communities of native grasses and shrubs grow more rare coastal species than in any other single place in the main Hawaiian Islands.
The preserve harbors more than 22 native Hawaiian plant species, four of which are globally rare or endangered. These rare plants, like 'akoko and 'ena 'ena, thrive in the dry, windy, salt-sprayed environment. A member of the sunflower family, tetramolopium rockii, is known to be found only at Mo'omomi.
In addition, Mo'omomi Preserve is an important nesting site for the endangered green sea turtle. Deposits of bird bones reveal that the dunes were once home to at least 30 bird species, about one-third of which have since become extinct: a sea eagle, a flightless ibis and a giant flightless duck, among others.
The Hawaiian owl (pueo) is one of the few native land birds that can still be observed regularly at Mo'omomi. Native shorebirds, like sanderlings and plovers, and seabirds, like the great frigatebird ('iwa) can also be seen, while the nests of the wedge-tailed shearwater ('ua'u kani) are visible as small tunnels with sand mounds.
Over time, most of Hawaii's native beaches have been lost to coastal development. Today, Mo'omomi Preserve, created in 1988, is the most intact coastal beach strand and sand dune area in the main Hawaiian Islands.
By protecting the dunes and beaches of Mo'omomi, the Conservancy is safeguarding native plants found nowhere else on earth.
They are also protecting habitat for the rare Hawaiian monk seal and seabird nesting colonies site like the wedge-tailed shearwater. The hope is that the endangered Laysan Albatross will also one day establish a nesting colony here.