Good news in the short-term with coral recovery after a stressful El Nino summer for our precious coastal resources. However, in the long run, our coral reefs face a number of challenges, one of those being post-fire runoff from wildfires. We are expected for a very dry winter, which could mean an uptick in wildfires. An increase in wildfires could mean more trouble for our reefs once the exposed soil is potentially washed out to sea by rainfall.
"'Many of the bleached corals in Kaneohe Bay are now showing signs of recovery — that is, their color is returning to normal darker brown rather than very pale brown or white that was the state of play in the middle of the bleaching event in September,' Gates said. 'The immediate threat to corals associated with higher than normal sea water temperatures has receded. The longer term impact of the bleaching event remain to be seen, sometimes bleached corals recover but they fail to reproduce the following year. This is not good.'"
"On land, El Nino is expected to dry out the Big Island and even cause drought, especially in leeward areas where the winter tends to be the dry season anyway. Fire personnel also expect the dry weather ahead to raise fire danger because of a massive fuel load created when vegetation flourished during heavy rainfall this summer."