Sewage spills, endangered monk seals, master-planned communities and large wind farms are just a few of the stories that Civil Beat dug into this year on the land beat.

From concerns about food and energy sustainability, to efforts to protect Hawaii’s delicate ecosystem from pollution, global warming and invasive species, issues involving land and the environment are important to Hawaii.

Here’s a look back at some of this year’s top stories.

Trash Covers Hawaii Beach, and More’s Coming, April 13, 2011: Tourists flock to Hawaii’s glistening beaches, but trash is increasingly washing up on our shores. Civil Beat traveled to the state’s dirtiest — Kamilo Beach on the Big Island — to investigate.

Hawaii Senators E-Bicker Over Land Chief Nominee, Feb. 28, 2011: A spat over William Alia’s selection as land chief earlier this year moved from the Senate floor into Senate inboxes.

Lab Results: Landfill Water Exceeded Legal Levels for Just One Chemical — Iron, March 28, 2011: Heavy rains washed trash, needles and syringes from the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill onto leeward beaches. Civil Beat looked into whether the resulting water pollution posed a danger to human health.

Seawall = Highway? Fight Over Gold Coast Repairs, May 9, 2011: Crumbling seawalls along the southern shores of Oahu prompted a debate over who has to pay to fix them — the state or private homeowners.

Drawing the Line on How to Protect Hawaii Seabirds, March 31, 2011: Kauai’s electric utility wrestled with the expense of protecting endangered birds from its power lines and lights. The state and environmental groups didn’t let them off the hook this year.

Hawaiian Nene Being Kicked Off Kauai, Sept. 12, 2011: Most would agree that protecting Hawaii’s endangered state bird is a worthy endeavor — but check out the price tag for relocating several hundred of them that have been interfering with air travel at the Kauai airport.

Hawaii’s Sunshine Law Doesn’t Cast Much Light on Government Meetings, Sept. 12, 2011: Civil Beat found that the public’s access to information about government meetings was sorely lacking, despite a quick fix in today’s information age.

The Fate Of Lanai Hinges On A Los Angeles Real Estate Tycoon, Dec. 12, 2011: David Murdock, Lanai’s billionaire owner, has put the island up for sale following bitter feuds over the Big Wind project, leaving local residents anxious about their economic future.

Ewa Developer’s Switch from Marina to Lagoon Raises Legal Issues, Dec. 16, 2011: Developers have a track record in Hawaii of not keeping their promises, but an announcement by Haseko that it wasn’t going to construct a marina, which for decades had been the centerpiece of its master-planned communities in Ewa, caught many off guard.

Hawaii Public Kept in Dark about Hospital Infections, Aug. 30, 2011: Staph infections have been the scourge of many a surfer in Hawaii, but experts say that hospitals can be the riskiest places when it comes to acquiring such infections. Civil Beat found that the state’s been dragging its feet on the problem.

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