Endangered Hawai’i… A New Film By Actor Richard Chamberlain

A new 30-minute film, narrated by actor Richard Chamberlain, explores the on-going bird extinction crisis in Hawaiʻi that has led to about 70 percent of all native bird species in the state becoming extinct.

'I'iwi by Michael Walther

The film, Endangered Hawaiʻi, was produced by American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the nation’s leading bird conservation organization, with funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. It is being premiered at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, March 24 (at 12:30 and 2:00 p.m.) at the National Wildlife Visitor Center in Laurel, Maryland.

With beautiful footage of some of Hawaiʻi’s stunning birds and their habitats, the film showcases the unique biodiversity of our 50th state and explains the environmental crisis that has caused Hawaiʻi to become known as the “Bird Extinction Capital of the World.” It describes the nature of the crisis, its causes, and current efforts to implement solutions for species remaining on the brink.

“It is shocking to many people to learn that there is no place else on Earth that has witnessed the levels of bird extinctions that we have seen in our 50th state, a place that normally conjures up images of lush vegetation, sun, beaches and a refreshing tropical climate. It is our aim with this film to make not only Hawaiʻi’s past and present problems known to a wider audience, but to also demonstrate that with the full commitment of the state and federal government and non-governmental organizations, we have the ability to turn the situation around and prevent further bird extinctions,” said Dr. George Wallace, Vice President for Oceans and Islands for ABC and the lead collaborator on the film.

Since the arrival of Europeans to the Hawaiian Islands, 71 bird species have become extinct out of a total of 113 endemic species that existed at the time of first human colonization.  Of the remaining 42, 32 are federally listed, and ten of those have not even been seen for up to 40 years.

A key species of concern is the Kiwikiu, or Maui Parrotbill, a honeycreeper that was once widespread on Maui and Molokaʻi, but which is now limited to approximately 500 individuals high on the windward slopes of Haleakalā volcano. Another honeycreeper, the Palila, was once found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but now clings to less than five percent of its original range on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Meanwhile, the Nihoa Millerbird, endemic to the small, rocky island of Nihoa, is down to as few as 700 individuals, and the Ākepa is already extinct on Oʻahu and probably Maui, too.

The film points out that the primary threats to Hawaiian birds are exotic species: predators such as feral cats and rats; herbivores such as goats and pigs that degrade native habitat; diseases such as avian malaria and pox transmitted by non-native mosquitoes; and plants that displace native species and reduce habitat quality for native birds. Climate change may further reduce or eliminate mosquito-free – and hence disease-free – upland habitat as temperatures rise.

An encouraging note highlighted in the film is that in areas where there has been aggressive conservation action to reduce these threats, Hawaiian birds have stable or increasing populations, and new projects underway are also making a difference. For example, a fence – the first of its kind in the United States – has been constructed to keep predators out of seabird nesting habitat at Kaʻena Point on Oʻahu; a 52 mile fence to exclude mouflon sheep and goats from Palila habitat on Mauna Kea is under construction; and a new initiative to create a second population of the endangered Millerbird on Laysan Island as insurance against the species’ extinction is showing encouraging early signs of success. ABC is working with state, federal, and NGO partners such as the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Hawaiʻi to implement on-the-ground projects to overcome threats to some of Hawai’i’s remaining rare species.

The film says that significant federal funding is key to reversing the current trends that are negatively impacting bird populations. Unfortunately, the resources directed to Hawaiʻi’s environmental problems are alarmingly low in proportion to their need. While Hawaiian birds comprise one third of all U.S. bird species listed under the Endangered Species Act, only 4.1% of funding for recovery of listed bird species is directed their way.

Man Trying to Protect Chickens… Shoots House Hunters… Which Leads to Commercial Promotion of Marijuana and Detrimental Drugs

Detectives from the Area I Criminal Investigation Section have charged a 68-year-old Hilo man in connection with a gunshot that shattered the window of a passing van Tuesday (March 13, 2012) in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision.

At 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, Victor Kwock Chung Chun was charged with first-degree reckless endangering, permit to acquire firearms, second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug, two counts of first-degree promotion of a detrimental drug and three counts of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Police determined that Chun had been shooting at a dog he suspected of killing chickens at a house on Road 10 when a van with six occupants passed into the line of fire. No one was injured in the shooting.
Police recovered a firearm while executing a search warrant at the house.

Another man, 47-year-old Ivan Okada of Kurtistown, was also arrested but released later Tuesday night pending further investigation.

The Mayor’s Corner… With Mayor Billy Kenoi – A New Web Based Series?

Well it looks like Mayor Kenoi is starting up some sort of new “Mayor’s Corner” video segment on KLEI-TV.

KLEI-TV appears to be a digital channel based out of Kailua-Kona and they posted the following video on youtube yesterday:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/wNr8TvJuSKI]

At the end of the episode, Mayor Kenoi states “I’ll see you on the next edition of The Mayor’s Corner…” so I assume that this may become some sort of a series?

A quick scan of the KLEITV youtube channel shows that The Mayor’s Corner is the only one produced in English and it looks like the KLEIT.TV website in general is geared to the Filipino community.

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Eight Companies for Air Permit Violations

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch has issued Notices of Violations and Orders against eight companies located on Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and O‘ahu for air permit violations. The violations were either self-reported or discovered during routine inspections or records reviews.

The following companies were cited:

  • Pacific Concrete Cutting & Coring, Inc. for various permit violations at its mobile crushing plant located in Lihue, Kaua‘i. A penalty of $11,600 was issued to the facility and a consent order is currently being negotiated.
  • Maui Paving, LLC for failing to maintain after pressure and pressure drop in its scrubber duringthe production of hot mix asphalt at its Kalama‘ula Industrial Park plant on Moloka‘i. The violations were discovered during a records review and a penalty of $3,500 has been paid.
  • Jas. W. Glover, Ltd. for failing to conduct the 2010 annual performance tests for particulate matter and opacity on its 300 tons per hour (TPH) portable drum mix asphalt plant located at the Pu‘unene Quarry on Maui. The violations were discovered during a records review and a penalty of $5,600 has been paid.
  • Grace Pacific Corporation for failing to conduct monthly opacity observations for various months in 2010 and 2011 on its 725 kilowatt (kW) diesel engine generator. The violations were discovered during an inspection at its 334 TPH asphalt plant located in Barbers Point Harbor, O‘ahu, and a penalty of $4,700 has been paid. The corporation was also cited for failing to conduct monthly opacity observations on diesel engine, rip-rap, and recycled aggregate plant plants for various months in 2010 and 2011 at its crushing, screening, and aggregate recycling plants located in Makakilo Quarry on O‘ahu. The violations were discovered during an inspection and a penalty of $4,100 has been paid.
  • Unitek Solvent Services, Inc. for late submittals of annual emission and semi-annual monitoring reports. Unitek operates a 70 horsepower (HP) superior boiler and waste oil reprocessing facility at Campbell Industrial Park, O‘ahu, and a penalty of $2,100 has been paid for the violations.
  • Phillip Services Hawai‘i (PSH) for failing to install, operate and maintain a high temperature audible alarm and automatic shutdown system within 180 days after permit issuance on its oil dehydrator. PSH was also fined for not conducting a source performance test on the oil dehydrator. The violations were discovered during an inspection of the used oil processing facility located at Campbell Industrial Park, O‘ahu. A penalty of $14,400 has been paid.
  • E.M. Rivera and Sons, Inc. for late submittal of compliance certification, annual fees, annual emission and semi-annual monitoring reports. The 730 and 505 TPH portable crushing plants are located on the island of Hawai‘i, and the violations were discovered during a records review. A penalty of $1,500 has been assessed.
  • Chevron Products Company, Hawai‘i Refinery for failing to report a tank leak within five days and repairing the tank leak within 45 days of a leak. Chevron operates an oil refinery in the Campbell Industrial Park, O‘ahu. The violation was discovered during a records review, and a penalty of $4,300 was paid.

In general, penalties are assessed on violators to remove any economic benefit they may have gained from their noncompliance and put them in a worse situation than those who comply with the law. All fines are paid into a revolving special fund used to prevent or minimize damage to the environment. Parties have the right to request a hearing to contest DOH orders.

The DOH Clean Air Branch (CAB) protects the people and environment of Hawai‘i by monitoring air quality and regulating businesses that release pollutants into the air. The CAB reviews and approves air permits, evaluates and enforces state and federal air standards, conducts inspections, and investigates reported incidents related to outdoor air quality. Through the air permit process, the DOH ensures companies comply with state and federal emission standards to minimize air pollution impacts on the public.

Registration Begins Today for Hawaii Island Hoops 2012 College-Prep Basketball Camp

Hawaii Island Hoops is now accepting registration for its 2012 College-Prep Basketball Camp, from June 4-8, 2012 at the Kekuaokalani Gym in Kailua-Kona.

Special Guest:  Guest NBA Player at Camp and ESPN Top 10 Nationally Ranked High School Coach instructing at Camp All Week.

Get noticed and be instructed by college coaches! Our college-prep camp includes Nike SPARQ Training, daily fundamental drill stations, shooting clinics, defensive breakdowns, team offense, individual skills competitions, team tournament and championship game.  There will also be a 3-point shootout, free-throw, slam dunk contest, all-star game and awards ceremony. Take advantage of this opportunity!

Hawaii Island Hoops College-Prep Basketball Camp is open to boys ages 13-19 that are looking to improve their skills and learn a college style program.  The cost of the five-day camp is $350 and includes top-notch college coach/player instruction from NCAA, NAIA and JUCO level, evening college-prep seminars on academic requirements, financial aid available, and athletic recruitment.  Each camper will also receive a Nike Reversible Jersey and Nike shorts, Nike SPARQ Training, College-Prep Handbook, All-Meals included, athletic trainer on site, Hapuna Beach trip…and a week of fun!

Registration can be found online at www.HawaiiIslandHoops.com or for more information, contact Director Andy Smith at (808) 937-3082 Director@HawaiiIslandHoops.com

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods Completes Feasibility Study for Climate Action Reserve and American Carbon Registry Carbon Offset Generation

Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) today announced the completion of an independent feasibility study to assess the economic viability of afforestation carbon offsets using a native tree species (Acacia koa). The model was tested using both the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR) carbon offset protocols. The assessment reveals that mid-size to smaller scale private landowners do indeed have options to generate carbon offset projects that are commercially viable. Under the HLH proprietary business model, private land owners can choose to work under two prominent offset standards in both the compliance and voluntary carbon markets to deploy reforestation techniques that restore degraded land.

Up until now, afforestation projects in the United States have been ruled out as a cost effective way to generate carbon offsets. This assessment of the HLH silviculture model serves as a proof of concept for privately owned land in Hawaii. Family landowners can now monetize additional revenue streams beyond traditional timber markets without having to subdivide their land for commercial development. “For the first time, we illustrate that landowners can leverage carbon finance to permanently restore native species throughout the Hawaiian Islands,” said Darrell Fox HLH COO.

“The timing of this report is auspicious, coming on the heels of the APEC Summit in Honolulu. Many of the nations that attended have island or coastal populations that are vulnerable to any increase in sea level. They have deeply felt concerns about the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and the impact they may have on climate and sea level,” said CEO Jeffrey Dunster.

Projects using the Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ business model sequester carbon emissions (C02e) and help to reestablish native koa which is endemic to Hawaii. Project activities include planting genetically diverse native species, controlling and eliminating invasive species, and moving away from harvest rotation periods that is currently the standard practice in plantation forestry. Outcomes of the project will help return the Hawaiian forest to a natural state with improved water production, enhanced open space, increased biodiversity, improved air quality and a more robust native habitat.

“American Carbon Registry provides a transparent and workable framework for small landowners to quantify and transact high-quality, verified emissions reductions from reforestation projects,” said Mary Grady, Director of Business Development for American Carbon Registry (ACR). “Our mission is to catalyze markets to improve the environment, and the Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods project is a perfect example of the critical contribution that carbon finance can make towards that important objective.”

www.hawaiianlegacyhardwoods.com