Climate Change Anticipated to Have Profound Effects on Hawaiian Islands

Climate change is anticipated to have profound effects in the Hawaiian Islands. Key indicators of the changing climate include rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, rising air and sea temperatures, rising sea levels and upper-ocean heat content, changing ocean chemistry and increasing ocean acidity, changing rainfall patterns, decreasing base flow in streams, changing wind and wave patterns, changing extremes, and changing habitats and species distributions.

(All images & video courtesy: Hawai‘i DLNR)

(All images courtesy: Hawai‘i DLNR)

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, are increasing due to human activity.  Climate change has the potential to profoundly impact our wellbeing and way of life.  Dr. Chip Fletcher, from the University of Hawai‘i School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology said, “Sea level rise is a special problem for Hawaiian coastal communities.  As seas rise, shoreline neighborhoods will experience increased exposure to storm surges, tsunamis, seasonal high waves, erosion, and groundwater inundation.  These lead to problems with beach loss, damage to roads and homes, flooding in urban areas, and rising economic and environmental losses.”

climate change via dlnr2The Hawaiʻi Climate Adaptation Initiative Act (Act 83) was signed into law in June 2014. Act 83 established an Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee (ICAC) to address the effects of climate change to protect the State’s economy, health, environment, and way of life.

Climate Change via dlnr3According to Sam Lemmo, the administrator of the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and ICAC co-chair, “The first task of our committee is to develop a statewide Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report (SLR Report) which is due to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature by the end of 2017. This report, which will be the first of its kind in Hawaiʻi State Government, will provide detailed maps to show the state’s most vulnerable areas for erosion and flooding that will likely take place in 2030, 2050, 2075 and 2100, and how it will affect our coastal areas and ultimately, our way of life.”

climate Change via dlnr4The SLR Report will include adaptation recommendations by sector and how to strategize and prioritize the movement of critical infrastructure and people over the next few decades.  Another important aspect of the Report process, the ICAC, and the Hawaiʻi Climate Adaptation Initiative is to create a framework for a State Climate Adaptation Plan that will improve coordination and organization of all climate adaptation efforts at the local, State, and federal levels for the Hawaiian Islands.

climate change via dlnr5The ICAC and the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation team are working to design a framework or blueprint for sea level rise adaptation that will provide the impetus for actions necessary to mitigate catastrophic social and economic effects resulting from rising seas.

Humpback Whales Recovering – 9 of 14 Population Segments Removed from Endangered Species List

Endangered humpback whales in nine of 14 newly identified distinct population segments have recovered enough that they don’t warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries said today. International conservation efforts to protect and conserve whales over the past 40 years proved successful for most populations. Four of the distinct population segments are still protected as endangered, and one is now listed as threatened.

Humpback whales off Maui

Humpback whales off Maui

Commercial whaling severely reduced humpback whale numbers from historical levels, and the United States listed all humpback whales as endangered in 1970.  NOAA Fisheries worked nationally and internationally to identify and apply protections for humpback whales. The International Whaling Commission’s whaling moratorium, imposed in 1982, played a major role in the comeback of humpback whales, and remains in effect.

“Today’s news is a true ecological success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Whales, including the humpback, serve an important role in our marine environment. Separately managing humpback whale populations that are largely independent of each other allows us to tailor conservation approaches for each population.”

Humpbacks removedTwo of the four populations that remain endangered are found in U.S. waters at certain times of the year. The Central America population feeds off the West Coast, while the Western North Pacific population does so in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The Mexico population – listed as threatened – also feeds off the West Coast of the United States and Alaska.

Two separate, complementary regulations filed today maintain protections for whales in waters off Hawaii and Alaska by specifying distance limits for approaching vessels. All humpback whales remain protected in U.S. waters and on the high seas under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, regardless of their ESA status.

B-Roll: Humpback Whales and Behavior from NOAA Fisheries on Vimeo.

Hawaii Hunter Education Program Offering New Online Option for O’ahu

Beginning in October 2016 on O‘ahu, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Hunter Education Program will expand certification options for the public by offering a Hybrid Hunter Education Course which can be partially completed online. This Hybrid course will consist of two parts: (1) online course and (2) a one-day In-person conclusion course with final exam.

DLNR Hunter Card

Completion of both the online course and in-person conclusion course are mandatory for certification under the Hybrid course. Students must complete and pass the online course prior to attending the in-person conclusion course. Completion of the online course alone will not result in certification.

The online course is available at: Interested students should visit this site, select “Hawai‘i” as their state and follow the subsequent prompts in order to complete the online course.  The course covers nine units including high definition videos, cutaways, interactive simulations and animations. There are unit quizzes and an online exam.

After passing the online exam, students will be charged $19.50 by the online course provider in order to access their voucher to attend the In-person conclusion course. Students will be required to present this voucher to Instructors when signing in for the In-person conclusion course. Students without vouchers will not be admitted into the class.

The In-person conclusion course will be approximately four hours. This session will cover a review of the online course and additional units specific to Hawai‘i. Students will end this course with a final written exam.

In-person conclusion courses will be offered on O‘ahu with limited availability in October and December 2016 and expanded availability in the state in 2017. Therefore, students interested in the Hybrid course are encouraged plan ahead and register for the in-person conclusion course well in advance as spaces will fill up.

The minimum age to take Hybrid and traditional Hunter Education Classes is 10 years of age. Vouchers through for the in-person conclusion course are valid for one year from the date of issue. Students who pass the online course but fail the in-person conclusion course will not be required to recomplete the online course; however, they will be required to reregister for and recomplete the in-person conclusion course.

This Hybrid course is offered in addition to the regularly scheduled traditional 12-hour classroom course. Students interested in obtaining their Hunter Education Certification may choose from either option. Course schedules for both Hybrid and traditional courses are available at: Call: 808-587-0200 to register for courses.

For more information on the Hybrid course, please contact the Hunter Education Program at: 1-866-563-4868 or by email at: [email protected].

UH Manoa Student Wins EPA Grant to Study Coral Resiliency

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced more than $1.6 million in Science to Achieve Results (STAR) graduate fellowships for 13 students at universities in Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada. The fellowships, which will allow these students to further their education while conducting environmental research, were part of over $6 million awarded to 52 students across the nation.

“Through EPA’s funding, the STAR fellows will pursue innovative research projects while attaining advanced academic degrees,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The work these students are doing is inspirational, and will help address environmental challenges in fields such as atmospheric chemistry, green energy, hydrogeology and toxicology.”

Since 1995, the STAR fellowship program has awarded nearly 2,000 students a total of more than $65 million in funding. Recipients have engaged in innovative research opportunities, with some becoming prominent leaders in environmental science. This year’s STAR fellows are poised to become the next generation of environmental professionals who can make significant impacts in environmental science and beyond.

EPA Grant

University of Hawaii, Manoa: Christopher Wall

Project Title: The Dynamic Interaction of Nutrient Pollution and Seawater Temperature on Reef Corals: Is Nutrient Enrichment Undermining Coral Resilience?

Award Amount: $132,000


Local nutrient pollution and global ocean warming threaten coral reefs by disrupting the symbiosis between reef corals and their symbiont algae (Symbiodinium spp.). Nutrient pollution alters the exchange of metabolites between host and symbiont and can increase the sensitivity of corals to thermal stress, thereby affecting the ability for corals to respond to regional and global environmental change. This research will use field and laboratory experiments to test for nutrient and temperature effects on the performance, bleaching, and nutrition of reef corals and Symbiodinium to offer insights on the response of corals to changing environmental conditions.


I will use carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes (d13C, d15N) to test for effects of temperature and nutrient on reef coral nutrition and the autotrophic performance of genetically distinct Symbiodinium types. In a field experiment I will test for nutrient effects on the nutritional modes of corals across a gradient of human impacted reefs in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. I will then design a laboratory experiment to test for nutrient and temperature effects on the fixation, exchange, and storage of autotrophic metabolites among coral species and Symbiodinium clades. Data will be used to construct mass balanced carbon budgets, stable isotope mixing models, and trophic relationship for corals under changing environmental conditions.

Expected Results:

The interaction of nutrient pollution and temperature stress affects the function of the coral-algae symbiosis and shapes ecological outcomes for coral reefs. Nutrient pollution destabilizes reef corals by favoring the retention of autotrophic metabolites by the symbiont at the expense of the host, while temperature stress disrupts symbiont photosynthesis and drastically reduces autotrophic nutrition available to the host. Corals display alternative strategies for coping with environmental stress, including shifting modes of nutrition (autotrophy vs. heterotrophy) and associating with stress tolerant and functionally distinct Symbiodinium partners. However, the capacity to be flexible in nutrient acquisition or in symbiont partnerships is not shared among all coral taxa. By evaluating nutritional flexibility and autotrophic performance among reef corals and symbiont types it will be possible to identify whether nutrient and temperature effects on reef corals are conserved or dependent on species or host-symbiont combinations.

HELCO President to Speak at West Hawaii Forum – Hawaii’s Energy Future

What’s Ahead for Hawaii’s Energy Future?

Join the discussion at this month’s West Hawaii Forum on September 15th, 2016 from6 PM   –   8 PM at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Council Chambers

Doors will open at 5:30 pm. This program is free and open to the public.

Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)

Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)

Don’t miss this important September 15th Forum — energy is everybody’s business.    Join us and hear varying energy visions from top stakeholders in a post-NextEra Hawaii. Learn how Hawai’i could achieve its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045 and how those plans may affect you.

What economic and environmental benefits can we expect when Hawaii’s energy needs are met through locally produced clean energy?

Is it possible for all ground and marine transportation to be electrified or powered by renewable hydrogen or renewable biofuels?

Of Hawaii’s top 250 companies, five are solar contractors that generated $140 million in 2015 and are the economic drivers of several thousand local jobs.

What does the future hold for rooftop solar?

Forum Presenters:

  • Jay Ignacio, President of Hawai’i Electric Company (HELCO)
  • Isacc Moriwake, Esq., Earthjustice, Mid-Pacific Office, Hawai’i
  • Marco Mangelsdorf, Hawai’i Island Energy Cooperative (HIEC)

Forum Moderator – Henry Curtis, Illana Media, Hawai’i

In advance of the Forum, ask your questions or concerns for the energy experts at:     And join the Forum audience on September 15th, as experts explain their visions and plans for the next five years of Hawaii’s 30 year path to a clean and independent energy future.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Announces September Flight Plans

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following upcoming flight plans for September 2016:

  • September 6 and 8, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. to shuttle equipment and camp supplies from Mauna Ulu to Nāpau campsite for resource surveys
  • September 6, between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. for invasive mullein survey and control on Mauna Loa between 7,000- and 9,000-ft. elevation
  • September 7, between 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Mauna Loa Road to the Mauna Loa and Red Hill cabins between 6,000- and 13,250-ft. elevation, for maintenance on the structures
  • September 7 and 22, time TBD, to haul out old fence material from Mauna Loa along the boundary of Kapapala and Ka‘ū Forest Reserve
  • September 15 and 16, between 6 a.m. and noon, for helicopter training in the Kahuku Unit between 2,500- and 6,000-ft. elevation
  • September 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, aircraft inspection and flight near the summit of Kīlauea

In addition, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may conduct flight operations over Kīlauea and Mauna Loa to assess volcanic activity and maintain instrumentation.

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Kapa Kahilu Gallery Exhibit

Kahilu Theatre is pleased to present Kapa Kahilu, an exhibition displaying original new works of kapa created by celebrated practitioners of the revered Hawaiian art form. The curated art works will be on display in the Theatre’s Kohala and Hamakua galleries from September 15 through November 3. The exhibit opens the 36th Season of the Kahilu Theatre Foundation.


Kapa Kahilu will be the first exhibit of its kind on Hawai‘i Island and will feature some of today’s most respected kapa makers across the state. It will be a rare chance for island residents, students, and visitors to Hawai‘i Island to be immersed in this ancient Hawaiian art form.

verna kapaa

“The Exhibit is in honor of renowned kapa practitioner Marie McDonald. She is one of the primary artists attributed to preserving and perpetuating the art of kapa; it was her idea to have a kapa exhibit of this caliber in North Hawai’i,” said Kahilu Exhibitions Coordinator Margo Ray. “Marie is a long time Waimea resident and although she is no longer making kapa, three of her pieces from private collections will be included in the exhibit.”

Kapa Artists Featured:

  • Moana Eisele
  • Roen Hufford
  • Dalani Tanahy
  • Sabra Kauka
  • Verna Takashima
  • Bernice Akamine
  • Solomon Aipo
  • Lisa Schattenburg Raymond
  • Marie McDonald
  • Denby Freeland-Cole

There will be an exhibit opening reception on Thursday, September 15, from 5pm to 7pm. Live music will be provided by Hōkū Pa’a, pupu and libations will also be on offer, and most of the featured artists will be present. The documentary Ka Hana Kapa will also be screened in the Theatre starting at 6pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

Hōkū Pa’a

Hōkū Pa’a

On, Friday, September 16, from 4pm to 6pm, kapa makers and experts will hold a symposium and Q&A session with exhibiting artists and contributing scholars. This is free and open to anyone who wishes to learn more about the art form.

Sunday, September 18 at 4pm, there will be a performance by the celebrated Hālau O Kekuhi. Dancers from the halau will be wearing the traditional kapa pa’u and malo garments during the event. The Sunday performance is the opening show of the Kahilu Theatre’s 36th Season.

Kapa making demonstrations by local kapa makers will be held at the Theatre on select Saturdays during the exhibit. Confirmed demonstration dates are September 17 and October 8. These demonstrations will take place from 11am to 2pm and are free to the public.

Kahilu Theatre will also be publishing an educational and curatorial exhibit guide with scholarly essays by Victoria Kneubuhl, Moana Eisle, Betty Lou Kam, Roen Hufford, and Craig Howes, along with images of select kapa pieces in the exhibit.

Kapa is made from the fibrous inner bark of the wauke, and clothed early Hawaiians for centuries. The papery cloth is often stamped with many intricate designs, or stained with colorful dyes made from native plants and was used primarily for clothing, blankets, and religious rituals.

Kapa Kahilu is made possible by generous grants from the Hawaii Council for the Humanities and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The Kahilu Galleries are free and open to the public, Monday through Friday, from 9am to 1pm, and during all performances. For more information, visit or call (808) 885-6868.