New Lava Flow Maps Released

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of April 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of May 3 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube (dashed where uncertain).

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to Enlarge)

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the southeastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the active flow field as of April 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of May 3 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Hawaii House of Representatives Adjourns 2017 Legislative Session

The House of Representatives today adjourned the 2017 regular legislative session sine die.

The Legislature passed a total of 233 bills this session including measures to support for affordable housing and homelessness, reduce taxes low-income families, provide college tuition for qualifying students, support kupuna care, and fund new schools and heat abatement in classrooms.

The House today deferred action on SB1183 HD2 HD2 HCD2 to fund the City & County of Honolulu’s financially troubled rail project until the next session.

This session the House passed a State Budget that appropriates $14.1 billion in total operating funds for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The budget includes $2.9 billion for critical capital improvement projects in every county across the state.

More than $30 million is designated in the budget for grants-in-aid for nonprofit organizations who reach out to the community with invaluable services.

To support our low-income families the House passed HB 209 which establishes a state earned income tax credit. This will help low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.

The House passed legislation to keep Hawaii property owners protected under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance. The bill saves more than 60,000 flood insurance policies totaling over $13.4 billion throughout the state at risk of being cancelled without this bill.

Another bill established the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Hawaii is the only state to offer this program.

The House funded the Hawaii Promise Program which will help qualified students with financial needs pay for in-state college tuition.

Two new schools, East Kapolei Middle School and Kihei High School on Maui, were also funded along with a new classroom building for over-crowded Campbell High School.

In response to the increasingly unmet need for rental housing, the House passed HB 1179 to provide incentives to rental housing developers by expanding the types of projects that can be exempt from general excise taxes, with the permission of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Lawmakers also voted to support the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation’s Downpayment Loan Program to relieve the increasing burden of housing prices on first-time home buyers, and added $25 million to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and $25 million to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to promote affordable rental housing.

On the environment, the House voted to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement.

To fight the continuing threat of invasive species, bills were passed to monitor the Rose-ringed Parakeet on Kauai, to eliminate the Little Fire Ant, and continued funding for the battle against Rapid Ohia Death.

In agriculture, lawmakers acted quickly to prevent the Rat Lungworm Disease from spreading.  They passed HB 1475 to broaden commercial operations permitted on agricultural land and allow farmers’ markets and food hubs on ag land. This bill also allows on-farm sales of produce and value-added products, a critical source of additional income for small farms.

The House voted to maintain the hemp pilot program and allow applicants to apply for permits all year long. The counties will be required to recognize industrial hemp as an agricultural product, use or activity. Certain facility and transportation requirements will be eased up to make this industry more feasible and to become a thriving industry.

For homeless people the House funded outreach and health care services and earmarked $3 million for the Housing First program. Housing First is an approach to homelessness that provides rapid housing placement, followed by support services and has proven successful in helping people to improve their lives.

The House also voted to select Representative Scott Saiki as the new House Speaker following the resignation of Speaker Joe Souki.

“Rep. Souki has been a mentor and friend for many of us in the House. He taught us what it means to serve the people of Hawaii with honor, passion and pride,” said Speaker Saiki. “He has left his mark on the State and in these Halls that will never be erased.  I want to thank him for his service, for his words of wisdom and his guidance.”

Click on this link for all bills passed during the 2017 session.

Kamokuna Lava Delta Collapses Into Ocean

On May 3, Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna lava delta, which had been growing since late March, collapsed.

This image shows the lava delta at 7:50 a.m. HST, a couple of hours before the collapse.

An HVO time-lapse camera captured the sequence of events in five-minute intervals.

Between 9:35 and 9:40 a.m., a large steam plume appeared in the middle of Kamokuna lava delta in the area of large cracks noted in our April 27 image.

Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra is visible in the steaming area, but that activity ended by 9:40 a.m.

Images captured over the next 25 minutes show that the steam plume in the middle of the delta weakened, and the delta surface surrounding the steaming area subsided.

Within five minutes, between 9:55 and 10:00 a.m. HST, nearly the entire delta disappeared, collapsing into the sea.

In this image, captured at 10:05 a.m., the seawater is brown and turbulent. Large blocks of steaming rocks are visible on top of a narrow slice of the remaining delta (center). These rocks were likely washed ashore by a small, localized tsunami generated by the collapse. During the next few hours, small pieces of the remnant delta continued to flake off and disappear into the ocean.

The collapsed area cut back toward the sea cliff, past the largest crack on the delta.

This morning (May 4), the Kamokuna ocean entry was obscured by a thick steam plume at the base of the cliff.

Click images to enlarge

Sparse littoral bursts, occasionally visible through the plume, were the source of the floating, steaming lava fragments that can be seen in the ocean near the entry.

Hawaii Senate Adjourns 2017 Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2017 regular session today taking action on a number of priority areas including homelessness, healthcare, education, and the environment.  These priorities align with the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.

Members of the Senate, along with their House counterparts, approved the allocation of about $40 million over the next two years on homeless programs, a top priority of the Legislative Program, including $500,000 each year for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges; $800,000 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individual families with severe substance use disorders and $300,000 each year for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Investing in our children, from preschool to college, reflects the Senate’s priority in education.  $90 million was allocated to address conditions for school facilities statewide. The Legislature passed SB423 which ensures that public school students will receive a school meal, even if the student’s meal fund account balance is zero. $1 million in general funds was appropriated in each fiscal year for the Early College High School Initiative.

Lawmakers passed measures to address our environment including funding to fight invasive species such as the Coffee Berry Borer and to provide support in the Rapid Ohia Death response.  They also passed SB559 which ensures statewide support for Hawai‘i’s green initiatives and measure the efforts being made to mitigate the effects of climate change throughout the state.

By passing HB607, Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the nation to pass legislation which authorizes a program to support those who provide care for the elderly.  In addressing a disease making headlines locally and nationally, $1 million was appropriated to address Rat Lungworm disease.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) said despite trying and difficult times during the Session, he was grateful and proud of his colleagues and Senate staff for “working as professionals each and every day.”

“I’m pleased with the work done over the last 60 days,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).  “There were certainly challenges throughout this session, particularly in the area of the budget, where tough choices had to be made.  However, my Senate colleagues always kept in mind the best interest of the people of Hawai‘i. I’m hopeful that what issues remain unresolved at the end of this session, we can work together to find solutions and move forward.”

On the stalemate over funding for the rail project, the Senate remains open to negotiate an agreement with the House to ensure adequate financing to complete the project, yet minimize the impact on the most vulnerable citizens of the community.

Under Senate Rules and Senate Resolution 96, during the interim, the membership of each Standing Committee can be appointed by the President subject to action by the Senate. Should there be changes to a Standing Committee, the new assignments will be announced.

To view all the bills passed in the 2017 Legislative Session, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Republican Healthcare Bill

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after voting against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill is opposed by the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union, the National Education Association, among others. The bill passed the House by a vote of 217-213 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“The bill that passed today is not a healthcare bill—it’s a big handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This bill slashes $880 billion from Medicaid, strips away health benefits like maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services, expands a crippling age tax on our seniors, eliminates healthcare tax credits for over 7 million veterans, and breaks the bank for those with pre-existing conditions. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. This partisan bill was rushed through, resulting in corporate benefits on the backs of the people.

“We need real healthcare reform that brings down costs, increases access to quality care, and ensures basic health services are available to all Americans. As a cosponsor of H.R.676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, I’m working towards a system that will provide universal healthcare to all Americans—a standard met by nearly every other industrialized nation.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke against the American Health Care Act on the House floor and urged Congress to vote no.

Learn How to Divide Cattleya Orchids

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club demonstrates how to divide cattleya orchids during the May 10 meeting. Betty Matsuo, one of the club’s original members, will lead the presentation. Open to those interested in orchids, the meeting is 7 p.m. at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. Bring a potluck dish to share. For info, phone 808-328-8375.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Rep. Souki Resigns as Speaker of Hawaii House of Representatives

Representative Joseph M. Souki has resigned as Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives effective immediately.

Souki was re-elected as Speaker of the House in January 2013. He previously served as Speaker from 1993 to 1999, and Speaker Emeritus from 2000 to 2013. He also served as Chair of the Committee on Finance, and most recently as Chair of the Committee on Transportation.

Souki, a Democrat, has served in the Hawaii State House since 1982. He represents the 8th district, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Waikapu on the island of Maui where he was born and raised.

See attached letter from Rep. Souki to all House Members.

Hokulea Returning Home

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea will conclude its epic three-year sail around the globe and return home to the Hawaiian Islands in June 2017.  The mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines was to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.

On Saturday, June 17, Hokulea and its crew members will make their historic return to Hawaii at Oahu’s Magic Island after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles since departing Oahu for the first deep sea leg of the voyage in May 2014. Hokulea will sail into Magic Island along with a fleet of about seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand.  The homecoming celebration, themed Lei Kaapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” honors the journey of connecting cultures and people around the world.

“It is the realization of decades of hard work and planning on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew and our partners and friends around the world to embark on the final leg of Hokulea’s voyage and return home,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Watching Hokulea crest the waves of Oahu’s south shore as she returns home, much like the canoes of our ancestors, will be a once in a lifetime experience. We are overwhelmed with emotion at all we have accomplished during this historic voyage and we look forward to setting sail on the next chapter together.”

Hokulea’s homecoming will include a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration. To further engage the local community and continue the festivities, a series of additional homecoming events are planned during the week following the June 17 arrival. The Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day summit, will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public. The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh.

The mission of the Voyage has been to spread the message of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by promoting environmental consciousness, fostering learning environments, bringing together island communities and growing a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage has celebrated a resurgence of pride and respect for our native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.

The Malama Honua sail plan included over 150 ports, 18 nations and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 200 volunteer crew members have helped to sail the vessel and connect with more than 100,000 people throughout the world in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands.

After returning to Hawaii in the fall of 2017, Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Coast Guard Holding Public Meeting Regarding Changes to Kamokuna Lava Ocean Entry Safety Zone

The Coast Guard will host a public meeting regarding the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Kamokuna lava ocean entry safety zone at the East Hawaii County Building at 5 p.m., Monday.

Kamokuna Ocean Entrance

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making is public notice a federal agency intends to create, add, remove or change a rule or regulation. The Coast Guard encourages citizens to participate in the rulemaking process by reviewing the rulemaking docket and providing public comment via the Federal Register. Public comments ensure Coast Guard rules and regulations are in the best interest of all parties. The Coast Guard is holding this public meeting as part of the NPRM process to encourage public input regarding the possible permanence and scope of the safety zone in place at Kamokuna.

To view the NPRM in the Federal Register, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0234 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically.  Electronic comments may be submitted via http://www.regulations.gov.  Click the “COMMENT NOW” box on the top right of Docket Folder. Written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

The comment period ends at 11:59 p.m. June 2, 2017.

  • WHO: Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Captain of the Port
  • WHAT: Hosts public meeting as part of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making to collect public input on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making process regarding the safety zone
  • WHERE: East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi Street #7, Hilo, HI, 96720
  • WHEN: 5 p.m., May 8, 2017. Media are asked to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.

Media interested in attending are asked to RSVP no later than Monday at 12 p.m. by contacting the Coast Guard 14th District public affairs office at 808-341-9849.