Endangered ‘Ua‘u Released Successfully

When it comes to successful wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, the old adage “it takes a village” rings true. An endangered ‘Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel) is back in the wild thanks to the rapid response and partnership of many, including Pulama Lana‘i, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), multiple community members, Kohala Dental Center, Maui Save Our Seabirds, and the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center.

All photos courtesy of Hawai‘i Wildlife Center

The ‘Ua‘u was found injured on Lana‘i after a suspected structure collision. The bird was suffering from head trauma, an injury to its left eye, damage to the tip of its beak, and neurological issues. The rescuers coordinated with the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center, the bird was flown to Hawai‘i Island on April 19 and was then brought to the HWC wildlife hospital from the airport by Wheels for Wildlife transport volunteer, Paul McCollam. The extensive list of injuries led HWC to give the bird a guarded prognosis after it was evaluated by HWC Primary Care Veterinarian Dr. Juan Guerra. It was started on an aggressive course of treatment, including antibiotics, eye drops, nutritional support and hydration. HWC staff administered treatment three times a day every day and remained committed to the bird’s recovery.

“This case really highlights the importance of giving downed birds a chance to rehabilitate,” said Samantha Christie, HWC Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager. “This bird would have perished if not for the quick response on Lana‘i and the intensive care provided at HWC.”

The ‘Ua‘u continued its recovery, gaining strength and exhibiting more feisty natural behavior, and on May 1 it was placed on a conditioning pool for the first time. After watching the bird spend multiple days on the pool, HWC wildlife staff determined that the bird’s feathers were able to provide the necessary waterproofing and were encouraged to see the patient exhibiting normal behavior. All signs pointed towards release.

Before the bird was ready to be released, a few last details needed to be addressed. HWC wildlife rehabilitation staff performed a unique procedure using dental epoxy generously provided by Kohala Dental Center to repair the bird’s damaged beak. The day before release, the bird was banded by DOFAW staff with a band that was provided by Maui Save Our Seabirds and flown in the night before. Then she was ready for return to the wild.

Since seabirds naturally fly long distances, HWC was granted permission from USFWS and DOFAW to release the Lana‘i ‘Ua‘u on Hawai‘i Island. The release location, Kawaihae Harbor, was chosen based on the close proximity to the Center. Michael Huber, another HWC volunteer, carefully kayaked the ‘Ua‘u out of the harbor and the bird was released to favorable winds and calm seas. During its initial examination at the HWC wildlife hospital, HWC wildlife staff found a brood patch indicating that the bird was a breeding adult. HWC staff expects the bird to eventually navigate back home to Lana‘i to breed.

The Hawaiian Petrel, or ‘Ua‘u in Hawaiian, is an endangered species that feeds in in the open ocean. This large seabird is strictly pelagic and is only seen on land when nesting. (A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawai‘i. Jim Denny. University of Hawaii Press, 2010.)

2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists – Rep. Gabbard Launches “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced thirteen finalists in her Fifth Annual Kaha Kiʻi Second Congressional District Art Competition and launched a “People’s Choice” contest on the Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Facebook Page where the public can select their favorite pieces. A gallery of the finalists’ artwork is now on display in the halls of the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Each spring, the congresswoman sponsors the event to recognize and encourage creativity across Hawai‘i as part of a nationwide high school art competition with other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I encourage everyone in the community to check out the art being showcased by these gifted students from across the state of Hawaiʻi—either see the pieces in person at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, or take a look on my Facebook page. You will be impressed and inspired by their talent and creativity,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “Our annual Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity to recognize the creative abilities of Hawaii’s young adults and encourages them to further pursue their artistic talents. Congratulations to this year’s finalists, and mahalo to the educators and family members who have supported these students as they embrace their passion.”

The overall winner of the district-wide competition will be announced on May 13th in a ceremony at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside winners from all other congressional districts. The second-place and third-place pieces will be hung in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Washington, DC and Hawaiʻi offices (respectively) for one year. All winners will be awarded with a cash prize.

The entry with the most Likes, Loves, and Shares in the “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook on Thursday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m. HST will be featured as the cover photo at the top of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s official Facebook page, and the artist will win a cash prize.

The 2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists are listed below, and their artwork is shown in the corresponding graphic from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Water Is Life – Standing Rock by Riley Herendeen, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • The Old Ways by Tori Wills, Grade 12, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Fozzie by Paxton Bender, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Wahine’Ume’Ume by Chais Pascua, Grade 12, Baldwin High (Maui)
  • Hula Skirts by Lacey Santos, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Stoked by Emma Sanchez, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Innocence by Sophia Kauffmann, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Self Portrait by Lillian Pickering, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Surrounded by Ruby Ranoa, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Looking Into the Future Through the Past by Hunter Weigle, Grade 12, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Girl in the Shadows by Sonja Angst, Grade 12, Molokaʻi High School
  • What’s Around by Daymien Rodrigues, Grade 9, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Submerged by Jackie Duliere, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)

Each spring, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sponsors the Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition as part of a nationwide high school arts competition. The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. For more information, click here.

Big Island Dairy Fined for Fecal Pollution

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order to Big Island Dairy, LLC for the unlawful discharge of wastewater from the dairy’s Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFO), located in O’okala on Hawaii Island, to Kaohaoha Gulch.

Big Island Dairy Facebook picture

The DOH has ordered Big Island Dairy, LLC to immediately cease discharging wastewater to state waters, pay a penalty of $25,000 to the state, and take corrective actions to prevent future unlawful discharges from the dairy to state waters. Further, the dairy is required to apply to DOH for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit required under the Federal Clean Water Act, and State of Hawaii water pollution laws. Additional DOH oversight of other past and current dairy issues is continuing.

“Big Island Dairy will immediately cease illegal discharges and pay a penalty fee for violating environmental laws,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health. “Food production and environmental protection are not competing interests, and through this enforcement action and future permitting efforts, DOH will seek mutually beneficial results for the dairy, O’okala community, and greater State of Hawaii.”

On March 28-29, 2017, the DOH conducted an inspection of the dairy and Kaohaoha Gulch based on information provided by community leaders. During the inspection, DOH found clear evidence of an unlawful discharge of wastewater from the dairy’s field irrigation practices. The discharge was composed of animal wastewater, biosolids and dirt.

Requirement for an NPDES Permit Authorizing the Discharge to State waters

Under the federal Clean Water Act and state water pollution laws, a dairy with 700 or more mature milking cows which operates as a CAFO and discharges is required to obtain and comply with an NPDES permit. NPDES permits regulate the discharges from the dairy to state and federal waters by requiring implementation of pollution reducing practices and compliance reporting. Big Island Dairy has 30 days to submit an application for NPDES permit coverage to DOH.

Requirement for the Development and Implementation of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan

Big Island Dairy is ordered to develop or revise a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) that defines how the dairy treats, uses, and distributes its wastewater for crop production purposes. The CNMP must follow Federal guidelines and be approved of by the DOH before implementation. The CNMP will be an enforceable provision of the NPDES permit.

Surveys of State waters within Dairy Property

Big Island Dairy is required to conduct surveys and inspections of state waters located within the dairy property to identify all points of discharge from the dairy. The dairy must develop corrective action plans if the dairy finds any evidence of waste or wastewater within state waters due to dairy operations. DOH will review the final reports and conduct due diligence to authenticate conclusions made in the dairy’s report.

Big Island Dairy, LLC may contest the Notice of Violation and Order and has 20 days to request a hearing.

The Hawaii Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch protects the health of residents and visitors who enjoy Hawaii’s coastal and inland water resources. The Branch also protects and restores inland and coastal waters for marine life and wildlife. This is accomplished through statewide coastal water surveillance and watershed-based environmental management using a combination of permit issuance, water quality monitoring and investigation, water quality violation enforcement, polluted runoff control, and public education.