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Soldiers In The Battle Against Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death; Passion for Hawaii Forests Prompts Participation

Dozens of scientists, foresters, surveyors, researchers, and educators are actively involved in the fight to try and stop the spread of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. The fungal disease has decimated tens of thousands of acres of native ‘ōhi‘a on the Big Island. A virtual army of specialists from a wide array of federal, state, county, and non-profit organizations are engaged in the fight to find a treatment and simultaneously to stop it in its tracks. That’s where education and outreach come in.

ohia death

Anya Tagawa and Jeff Bagshaw of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s (DOFAW)    Natural Area Reserve (NAR) program are two of the soldiers on the frontline of spreading awareness about Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  They’ve each created signs that hunters, hikers,     mountain bikers and other people recreating on state public lands will soon see.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said,  “It is critical that every person who goes into the woods or forest anywhere in Hawaii, takes steps to prevent this disease from spreading. Anya and Jeff’s work along with a team of other outreach experts, is vitally important in getting kama‘āina and visitors alike to be certain they don’t inadvertently track the fungus from place to place.”

Their individual signs are different in appearance, but contain the same basic message. Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death kills one of the most important native trees quickly and in wide swaths.  Failing to follow the simple recommendations outlined on both signs could make you responsible for spreading this disease inter-island and intra-island.

Tagawa’s passion is borne of a life spent in the forest. She comments, “My life has always been intertwined with ‘ōhi‘a, with our native forests. I grew up hiking, exploring, and being captivated by our forests. I continue to learn about their unparalleled uniqueness and feel an intimate    connection with these special places. Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death threatens this way of life. It is imperative that we do all what we can to ensure ‘ōhi‘a is present for our future generations to experience, engage, and form a relationship with. It is critical for the continued persistence of the countless unique plants and animals that rely on ‘ōhi’a.”

Bagshaw is the outreach coordinator at the Ahihi-Kina‘u NAR on Maui’s south shore. The nearest wild ‘ōhi’a is dozens of miles away yet he designed the sign for the Na Ala Hele Trails Access system, because he, like his colleagues, is deeply concerned about the fate of Hawai‘i’s ‘ōhi’a forests.

He said, “We hope hikers and all forest users will start to be conscious  wherever they go, even if there’s ‘ōhi’a there or not. We’d like them to realize, that they could be taking something into the forest that affects our native ecosystems. ‘Ōhi’a are the backbone of our native rainforest; they feed the honeycreepers, they protect the watershed.  I can’t imagine a Hawaiian rainforest without ‘ōhi’a.”

Recently, Bagshaw, his staff, and volunteers conducted awareness surveys with visitors to the Ahihi-Kina‘u NAR.  They’ve found very few people have any knowledge about ōhi’a or Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death.  They’re heartened though, by people’s willingness to adopt the preventative measures outlined on each of the trail signs.

Tagawa’s signs will eventually be at every DOFAW trailhead on the Big Island: more than 50 in all. On Maui, Bagshaw’s signs are being placed at all Na Ala Hele trailheads.

Soldiers in the Fight Against Rapid Ohia Death- Video News Release from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Hilo Orchid Show Gala Preview Party Information

On June 2, the Hilo Orchid Show kicks off with a gala Preview Party from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.  Ticket proceeds benefit the non-profit Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.

 The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 64th Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The gala Preview Party on Thursday evening, June 2, gives ticket holders a sneak preview of the lush displays and the first chance to buy orchids, plants, and related products. Photo by Andy Kahili

The Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium is the site for the Hilo Orchid Society’s 64th Annual Orchid Show and Sale. The gala Preview Party on Thursday evening, June 2, gives ticket holders a sneak preview of the lush displays and the first chance to buy orchids, plants, and related products. (Photo by Andy Kahili)

“The evening gala is a truly a ‘fun’-raiser.  People eat, drink, socialize, and have the first chance to shop for colorful, exquisite, and rare orchid plants,” said party chair and Ku‘ikahi board member Cody Frenz.

The benefit party features a selection of beverages, catered food, live music, and orchid pre-sales.  The event is zero waste, with eco-friendly eating utensils, plus recycling/composting stations.

Each party-goer receives an etched wine or beer glass, in order to enjoy the libations and take home after the event.  A wide variety of fine wines, beer on tap from Kona Brewing Co., gourmet juices, and coffee from Hilo Coffee Mill are served.

Pupu, dinner, and dessert buffets feature tasty treats by Island Naturals Market & Deli and AJ & Sons Catering.  AJ’s chefs are Dean Shigeoka and Audrey Wilson, the food columnist for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

On the menu are mantou buns with three filling options: tofu, pork, and teriyaki chicken; free range chicken tandoori with turmeric rice and raita; free range turkey meatballs with sweet and sour sauce; Thai beef salad with glass noodles; various types of sushi including vegetarian, house made poi chips with sun dried tomato hummus; purple sweet potato and Ka‘u orange salad; and hearts of palm with lilikoi dressing.

“We’re happy to be back at the stadium where the Merrie Monarch is held,” Frenz noted.  “With cool breezes, exquisite views, and shorter lines for food service, we’re all set for a fabulous gala on June 2.  We hope the community will come out to enjoy a fun party and support our cause of ‘Finding Solutions, Growing Peace.’”

Tickets for the Preview Party are $65 ($25 of which is tax deductible) and may be purchased in advance from Hilo Coffee Mill, The Most Irresistible Shop, Day-Lum Properties, and Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center.  For reservations, contact Jenifer at (808) 935-7844 x 1 or jenifer@hawaiimediation.org.  Tickets are also available at the door.

Community Meeting on Rapid Ohia Death (ROD)

On Tuesday, May 10th at 7:00 pm, a community meeting will be held to discuss what can be done to stop the Rapid Ohia Death that has been happening on the Big Island of Hawaii.


Hawaii Department of Health Announces the Selection of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has selected eight applicants to receive Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licenses. The Department will award three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two licenses each for the Counties of Hawaii and Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai as allowed in Chapter 329D, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

Medical Marijuana

While the announcement of the selected applicants is being made today, selected applicants are required to pay a licensing fee of $75,000 to the Department of Health within seven days of receiving their written notice of selection to be awarded a dispensary license. If the application fee is not timely paid by close of business on the seventh day, the selected applicant will be disqualified, and the Department shall select the next highest scoring applicant for the county, pursuant to section 329D-4(c) HRS, and section 11-850-21(b), HAR.

The applicants that have been selected for dispensary licenses are:

City and County of Honolulu

  • Aloha Green Holdings Inc.
  • Manoa Botanicals LLC
  • TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure Oahu

County of Hawaii

  • Hawaiian Ethos LLC
  • Lau Ola LLC

County of Maui

  • Maui Wellness Group, LLC
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC

County of Kauai

  • Green Aloha, Ltd.

“Upon the completion of the selection process and the awarding of licenses, the Department of Health will begin working with the selected licensees to ensure the safety of their products, and the safety of patients and the public,” said State Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “We look forward to improving access to marijuana for registered patients who have medical needs, and increasing educational opportunities for healthcare professionals.”

After receiving more than 60 applications in January, the department conducted a rigorous review and selection process. A four-member selection panel reviewed and scored applications based on thirteen merit criteria, some of which include the ability to operate a business, a plan and timeline for operations, proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements, and capacity to meet patient needs.

A dispensary licensed pursuant to Chapter 329D, HRS, may begin dispensing marijuana no sooner than July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health. Each dispensary licensee may operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations within the county they are licensed to serve. Margaret Leong, Supervisor for the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program, explained that, “There are many steps the dispensaries will need to take in order to actually start production and dispensing, so we can’t say exactly when the dispensing will begin. But we are excited to start working with the selected licensees on the next steps.”

Pursuant to section 11-850-20, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Department is holding unselected applications in reserve to offer a license to the next highest scoring applicant if the selected applicants fail to timely pay the required licensing fee. When all available licenses have been issued, the unselected applications will be removed from the list of reserved applications and the Department will notify all applicants of their status, at which time they will have an opportunity to appeal the denial.

The department will post a list of the total scores received by applicants upon completion of the awarding of licenses, which is anticipated to be completed within the next two weeks. The scores will be posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/.

More information about both the medical marijuana dispensary program and the registry program are located at the website.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Set for Sept. 9

It’s where you can sample the rich flavor of numerous cuts of pasture-raised meat and talk story with the people who are producing our food.

Taste Shank

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

Time is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and outside at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—expertly prepared by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like chuck and ground beef, plus the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Local food producers will offer samples and displays at friendly booths. While “grazing,” attendees can enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

O‘ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason “J” Schoonover are teaming up to instruct the 2016 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Chef Hanney is the chef/owner of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. Chef Schoonover is the executive chef of 12th Ave Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Award-winning Best Restaurant of the Year. Both chefs regularly include pasture-raised beef on their menus.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 with sampling is $10 while a 1 p.m. class geared for culinary students and food service professionals is free.

Tickets go on sale online June 1 at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.  Purchase them at island-wide locations starting July 1: Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Gina at 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

What Does the New Rural Hawaii Look Like and Who/What Controls its Agricultural Future?

Agricultural Land Use will be the topic of a public presentation at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on Wednesday, May 4, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. in UCB Room 100.
Ag Lands
The State of Agricultural Land Use in Hawai‘i 2016: Crops, Locations and Trends will highlight the findings of the 2015 Statewide Agricultural Land Use Baseline produced by UH Hilo’s Geography Department’s Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (SDAV) Lab for the State Department of Agriculture to help guide discussions and to set Hawaiʻi’s agricultural priorities.

Project Manager Jeffrey Melrose and Principal Investigator Dr. Ryan Perroy will address a number of critical questions during their presentation, including:

  • What happened to over 200,000 acres of former sugar and pineapple fields?
  • What does the new Rural Hawaiʻi look like and who/what controls its agricultural future?
  • How has the supply of agricultural water fared in the post-plantation transition?
  • What forces shape the future of Hawaiʻi’s food self-reliance?
  • What is the status for export and niche crops in Hawaiʻi’s agricultural mix?

The presentation is hosted by UH Hilo’s Geography and Environmental Studies Department, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, and the College of Continuing Education and Community Service.

For more information, contact Jeffrey Melrose at (808) 989-8322 or Dr. Bruce Mathews at (808) 217-7393.

Friends of NELHA Debuts New Tours

The non-profit Friends of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (FON) offers a new lineup of tours open to the public that can be conveniently booked online.

View the world’s largest operational Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant and find out how it works.

NEHLA MakaiDiscover how many aquaculture operations are utilizing deep, cold, nutrient-rich water and warm, surface water to farm our food at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)—and taste samples.

Learn about what HOST facilities are working to protect and restore our unique ocean inhabitants and why it’s important.

Morning tours are Mondays through Fridays. All tours start at the LEED-certified Gateway Visitor Center. The schedule includes:

FON Ocean Matters Tour: Offering an introduction to cutting edge green energy, aquaculture, desalination and research efforts underway at HOST the activity is 10-11:15 am Monday with options to also visit the OTEC tower at Keahole Point, Big Island Abalone and the Kanaloa Octopus Farm.

NEHLA Octopus

FON Ocean Conservation Tour: Fun starts with an overview presentation and continues with a visit to Ke Kai Ola, the monk seal rehabilitation center. Learn about the efforts to revive Hawai‘i’s declining seal population. Next stop is at the world’s first octopus farm to get up-close-and-personal with cephalopods before seeing the nearby OTEC Tower. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.


FON Sustainable Aquaculture Tour: Attendees hear about the challenges and successes of producing sustainable food in the ocean during a tour at Kampachi Farms. Next, see how Big Island Abalone produces feed, brood stock and market product before enjoying a delicious, grilled sample of the company’s premium ezo abalone. Stop at the OTEC Tower and overview presentation. Time is 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

Book tours and find more details at www.friendsofnelha.org or phone 808-329-8073.

Friends of NELHA (FON) is a nonprofit, conservation education organization offering public tours with a focus on renewable energy, sustainability, sustainable aquaculture and the uniqueness of the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park at Keahole Point . Presentations begin 10 a.m. weekdays at the Gateway Visitor Center, a mesmerizing location where visitors are inspired by the technologies being developed on the Big Island. Tours are offered Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). www.friendsofnelha.org.

Agriculture Workshops Offered in West Hawaii

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS) offers two agriculture workshops with Zach Mermel this month at the Hawai’i Community College Palamanui campus in Kailua-Kona. Both workshops will be held in Room B-125.

edible plants
The Secrets of the Soil series is held on Saturday, April 23. Part 1 meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will explore the basics of soil biology. Topics include soil formation, types of soils found on Hawaiʻi Island, the dynamics of the soil food web, and fundamentals of soil testing at the homestead and farm scale. Part 2 will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. This hands-on session will teach participants how to make a high-quality compost and includes constructing a biologically active compost pile. The cost is $40 for Part 1, $30 for Part 2, or $60 for both sessions.

Edible Landscaping will be held on Saturday, April 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will learn how to transform their land into an abundant oasis of edible and multifunctional plants. Mermel will cover edible landscaping and provide hands-on experience in creating a basic landscape plan. Participants should bring an aerial photo or TMK map of their land as well as colored pens and pencils. Tuition is $55.

For more information and to register, contact CCECS at 932-7830 or visit http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/ccecs/.

Super Slam Finished on Big Island of Hawaii, 49 States… 49 Turkeys

A Pennsylvania man flew to the Big Island of Hawaii for one and only one reason… to kill a turkey.

After missing a gobbler earlier in the morning during a hunt in Hawaii, Hudak connected later in the day to achieve the U.S. Super Slam.

After missing a gobbler earlier in the morning during a hunt in Hawaii, Hudak connected later in the day to achieve the U.S. Super Slam.

Tony Hudak of Noxen, Pennsylvania set out to kill a turkey in every state in the United States (except for Alaska where there are no turkeys), becoming only the fifth person to do what is known as the Super Slam..

According to the Times Leader, he was successful!

…But Hudak set out on the morning of March 19 hoping to find the final gobbler in his quest.

At 6:30 a.m. a gobbler sounded off from its roost from far away. Hudak began to maneuver into position when another bird gobbled. It was closer and Hudak focused on the second bird instead.

Hudak called, the bird answered and then things happened quickly.

“Apparently he was rushing in because the next time I called he was just 50 yards away over a little hill,” Hudak said. “I got against a koa log and the bird came around a knob in full strut, 30 yards away.”

The gobbler lifted its head and Hudak shot.

And missed.

And that’s when Hudak began having doubts.

“I was thinking that I just flew 6,000 miles to get here, and all these years of traveling to every state and it comes down to this and I blow it. I whiffed,” Hudak said. “It took me an hour to get my wits back after that ordeal.”

At 8 a.m. another bird gobbled but Hudak couldn’t get it within range, and that’s when Big Island of Hawaii posed another unique challenge.


“Turkeys clam up when it gets foggy,” Hudak said.

The fog rolled in thick from the ocean, forcing Hudak and John Sabati – the ranch manager for where he was hunting, to retreat to a lower elevation. All he could do was cover ground and call with the hope a gobbler was out there somewhere.

Finally, at 3 p.m. Hudak spotted a gobbler in a cow pasture in full strut. The bird walked back-and-forth along a fence, unaware it was being watched.

Hudak would get a second chance.

“Once I saw what he was doing I tried to get on one end of his strut zone and cut him off,” Hudak said. “He came to about 60 yards, walking right to me, then turned around and walked away 100 yards, still strutting.”

Sabati suggested sneaking below the gobbler, so Hudak made a wide loop and came up to the fence. The gobbler was there, and still unaware.

Hudak clucked once with his mouth call and the gobbler turned and walked right into range. Hudak shot and this time he didn’t miss…

You can read the full story here: Tony Hudak achieves US Super Slam

Hamakua Springs Offering Free ‘Thank You’ Bananas this Friday

Hamakua Springs Country Farms will be giving away 300 boxes of bananas from its final banana harvest this Friday, April 1, 2016 (no fooling). That’s 12 thousand pounds of bananas – about 30 thousand bananas – so there’s definitely enough for everyone who’s interested.

Hamakua Springs bananas

Hamakua Springs bananas

Bananas will be available for people to drive in and pick up at Kumu Street in Hilo. (Turn off Kamehameha Avenue onto the short Kumu Street, which is just past Ponahawai St. at the soccer fields.)

Hamakua Springs owners Richard and June Ha, along with other family members and workers, will be at the Hilo soccer fields from 10 a.m. Friday morning.

“It’s our way of saying thank you for the community’s support over all these years,” said Richard Ha. The company, first as Kea‘au Bananas, then Mauna Kea Bananas and most recently Hamakua Springs Country Farms, was in business for 35 years.

Richard Ha and family at Hamakua Springs Country Farms. From left: Richard Ha, his mother Florence Ha, Richard’s wife June Ha, son-in-law Kimo Pa and daughter Tracy Pa.

Richard Ha and family at Hamakua Springs Country Farms. From left: Richard Ha, his mother Florence Ha, Richard’s wife June Ha, son-in-law Kimo Pa and daughter Tracy Pa.

The primary reason they stopped farming bananas, Ha explained, was that Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) was found on the farm. “We had experience with BBTV at our banana farm in Kea‘au, and we knew that if the disease became imbedded in the gulches it would become a constant source of infection,” he said. “That’s the main reason we decided to stop bananas.”

Another factor is the rising cost of oil, which has significantly driven up farm costs such as fertilizer, plastic, and other items with oil petroleum costs embedded in their price. When the oil price dropped recently, those costs stayed up. “We know the oil price will go back up again, and anticipating that we had to make a decision,” he said. “It’s not that we’re going bankrupt – we’re not. We just needed to do what we had to do before it got to that point.”

The former banana acreage has been leased to another farmer, and other possibilities are being investigated for the farm land and hydroelectric system.

Hawaii Endangered Species Gain 157,000 Acres of Protected Habitat – More Than 100 Hawaiian Plants, Animals Get Critical Habitat Designations

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected 157,000 acres of critical habitat for 125 species of plants and animals from the Hawaiian islands of Molokai, Maui and Kahoolawe.

Click to view (warning large file)

Click to view (warning large file)

The species range from plants like Haleakala silversword; the state flower, mao hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei); and bird-pollinated lobelias as well as a tree snail and striking forest birds like the Akohekohe or crested honeycreeper. Invasive species, habitat loss and the effects from introduced pigs, goats and deer are the primary threats to these species.

“Critical habitat will speed restoration efforts for many of these imperiled species so I’m glad to see that happen,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, endangered species recovery director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Endangered Species Act continues to save hundreds of Hawaiian species from extinction and can be a significant force to save these species too.”

With more endangered species than any other state, Hawaii continues to be on the front line of the extinction crisis. The 135 species addressed in today’s rule include two birds, three snails and 130 plants. However, only 125 species actually received critical habitat. The final rule excluded critical habitat for 10 species. A total of 84,892 acres were excluded from critical habitat because they are included in management plans and agreements thought to benefit these species. An additional 29,170 acres were removed from critical habitat.

“The lack of designated critical habitat for these species is a concern if the management agreements do not hold up or are ineffective,” said Mehrhoff. “We’re also concerned with the removal of 9,800 acres of lowland rainforest from critical habitat designation on Maui.”

Hawaii Department of Health Cites Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company for Burn Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch has issued a Notice and Finding of Violation and Order against Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC&S).

PrintHC&S operates a sugar cane refinery and plantation at Puunene on Maui, and was cited for agricultural burning permit violations that occurred in May, June and July of 2015.

The violations were self-reported and after a review of the reports a penalty of $8,300 was issued by DOH and paid by HC&S. Copies of the Notice of Violation are posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/cab/.

The DOH Clean Air Branch monitors air quality and regulates businesses that release pollutants into the air. The Branch 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 Branch ensures companies comply with state and federal emission standards to minimize air pollution impacts on the public.

Merrie Monarch Travel Alert

Travelers attending the Merrie Monarch Festival later this week are being alerted to quarantine restrictions on the transport of ohia from Hawaii Island due to a serious plant disease called rapid ohia death (ROD), also known as ohia wilt, which is devastating the native forests on that island.

Travel Alert

The quarantine restricts the movement of ohia plants and plant parts, including flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, twigs, cuttings, untreated wood, logs, mulch greenwaste and frass (sawdust from boring beetles) and any soil from Hawaii Island. Transport of such items is only allowed with a permit issued by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA).

“Ohia is one of the most important trees in our native forests and has such cultural significance,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Researchers are working hard to find methods to stop ROD and we ask that everyone obey the quarantine and assist in containing the spread of the disease to other islands.”

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture issued the emergency quarantine in August of 2015 to stop the spread of the plant fungus from Hawaii Island to other islands. Any person who violates the quarantine rule may be charged with a misdemeanor and fined not less than $100. The maximum fine is $10,000. For a second offense committed within five years of a prior conviction under this rule, the person or organization shall be fined not less than $500 and not more than $25,000.

HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors have printed a travel alert that is available at airports statewide. The card explains the quarantine and what travelers should and should not do. The information is also available on the department’s website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/reportingohiawilt/

The Merrie Monarch Festival runs from March 27 to April 2 with dozens of hula halau and hundreds of spectators traveling to and from Hawaii Island. It is important to note that the very act of harvesting ohia may spread the disease as spores may be carried in soil and by vehicles, shoes and clothing to uninfected areas.

Multi-agency ROD working groups have been meeting with Native Hawaiian groups, the Merrie Monarch organization and other community groups to provide advice and guidance on the handling of ohia material.

ROD was first noticed in 2010 in Puna. In 2014, the fungus was identified as Ceratocystis fimbriata by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Daniel K. Inouye Agricultural Research Service. In 2014, it was estimated that the disease covered approximately 6,000 acres from Kalapana to Hilo and exhibited tree mortality rates of more than 50 percent. Currently, it is estimated to infect about 34,000 acres. So far, the disease has not been found on other islands. It is not known how the disease entered the state or where it came from.

Travelers seeking more ohia inspection information may contact HDOA’s Plant Quarantine offices:

Hilo – (808) 974-4141
Kona – (808) 326-1077
Honolulu – (808) 837-8413
Maui – (808) 872-3848
Kauai – (808) 241-7135

More information on ROD may be found at:

HDOA website: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/reportingohiawilt/

UH-College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources website:  http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/forestry/disease/ohia_wilt.html

Applications Sought for Hawaii Island Forestry Advisory Council Positions

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, is now accepting applications for vacant seats on the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC) and the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council (PAC) on Hawai‘i Island.

DLNRLaupāhoehoe Advisory Council members are expected and encouraged to provide guidance to DLNR and the USDA Forest Service on issues related to management, research, education and public access in the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest and state lands in the Hamakua district (Laupāhoehoe Natural Area Reserve and Forest Reserve).

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council members are expected and encouraged to provide guidance to DLNR for state lands in North Kona that include the PWW Forest Reserve, PWW Forest Bird Sanctuary, Kīholo State Park Reserve, and the makai lands of Pu‘u Anahulu.

Laupāhoehoe forest is located on the windward side of Hawai‘i island and includes 12,300 acres of wet tropical forest in both forest reserve land as well as a Natural Area Reserve. The ‘ahupua‘a of Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a is 40,711 acres of state land and includes the Forest Bird Sanctuary, Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest reserve, and Kīholo state park reserve. Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a is on the leeward side of Hawai‘i island on the northern flank of Hualālai and includes tropical dry and wet forests, grasslands and coastal ecosystems, including anchialine ponds.

The Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council consists of 14 members with two members representing each of the following categories: cultural resources, natural resource management, recreation, education, Laupāhoehoe community, Hawai‘i community at large, and scientific research. Members of the council serve a 2 or 3-year term (staggered within each category). Applicants with appropriate backgrounds who are interested in representing community stakeholders in these categories are now being sought. Meetings are held in Laupāhoehoe from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of odd-numbered months.

The Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council consists of 14 members in the following categories: natural resource specialist and recreation use specialist (three members each), Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative and grazing specialist (two members each), cultural expert, neighboring landowner, business/ecotourism specialist, and grant writing expertise/Coastal Zone Management (one member each). Members of the PAC serve for a 2 or 3-year term. Applicants are being sought to fill two positions in the following categories: Hui ‘Ohana mai Pu‘u Anahulu a me Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a representative (one seat), and grazing specialist (one seat). Applicants with appropriate backgrounds who are interested in representing community stakeholders in these categories are now being sought. Members meet quarterly at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a forest reserve in North Kona.

Persons interested in serving on either council may submit an application for review by the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest working group, and current members of the selected advisory council. Final selections are made by the DLNR chairperson.

Applications must be received by May 18, 2016. Application forms including submittal instructions can be found at the following website: http://www.hetf.us/page/home/  Hard copy applications may also be obtained at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili St. Hilo, HI and in Waimea at 66-1220A Lalamilo Road.

For more information on either the Laupāhoehoe or Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Advisory Council and the application process, contact the DOFAW Hilo office at (808) 974-4221.

Public Comments Sought on Draft Environmental Assessment for Laupahoehoe Forest Management Plan

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Forest Service (USFS) are seeking public comments on a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) in connection with a proposed management plan for Laupāhoehoe forest on the island of Hawaiʻi.

laupahoehoe Forest

The draft plan was prepared in consultation with the Laupāhoehoe Advisory Council (LAC), and seeks to comprehensively protect and preserve Laupāhoehoe forest while enhancing public use and benefits through education, recreation, outreach, demonstration, and research activities.

The draft plan documents the history of the forest, describes its current condition, provides an overview of current management and recommends management actions, and includes proposed management actions to protect natural and cultural resources within Laupāhoehoe forest while also enhancing compatible human uses. The plan will be a guiding document for DOFAW and the USFS for management over the next 15 years.

Suzanne Case, Chairperson of DLNR, said “This plan addresses the threat of invasive non-native species and climate change and recognizes the role an intact forest plays in providing clean fresh water for people and wildlife and supporting healthy coastal marine resources.”

The plan was jointly developed by DOFAW, the USFS and the LAC through a collaborative planning process. Formed in 2010, the LAC is a community-based advisory council that provides guidance and consultation to DOFAW and USFS on issues of management, research, and education in Laupāhoehoe forest. The LAC has had 11 public meetings over the last three years to develop and discuss the draft management plan.

The 12,343 acre Laupāhoehoe forest area consists of two state-managed parcels of land: 4,449 acres of state land designated as forest reserve, and 7,894 acres of land designated as a natural area reserve. Both of these programs are under the state DOFAW.

In addition, the Laupāhoehoe forest is designated as part of the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest, which was designated to serve as a center for long-term research for the management of tropical forests. Ric Lopez, director of the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, explains, “The experimental forest designation means that while the state is the manager of the land, we work cooperatively with them to coordinate research, management, and education/outreach activities for the forest.”

The DEA was published by the Office of Environmental Quality Control in the March 8, 2016 issue of the Environmental Notice.  The document is available at the following link:  https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/laupahoehoe_dea

The public is invited and encouraged to provide public comments on the DEA before April 8, 2016. Please send written comments to:

Tanya Rubenstein
Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Room 325
1151 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Or email comments to: tanya.rubenstein@hawaii.gov

Hard copies of the Draft Environmental Assessment will be available at the Hilo and Laupāhoehoe public libraries and the DOFAW office in Hilo at 19 E. Kawili Street.

The LAC will be meeting on March 30, 2016 at the Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter school cafeteria (35-2065 Mamalahoa Hwy, Laupahoehoe, HI 96764) from 6-8 p.m. to hear public comment and answer any questions regarding the Draft Environmental Assessment.

Heroes in the Fight Against Invasive Species Honored, State Capitol Ceremony Recognizes Extraordinary Efforts

Hawaii’s 4th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) wrapped up today with a ceremony in Governor David Ige’s office to recognize people and organizations who’ve been instrumental in the fight against invasive species.

Hawaii Heroes

HISAW is organized in coordination with the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts. The event promotes information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawaii State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”

2016 Invasive Species Awards-Media Clips from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Events included a proclamation from Governor Ige, an awards ceremony, a student video contest, community presentations, and numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the state.

2016 HISAW Awards:


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Kay Howe for her dedication to increase public awareness and education on the dangers of rat lungworm disease. Kay has worked tirelessly to research rat lungworm disease and educate the community about the perils of this disease and the invasive nematodes that cause it.

She demonstrated that nematodes can survive for a long time in water, as in catchment tanks, and that they can pass through 2 micron filters, alerting the community to the risk of contracting it from water. Through a recent Go Fund Me campaign “Help Stamp Out Rat Lungworm”, Kay began a program to educate students at five K-12 schools on Hawaii Island. Through education, students can learn how to avoid and prevent rat lungworm disease. The students then become educators for their families and communities on the dangers and prevention of rat lungworm disease.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Young Brothers, LTD. for their Initiative and response to stopping the spread of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death.

In response to Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death (ROD), Young Brothers showed great initiative by stopping shipments of ‘ōhi’a products from Hawaii Island. These actions showed foresight and understanding to the implications of the statewide spread of ROD. The full affect and extent of their actions may not be known, but in any “outbreak” scenario, rapid response and containment are known to be of extreme importance.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes J.B. Friday, Flint Hughes, and Lisa Keith for their efforts regarding the combat and research of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death.

This dedicated team of individuals has been working diligently to address Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death (ROD), have made great efforts to explain and update conservation professionals and the community about this serious issue. Their research of ROD continues to yield more information and identify management challenges that the team is meeting head-on.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Laura Hew for her efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of the Giant Day Gecko.

As a proactive community member, Laura promptly reported sightings of the giant day gecko to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Her diligent reporting of an invasive pest species clearly demonstrates the success of the 643PEST reporting system, and highlights how the community can personally take actions to protect Hawai’i.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Judith Houle for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling invasive species on Hawaii Island.

Judi has worked tirelessly to address invasive species issues plaguing residents of Hawaiian Paradise Park (HPP). Hit hard by fallen Albizia, HPP also suffers from infestations of coqui frogs and little fire ants, impacting the lives of its 12,000 residents. Judi was the first to bring BIISC’s community empowerment program for Albizia control to HPP by working to promote training workshops and support residents in getting the resources they need to address problem trees in their neighborhoods. Judi works on these issues as a volunteer, and commits her own time and money to supporting her community and addressing invasive species that threaten the health and well-being of her neighbors.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Dr. James Leary for his efforts relating to controlling the spread and impact of invasive species in Hawai’i.

James Leary is a leader in innovative methods for weed control. Best known for his development of Herbicide Ballistic Technology (HBT) he continues to seek improvements and expand the list of species for which it can be used. In 2015, James organized a county-wide weed workshop on Maui, bringing together more than 50 field staff from conservation organizations to share their successes and offer solutions to identified problems. He supports professional development of staff in conservation organizations and willingly shares his knowledge and expertise with key conservation funders and elected officials. His efforts to streamline and improve HBT application methods resulted in the control of over 3000 Miconia plants in difficult to access areas of East Maui.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Paul Zweng for his outstanding leadership and cooperation in regards to controlling invasive species on the Island of Oahu.

Paul Zweng has been controlling invasive plant species and restoring native forest at his 1,440-acre property at Waikāne Valley since 2010. Paul has an infectious enthusiasm for habitat restoration; and freely shares his passion with the many volunteers that he coordinates. The Ōhulehule Forest Conservancy, which Paul founded, is an active member of the Ko‘olau Mountains Watershed Partnership. Paul is also a founding member of the O‘ahu Weed Working Group, an alliance of land management agencies, which aims to increase greater continuity of invasive weed control on the Island of O‘ahu. Paul sets a wonderful example for other landowners to be actively engaged in invasive species control.


The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Trae Menard for his efforts to protect watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the island of Kauai.

As part of his role as the Director for Forest Conservation with the Hawaii Nature Conservancy, Trae plays an extremely active role in controlling invasive species in the upper watersheds of Kauai. He also coordinates the Kauai Watershed Alliance and has a successful record of partnering with public and private landowners to achieve large-scale conservation actions. In 2015, Trae utilized new technology from high-resolution imaging and helicopter based plant control to combat the spread of Australian tree fern in the Wainiha Preserve and further protect and restore the Alakai region on Kauai.

Hawaii DLNR To Hold Public Hearing On Nāpu‘u Conservation Project

Concerns draft habitat conservation plan for game management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), pursuant to Chapter 195D, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the Nāpu‘u Conservation Project Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Game Management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu.

Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu

The DLNR  Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages lands in the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve and the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area, in North Kona, on the island of Hawai‘i.  Current land management in the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area is primarily for maintenance of non-native game mammal populations for hunting, in addition to conservation of native habitat. Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve is a multi-use area where management includes game population maintenance for hunting, natural resource conservation and restoration, and other activities such as cattle grazing and trail use. The habitat conservation plan is intended to consider and mitigate for the potential impacts from game mammal management activities on endangered species within the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu areas.

  • DATE:             March 1 and 7, 2016
  • TIME:              5:30 p.m.      
  • PLACES:           March 1, 2016: Auntie Sally’s Luau Hale, 799 Piilani Street, Hilo, HI  96720 and March 7, 2016: West Hawaii Civic Center, Community Hale, 74-5044 Ane   Keohokalole Highway

The anticipated life of the project is 25 years. Prior to the expiration of the 25-year period, DOFAW will evaluate whether to pursue an extension of the incidental take license.

DOFAW has prepared a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) – in consultation with staff and local experts, – for authorization and issuance of an incidental take license for incidental take of endangered species associated with game management activities.  The draft HCP was published in the November 8, 2015 Office of Environmental Quality and Control’s Environmental Notice and is currently available for public review and comments for a one hundred and twenty day period.

The purpose of the draft HCP is to mitigate for potential impacts to the threatened and endangered species found in the project area.

It is anticipated that game management activities have the potential to result in the incidental take of one animal species, Blackburn’s sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni), and 15 state and federally listed  plant species:  Asplenium peruvianum var. insulare, Hala pepe (Chrysodracon hawaiiensis), Kauila (Colubrina oppositifolia), Honohono (Haplostachys haplostachya), Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. brackenridgei), Koki‘o (Kokia drynarioides), Neraudia ovata, ‘Aiea (Nothocestrum breviflorum), Uhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiense) Po‘e (Portulaca sclerocarpa), Hawaiian Catchfly (Silene lanceolata), Pōpolo kū mai (Solanum incompletum), Creeping Mint (Stenogyne angustifolia), A‘e (Zanthoxylum dipetalum var. tomentosum), and A‘e (Zanthoxylum hawaiiense).

Potential negative impacts on these listed plant species are primarily in the form of take from grazing, browsing, and trampling associated with the management of game mammals and cattle in the project area.

Potential impacts to Blackburn’s sphinx moth larvae and eggs are from the clearing and maintenance of fuel breaks and four-wheel drive access roads.

No other listed, proposed, or candidate plant or animal species are anticipated to be taken by project activities. The HCP outlines provisions for net benefit to the covered species and environment, and contributes to the recovery of each of these species.

The appointed hearing officer will be: James Cogswell, wildlife program manager, DOFAW. Should Jim Cogswell be unable to act as hearing officer, DOFAW will substitute appropriate staff as needed to conduct the public hearing.

Copies of the draft HCP are available for review at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices in Honolulu and Hilo, as a link provided in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s November 8, 2015 issue of the Environmental Notice, and copies will be available at the public hearing.

Anyone who plans to attend the hearing and requires auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter), please request assistance by contacting the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to provide testimony, please send comments to the aforementioned address, attention Afsheen Siddiqi. Comments should be received by March 7, 2016.

New Waipi’o Kalo Festival Receives OHA Support

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded a $5,000 ‘Ahahui Grant to support the Waipi‘o Kalo Festival being organized by the community-based Hā Ola O Waipi‘o organization.

Waipio Valley Taro FestivalThe inaugural event, planned for Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., will honor Waipi‘o, the multi-generational kalo farmers, musicians, cultural practitioners, families with genealogical ties, and those who perpetuate Hawaiian culture in the Valley. The event is free and open to all, offering numerous opportunities to learn about kalo, plus lei-making, lau hala and lau niu (coconut frond) weaving demonstrations, a Kalo Cookoff, wonderful entertainment, great food and a Taro Team Relay.

Through moʻolelo (stories), lessons and information, participants may come to understand how sacred and important Waipiʻo Valley and taro farming are within Hawaiian culture and history. The Festival is designed to encourage people of all ages to reconnect with the ʻāina, feel empowered to grow their own kalo and provide healthy food for their ʻohana.

In addition, Festival presenters will teach about different varieties of kalo and their nutritional value and health benefits, various farming styles, and how to kuʻi kalo (pound kalo). Other information booths will teach about healthy soil agro-forestry, the importance of water, and the history of Waipiʻo and the Hāmākua district.

Friends of the Future serves as the fiscal sponsor for projects of Hā Ola O Waipio Valley. Founded in 1991, Friends of the Future’s mission is to facilitate a vision of lokahi among the diverse peoples of Hawaiʻi, encouraging each person to contribute their deepest values, to create shared visions, and to continuously improve our communities.

For more information about the Kalo Festival, email HaolaoWaipioValley@gmail.com or follow Hā Ola on Facebook.

Talk Story Sessions Set for Rodent and Mongoose Control and Eradication Methods to Protect Native Habitats

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will hold a series of talk story sessions about methods to control and eradicate invasive rodents and mongooses to protect native species in Hawaii.  The agencies are co-leads in developing a draft programmatic environmental impact statement, which will analyze the impacts of and alternatives to controlling these invasive animals for the protection of native wildlife, plants, and habitats that support them.

Mongoose trap

“Introduced rodents and mongooses in Hawaii pose a significant threat to many of Hawaii’s native plants and animals,” said Suzanne Case, Chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. “It is important that we have a discussion with a wide variety of interested people so we can comprehensively address the damage these rodents and mongoose have on Hawaii’s ecology, culture, and way of life.”

“We really want to hear what communities would like us to consider in this analysis, including what methods should be considered and what are some alternatives,” said Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Methods to control rodents and mongooses in urban and agricultural areas currently exist, but those tools and methods aren’t always effective or available for use in conservation areas.  This process will look at rodent and mongoose control efforts worldwide, and document the most appropriate ones that could be used in Hawaii.”

The talk story sessions will be held on the following dates and islands:

Oahu from 6:30 to 8 p.m.:

  • February 25 (Thursday) at the McKinley High School cafeteria located at 1039 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96814
  • March 17 (Thursday) at Hale Ponoi located at 91-5420 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei, HI 96707

Molokai from 5:30 to7:30 p.m.:

  • March 1 (Tuesday) at the Mitchell Pauole Center located at Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, HI 96748

Lanai from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

  • March 3 (Thursday) at Lanai Public Library located at 55 Fraser Ave, Lanai City, HI 96763

Kauai from 6 to 8 p.m.:

  • March 7 (Monday) at the Waimea Neighborhood Center at 4556 Makeke Road, Waimea, HI 96796
  • March 8 (Tuesday) at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria at 4431 Nuhou Street, Lihue, HI 96766

Maui from 6 to 8 p.m.:

  • March 10 (Thursday) at Lahaina Civic Center at 1840 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina, HI 96761
  • March 11 (Friday) at Kahului Community Center at 275 Uhu Street, Kahului, HI 96732

Hawaii from 6 to 8 p.m.:

  • March 14 (Monday) at University of Hawaii-Hilo, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Komohana Research and Extension Center (conference rooms A and B) located at 875 Komohana Street, Hilo, HI 96720
  • March 15 (Tuesday) at West Hawaii Community Center located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In addition to these talk story sessions, the public is invited to submit written comments through April 7, 2016.  Comments may be made to either agency for joint consideration in the following ways:

Electronically: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2015–0026.

  • U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2015–0026; Division of Policy and Directives Management;
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.
  • Websitehttp://www.removeratsrestorehawaii.org click on “Get Involved” and enter a comment.

Once the comment period closes, both agencies will review the comments received and begin development of the document. For the Service, comments previously submitted during the first comment period do not need to be resubmitted. The draft programmatic environmental impact statement will be published in both the Federal Register and the Environmental Notice and provide another public comment period for review. For more information: http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/nativerestoration/   or  http://www.removeratsrestorehawaii.org.

Ka’u Coffee Festival Debuts Lobsterpalooza

Celebrate all that makes the heritage district of K‘au so special during the 10-day Ka‘u Coffee Festival May 13-22.

Coffee festival 2016

The eighth annual event headlines award-winning Ka‘u coffee with a host of java-jumping activities plus tasty culinary fun—including the new Ka’u Coffee Lobsterpalooza. In addition, enjoy an informative hike that explores historic water flume systems and stargazing from a culturally important mountaintop.

Supported in part by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, the Ka‘u Coffee Festival is designed to celebrate Ka’u as a premium coffee growing origin and a unique visitor destination. Many events are free, while others require a nominal fee and reservations. All activities feature the exceptional flavor and aroma of Ka‘u coffee and the people and place that produces it:

On Friday, May 13 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund. www.kaucoffeefest.com, www.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 14, 2 p.m. The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest hosts a cooking competition at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. All recipes are made with Ka‘u coffee. Free coffee tasting and meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 14, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of 2016 Miss Ka‘u Coffee and her court. 6:30 p.m. at the Ka’u Coffee Mill. $10 admission.

On Sunday, May 15, 2-6 p.m. the new Ka’u Coffee Festival Lobsterpalooza at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is presented in concert with Hana Hou Restaurant and ‘O Ka‘u Kakou. Featuring choice of surf or turf menu and live entertainment. Tickets $75 in advance. Visit kaucoffeefestival.com/events for menu details and ticket info.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae—the southernmost place in the U.S.—and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 19 explore historic flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $40 includes lunch. Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 20 “cowboy up” at Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm. Find out how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture. $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 20 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments and shuttle transportation departing from Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 21 9 a.m.-5 p.m. the festival culminates with the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a—a full day of live music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. It’s a great place to “talk story” with Ka’u coffee growers. Festival entry is free. Ka‘u Coffee Experience offers Ka‘u coffees prepared using a variety of methods by professionals from 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.kaucoffeefest.com.

On Sunday, May 22 learn about the coffee industry during presentations by visiting coffee experts at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the more recent hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit www.kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.