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Venomous Spiders Found in Foreign Container

A venomous spider was captured by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Honolulu on Mon., April 13th.

Spider2

The spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu. The CBP agents sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider (genus: Phoneutria). The brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.

Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and  killed immediately by a worker unloading the container. The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider. The second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.

“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state.”

spider

The CBP is responsible, not only for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also screening international visitors and foreign cargo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspection of agricultural material and animals transported from foreign countries into the U.S. and the HDOA is responsible for agricultural inspections from ports within the U.S. entering the State of Hawaii.

The Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs.

This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name. Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE –

643-PEST (7378).

What the TMT Will Look Like on Top of Mauna Kea

There have been many reports and computer generated memes about what the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) will look like on top of Mauna Kea.

Here is another rendition of what it will look like:

Click to enlarge

Artist rendition of what the TMT will look like on top of Mauna Kea (TMT Located at Bottom left of photo) Click to enlarge

KHON2 News has reported that the University of Hawaii has stated that the TMT will be the last project on Mauna Kea and that other telescopes will be decommissioned.

…The university, which manages observatory activity on the mountain, says this will be the last project for the area.

In the years to come, the university also plans to shut down, or decommission, some of the 13 observatories already on the mountain.

“This is the last new site that will be developed,” said Gunther Hasinger, director of the university’s Institute of Astronomy. “We have made a promise that in the long run, there will be fewer telescopes on the mountain, so we will see some of them go away.”

In the past, all the state got from the telescopes now on Mauna Kea was free access to viewing time. The state collected no money, not even rent.

“But for us, that is not the central point,” said Hasinger. “It is the creation of knowledge.”

That will not be the case with the Thirty Meter Telescope.

According to the lease rent schedule, the project last year cut the first check to the state, $300,000, with most of the money going to help
manage the conservation land where the telescope will sit on Mauna Kea. Some of the money will also go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The rent will eventually climb to $1 million a year…

More here: http://khon2.com/2015/04/13/uh-says-tmt-will-be-last-project-plans-to-decommission-telescopes/

On Thursday April 16th at 11:30, the University of Hawaii Board of Regents will have ANOTHER meeting to discuss the TMT Project and the public is invited to attend and submit public testimony.

University Board of Regents Holding Special Meeting to Discuss TMT Future – Public Comments Welcome

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will be having a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus.
Board  Meeting

The Future of Outdoor Recreation in Hawaii – DLNR Seeks Public Comment on the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Plan

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks in partnership with PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc., is inviting the public to review the draft of the 2015 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

2015 SCORP

The comprehensive recreation plan is updated every 5 years to assess Hawai‘i’s outdoor recreation trends, needs and priorities. The plan also provides direction for the State’s recreational future and allows Hawai‘i to remain eligible to receive funds for outdoor recreation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal grants program administered by the National Park Service.

Using the priorities for outdoor recreation identified in the comprehensive recreation plan, the National Park Service selects projects to receive conservation funding that best meet Hawai‘i’s recreational needs and help resolve recreational conflicts.

The 5-year strategic plan for outdoor recreation as presented in the draft 2015 recreation plan is based on comments received from recreation agencies and the public through online surveys and public meetings held between January and March 2014. More than 1,100 people participated in the process and identified the operation and maintenance of recreation facilities as the number one issue and priority for investment in outdoor recreation.

The public and recreation agencies both recognize an increasing demand on outdoor recreation facilities due to a growing population of residents, military, and visitors. While County leaders have placed an emphasis on the maintenance of their parks, they also recognize the need for public-private partnerships. Ocean recreation continues to be a high recreation priority for Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors, but user conflicts in the ocean remain a challenge. Sports fields are in high demand, especially with year-round seasons that stress the demand and maintenance for these multi-purpose fields.

The 2009 recreation plan identified multi-use paths for walking, jogging, and bicycling as one of Hawaii’s recreational priorities and this trend continues into the 2015 SCORP.

In response to this demand, LWCF grants were awarded in 2014 to the County of Hawai‘i and DLNR to assist with the construction of the new Hilo Bayfront Trails. This multi-use trail system will run through several County parks, including Mo‘oheau Park, Hilo Bayfront Park and Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields, as well as Wailoa River State Recreation Area.

Ocean recreation and hiking trails are major recreational activities that are experiencing higher demand and user conflicts as the population grows and the funds and staffing to expand and maintain the resources and facilities remain limited.

The increase in ocean and hiking related accidents and rescues points to the popularity of these recreational activities but also the dangers and concerns for public safety when recreating in Hawai‘i’s natural environment.

In response to the demand for hiking opportunities, another current project being assisted with an LWCF grant is the repair of, and improvements to the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.

“We have seen the popularity of the Makapu‘u Trail continue to grow among both residents and visitors. The repairs will promote a safe, enjoyable hiking experience while the new viewing areas with interpretive signs will share the resources and history of this park,” said Dan Quinn, State Parks administrator. The Makapu‘u Trail work is currently underway with completion scheduled for July 2015.

A 14-page summary of the SCORP findings and strategic plan, as well as the full draft SCORP document with appendices, can viewed on the State Parks website: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/
Public comments are due by April 30, 2015 and can be submitted by e-mail or in writing to:

ccullison@pbrhawaii.com
or
PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc.
Attn: Catie Cullison, AICP
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650
Honolulu, HI 96813-3484

BACKGROUND
LWCF grants provide a match for State and County funds to acquire new land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate recreational facilities. Since 1967, the State of Hawai‘i and the four counties have received more than $38 million in LWCF grants for acquisition and development of outdoor recreation lands and facilities. In recent years, LWCF grants have been awarded to the County of Hawaii to install new playground equipment at Panaewa Zoo in Hilo, to the City and County of Honolulu to replace the ball field lights at Ala Wai Community Park, to the County of Maui to construct a new skate park within the Lahaina Recreation Center, and to State Parks for renovation of the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on O‘ahu.

 

Nation’s First Federal Combined Solar Power Purchase Launched

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, Department of Energy and General Services Administration announced the first ever federal partnership to purchase solar power. This action follows President Obama’s order last month requiring federal agencies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and increase their renewable energy use to at least 30 percent over the next 10 years.

Click to read document

Click to read document

The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the nation. Government-wide, the electricity bill is $5 billion a year, paying for 57 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in nearly 500,000 buildings. As Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, is implemented, the annual savings are estimated to be almost $1 billion in avoided energy costs.

The Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Project (or FASPP) is a contract solicitation designed to take advantage of economies of scale in solar installation. Due to contracting challenges and high costs, agencies have made limited progress installing solar systems. Agencies in the FASPP will use the same contract solicitation and contractor for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness, and third-party financing to cover upfront costs. The project includes nine federal sites in San Jose, Menlo Park, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bruno, Santa Rosa, Carson City and Reno, and the Forest Service regional office at Mare Island. Initially, the project will produce up to 5 megawatts of solar power across multiple federal sites in California and Nevada.

“This model can help us achieve the President’s Executive Order calling for federal agencies to work together on procurements to increase clean energy use,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “By combining our efforts with our federal partners at the Forest Service, Department of Energy, and GSA, we are proving that solar power and other clean energy will save money, protect our air and water, and help us fight climate change.”

“It is an honor to be involved in this cutting-edge, collaborative project that directly supports the federal sustainability goals of the next decade,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service. “The solar arrays planned for our Regional Office will offset approximately 90 percent of projected electrical use and demonstrate our commitment to increasing use of renewable energy and striving for more net-zero energy facilities.”

“Procurements like the Federal Aggregated Solar Procurement Pilot will help agencies achieve expanded renewable energy goals,” said Tim Unruh, Director of DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program. The Energy Department is committed to developing and delivering new technologies and practices that can accelerate existing solutions to scale, addressing our nation’s long-term energy goals.”

“Issuing this solicitation is the latest in GSA’s ongoing efforts to green the federal government and to provide additional savings to GSA customers and ultimately to the American taxpayer,” said Samuel J. Morris III, GSA’s Acting Pacific Rim Regional Administrator. “By combining the procurement for these nine sites, we anticipate realizing lower utility rates. This innovative strategy, if successful, will serve as a model that can be replicated across the country.”

Inspired by the success of Silicon Valley’s local government aggregated procurement, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region convened a strong team of federal entities interested in procuring renewable energy produced at their facilities. GSA agreed to provide contracting and project management support. DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory provided technical expertise and support. The Forest Service and GSA plan to host the solar systems and buy the renewable energy.

The FASPP contract solicitation will be open through Friday, May 29, 2015. Businesses interested in submitting can review the Request for Proposal on FedBizOpps.gov.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to Host BioBlitz 2015

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s diverse ecological zones provide refuge for many distinct plant and animal communities, including endangered endemic species such as the nēnē (Hawaiian goose), and the Mauna Loa silversword, which flowers only once in its life.

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

An endemic nēnē (Hawaiian goose) feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

The fascinating geology and biology are vital components of the cultural heritage of indigenous Hawaiian people. To better understand, appreciate and protect this natural and cultural treasure, the National Park Service and National Geographic are hosting a two-day BioBlitz species count and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015.

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Crater Rim Trail winds through the native rainforest surrounding Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo/Jessica Ferracane

Themed I ka nānā no a ‘ike (“By observing, one learns”), the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. It will bring together more than 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 750 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of Kīlauea volcano.

“We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Cindy Orlando, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s superintendent. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”

In connection with the BioBlitz opportunity, the park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity. At the two-day festival, visitors of all ages will discover how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying “I ka nānā no a ‘ike” principles that continue today.

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival.  NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Hālau hula Ulumano o Palikū, shown here performing in the 2013 Cultural Festival, return to perform in the 2015 Hawaii Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

Keiki (children) examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and used smartphones and the iNaturalist app to photograph, identify and map species finds, adding more detailed information to both Park Service and international species databases. This year, we are going to build on that and blend technology with Hawaiian culture. This exciting, holistic approach will enhance our appreciation for the amazing resources in this breathtaking park and establish a more complete model for scientific exploration in Hawai‘i and around the globe.”

A longtime partner of the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916. It has given many grants to create and sustain national parks across the United States and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century.

The BioBlitz program is the latest successful collaboration between the two partners. The first BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Others have been held at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in California in 2008; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in 2009; Biscayne National Park in Florida in 2010; Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona, in 2011; Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado, in 2012; Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve outside New Orleans in 2013; and last year in Golden Gate National Parks in Northern California. Smaller-scale events take place throughout the year at various national parks across the country. For more information, visit nature.nps.gov/biology/biodiversity/.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz has been made possible through the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr., the Harold M. and Adeline S. Morrison Family Foundation, Edmund C. Olson Trust II, Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Additionally, generous corporate support for the event has been provided by Kona Brewing Company, KapohoKine Adventures, First Hawaiian Bank, Roberts Hawai‘i, Alaska Airlines and Big Island Candies. In-kind donations from local business and organizations have been received from Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company LLC, KTA Super Stores, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawai‘i Forest & Trail and Aloha Crater Lodge.

How to Get Involved:

Public registration is now open. To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages 8 and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.

Everybody can enjoy hands-on fun at the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater near the Kīlauea Visitors Center in the park. No registration is required for the festival.  Entrance fees are waived for both days. To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, visit nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call (800) 638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the parks, visit nps.gov/havo.

Canada Announces $243-Million Contribution for Thirty Meter Telescope Project

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada will provide up to $243.5 million over 10 years for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the Government of Canada’s intention to provide significant support for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an international project that will build one of the world’s largest and most advanced astronomical observatories in Hawaii. The Prime Minister made the announcement following a tour of Vancouver’s Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory. He was joined by James Moore, Minister of Industry.

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

TMT with the Laser Guide Star at Night (An artist concept of TMT at night, with the laser guide star system illuminated).

The Government’s support would provide resources over 10 years to enable Canada’s participation in the construction and commissioning of the TMT, alongside participants from the Japan, China, India and the United States.

The majority of the Government’s support for the TMT will be spent in Canada, creating high-quality jobs related to the construction and assembly of key telescope components, including a precision-steel enclosure by Dynamic Structures Limited, based in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, and cutting-edge adaptive optics technologies, to be developed by the National Research Council in partnership with Canadian companies. As part of the project, dozens of Canadian businesses are expected to develop advanced capabilities and products transferable to future applications in the health, defence and telecommunications sectors – helping to create and maintain high-quality jobs in communities across Canada.

Canada’s contribution will also secure a viewing share for Canadian researchers at the TMT once it is operational in 2023-2024. This access will help to maintain Canadian scientific leadership in astronomy, paving the way to important scientific discoveries and helping to train highly-qualified personnel at post-secondary institutions across the country. Canada’s pursuit of new scientific discoveries will also help spark young Canadians’ interest in science disciplines for decades to come.

Quick Facts

Canada has world-leading expertise in astronomy and astrophysics, as noted by the Council of Canadian Academies in its 2012 State of Science and Technology. Canadian research publications in this field are highly impactful and Canadian expertise in astronomy is sought after internationally.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that Canada is first in the G-7 in terms of our support of research and development through our universities and colleges, relative to the size of our economy, since 1996.

Prime Minister Harper also recently announced a new $1.5 billion legacy investment to make Canadian research world-leading through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. This new program is for world-leading research that will raise Canada’s standing globally.

Canada’s Space Policy Framework positions our domestic space industry at the forefront of cutting edge space activities; it strengthens strategic relationships with international partners in the interest of science and technology; and it advances Canada’s excellence in the key capability of space optics.

The TMT will employ advanced adaptive optics systems that will allow for the correction of atmospheric turbulence (what makes stars “twinkle”) and enable the clear observation of some of the faintest celestial objects and bodies.

The TMT’s enclosure, to be built in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, will incorporate a unique design to protect the telescope both from temperature and winds.

When completed, the telescope will stand in an observatory 22 18 stories tall, with a primary mirror extending 30 metres across, giving it approximately half the surface area of a National Hockey League rink.

Commentary – Call for Moratorium on TMT is “Grandstanding”

The Thirty Meter Telescope project went through a seven year public vetting process, which included a lengthy contested case hearing for the conservation district use permit. The hearing officer upheld the BLNR’s findings, so the BLNR granted the CDUP and the site lease.

The University of Hawaii also implemented a comprehensive management plan for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. This was mandated after the Keck Outrigger decision. The comprehensive management plan has imposed strict conditions on future telescope projects on Mauna Kea. The TMT will be last new telescope constructed on Mauna Kea; future telescopes will recycle existing facilities and footprint.

In short, I strongly believe OHA Trustee Apo’s call to place a temporary moratorium on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is pure and simple grandstanding.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaii Volcano Observatory – Breakouts Persist Northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: 1) at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, 2) just north of Kahaualeʻa, and 3) the most distal breakout, about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph.  (Click to enlarge)

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

A closer look at the lava flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left portion of the photograph.

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

Slightly above and to the right of the center of the photograph, the light colored area of lava is the active breakout (which started on February 21) on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The breakout north of Kahaualeʻa has one lobe that has traveled along the west side of the perched lava channel that was active in late 2007. This breakout consists of blue glassy pāhoehoe, which is easily visible in the photograph on the left.

breakout6

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. Active (flowing) portions of the breakout are shown by yellow and white colors, while the red and purple areas show hot, but solidified, portions of the surface crust.

In the time since our last overflight (March 24), a new collapse pit has formed in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

This circular pit can be seen in the lower left portion of the photograph, and measures about 27 m (roughly 90 ft) in diameter.

A closer look at the new pit in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Views inside the crater with the naked eye were obscured by thick fume, but the thermal images (right) revealed two areas of ponded lava, separated by a pile of collapse rubble, deep within the pit.

Increased Vigilance for Bird Flu Encouraged for Hawaii Poultry and Bird Owners

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) is encouraging Hawaii commercial and backyard poultry and bird owners to be vigilant due to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific flyway (migratory bird path). Hawaii bird and poultry owners are encouraged to institute and maintain good biosecurity measures, which include good sanitation practices and making sure that their birds do not come in contact with other wild and migratory birds.

Flyways

“Hawaii may be geographically far from other land masses, but some migratory birds do fly to Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Bird owners, particularly those who keep their birds outdoors should take precautions, be vigilant and report any symptoms of diseased or dead birds in their flocks.”

Since December 2014, there have been several confirmed outbreaks of HPAI H5 in the Pacific flyway (California, Utah, Nevada and Idaho). In March, new infected premises were also detected along the Central and Mississippi flyways (Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas). The strain that is circulating is a mix of the highly pathogenic Asian and low pathogenic North American strains and has been found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the risk to people from the current strains of HPAI to be low. No human cases of these strains have been detected in the United State, Canada, or internationally.

Fortunately, HDOA already has established strict bird import laws that require permits, inspections, health certificates, and in some cases, isolation periods prior to arrival and physical identification. There is also an embargo on importing birds through the mail.

The HDOA veterinarians have been closely monitoring the outbreaks and have implemented pre-entry avian influenza test requirements on imported poultry and birds. In addition, import restrictions have been placed on all poultry, other birds, hatching eggs and day-old chicks from affected zones within states to prevent the importation of infected birds. HDOA also conducts continuous surveillance on poultry within the state for avian influenza.

In Canada and affected states in the U.S., the outbreaks have occurred in domestic turkey farms and some back yard poultry farms that have association with wild waterfowl. There have been no farm-to-farm transmissions and no human illnesses associated with this disease outbreak. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the departments of agriculture in the affected states have quickly quarantined, disposed of infected flocks and set up quarantine and surveillance zones to help insure the disease does not spread.

Poultry and bird owners in Hawaii who notice high mortality in their poultry or birds should contact the HDOA, Division of Animal Industry at (808) 483-7106 to report their losses.

For more information on avian influenza, go to the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/ldc/adconcerns/aiinfo/

Or, USDA website: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=avian_influenza.html

Or, CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5/index.htm

Critically Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals Returned to Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

Two critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi) were successfully returned to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument after being rehabilitated at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola Hawaiian Monk Seal Hospital in Kona, March 25, 2015. The seals were rescued last year in an emaciated state, one on Kure Atoll and another on Laysan Island, during NOAA Fisheries Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program’s field camp season.

Lt. Andrew Kauffman, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, observes the onload of a Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kona, Hawaii, March 18, 2015. Coast Guard crew members, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Land and Natural Resources partnered together to transport two rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals to Midway Atoll where they would be transferred via ship to Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle)

Lt. Andrew Kauffman, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, observes the onload of a Hawaiian Monk Seal in Kona, Hawaii, March 18, 2015. Coast Guard crew members, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Land and Natural Resources partnered together to transport two rehabilitated Hawaiian Monk Seals to Midway Atoll where they would be transferred via ship to Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle)

“The successful rehabilitation and release of these young seals demonstrates the collaboration and innovation that will be necessary to save Hawaiian monk seals from extinction,” said Dr. Rachel Sprague, NOAA Fisheries’ Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Coordinator. “The dedicated efforts displayed by NOAA, The Marine Mammal Center, U.S. Coast Guard, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service show how it will take every one of us to help protect these extraordinary animals. As a result of our intervention, two young female monk seals are now returning home to a bright future where they can contribute to the recovery of their species.”

The two juvenile females, Pua ‘Ena O Ke Kai (“fiery child of the sea”) and Meleana (“continuous song”), or Pua and Mele for short, were transported last September aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette to the Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona, established by the Center in mid-2014. Once at Ke Kai Ola, staff and volunteers with the Center spent five months nursing the animals from their malnourished state to the fat healthy seals they are now. Now these females have a better chance of surviving their first two years of life and will hopefully grow to have their own pups.

Shortly after the hospital opened last year, Ke Kai Ola staff and volunteers also rehabilitated four other young seals, which were returned to French Frigate Shoals and Laysan Island within the Monument last September. In less than a year of the new hospital’s opening, it has made a significant difference in the future of these young seals, who would almost certainly have died without rehabilitation.

“With 40 years of experience caring for seals and sea lions, The Marine Mammal Center is a primary authority on preventing the extinction of the Hawaiian monk seal,” says Dr. Shawn Johnson, Director of Veterinary Science at The Marine Mammal Center. “After providing Mele and Pua with life-saving medical care, we’re proud to partner with NOAA Fisheries, the Coast Guard, the state of Hawaii and the Monument to release these healthy seals back to their ocean home.”

A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft crew from Air Station Barbers Point on Oʻahu picked up the seals in Kona and flew them to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on March 18.

On the evening of March 20, 2015 the seals were loaded onto the offshore supply ship Kahana and departed for Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, located at the northernmost point in the Hawaiian archipelago, about 1,350 miles northwest of Honolulu. From the pickup in Kona until their release, the seals were monitored around the clock. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and The Marine Mammal Center cared for the seals during transport and at Midway Atoll. After arrival at Kure Atoll on March 21, 2015, they were watched over by biologists from NOAA Fisheries and Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) until their release on the 25th.

“The Coast Guard works closely with NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect marine mammals and endangered species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act,” said Lt. Lauren Gillikin, an HC-130 Hercules airplane pilot at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. “By promoting the conservation of these mammals the Coast Guard helps to preserve the existing ecosystem.”

The Hawaiian monk seal is critically endangered, with fewer than 1,100 individuals in the wild, including about 900 in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Fewer than one in five Hawaiian monk seal pups in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands survive their first year due to threats like starvation, entanglement in marine debris, male aggression due to abnormally small population size, and more. NOAA Fisheries implements numerous strategies to combat these threats; their monk seal recovery program is the most proactive marine mammal conservation initiative in the world. At least 30 percent of the Hawaiian monk seal population is alive today because of the collaborative efforts to help save them.

Hawaiian monk seals transported from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the Kona facility for rehabilitation may only be released back to the NWHI. Release at Kure Atoll is favorable given its recent good survival rates for young seals and opportunities for weekly visual surveys by DLNR staff stationed there. Seal movements will also be tracked via satellite for post-release monitoring.

Lava Flow Map and Video Shows Flow Far From Pahoa

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on March 10, before shutting down near Pāhoa, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow based on satellite imagery from April 1 is shown in red. Some recent changes north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō are not shown, as that part of the flow field was hidden from satellite view by clouds.

Video from Mick Kalber:

DLNR Statement on Arrests of “Protectors” of Mauna Kea

Today Department of Land and Natural Resources, along with Hawaii County Police and assisted by Public Safety Department, took necessary action to preserve and protect public safety and public access on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Arrest

We are working with the University of Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope project to ensure that the Mauna Kea summit road remains clear for workers, and to ensure access to Mauna Kea for other public use. Persons expressing their views may peacefully protest if not blocking the road. Anyone impeding public safety or public access will be arrested.

In addition to enforcement action by Hawaii County Police, DLNR enforcement also arrested eight (8) adults who were obstructing the road for disobedience to police officers, and another eleven (11) adults were arrested for trespass after refusing to leave the TMT construction site at the summit. The arrests were peaceful, and there were no injuries or medical issues.

DLNR will be working closely with its partners to monitor the situation.

Mauna Kea “Protectors” Arrested – Names Released

Twelve persons were arrested Thursday (April 2) after blocking access to construction workers who were en route to the summit of Mauna Kea to begin work on the Thirty-Meter Telescope.

Mauna Kea Via UH

“During the arrests, our officers practiced the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s core value of compassion,” said Assistant Chief Henry Tavares, who oversees police operations in East Hawaiʻi.

Earlier in the week, police were in communication with protesters opposed to the telescope, informing them that they had the right to protest peacefully and asking for a peaceful resolution and cooperation in keeping the roadway open. At that time, police informed the protesters that anyone who blocked the public road leading to the construction site would have to be arrested.

The arrests began at approximately 8 a.m. Thursday and were still in progress at noon. These individuals were taken to the Hilo police station for processing and then released after posting $250 bail:

Ronald Fujiyoshi, 75, of Hilo
Moanikeala Akaka, 70, of Hilo
Joseph Kanuha, 56, of Kailua-Kona
Eric Heaukulani, 38, of Kealakekua
Kelii Ioane Jr., 63, of Hilo
James Albertini, 68, of Kurtistown
Erin O’Donnell, 40, of Kamuela
Craig Neff, 56 ,of Pāpaʻikou
Gary Oamilda, 66, of Ocean View
Chase Kahookahi Kanuha, 26, of Kailua-Kona
Dannette Henrietta Godines, 45, of Hilo
Lambert Lavea, 27, of Mountain View

University of Hawaii Responds to TMT Protests

The construction phase beginning on the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island has prompted protests and media coverage. The telescope is being built in the 525-acre Astronomy Precinct, which is the only area astronomy development can take place. It is part of the 11,288-acre Maunakea Science Reserve that UH has leased from the Department of Land and Natural Resources since 1968.

Mauna Kea Via UH

UH supports the TMT project because it contributes significantly to the university’s mission of advancing knowledge. With a primary mirror thirty meters in diameter, the TMT will have nine times the light collecting area of the largest telescopes now on Maunakea. It will be able to see much fainter and more distant objects than is possible with existing telescopes and to study them in greater detail. It will help to maintain Hawaiʻi’s worldwide leadership in astronomy.

The Office of Maunakea Management

Through the Office of Maunakea Management, which reports directly to the UH Hilo Chancellor, UH is responsible for the sustainable management and stewardship of the Maunakea Science Reserve. The university understands that Maunakea is one of the most culturally significant sites in Hawaiʻi.

The Master Plan adopted in 2000 by the UH Board of Regents requires community based management that protects, balances, integrates and enhances Maunakea’s resources while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy. The university is also responsible for providing safe access for everyone on the mountain: local residents, observatory personnel, cultural practitioners, visitors and UH staff.

UH’s commitment to free speech

UH is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and affirms the rights of all individuals to engage in their first amendment right to free speech. The university respects everyone opposed to the TMT project and their right to a lawful protest.

The open and extensive public process

Over the last seven years, TMT has met all legal requirements in obtaining the necessary permits to build a next generation telescope from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources and the County of Hawaiʻi, including a sublease from the university.

More than 20 public hearings have been held during the process and the project has been approved by then Governor Neil Abercrombie, the UH Board of Regents and the Board of Land and Natural Resources. The Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Office of Hawaiian Affairs along with numerous unions and Hawaiʻi Island community groups have expressed support. The project has also cleared legal challenges and was upheld in the Third Circuit Court.

Inaccurate claims

There have been inaccurate claims made about the project recently. The most common is that TMT is a danger to the Maunakea aquifer and drinking water on Hawaiʻi Island. Comprehensive research by expert hydrologists confirms that TMT and the existing 13 telescopes pose no such danger. Furthermore, TMT is designed to be a zero waste discharge facility with all waste securely transported off the summit. There is also very little precipitation above 8,000 feet and the observatories are located well above that at the top of Maunakea at 14,000 feet.

Another claim is that TMT did not meet the eight criteria for a conservation district use permit issued by the Hawaiʻi Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2011. The Third Circuit Court ruled that TMT did meet the criteria by being consistent with state laws governing the districts, not causing substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources, being compatible with the surrounding area, preserving the existing physical and environmental aspects, not subdividing or increasing the intensity of the land use and not being materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare. State regulations specifically identify astronomy as a permitted use in the Maunakea Science Reserve.

Stewardship and community involvement

The Office of Maunakea Management has expanded community involvement. Its seven-member board is comprised of Hawaiʻi Island community leaders. There is also a Kahu Kū Mauna council that consists of Hawaiʻi Island residents who are knowledgeable about the cultural significance of Maunakea and are consulted on all projects proposed on UH-managed lands and cultural matters. The Office of Maunakea Management is responsible for continuing to address public access, cultural resource management, cultural resources management, natural resources management and the decommissioning of telescopes.

The University of Hawaiʻi and the Office of Maunakea Management will continue to treat everyone with respect and aloha.

Mayor Kenoi Extends Emergency Proclamation for Puna Lava Flow

Yesterday, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi signed a fourth proclamation relating to the events of the June 27th Lava Flow.

Click to view proclamation

Click to view proclamation

A fourth supplementary proclamation pertaining to the declared state of emergency in Puna was issued March 30th by Mayor Billy Kenoi, extending the emergency for another 60 days.

Thirty Meter Telescope Project Manager Gary Sanders Statement

The time has come to allow TMT access to the public roadway and the TMT project site.
TMT laser
TMT, its contractors and their union employees have been denied access to our project site by a blockaded road. Our access via a public road has been blocked by protestors and we have patiently waited for law enforcement to allow our workers the access to which they are entitled. We sat in our vehicles for eight hours awaiting a peaceful resolution from law enforcement. There was no resolution and our access continues to be denied.

Our permitting and sublease process was a lengthy seven-year public process and agency review.

Our Conservation District Use Permit was upheld in a Contested Case hearing where the Hearings Officer concluded that TMT is consistent with the purpose of the Conservation District and should be granted its permit. The State Board of Land and Natural Resources agreed and issued a CDUP. Third Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura heard the CDUP appeal and ruled in favor of TMT. Subsequently, the Land Board approved TMT’s sublease with the University of Hawaii. Earlier this month, on March 6, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources  issued a Notice to Proceed noting that TMT had met all preconstruction requirements in the CDUP and associated management plan.

A flyer that was distributed recently

A flyer that was distributed recently

We’ve been patient, but the time has come to allow us access to the public roadway and our project site.

Gary Sanders, TMT Project Manager

 

Coast Guard Seeking Public’s Help Locating Owner of Adrift Kayak

The Coast Guard is seeking the public’s help in identifying the owner of an adrift kayak located approximately 12 miles southwest of La’au Point, Molokai, Sunday.

Submerged Kayak

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center received notification from a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew of an adrift, partially submerged 12-foot blue kayak.

There are no missing persons or distress reports in the area.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Station Maui and an Auxiliary aircraft searched approximately 170 square miles for three hours.

Anyone with information that may help identify the owner of the kayak is asked to contact the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center at (808) 842-2600.

The Coast Guard advises the public to register and label all watercraft and equipment with contact information in order to quickly account for owners and prevent any unnecessary searches.

Through the Operation Paddle Smart program, the Coast Guard offers a free “If Found” decal to be placed in a visible location on small, human-powered watercraft. The information on the sticker can allow response entities to quickly identify the vessel’s owner and aid search and rescue planners in determining the best course of action.

The stickers can be obtained for free at local harbormasters, through the Coast Guard Auxiliary, from Honolulu Sail and Power Squadron offices and at select marine retail and supply stores.

Hawaii – A Time Lapse Film of Mark Twain’s Favorite Island

Hawaii – A timelapse film of Mark Twain's favorite islands from Matt Johnson @ WhoIsMatt.com on Vimeo.

“Hawaii: No alien land in all the world has any deep strong charm for me but that one, no other land could so longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has done.

For me the balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas flashing in the sun; the pulsing of its surfbeat is in my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its remote summits floating like islands above the cloud wrack; I can feel the spirit of its wildland solitudes, I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty years ago.

It is the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.”

Mark Twain

Filmed and Edited by Matt Johnson: whoismatt.com
Music by Sleeping At Last: sleepingatlast.com/
Narration by Stan Robinowitz: voices.com/people/stanrobinowitz

Read more and download in HD at: whoismatt.com/hawaiitimelapse

USGS – Active Breakouts Near Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts are active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, north Kahaualeʻa, and about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The distal breakout and the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa are both burning forest. There is no eruptive activity downslope from the distal breakout (nothing active near Pāhoa).

Recent flows from the hornito appear black.  (Click to enlarge)

Recent flows from the hornito appear black. (Click to enlarge)

There are several incandescent and outgassing hornitos on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater, including the one shown here, which is at the northeast edge of the crater. Recent flows from the hornito appear black.