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Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight (depending on clouds).

Photo via Ignazio Magnani in the Space Station.

It will be visible beginning tonight, Saturday, September 23rd, at 6:33 PM. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes at a maximum height of 50 degrees. It will appear 11 degrees above the South Southwest part of the sky and disappear 10 degrees above the Northeast part of the sky.

You can view a livestream from the space station here: https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive

Public Hearings Scheduled on Proposal to Increase Commercial Marine License Fees

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has scheduled statewide public hearings on proposed administrative rule amendments that would increase the annual commercial marine license fees from the current $50/year to $100/year initially, then to $150/year on January 1, 2018. This date may be delayed until later in the year, depending on when the rules are approved. The proposed rules also would establish a reporting deadline for dealers who buy marine life directly from commercial fishers.

Click to view proposed amendments

Bruce Anderson, DAR administrator said, “Commercial license fees haven’t increased in nearly 20 years.  We’re updating the fee schedule to reflect current and future needs.  Increased revenues from these fees will offset losses in revenues from non-resident fees for on-going operational expenses and to add new on-line reporting and licensing options to our website to better serve the fishing public.”

The hearings will be held at the following times and locations:

Thursday, September 28, 2017
MOLOKA‘I – Mitchell Pau‘ole Center Conference Room, 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Friday, September 29, 2017
O‘AHU – Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria, 1202 Prospect Street, Honolulu, 6 to 9 p.m..
LANA‘I – Lana‘i High/Elementary School Cafeteria, 555 Fraser Avenue, Lana‘i City, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
HILO – Hawai‘i County Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 101, Hilo, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
KONA – Honokohau Harbor Big Game Fishing Clubhouse, Kailua-Kona, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
MAUI – Maui Waena School Cafeteria, 795 Onehe‘e Street, Kahului, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 5, 2017
KAUA‘I – Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Cafeteria, Lihue, 4431 Nuhou Street, 6 to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
KAUA‘I – Kapa‘a Elementary School, 4886 Kawaihau Road, Kapa‘a, 6 to 9 p.m.

All interested persons are urged to attend the public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider. Persons unable to attend or wishing to present additional comments, may mail written testimony by Friday, October 13, 2017 to the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Anyone with a hearing impairment who desires to attend the public hearing may request assistance of a sign language interpreter. The request may be made in writing (to the DAR address in the preceding paragraph), or by calling 587-0100 (voice or TDD) in Honolulu. The request will need to be received at least seven days before the hearing is scheduled to start. Additional information or a copy of the proposed rules will be mailed at no charge upon receipt of verbal or written request to the DAR address.

To view the draft rule, go to the Division of Aquatic Resources website at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2017/08/HAR_13-74dr.pdf

Governor Ige Announces Hawai‘i Among 14 States and Puerto Rico to be on Track to Meet Paris Climate Targets

Gov. David Ige attended Climate Week NYC 2017 this week, where he joined fellow state governors to meet with national and international government and business leaders for discussions on climate change and efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Hawai‘i is among 14 states and Puerto Rico who are members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bi-partisan coalition that was formed in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

On Wednesday, the alliance released its 2017 Annual Report: Alliance States Take the Lead which finds:

  • The alliance states are collectively on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 24 to 29 percent — below 2005 levels — over the next eight years (by 2025).
  • Between 2005 and 2015, alliance states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, compared to a 10 percent reduction by the rest of the country.
  • Between 2005 and 2015 – the combined economic output of alliance states grew by 14 percent (the rest of the country grew by 12 percent). On a per capita basis, economic output in alliance states expanded twice as fast as the rest of the country.

“I’m encouraged by our meetings with leaders here at Climate Week. Collaboration is a critical part of how we move forward as a state, a nation, and as global leaders in addressing climate issues affecting our island state and communities around the world. The U.S. Climate Alliance report shows that alliance states are setting clear targets for greenhouse gas reductions and increasing clean energy. This is mobilizing the market to innovate and create new, well-paying green jobs,” said Gov. Ige.

In addition to minimizing emissions that cause climate change, alliance states are also focusing on investing in vulnerability assessments, and planning new innovative technologies, infrastructure and nature-based solutions that can help people adapt to climate change and its impacts.

During Climate Week, Gov. Ige spoke at the opening ceremony and participated in international discussions on a sustainable ocean economy and Hawaiʻi’s 100 percent renewable energy goal. The governor also took part in discussions on how businesses are implementing their own policies on renewable energy and investing in states that are taking steps to adapt to climate change. Gov. Ige also had the opportunity to meet with the governors of Washington and California to discuss enhancing cooperation to address climate change issues.

‘I‘iwi Receives Protection Under the Endangered Species Act

Once one of the most common forest birds in the Hawaiian Islands, the ‘i‘iwi, also known as the scarlet honeycreeper, will be protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that listing was warranted based on a review of the best information available for the ‘i‘iwi, gained through exhaustive research, public comments and independent scientific peer reviews.

In the past, ‘i‘iwi could be found from the coastal lowlands where they foraged for food to the high mountain forests where they nested. Today, ninety percent of the ‘i‘iwi population is confined to a narrow band of forest on East Maui and the windward slopes of the island of Hawaii, between 4,265 and 6,234 feet (1,300 and 1,900 meters) in elevation. The birds are virtually gone from the islands of Lanai, Oahu, Molokai and west Maui, while the population on Kauai is in steep decline.

“In recent years, the ‘i‘iwi population has been in sharp decline, due to threats from habitat loss, invasive species and avian diseases, particularly avian malaria,” said Mary Abrams, project leader for the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. “These threats have affected all forest birds, not just the ‘i‘iwi. Conservation that benefits the ‘i‘iwi will undoubtedly benefit other Hawaiian forest birds.”

Avian malaria, carried by invasive mosquitos, is the primary driver in the decline in of the ‘i‘iwi population, and has already caused the decimation of dozens of other Hawaiian forest birds. The disease kills approximately ninety-five percent of infected ‘i‘iwi. Mosquitos, which are not native to the Hawaiian Islands, breed and thrive at lower and warmer elevations where they infect birds like the ‘i’iwi with avian malaria and pox.

“‘I‘iwi have virtually disappeared from any habitat where mosquitoes are found,” said Abrams. “This has caused their range to shrink dramatically – they are almost entirely limited to higher elevation ‘ohi‘a forests for their habitat, dietary, and nesting needs.

Higher and cooler elevation ‘ohi‘a forests, where mosquitoes do not thrive, remain the only habitat for the ‘i‘iwi, but even those areas are under threat. As temperatures rise, mosquitoes, and the avian diseases they carry, are able to survive at higher elevations and spread upwards into the mountains, further constricting the ‘i‘iwi’s range.

‘I‘iwi are dependent for their survival on forests of native ‘ohi‘a. On the island of Hawaii, home to 90 percent of the remaining ‘i‘iwi population, those ‘ohi‘a forests have been under attack from rapid ‘ohi‘a death, an invasive tree pathogen.

“Working with the state, our conservation partners and the public will be crucial as we work to recover the ‘i‘iwi, said Abrams. “The Service is committed to building on our record of collaborative conservation to protect Hawaii’s native species.”

The Service’s final listing rule will be published in the Federal Register on Sept 20, 2017, and will become effective on Sept 20, 2017. Next steps include development of a recovery plan, which will be bolstered by input from other federal and state agencies, other conservation partners and the public.

More information, including the final listing, can be found at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.

U.S. EPA Awards $100,000 Innovative Technology Contract to Hawaii Small Business

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $100,000 to Oceanit Laboratories, Inc., located in Honolulu, to develop a nontoxic coating for use in water pipeline repair. The company is one of 15 small businesses nationwide receiving a total of $1.6 million to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment.

“EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program is awarding funding to these small businesses because they have demonstrated the potential to create technologies that will improve our environment and our economy,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These technologies are focused on creating cutting-edge products that can help solve today’s complex environmental problems and enhance economic growth.”

Oceanit Laboratories received the funding to develop a corrosion-resistant, nontoxic coating to protect the interior of aging pipelines. The application process for the coating will allow heavily corroded pipes to be retrofitted and refurbished in place.

“Utilizing Oceanit’s family of EverPel repellent coatings, which can be applied in-situ via in-line pigging to previously worn and in-service pipelines, we are addressing the need for rapid, cost-efficient refurbishment of water transport pipelines without the need for full excavation and replacement,” said Matthew Nakatsuka, Senior Materials Engineer for Oceanit. “We look forward to applying and adapting research and technologies from the energy and defense sectors to addressing this pressing domestic concern, and are excited to work with the EPA in developing new ways to promote public health and infrastructure safety.”

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding boosts local economies by creating jobs and promoting collaborations among small businesses through product testing and research. The funding also supports technologies aimed at creating cleaner manufacturing materials and better infrastructure in communities.

Companies compete for SBIR Phase I awards of up to $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for Phase II awards of $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982.

For more information on EPA’s SBIR Phase I recipients, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRHhV.

Learn more about EPA’s SBIR program at www.epa.gov/sbir.

Learn more about the SBIR Program across the federal government at www.sbir.gov/

International Task Force Focuses on Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

Western states and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Honolulu to discuss how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills.

Annual Meeting will take place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The Hawaii Department of Health is hosting this year’s Annual Meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, comprised of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The Task Force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California, including the Hawaiian Islands.

The meeting is taking place on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The event is open to the public and attendance is free of charge. To register, go to: https://2017taskforceannualmeeting.eventbrite.com.

At this year’s event, the six Task Force jurisdictions will provide updates on their spillresponse programs, projects and initiatives. Guest presentations and panel discussions will highlight pollution prevention measures in the cruise ship industry, issue involving the clean-up of heavy oils, and the challenges with managing data during a spill.

The Task Force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation in 1989 by Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia following the Exxon Valdez and Nastucca oil spills. These events highlight the common concerns regarding oil spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The Task Force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

The Task Force members include: 

  • Thomas M. Cullen Jr., Administrator, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
  • Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaii Department of Health 
  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation 
  • Dale Jensen, Spills Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Richard Whitman, Director, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Mark Zacharias, Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of the Environment

For more information visit: http://oilspilltaskforce.org/task-force-events/annual-meeting/

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s October 2017 Events

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park (ADIP) programs with the public throughout 2017. In addition, the community is invited to lend a hand to save native rainforest through the park’s Stewardship at the Summit volunteer program.
ADIP and Hawaiian cultural programs are free, but entrance fees apply.

Programs are co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association. Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Stewardship at the Summit. Volunteers are needed to help remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate, but park entrance fees apply. Visit the park website for additional planning details: https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/summit_stewardship.htm.
When: October 7, 13, 21, and 27 at 9 a.m.
Where: Meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m. on any of the above dates.

Lomi. Lomi is the traditional massage practice of the Hawaiian people.

Lomi massage demonstrated in the park. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

There are many different styles of lomi used throughout Hawai‘i, and most are used as a way to heal body and mind. Lomi practitioner Annie Erbe will demonstrate this popular healing art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Footprints in the Ash. Hawaiians once traversed Kīlauea on foot to travel between Puna and Ka‘ū, and during the 18th century, explosions from the volcano rained volcanic ash down on the people, preserving their footprints in the sands of “Keonehelelei.”

Footprints fossilized in volcanic ash in the Ka‘ū Desert will be the subject of October’s After Dark in the Park. NPS Photo.

Park Ranger Jay Robinson discusses new interpretive displays in the Ka‘ū Desert and explains what we know today about the impact of these explosive eruptions on native society. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium

Mark Yamanaka in Concert. Join local recording artist Mark Yamanaka for a free concert.

Mark has been awarded multiple Nā Hōkū Hanohano awards since the debut of his first album, Lei Puakenikeni. His next album, Lei Maile, has also received critical acclaim. Mark’s crisp, clear falsetto and rich baritone voice will mesmerize you. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Families are invited for a day of fun, culture and discovery at the Kahuku Unit! Learn about the hidden powers that plants have to keep us healthy through the teachings of Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort, a practitioner of lā‘au lapa‘au (Hawaiian herbal medicine).

Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort demonstrates lā‘au lapa‘au at the 2017 Cultural Festival. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson

Collect seeds from native plants and help park rangers bring new life to Kahuku. Kids 17 and under and their families must sign up by October 13 to participate by calling 808-985-6019. Bring water, lunch and snacks, sunscreen, hat, long pants, shoes and reusable water bottle. Kahuku is located between the 70 and 71 mile markers on Highway 11.
When: Sat., Oct. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Registration required by Oct. 13).
Where: Kahuku Unit

Lau Hala. Join park staff and learn one of the great traditional arts of Hawaii, ulana lau hala. Hawaiians have used the hala (pandanus) tree to create many useful and beautiful items for centuries. Learn to weave lau hala and take home your own piece of lau hala art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Informational Meetings on Rat Lungworm Disease Revised Scheduled Around Oahu

A series of three informational meetings on rat lungworm disease (RLWD) has been scheduled on Oahu this month. The meetings are being coordinated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR).

The meetings have been scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 @ Waimanalo Elementary/Intermediate School Cafeteria, 41-1330 Kalanianaole Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 @ Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC), 94-340 Kunia Rd., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
  • *REVISED LOCATION: Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017 @ Kahuku High School Cafeteria, 56-490 Kamehameha Hwy., 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Farmers, home gardeners and interested individuals are encouraged to attend.  Agricultural and health officials will make brief presentations and provide information on how to reduce the risk of RLWD and other foodborne illnesses, especially on farms and in gardens.

Those with a Hawaii State Department of Agriculture Pesticide License will be able to obtain 2.0 HDOA Agricultural Pesticide Applicator CEUs for attending the entire presentation.

RLWD is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a parasitic nematode called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which may be carried by rodents, snails, slugs and other animals including freshwater shrimp, land crabs and frogs. Humans can acquire the infection by eating raw or undercooked snails, slugs or other animals infected with the parasite.

The DOH reports that in 2017, there have been 16 laboratory-confirmed cases of RLWD statewide:

  • Hawaii Island: nine cases
  • Maui: six cases
  • Oahu: one case
  • Kauai: no cases

The average number of cases per year statewide typically range from two to 11.

More information on RLWD may be found at:

EPA Awards $332,000 to Hawaii Department of Agriculture for Pesticide Programs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $332,000 to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) to support its pesticide regulatory program.

“The Hawaii Department of Agriculture has been our long-time partner in environmental protection,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “We are pleased to support the pesticide program in ensuring that pesticides are used properly, agricultural workers are protected, and Hawaii’s unique ecosystems can thrive.”

HDOA has authority over pesticide use in Hawaii and conducts inspections, enforcement, training and monitoring for pesticide use throughout the state. Specifically, HDOA:

  • Investigates and enforces incidents of possible pesticide misuse;
  • Provides outreach to agricultural employers to ensure they protect workers from pesticide exposures;
  • Assures the competency of applicators of restricted-use pesticides through its certification and licensing program;
  • Conducts inspections of pesticide products at retail outlets for proper EPA registration, labeling and establishment information;
  • Evaluates pesticides licensed in the State of Hawaii for their potential to contaminate groundwater resources.

The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region (Region 9) administers and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations — home to 50 million people.

For more information on pesticides please visit: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides.

State Land Board to Consider Judge’s Recommendation in TMT Contested Case

The Hawai‘i State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) will hear oral arguments in the Contested Case Hearing for the Conservation District Use Application (CDUA) for the Thirty Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Crown Room of the Grand Naniloa Hotel in Hilo. This is not a public hearing and members of the public will not be allowed to testify, argue, or otherwise present to the BLNR.

Minute Order No. 107, posted on Sept. 7, 2017 provides that each party to the contested case will have fifteen (15) minutes to present oral arguments.  Up to five minutes of the fifteen minutes may be reserved by parties for responding/rebuttal argument. Those rebuttal arguments will take place after all parties have completed their initial arguments. There are twenty-three (23) parties to the contested case.

The DLNR is providing as much seating as possible for public observation, once space has been made for the parties. Seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Na Leo TV will provide live streaming of the oral arguments, but there will not be viewing available at the Grand Naniloa. Doors to the Crown Room will open at 8:30 a.m. for public entrance.  There will be no reserving of seats and any seat that’s empty for more than ten minutes may be given to the next person in line waiting outside.  Signs, posters, and other displays will not be allowed inside the Crown Room or on the hotel’s property. Food will not be allowed in the Crown Room.

DLNR continues to utilize expanded media coverage rules used during the TMT Contested Case Hearing and only designated pool media; Na Leo (broadcast) and the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald (print) will be allowed to videotape or photograph the proceedings. All other audio and photographic documentation of oral arguments is not allowed.

Mayor Kim’s Letter to HICOP Board – RE: Helicopter Tours

Dear Mr. Ernst & HICOP Board:
RE: Helicopter Tours

In our meeting, I clearly indicated how I will proceed.

  • Request a meeting with Helicopter Tour Industry to begin dialogue with industry.
  • Request organization of a program by industry to address concerns.
  • Plan working group meeting of community and industry to see if any anything can be addressed together.

Meeting of first two bullets have been completed and waiting for report.

I was not aware that at this time a definitive position was established by HICOP and believed that the desire was to see if the whole issue can be discussed to work out acceptable solutions. Your correspondence indicate otherwise. If I am incorrect, please correct me.

I truly feel that at this time an effort should be made to address the problem by coming together for open dialogue, regardless of past attempts. As you know, the authority of this issues is with the FAA.

Sincerely,
Harry Kim
Mayor

Media Darling Monk Seal Kaimana Hooked on Labor Day

The monk seal pup (RJ58), named Kaimana, who became a public and media darling after being born on the popular Waikiki beach of the same name was hooked on Labor Day. Volunteers from Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response spotted her around noon with a hook with a lure hanging from her mouth. They’d seen her two hours earlier without a hook.

The monk seal response team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service was called in to assess the situation and remove the hook which was attached superficially. Before they arrived, Kaimana was able to shake off the hook and lure on her own and began resting on the beach where she was relocated to in August. The seal was examined and a small wound was found, but no signs of infection. She continues to be monitored, is in excellent body condition and is behaving normally.

RJ58 was hooked with a type of lure typically used by fishermen casting or “whipping” for fish like papio or ulua. It is rare for monk seals to be hooked with this type of gear. While continued collaboration with fishermen is needed to better understand how seals become hooked, available data indicate that monk seals are most often hooked with hooks associated with “slide bait” or baited hooks cast from shore and held near the bottom with a weighted line.

Between 1976 and 2016, there have been 155 documented hooking’s and entanglements in gill nets, which resulted in 12 monk seal deaths. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “NOAA and DLNR are grateful to the many people who have called into our monk seal reporting hotlines to report injured or hooked monk seals. These calls have often resulted in life-saving actions for our critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals.”

Considering the fouling (algal growth) on the lure, it was probably not being actively used when Kaimana was hooked. The likely scenario is the lure was snagged on the bottom and Kaimana hooked herself by mouthing it. Fishermen can help reduce the chances of this type of interaction by taking extra care to retrieve as much gear as possible.

NOAA and DLNR remind people to please fish responsibly by following these best practices developed in consultation with leaders in the fishing community:

  • Take care when casting if a seal is in the area
  • Fish with barbless circle-hooks
  • Clean catch away from seals
  • Seals are wild animals. Never approach a hooked seal, call for help (888-256-9840).

UH Manoa Volcanologists Receive International Recognition

Two volcanologists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Geology and Geophysics have received two of the top three awards from the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI). Bruce Houghton, the Gordon A. MacDonald Professor of Volcanology and Science Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at UHM, was honored recently with the IAVCEI Thorarinsson Medal. Sébastien Biass, a post-doctoral researcher at the UHM School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Department of Geology and Geophysics, was honored with the George Walker Medal.

Houghton’s Thorarinsson Medal

The Thorarinsson Medal is awarded only once every four years by the IAVCEI for outstanding contributions to volcanology, and is the highest award in international volcanology.

“A giant of volcanology, Bruce has tackled ‘big’ problems in geology with innovative approaches and technologies, and is truly a scientist of outstanding distinction,” stated University of Tasmania’s Rebecca Carey in her nomination letter. “His research has not only generated a wealth of new scientific understanding, but also critically Thorarinsson-type pioneering advances in long-standing cornerstone volcanologic concepts.”

Bruce Houghton Near Ruapehu, New Zealand

Further, Houghton has pioneered research across the interface of fundamental volcanological science and hazards, social and behavioral science, leading to a world-first detailed training course for scientists, first responders and emergency managers, titled the U.S. FEMA Volcanic Crisis Awareness course.

Houghton and his predecessor at UHM, George Walker, are among the only 9 volcanologists to date given the Thorarinsson award, which is named for noted Icelandic geologist and volcanologist Sigurdur Thorarinsson.

Houghton reflected on becoming a Thorarinsson Medalist: “I was delighted and surprised by the award. All my research is collaborative and, since moving to UH, 70% of my papers have been first-authored by my students or postdocs, and these are not the type of statistics that usually lead to such awards. I was particularly pleased because all three of my mentors in volcanology are on the list of eight prior winners of the medal; it is quite humbling to be joining them. For UH to have been awarded two of the nine Thorarinsson Medal to date is, I think, a sign that volcanology is in excellent health here in Hawaiʻi. The challenge now is to find ways to build on this reputation and capture for UH some of the wonderful crop of young volcanologists on the market.”

Biass’s George Walker Award 

The George Walker Award is given every two years to a young scientist up to seven years after acquiring a doctoral degree. The award recognizes achievements of a recent outstanding graduate in the fields of research encompassed by IAVCEI.

Sebastien Biass

Sébastien Biass, post-doctoral researcher working with Houghton at UHM, was honored for “achievements that are all deeply rooted in field studies and because of his unique appreciation with the importance of statistical and critical treatment of field data within the growing field of numerical modelling,” cited Professor Costanza Bonadonna of the University of Geneva. “His unique approach stems from combining thorough field studies with state-of-the-art numerical modeling, furthering both deposit characterization and the newly born discipline of hazard and risk assessment that he is pioneering. What makes Sébastien unique in his science is his open mind and multidisciplinary approach, his scientific curiosity and enthusiasm, and his dedication to going beyond his own limits.”

Sebastien Biass in the Field

Biass commented, “My vision of the IAVCEI George Walker Award for early career scientist is closely tied to my vision of scientific research, which contains three components. First, scientific curiosity is one of the greatest source of pleasure in life and provides the motivation to attempt understanding the unknown. Second, luck, that is in the selection of work colleagues, has been an integral part of my research. Specifically, Costanza Bonadonna and Bruce Houghton, both part of the UH family in either past or present, have shown me how working on interesting science with bright people is an invaluable source of satisfaction. Thirdly, I see research as having a global objective of the well-being of society, which in volcanology translates to a better understanding of the physics of hazardous processes occurring during eruptions in order to mitigate better the impacts on exposed communities. This award therefore represents a success on these three levels and belongs as much to everyone I have ever looked up to as it does to me. Having been picked amongst a long list of such successful young scientists humbles me and gives great motivation to pursue my scientific career.”

The award honors the memory of former UHM Geology Professor George Walker, whose discoveries pioneered a modern quantitative approach to physical volcanology and greatly accelerated understanding of volcanic processes.

For more information, visit: https://www.soest.hawaii.edu

DLNR to Conduct Ungulate Control Program at Pu’u Wa’awa’a

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife will conduct an ungulate control program at Puu Waawaa Mauka (above Mamalahoa Highway), during three consecutive weekends in September: Labor Day weekend Sept. 2-4, Sept. 9 and 10, and Sept. 16 and 17. During these dates hiking will not be permitted.

The Puu Waawaa Mauka ungulate control will be a non-typical ram and feral goat hunt, and will take place concurrently with the Makai muzzleloader season (following the Makai archery season, including State holidays).

The bag limit will be one (1) non-typical ram and two (2) goats (either sex) per hunter per day. During this program, the whole carcasses (entrails can be cleaned, but with attached genitalia on carcass) need to be inspected at checkout. For safety purposes, a maximum of 30 permittees will be allowed per day. Hunters interested in participating on the PWW MAUKA UNGULATE CONTROL PROGRAM will be issued permits at the hunter check station on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hunters will need to purchase 2018 goat and ram tags to legally hunt these species in these areas. Tags may be purchased from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and at the PWW Hunter Check Station during the hunt. Exact change of $10/tag (resident hunters) and $25/tag (non-resident hunters) is required when purchasing tags at the hunter check station.

The harvest tags will be non-transferable and non-refundable and must be placed through the hind leg of the animal immediately after each kill, and remain tagged until the hunter checks out of the hunting area and arrives home or to their final destination.

Hunters are to check in at the Pu’u Wa’awa’a check station beginning at 5 a.m. the day of the hunt and must be checked-out 7:45p.m. There is NO CAMPING allowed in the hunting area on any night before or during the hunt.

For further information, contact DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife at 808-887-6063.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Submit Plan to Modernize Island Grids

The Hawaiian Electric Companies filed their Grid Modernization Strategy with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) yesterday, providing a roadmap for building more resilient and renewable-ready island grids.

Yesterday’s filing follows the submission of the companies’ draft report in late June. The draft was posted online and presented at four public meetings on Maui, Hawaii Island and Oahu to review the strategy with customers, answer their questions and receive their comments. Dozens of written comments and transcripts of the public meetings are included in a separate document that accompanied the filing.

The plan, “Modernizing Hawaii’s Grid for Our Customers,” outlines near-term initiatives that strengthen the grid through investments in technology to enable more renewable energy resources to be safely and efficiently integrated with the grid, including private rooftop solar.

Longer term, the strategy is to continue to evolve the grid as a platform to enable greater customer choice and support statewide economic development and “smart communities” efforts that rely on robust data and energy management systems.

The Companies estimate it will cost $205 million to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light over the next six years. The plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources – customer-sited and grid-sourced – increase reliability, and give customers new choices to manage their energy use.

Highlights of this near-term work include:

  • Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or electricity usage data
  • Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption
  • Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources
  • Enhanced outage management and notification technology

To read the filing, please use the following links:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/gridmod

www.hawaiielectriclight.com/gridmod

www.mauielectric.com/gridmod

EPA Penalizes Kapolei Company for Failing to Close Illegal Cesspool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Fileminders of Hawaii, LLC, requiring the company to close a large-capacity cesspool at its Kapolei facility on Oahu.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and large-capacity cesspools have been banned since 2005.

In May 2016, EPA inspected the Fileminders facility, a records storage company in the Campbell Industrial Park, and found one large-capacity cesspool (LCC) in use. EPA regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act required closure of all existing LCCs by April 5, 2005.

Fileminders, the operator of the cesspool, and Hawaii MMGD, the company’s owner, will pay a civil penalty of $122,000 for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. In June, the cesspool was closed and the company installed an individual wastewater system.

“Closing large cesspools is essential to protecting Hawaii’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA’s large-capacity cesspool inspection and enforcement efforts will continue until illegal cesspools are a distant memory.”

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed statewide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit

https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#oahu

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, visit http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

EPA Requires Big Island Hardware Stores to Close Large Cesspools – Fined $134,000

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement with the owner of two Big Island hardware stores and a commercial property to close four large-capacity cesspools (LCCs) at properties in Naalehu, Kamuela and Hilo, Hawaii.  Cesspools can contaminate groundwater, and LCCs have been banned since 2005.“Replacing these harmful cesspools with modern wastewater treatment systems will protect the Big Island’s drinking water and coastal resources,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Our goal is to protect Hawaii’s waters by closing all large-capacity cesspools.”

In 2016, EPA found three cesspools during inspections at the Naalehu and Kamuela Housemart Ace Hardware stores, owned by Maui Varieties Investments, Inc. (MVI). MVI also voluntarily disclosed a fourth LCC at a separate commercial property that houses a farm supply store in Hilo.

MVI will be closing the two LCCs serving the Naalehu store and neighboring buildings and replacing the LCCs with wastewater treatment systems approved by the Hawaii Department of Health. The company will be closing the LCC at the Kamuela store and connecting it to a private sewer system. Finally, MVI will close the LCC at the commercial property in Hilo and connect it to the County of Hawaii’s sewer system.  MVI will also pay a civil penalty of $134,000.

An LCC is a cesspool that serves multiple residential dwellings or a commercial facility with the capacity to serve 20 or more people per day. Cesspools collect and discharge waterborne pollutants like untreated raw sewage into the ground, where disease-causing pathogens can contaminate groundwater, streams and the ocean. LCCs were banned under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in April 2005.

Cesspools are used more widely in Hawaii than in any other state, despite the fact that 95 percent of all drinking water in Hawaii comes from groundwater sources. Since the federal LCC ban took effect in 2005, over 3,400 large-capacity cesspools have been closed state-wide, many through voluntary compliance.

For more information and to submit comments on this specific agreement, visit https://www.epa.gov/uic/hawaii-cesspools-administrative-orders#hawaii

For more information on the large-capacity cesspool ban and definition of a large-capacity cesspool, please visit http://www.epa.gov/uic/cesspools-hawaii

Governor’s Statement on UH Board of Regents Resolution on Stewardship of Mauna Kea:

I am pleased that the University of Hawai‘i has affirmed its intention to take action to strengthen the collaborative stewardship of Mauna Kea and its resources. I look forward to working with the university and its partners to make meaningful changes that further contribute to the co-existence of culture and science on this special mountain. —Governor David Y. Ige

Lehua Restoration Operation to Rid Island of Rats Begins

Eradication of damaging rats aimed at protecting incredible bird, plant, and marine diversity

Today, hope reigns for Lehua Island, as an operation commenced to make the island’s threatened wildlife safe from introduced, damaging, invasive rats. DLNR and its partners carried out carefully made plans to remove the invasive rats with support from Native Hawaiian and local communities. Dozens of Federal and State permits affirming that the operation poses very little risk to people, marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, birds, or other wildlife were secured in advance of the operation.

Lehua Island

The operation was executed as planned—successfully, safely, and under the close watch of regulators from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture and an independent monitoring team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

A science and values-based cost-benefit analysis reflected in project proponents’ Final Environmental Assessment (FEA) required years of operational planning, scientific research, trials, analysis, and community engagement. After exhaustive evaluation of scientific publications and hundreds of island invasive species eradications around the world, the Lehua Island Restoration Steering Committee determined that the only feasible method for safely removing rats is the deployment of bait containing a small amount of rodenticide.  The committee chose urgent intervention over allowing Lehua’s invasive rats to continue to devastate birds, plants, marine waters, cultural sites and resources.

Sheri Mann, Kaua‘i branch manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) which manages Lehua Island as a State Seabird Sanctuary, said, “Our teams applied the first of three rounds of conservation bait to Lehua Island today by helicopter with supplemental applications by hand. About 99.995 percent of the bait used is comprised of non-toxic, human food-grade ingredients made to attract rats. The remaining fraction is diphacinone, a first-generation anticoagulant rodenticide.”

The project presents little risk to marine life. Consistent with rules and regulations governing rodenticide application, project permits acknowledge and authorize a negligible amount of bait drift into shallow near-shore waters. The permits also acknowledged that this poses little risk to the environment. Lab studies have shown that fish reject bait containing diphacinone. Furthermore, fish are among the least likely animals to be affected by the rodenticide. What little bait drifts into water from the over-land application sinks to the sea floor and degrades quickly.

Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright approved the aerial application permit, necessary for the project to move forward. He observed today’s operation from the helibase on Ni‘ihau and commented, “I am pleased with the planning, preparation and execution of this project to restore Lehua Island. It was carried out very professionally and with the utmost care.”

Diphacinone, being almost insoluble, scarcely dissolves in water and thus most remains in bait pellet fragments on the sea bottom. Diphacinone breaks down quickly in water when exposed to ultraviolet light (e.g. sunlight) —  a likely fate for some drifted bait. Eventually, the rodenticide decomposes into carbon dioxide and water and intermediate compounds in its decomposition process are non-toxic. In hundreds of similar projects, no documented impacts to marine mammals or corals have been documented, and invertebrates are not affected at all as they do not metabolize diphacinone. Thus, regulators concluded that marine life will have little to no exposure to the negligible amount of rodenticide that drifts into the water.

Patty Baiao, Hawai‘i Program Manager for Island Conservation, the NGO partnering with DLNR on the project explained, “Despite the low risk, the operation is using proven strategies to avoid, minimize, and mitigate risks whenever possible. All bait is distributed over land with deflectors in place when baiting adjacent to the shoreline to direct it inland.”

Lehua is one of the largest and most diverse seabird colonies in the main Hawaiian Islands with 17 seabird species and 25 native plants (14 Hawai`i endemics – occurring nowhere else in the world) inhabiting the steep, rocky, windswept slopes of the tiny island. Lehua is an important part of native Hawaiian culture—the Ni‘ihau community gathers ‘opihi (limpets) in adjacent marine waters and on the island are several important native Hawaiian cultural sites.

The invasive rats forage on native plants and seeds, which imperils the entire ecosystem. These impacts can contribute to erosion which can in turn impair near-shore marine and coral ecosystems and fisheries. Native birds like the threatened Newell’s Shearwater are likely being restricted from breeding on Lehua Island due to predation by rats. Smaller, open-nesting seabirds such as terns and noddies are conspicuously absent from Lehua (save small numbers found in sea caves), also a suspected artifact of rat predation. Invasive rats ravage other threatened birds.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case concluded, “A safe, careful, by-the-book operation, together with the downstream conservation outcomes of this project in coming years, will provide the proof-of-concept the community is seeking for this important conservation intervention”. Two additional applications of rodenticide are planned in the next few weeks depending on weather conditions.

Resolution Affirming Collaborative Stewardship of Maunakea Considered by Board of Regents

The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents is considering a resolution at the August 24 meeting that affirms UH‘s commitment to the collaborative stewardship of Maunakea’s cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources. The proposed resolution also directs the university to move forward to build a global model of harmonious and inspirational stewardship that integrates traditional indigenous knowledge and modern science.

The proposed resolution commits the university to work with the state, County of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiian organizations and the community to achieve this aim, and also directs the university to increase the engagement of Native Hawaiian students, Hawaiʻi Island residents, and residents of the State of Hawaiʻi in the areas of astronomy, celestial navigation and exploration through an active educational and outreach program that highlights indigenous knowledge as well as enhanced student access to and utilization of Maunakea-based astronomical resources.

The resolution will also affirm the university’s commitment to return approximately 10,000 acres of land not utilized for astronomy to the jurisdiction of the state and the pursuit of a new lease or land tenure to secure the continued viability of astronomy in Hawaiʻi.

Resolution Affirming Commitment to the Collaborative Stewardship of Maunakea’s Cultural, Natural, Educational and Scientific Resources

WHEREAS, the Board of Regents believes that Maunakea can and should be a global model that provides inspiration, harmony and peaceful co-existence among culture, education, the environment and scientific discovery; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Regents for the University of Hawaiʻi embraced the university’s commitment to its responsibilities to Maunakea beginning with the adoption of the Maunakea Science Reserve Master Plan in 2000, the Maunakea Comprehensive Master Plan, Cultural Resources Management and Natural Resources Management Plans in 2009, and the Public Access and Decommissioning Plans in 2010; and

WHEREAS, the board and the university administration also aspire for the university to become a model indigenous-serving university and have committed to principles of sustainability across its mission; and

WHEREAS, the board now hereby affirms the commitment of the university to fulfill its obligations under the plans that have been approved, as well as its broader commitment to the community at large; and

WHEREAS, the board wishes to additionally acknowledge the dedicated work and commitment of the Office of Maunakea Management, the Maunakea Management Board, and the Native Hawaiian Kahu Kū Mauna Council, on behalf of the University of Hawaiʻi and the Board of Regents; and

WHEREAS, subsequent to the adoption of the various plans, and with the understanding that collaborative stewardship will continue to be prioritized on all Maunakea lands, the university has now agreed to return approximately 10,000 acres of land on Maunakea that it currently leases that is not used for astronomy, to the State of Hawaiʻi; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the university take the steps that are necessary to expedite the return of the 10,000 acres to the State of Hawaiʻi in a timely manner and pursue a new lease or land tenure for the reduced acreage that will support the continued viability of astronomical research and education in the State; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the university work with the State, County of Hawaiʻi, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the broader community to evolve collaborative and coherent management and stewardship plans that are consistent with the Comprehensive Management Plan, and that are supported by appropriate administrative rules; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the university make it a priority, including through additional financial support, to meaningfully increase the engagement of Native Hawaiian students, Hawaiʻi Island residents, and residents of the State of Hawaiʻi in the areas of astronomy, celestial navigation and exploration; and that such initiatives include an active educational and outreach program that highlights indigenous knowledge as well as enhanced student access to and utilization of Maunakea-based astronomical resources in the field; and

The Board of Regents, through this Resolution, hereby affirms its commitment to the collaborative stewardship of Maunakea’s cultural, natural, educational and scientific resources, and directs the university to move forward to collaboratively build a global model of harmonious and inspirational stewardship that is befitting of Maunakea.