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Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance Offers United Voice on Bishop Museums Announcement to Sell Its Waipi‘o Valley Lands

On January 8, 2016, Bishop Museum issued a public announcement they are moving forward with the sale of the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Capt. Cook and 537 acres of land in Waipi‘o Valley.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

Green areas represent Bishop Museum Land.

While the news has taken most of Hawai‘i by surprise, it is not the case for the Waipi‘o Valley community. Over the past 20 years, the Museum has periodically considered selling it’s Valley holdings, and there have been several proposals by State legislators for the state to purchase the lands, the most recent in 2014.

Since 2013, the Waipi‘o community has undergone major changes, with three of the most committed groups becoming more organized and actively seeking ways to work together collaboratively on matters that impact the Valley and surrounding communities.

In late 2015 the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association, the Waipi‘o Community Circle and Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley formed the Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance as a mechanism to reach general consensus and provide a unified voice when communicating with government officials, Bishop Museum and the general community.

Founded in 1989, the Waipi‘o Taro Farmers Association (WTFA) is the oldest active organization in Waipi‘o Valley. The Association is made up of generational taro farming families who lease the majority of Bishop Museum ’s lands in the Valley. WTFA represents the surviving edge of the Native Hawaiian culture in Waipi‘o Valley and serves as Bishop Museum ’s primary land managers and local community advisors.

Formed in 2000, at the request of 13 community members, the Waipi‘o Community Circle (the Circle), serves as a general community forum. The Waipi‘o Valley Information & Education Officer Program was created by the Circle, as were the five large interpretive signs at the rock wall near the pavilion. A small group of Circle volunteers provided general oversight of the Information & Education Officer program from 2007 until 2014 when the program moved to the Department of Parks & Recreation. This group also represents the efforts of Auntie Ku’ulei Badua who was responsible for initiating “Friends of the Waipi‘o Community Park ” (the former Rice/Thomas property, at the Waipi’o lookout).

Founded in 2014 Ha Ola o Waipi‘o Valley (Ha Ola) is a membership organization of Valley residents, farmers, cultural educators and practitioners, and Waipi‘o tour operators. The organization is guided by elected Officers with support from the County of Hawaii , the State of Hawaii , Kamehameha Schools and Friends of the Future. Ha Ola was formed to provide representation for Valley stakeholders who were not recognized in the State’s 2013 proposed Senate Bill to purchase Bishop Museum’s lands in Waipi‘o. Among Ha Ola’s current projects are River Maintenance in collaboration with WTFA, stewardship of Kamehameha Schools Valley beach parcels, eradication of Little Fire Ants in the Valley and a 2016 Kalo Festival.

The Waipi‘o Valley Stakeholders Alliance, combines the strengths of all available community and advisory resources and is committed to protecting current lessees and ensuring the community has a lead voice in proactively engaging Bishop Museum in discussions about the future stewardship of its’ Waipi‘o Valley lands.

For more information about the Alliance contact:

Alliance Community Liaison: Jim Cain, Cell: 333-0457 kinglaulau@hotmail.com

Alliance Culture & Education Liaison: Ka‘iulani Pahio, Cell: 960-5272 kaiulani@kalo.org

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 249

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 249:

Mosquito Bite

As of February 4, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/28/16
Cases no longer infectious
246 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/24/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
249

Of the confirmed cases, 225 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
204 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/28/16.

As of today, a total of 1100 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection – Spraying at 2 Kona Schools Saturday

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

As of 1:00PM today the Department of Health reported 2 additional confirmed cases since yesterday and the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak is at 248. These cases include 224 residents and 24 visitors.

As a proactive and preventative measure, the Department of Health will be conducting spraying or treatment of the Kealakehe Elementary and Intermediate Schools in Kona this Saturday, February 6th. 

 

Appeal Period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps Begins on Feb. 9th

The 90-day appeal period for the Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) issued last August by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) officially begins February 9, 2016.  Any owner or lessee of real property on Hawai‘i Island who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations may appeal to the County.

Flood MapThe preliminary maps are not just a digital version of the existing paper maps, but include new flood zones and changes to existing flood zones along the entire island coastal area, as well as the upper Waiākea area of Hilo, certain parts of Waimea and North and South Kona.  Hāmākua and Kohala remain largely unchanged.

The sole basis for such appeals is based on information from a certified survey done by a licensed surveyor or a drainage study done by a licensed civil engineer showing that the proposed flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect.  All appeals should be submitted to the County Department of Public Works (DPW) Engineering Division by April 26, 2016 to be included in the Appeal Package the County will forward to FEMA for review.

DPW offices are located in Hilo at the Aupuni Center ((808) 961-8327) across from Long’s downtown and in Kona at the West Hawai‘i  Civic Center ((808) 323-4850) on the Ane Keohokālole Highway.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have many uses, including insurance rating and regulation of development.  Use of the maps is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.  Examples are Tropical Storm Iselle in 2014 and the heavy flooding in November 2000.

The new digital maps are intended to replace the existing paper maps.  The digital format will allow the maps to be more easily accessed and viewed on the internet.

Flooding is one of the major natural disasters in the United States. These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.

More detailed information is available on the County’s website at http://flood.hawaiicounty.gov/.

FEMA has posted digital copies of revised DFIRM and FIS report materials to the following Website:  https://hazards.fema.gov/femaportal/prelimdownload/

Neighbor Island Lawmakers Ask Governor NOT to Sign Wastewater Rule Change – New DOH Rules Would Ban New Cesspools Statewide

Nearly a dozen legislators are asking Governor David Ige not to sign off on a proposed state Department of Health rule change that would ban new cesspools statewide.  A letter, dated February 1, was signed primarily by neighbor island state representatives and senators whose constituents include many rural communities that rely on existing cesspools or the ability to install new ones.

CesspoolThe letter points out that a previous version of the rule change would have required conversion of all cesspools to septic systems, and would have cost Big Island homeowners, with over 50,000 cesspools, $1.5 billion.

“A bill to do that same thing was introduced into the Legislature in 2015 and DID NOT PASS.  In fact, a bill to ban new cesspools was NOT passed.  The will of the Legislature should thus be clear,” the letter states.  “Furthermore, this rule change greatly discriminates against the poorest of our citizens who might not be able to afford to build a home if a septic system is required.

“While the department claims that these rule changes are necessary to protect the public health and preserve our natural resources, the arguments in that regard are weak and unsubstantiated, and in fact contradictory and contrary to current legislative intent.”

The letter also notes that septic systems in Hawaii cost between $20,000 to $30,000 to install, compared to cesspools which range from $2,000-$3,000.

Neighbor island representatives and senators signing the letter include: Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), Rep. Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo), Rep. Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona), Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), Rep. Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea), Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala), Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), Rep. Kyle Yamashita (Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului), Rep. Lynn DeCoite (Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini), Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Kau), and Senator Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona).

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 246

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 2 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 246:

Mosquito BiteAs of February 2, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 2 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently,  as many as 3 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
3 Illness onset 1/23/16 to 1/26/16
Cases no longer infectious
243 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/21/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
246

Of the confirmed cases, 222 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
201 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/25/16.

As of today, a total of 1071 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

VIDEO – Governor Ige Responds to Dengue Fever Outbreak

Ige on DengueThis morning at the State Capital, Governor Ige along with Mayor Kenoi and Hawaii County Civil Defense Administer Daryll Oliveira met this morning and the following video was livestreamed on the Governor’s website:

Recently a letter went out to Maui residents informing them that a case of Dengue Fever was confirmed on that island.

Dengue Fever Case in Maui

Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks Announces February Flight Plans

Volcano Rainbow

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park announces the following flight plans for February 2016:

  • February 4, between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., for faya tree surveys between 4,000- and 6,500-ft. elevation
  • February 8 and 9 for fountain grass monitoring and control from Ka‘aha to the Great Crack, between sea level and 3,000-ft. elevation
  • February 9, between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., to haul out fencing material and equipment from Kahuku-Kapāpala boundary between 7,000- and 9,000-ft. elevation
  • February 16 and 17 , between 8 a.m. and noon, for mullein surveys on Mauna Loa between 6,000- and 8,500-ft. elevation
  • February 17, between noon and 1 p.m., short haul recertification flight training at Escape Road near the Mauna Ulu parking lot
  • February 18, 19, and 29, between 7 a.m. and noon, to shuttle crew, camp supplies, fencing material and equipment to Mauna Loa at about 9,000-ft. elevation

The park regrets any noise impact to residents and park visitors. Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Management of the park requires the use of aircraft to monitor and research volcanic activity, conduct search-and-rescue missions and law enforcement operations, support management of natural and cultural resources, and to maintain backcountry facilities.

Hokulea Departs Fernando de Noronha for Natal

After a four-day stop at Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago off the Brazilian coast, Hokulea departed the UNESCO Marine World Heritage site yesterday at 11:00 a.m. Brazil time (3:00 a.m. HST) and is now headed to Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. Note: Fernando de Noronha is eight hours ahead of Hawaii Time. During their stay, crewmembers were able to learn about efforts to protect the marine life and other natural resources of the pristine island.

Hokulea21a

The Hokulea crew is now sailing approximately 241 miles to reach Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, located in northeastern Brazil. The arrival to the coastal city will mark Hokulea’s first visit to the South America continent. The leg will take approximately two days.

Hokulea21c

After stopping in Brazil, Hokulea will continue the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage and stop in several ports in the Caribbean before sailing north and visiting cities along the East Coast of the United States. She is scheduled to arrive in New York City by June 8, 2016 to celebrate World Oceans Day.

Hokulea21b

Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokulea has sailed more than 20,000 nautical miles and made stops in 11 countries and 46 ports, weaving a “Lei of Hope” around the world. Along the way, more than 160 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hokulea accompanied by escort vessel Gershon II to spread the message of malama honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited.

Hokulea21d

So far, crew members have connected with over 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea and Indian Ocean including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius and South Africa. For a midway recap of the Worldwide Voyage, please view http://www.hokulea.com/2015-worldwide-voyage-recap/

Hokulea first set out on the Pacific Ocean in 1975. Since then, she has traveled to multiple countries across the globe, reawakening a Hawaiian cultural renaissance in the process through reviving the traditional art of wayfinding – navigating the sea through means of using natural resources like ocean swells, stars, and wind.

Video – Aerial Survey of Big Island Forests Shows Rapid Ohia Death Spread

Recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawaii Island forests showed that a fungal infestation of ohia trees is much greater than earlier thought.

ohia deathUsing a helicopter and specialized survey equipment, surveyors from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies flew over 81,000 acres, January 11 – 15, 2016.  Satellite imagery of ohia forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the ohia forest on the Big Island.

Rapid Ohia Death Media Clips 12-23-15 from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Philipp LaHaela Walter, the State Resource and Survey Forester for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) said, “We used two surveyors at a time and flew a total of 8 ½ hours over state, federal and private lands covering about two-thirds of the Big Islands’s ohia forests. Our next steps are to cover the rest of the ohia forests with follow-up flights and to ground-truth the aerial operation. One of our priorities will be to double-check the Kohala area, where Rapid Ohia Death may have been detected for the first time by our aerial survey.”

A team of experts from DLNR/DOFAW, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee and the National Park Service/Hawaii Volcanoes National Park conducted the aerial survey. The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service and the USDA Agricultural Research Service assisted with planning. In 2014 USDA researchers identified the pathogen that causes the disease.

Dr. Flint Hughes, with the USDA Forest Service commented, “Unfortunately Rapid Ohia Death is spreading much quicker than we had hoped.  The aerial surveyors noted ohia trees with no leaves or brown leaves, likely impacted by the disease; as well as ohia trees which have been dead for a longer time and those that have been affected by either drought or VOG. It’s important that we differentiate the causes of tree deaths and continue to carefully and closely monitor the spread of Rapid Ohia Death to aid in reducing its spread on Hawaii Island and around the state.”

Ohia forests cover approximately 865,000 acres of land across the state and are considered the primary species providing habitat for countless plants, animals and invertebrates. These forests  protect watersheds that provide significant agriculture and drinking water across the state.

“It’s sad but not unexpected that we have a confirmed case of Rapid Ohia Death in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We are very concerned about the impacts to our cherished ohia that thrives throughout the park, and we will continue to implement the stringent measures developed by our interagency partners to prevent the spread of this devastating disease. We will also continue to sample trees throughout the park,” Orlando said.

Dr. J.B. Friday, the extension forester with the UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service explained, “We know that the state Department of Agriculture’s moratorium on the transport and shipment of ohia plants and parts is having a positive effect on curbing the spread. It’s impossible to determine whether the ban on ohia shipping is 100% effective and that’s why we are trying to get the word out to all forest users, nurseries, and lei makers that Rapid Ohia Death is fast killing what is considered one of the most important forest trees in Hawaii.”

Research into treatments for the particular fungus that causes Rapid Ohia Death continues at the USDA Agricultural Research Service lab in Hilo. Investigation into how it spreads is also being conducted with potential culprits being: insects, underground via roots, on small wood or dust particles, on clothing and shoes, and possibly on animals. Ultimately scientists hope that by identifying what is spreading the fungus they’ll be able to mitigate its devastating impacts.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Governor David Ige to Declare Hawaiʻi Island Dengue Fever Outbreak a State of Emergency

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today called on Governor David Ige to declare the Hawaiʻi Island dengue fever outbreak a state of emergency and deploy State resources, including the National Guard, to assist with mosquito abatement, public information, clearing, and providing completely free testing for those with suspected symptoms of this incurable disease.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

Congresswoman Gabbard met with Hawaii County Civil Defense officials last week.

“The dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island continues to worsen.  We cannot afford to wait any longer for the aggressive action necessary to combat the spread of this serious disease.  An emergency proclamation from the Governor is long overdue,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who represents the people of Hawaiʻi Island.  “There have already been 242 confirmed cases of Dengue Fever on Hawaiʻi Island, creating a public health emergency affecting our residents and visitors, and Hawaii Island’s economy.  They deserve our state’s full attention and resources to do what it takes to put an end to this outbreak, and prevent it from becoming endemic and spreading to other parts of the island and state.”

On October 21, 2015 the Dengue exposure rate on Hawaiʻi Island was 1 in 185,079.  As of today, 1 out of every 849 residents and approximately 3 out of every 50,000 visitors has contracted dengue fever.  This constitutes an average infection rate of 67 residents and 7 visitors every month since this outbreak began.  Additionally, the same mosquito that carries Dengue Fever is also a carrier of the Zika virus, which is “spreading explosively” according to UN health officials, who are currently considering declaring an international health emergency.

In speaking with Governor Ige and by written correspondence, the congresswoman called for the following action items to be addressed immediately:

1. Completely free and accessible testingfor those who suspect they have symptoms of Dengue Fever. While the cost of the test may be free, residents and visitors are still charged for visits to a physician, nurse, or clinic in order for their blood to be drawn.  This could easily be solved by ensuring there are free access points island-wide, and by deploying state or National Guard medical personnel as a mobile testing unit that can travel to both populated and remote locations across the island, draw blood, and get samples to the lab for expedited results.

2. Allocate resources to the Department of Health for development and execution of a comprehensive public information and public engagement campaign with quality review measures.  Current “Fight the Bite” efforts fall far short of providing residents and visitors with the information they need.

3. Provide a full-time entomologist on Hawaiʻi Islanddedicated to eradication, reduction, and prevention of further spread of the Dengue virus.

4. Allocate resources to hire vector control personnel,purchase more sprayers and other necessary equipment and supplies.

5. Provide free supply and distribution of Ovitraps throughout the community to empower local residents to help prevent the spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. World Health Organization report studies have shown that population densities can be reduced below disease-transmission thresholds with sufficiently large numbers of frequently serviced traps.

6. Appoint a Dengue Czarwho can act as the coordinator of efforts with all parties within the state, county, federal, private sector, and community to ensure the objectives are being met.

More than a third of the world’s population live in areas at risk for infection from the Dengue virus, which is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected annually.  Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been meeting with state leaders, Hawaiʻi County officials and Civil Defense, military personnel, experts in the private sector and at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and listening to concerned citizens of the Big Island, working to protect the people of Hawaiʻi from Dengue Fever, a debilitating disease that has no vaccine, treatment, or cure, so that the Aloha State does not remain a part of this worldwide epidemic.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 242

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 1 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 242:

Mosquito Bite

As of January 29, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 1 new case of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 2 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
2 Illness onset 1/20/16 to 1/21/16
Cases no longer infectious
240 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/18/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
242

Of the confirmed cases, 218 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
197 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/21/16.

As of today, a total of 1018 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

After Dark Goes OUT of the Park in 2016

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s popular After Dark program will travel to Hilo and Kailua-Kona this year to celebrate the park’s centennial anniversary in those communities. This year is also the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service.

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A view of Ka Lae (South Point) from Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo will host four one-hour After Dark Out of the Park programs on Feb. 24, June 29, Aug. 17, and Oct. 26. Each program is free and starts at 7 p.m. Free parking is available.

In Kailua-Kona, the Kona Historical Society will host an After Dark Out of the Park program on July 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the West Hawai‘i Civic Center. Free parking is available. See the schedule below for Kona and Hilo presentations:

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

A two-tone ‘ōhi‘a lehua at Kahuku. NPS Photo/David Boyle

After Dark Out of the Park: The Natural Resources of Kahuku. Park Botanist Sierra McDaniel and Wildlife Biologist Jon Faford discuss the natural treasures of the Kahuku Unit, former ranch lands acquired by the National Park Service in 2003, and the challenges of conserving the native species like nēnē, hāhā and Mauna Loa silverswords that cling to life here. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Feb. 24, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Evolution of Landscape Restoration at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Since its establishment in 1916, various attempts to conserve and protect the park’s rich biological resources have been made by the Territory of Hawai‘i, the National Park Service, and citizen scientists – with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1970, park staff adopted a systematic park-wide approach to managing species and habitats which continues today. Join Chief of Natural Resource Management Dr. Rhonda Loh to learn more about these Special Ecological Areas, or SEAs, and decades of successful restoration in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., June 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by the Kona Historical Society as part of its Hanohano ‘O Kona Lecture Series.

  • When: Wed., July 27 at 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Where: West Hawai‘i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway

After Dark Out of the Park: The Establishment of Hawaii National Park. Park Archeologist Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura shares the story of the development of Hawaii National Park, and presents a fascinating look at the extraordinary individuals of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were key in creating the national park that then included the summits of Kīlauea and Haleakalā on Maui. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

After Dark Out of the Park: LiDAR Sheds New Light on Hidden Gems. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology is used to digitize archeological resources including ancient footprints, petroglyph fields and agricultural systems. Join Park Archeologist Dusten Robbins to learn how the park uses LiDAR in managing cultural resources, and future uses of this exciting technology. Sponsored by Mokupāpapa Discovery Center.

  • When: Wed., Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
  • Where: Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in downtown Hilo, 76 Kamehameha Avenue

The After Dark Out of the Park series will be offered on a Wednesday, and each presentation will be followed by a complementary hike or excursion in the park the following Saturday to encourage people to “Find Your Park.” Visit the park website for the Centennial Hike Series schedule, and After Dark In the Park programs.

In 2016, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will celebrate 100 years  of connecting people to, and caring for, the extraordinary landscape, native plants and animals and Hawaiian culture linked with Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes.

The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Centennial After Dark in the Park, After Dark Out of the Park, and Hike Series is free, and no advance registration is required. The series is co-sponsored by the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and donations are greatly appreciated.

Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation Announce the Return of Mahiʻai Match-Up

Kamehameha Schools and the Pauahi Foundation announce the return of Mahiʻai Match-Up – an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to supporting Hawaiʻi’s sustainable food movement and decreasing the state’s dependence on imports.  Mahiʻai means farmer.  The contest is open to all farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural entrepreneurs. The application window opens today and ends Feb. 29, 2016.

Pahoehoe Parcel

Pahoehoe Parcel

“Mahiʻai Match-Up provides a venue for farmers and entrepreneurs to access some of our most valuable agricultural lands,” said Sydney Keliʻipuleʻole, senior director of statewide operations for Kamehameha Schools. “Kamehameha Schools is engaged in an ongoing effort to work with community partners to find and nurture talented farmers with innovative ideas that will increase food production for Hawaiʻi’s market.”

The top two business plans will receive an agricultural land agreement with up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools and seed monies from the Pauahi Foundation totaling $35,000 to help increase the probability of long-term, sustainable success.

Ulupono Initiative – the Hawai’i-focused impact investing firm – is once again lending its support to the business plan contest.

“Ulupono Initiative is proud to continue its partnership with Kamehameha Schools and Pauahi Foundation to assist talented farmers in realizing their dream of establishing a bona fide agricultural business in Hawaiʻi,” said Murray Clay, managing partner of Ulupono Initiative. “The goal of Mahiʻai Match-Up directly aligns with our mission of making Hawaiʻi more self-sufficient by increasing local food production. The group of entrants from the first two years has been impressive, and we are excited to see what year three has in store.”

Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau’s “Hawaiʻi Food and Farm” magazine is also a sponsor of the contest.

This year the program provides more opportunities for aspiring farmers with the introduction of Mahiʻai Mentorship – a competition created through a partnership between the schools and GoFarm Hawaiʻi aimed at developing the next generation of farmers.

Four applicants will be chosen to receive funding from Pauahi Foundation and Kamehameha Schools to attend GoFarm Hawaiʻi, a program that turns the AgCurious into AgProducers. Valued at $3,000, participants are given a combination of knowledge, experience, and support designed to assist them in becoming viable production growers, and accomplish it in a manner that encourages sustainability.  Applications for Mahiʻai Mentorship will be accepted from March 1 through May 2, 2016

To apply for the Mahiʻai Match-Up contest or for more information, visit http://www.pauahi.org/mahiaimatchup/index.html.

2016 Mahiʻai Match-Up Parcels:

 

Four Kona Parks to Close Temporarily January 29 to Conduct Dengue Mosquito Treatments

The Department of Parks and Recreation will temporarily close four Kona parks on Friday, January 29, so those facilities can be treated for mosquitoes that have the potential to spread dengue fever.

Mosquito BiteWhile there is no indication that any of these parks are sources of possible infection, this measure is being employed as a proactive and preventative strategy for reducing mosquito concentrations and thereby lowering the risk of potential exposure.

The following parks are slated for treatments expected to start, weather permitting, at approximately 7 a.m. Friday, January 29:

  • Kailua Playground, also known as “The Ghetto”
  • Kipapa Park located on the mauka side of Ali‘i Drive, across from La‘aloa Bay Beach Park
  • Harold H. Higashihara Park
  • Arthur C. Greenwell Park, including Sgt. Rodney J. Yano Memorial Hall

Unauthorized persons will not be allowed to enter the affected parks until the treatment work is completed and the parks are cleared for public use. Signs will be posted at each park informing the public of the closures, spraying activity, and when the parks are reopened.

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks park patrons and the general public for their understanding while it assists in the efforts to control the spread of dengue fever.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

 

 

DLNR Holds Public Hearing for Proposed Changes Affecting Government Forest Reserve Lands on the Island of Hawaii

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife is holding a public hearing to provide the public the opportunity to present comments on proposed changes to government forest reserve lands on the island of Hawaiʻi.

The hearing will start at 5:30 pm on Friday, February 12, 2016, at the Kūhiō Hale, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands West Hawai‘i district office, 64-756 Māmalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, Hawai‘i 96743.

DLNR land 1The proposed changes are as follows:

  1. Withdrawal of Tax Map Key (3) 4-6-011:040, comprising approximately 238 acres from Hāmākua Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • The area proposed for withdrawal from Hāmākua Forest Reserve was developed into an educational and recreational site, Camp Honokaia by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) under a long term lease.
  • In 2004, the parcel was the subject of a land exchange between the State of Hawai‘i and the BSA involving private land in Waikele, O‘ahu, for public lands located on the islands of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i.
  • Given that the land exchange between the BSA and the State of Hawai‘i has been completed, the Division seeks to formally withdraw TMK (3) 4-6-011:040 which is no longer State land, from the Hāmākua Forest Reserve.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Keys: (3) 4-3-010:009 and (3) 4-4-015:002 comprising approximately 6,887 acres to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • The areas proposed for addition to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve were originally encumbered by leases issued by DLNR to multiple private entities for pasture purposes.
  • In 2001, DLNR issued a non-exclusive easement to the Department of Transportation for the area in question to mitigate for impacts to Palila Critical Habitat (PCH) by the Saddle Road Improvement Project.
  • Beginning in 2004, and continuing presently, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife has conducted a forest restoration program on the proposed addition for the purpose of providing long-term habitat for Palila at considerable effort and with significant progress.
  • To address concerns raised by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, as documented in their revised 2009 Biological Opinion, and to retain the progress made in terms of Palila habitat restoration, DOFAW requested that the mitigation areas be formally withdrawn from the pasture leases and set aside for addition to Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.
  • The Board of Land and Natural Resources approved this action at its meetings in 2009, 2010, and 2015.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Key (3)7-5-001:022 comprising approximately 17 acres to Honua‘ula Forest Reserve, North Kona, Hawaiʻi.
  • The area being proposed for addition to Honua‘ula Forest Reserve was previously encumbered by a revocable permit issued by DLNR Land Division for pasture purposes to a private individual.
  • The permit was terminated by the Board of Land and Natural resources on December 09, 2012.  Upon the cancellation of the permit, DOFAW expressed interest in taking over management of this land because the transfer of this parcel could provide a potential access corridor to the forest reserve.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Key (3) 3-9-001: portions of 013 and (3) 3-9-001:018, comprising approximately 40 acres to the Humuʻula Section of the Hilo Forest Reserve, North Hilo, Hawaiʻi.
  • The proposed addition to Hilo Forest Reserve is currently set-aside to DOFAW “for potential demonstration forest projects.”  However, there is no formal land designation category called “demonstration forest” in the Departments land use designation system.
  • As such, DOFAW proposes to add the subject lands to the currently existing Hilo Forest Reserve.  This action would merely change the designation of the area from a “demonstration forest” to “Forest Reserve,” placing the area under the guidance of statutes and rules associated with the Forest Reserve System.
  • DOFAW currently has management jurisdiction of these lands, and would retain jurisdiction with their transfer to the Forest Reserve System.  Management objectives for the area would not change.
  1. Addition of Tax Map Keys (3) 4-9-001: portion of 007, (3) 4-9-013: portion of 001, (3) 4-9-014:001, 003, 004, 005, 008, 009, 010, 011, 013, 014, 017, 020, 021, and 022, comprising approximately 3,431 acres to the Waimanu section of the Kohala Forest Reserve, Hāmākua, Hawaiʻi.
  • A National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) was established at Waimanu Valley on the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawai‘i in 1978.
  • The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and coastal States for long-term research, water quality monitoring, education and coastal stewardship.  Public lands were withdrawn from the Kohala Forest Reserve, and the State of Hawaii acquired 13 additional privately owned parcels of land in Waimanu Valley for inclusion into the NERR.
  • However in 1996, Waimanu Valley was officially withdrawn from the NERR System. As such, DOFAW now proposes to add the subject lands back into Kohala Forest Reserve.
  • This action would merely change the designation of the area from a “National Estuarine Research Reserve” to “Forest Reserve,” placing the area under the guidance of statutes and rules associated with the Forest Reserve System.

Maps of these forest reserve areas can be found online at:  http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/public-hearing/

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 postmarked no later than February 26, 2016, to the Forestry Program Manager, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl St., #325, Honolulu, HI  96813.

Any person requesting an auxiliary aid or service (i.e. large print materials, sign language interpreters) is asked to contact Jan Pali at 808-587-4166 or through the Telecommunication Relay Service at 711 by February 5, 2016.

After compiling the input from the public hearing and other testimonies received through February 26, 2016, DOFAW will present a summary of public testimony, staff analyses and recommendations for further actions to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.  Based on the public testimony received, the Board of Land and Natural Resources will decide whether to proceed with or change their previous recommendation for the proposed changes to the Forest Reserve System.

Should the Board opt to proceed with the current recommendations, DLNR will send the items to the Governor for final approval via Executive Order.

If approved, the lands would be formally added to Government Forest Reserve status and the DOFAW Forestry Program would assume primary responsibility for the management and stewardship of the subject lands.

Updated Map Shows New Risk Areas for Potential Dengue Infection on the Big Island of Hawaii – Kona Now High Risk

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

An updated map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases has been released:

This map should not be used to exclude any areas of the island from proactive mosquito control measures. All residents islandwide are encouraged to Fight The Bite by reducing mosquito breeding grounds and protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 241

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 4 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 241:

Mosquito Bite

As of January 27, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 4 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 5 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
5 Illness onset 1/17/16 to 1/21/16
Cases no longer infectious
236 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 1/16/16
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
241

Of the confirmed cases, 217 are Hawaii Island residents and 24 are visitors.
196 cases have been adults; 45 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 1/21/16.

As of today, a total of 1008 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

Scientist Sequence Genome of the ‘Alalā (Hawaiian Crow)

In collaboration with PacBio, scientists at San Diego Zoo Global and the University of Hawaii, Hilo have fully sequenced the genome of the ‘Alalā, or Hawaiian crow and shared the results of this effort at the recent annual Plant and Animal Genomics XXIV Conference in San Diego. The ‘Alalā was once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, and the sequencing of the species’ genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species.

The sequencing of its genome comes at the beginning of what is hoped to be an important year for the Hawaiian crow. Conservationists hope to reintroduce this species into prepared habitat on the island of Hawaii later this year. The ‘Alalā has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only in the program run by San Diego Zoo Global at their bird centers in Hawaii.

“We have been working for many years to build up a large enough—and genetically diverse enough—population to allow us to begin putting the ‘Alalā back in the wild,” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the San Diego Zoo’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “We have achieved our goal, and are now preparing to release birds into the wild in 2016.”

The program’s goal has been to increase the ‘Alalā flock to 75 or more individuals before releasing them into their native forests on the island of Hawaii. The ‘Alalā is a member of the crow family that was brought to the brink of extinction by loss of habitat, and introduced predators and diseases. For species that have been at the brink of extinction, genetic fitness and the information stored in their genome may prove an important tool in the fight to save them.

“Learning more about the genome of the species can help us understand more about how that species will interact with and fit back into its native habitat,” said Jolene Sutton, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. “Through scientific collaboration with PacBio, we now have a map of ‘Alalā DNA that could prove critical to their long term recovery. We are absolutely thrilled with the quality of the sequencing, and we have already identified several gene locations that we think could have a big influence on reintroduction success.”

Hawaii Sanctuary to Remain Focused on Humpback Whales – State Reacts to NOAA Decision

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) has informed the State of Hawaii of its decision to continue the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary as it was first designated by Congress – as a sanctuary to protect humpback whales and their habitat.

Humpback whales off Maui

Humpback whales off Maui

Each winter, Hawaiian waters are home to the largest breeding population of humpback whales in the world. Humpbacks are a flagship species in an ecosystem full of marine mammals, fish, coral, and other valuable marine and cultural resources. The State and NOAA, along with other partners and communities, are working hard to preserve Hawaii’s marine ecosystem for the sustainable use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

“The Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) consistently works to implement an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to management.  We believe strongly that this can only be achieved through partnerships in which each entity builds upon and leverages its unique strengths.  The Sanctuary has done this extraordinarily well with humpback whales for over 20 years and we had hoped that this expertise could be extended to other marine mammals,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “Although ultimately the Sanctuary will not have an expanded purpose, we look forward to building upon its accomplishments, as well as highlighting its successes, particularly the Sanctuary’s world-renowned entanglement response program, at the World Conservation Congress coming to Hawaii in September,” continued Case.

“We will continue working with the appropriate divisions within NOAA, as well as communities and ocean users, to build upon the successes of the Sanctuary and better manage all of our protected species. This includes addressing the threat of harassment to spinner dolphins and of toxoplasmosis to Hawaiian monk seals and other marine mammals,” said DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Bruce Anderson.

The State of Hawai‘i recognizes the tremendous dedication and commitment of the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC), which has worked tirelessly throughout the Sanctuary’s Management Plan Review process to guide and advise sanctuary management.  DLNR is eager to continue to partner with and draw on the tremendous depth of expertise of the SAC as the Sanctuary enters this new chapter.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary was established by Congress in 1992. It is located from the shoreline to 600 ft. depth off of Maui Nui, including Penguin Bank, and off the north shore of Kauai, the north and south shores of Oahu, and the north Kona coast of Hawai‘i Island. The sanctuary is co-managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawai‘i through the Department of Land and Natural Resources.