DLNR and Olson Trust Establish a Public Access Route to the Ka’u Forest Reserve

A public vehicular access route to the Ka’u Forest Reserve will soon be established along three miles of road along the lower boundary of this majestic forest reserve that spans over 61,000 acres on the south-eastern slopes of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. It will make more accessible areas of the reserve for public use which includes hunting, recreational opportunities, cultural uses, personal gathering and educational programs and activities.

kau plan

To be known as the “Olson Forest Access” establishment of this route was accomplished through a collaborative effort by the Ka‘u community, local hunters, private landowners, public land managers, and natural resource conservation partners.

The public access route was formally agreed to on June 22 this year, when landowner Edmund C. Olson signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DLNR Chair Suzanne Case to establish a public access route to the Ka‘u Forest Reserve over lands owned by the Edmund C. Olson Trust No. 2.

Providing public access is called for in DLNR’s Ka‘u Forest Reserve Management Plan (2012) which can be found at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/files/2013/02/Kau_FR_Mgnt_Plan_2012.pdf

DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife won competitive grants to establish the public access route from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Improvement Program) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (Hunting Heritage Partnership).

Other key partners who will be involved include the Hawaii Department of Agriculture; Kuahiwi Contractors, Inc.; Three Mountain Alliance Watershed Partnership; The Nature Conservancy; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; and the County of Hawaii Game Management Advisory Commission.

Together, these partners will install fencing, signage, and roadway improvements along the public access route, and provide ongoing maintenance in accordance with the MOA.

The public will be able to use the access after DOFAW secures access over the initial segment of the route from DLNR’s Land Division, and the project partners complete the planned infrastructure improvements.

A permit will not be required for entry; however, DLNR rules may require a permit or license for certain activities within the forest reserve.

For more information about the Olson Forest Access, including volunteer opportunities, please contact Nohea Ka‘awa, at Three Mountain Alliance, phone (808) 333-7497.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

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

International Space StationIt will be visible beginning tonight, Monday, August 24 at 7:46 PM. It will be visible for approximately 3 minutes.  Maximum Height: 64 degrees and it will appear in the Northwest part of the sky and disappear to the South Southeast.

Big Island Property Owners Encouraged To Attend Informational Meetings on Preliminary FEMA Flood Maps

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and County of Hawai‘i are inviting Big Island residents and property owners to attend important upcoming public information meetings next week on changes in the new FEMA Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) for Hawai‘i County.

Flood Insurance

Click to view study

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is nearing the end of a multi-year effort to update and modernize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Hawai‘i County. The updated maps will help community officials and local residents better identify known flood risks and when finalized, will be used for flood insurance, land use and development decisions.

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.

The preliminary FIRM maps serve to revise and update information on the existence and severity of flood hazards in Hawai‘i County. The revised maps reflect the combined efforts of FEMA and Hawai‘i County.

The maps will be available for viewing beginning August 14 at the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works Engineering offices at either 101 Pauahi St., Suite 7 in Hilo, (808) 961-8327, or 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Building D, 1st floor of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona (808) 323-4850\. They will also be available for online viewing on the State of Hawai‘i’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool (FHAT) at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat. To learn how to view the preliminary maps using the FHAT, click on the tutorial link provided on the Hawai‘i NFIP website www.hawaiinfip.org.

Personnel from FEMA, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Hawai‘i County will be available to answer questions, concerns, and provide information on the mapping timeline and appeals process. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Monday. August 17, 2015
Aupuni Center (101 Pauahi Street, Hilo 96720)
Doors open 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. presentation 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015
West Hawai‘i Civic Center (75-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Bldg. G, Kailua Kona 96740)
Doors open 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. presentation 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Hilda to Swing South of the Big Island of Hawaii

Hurricane Hilda was downgraded to a Tropical Storm and now appears that it will go south of the Big Island of Hawaii missing the entire Hawaii chain of islands.
Hilda7

Volcanoes National Park Closures for Hilda

In anticipation of the heavy rain and wind forecast with the arrival of Hurricane Hilda, all backcountry areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 12 until it is safe to reopen them. No backcountry permits will be issued until park staff reassess the storm’s impact.
Hilda6
In addition, Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout, and Nāmakanipaio Campgrounds and A-frame cabins, will close as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Much of the park will remain open, including Jaggar Museum, Kīlauea Visitor Center, restrooms, lava tube, front-country trails, steam vents, and other popular features. Visitors should be prepared for heavy rain and wind.

Park staff will continue to monitor the storm and assess conditions in the park. The public will be kept informed via news releases, social media, and the park website, nps.gov/havo.

Update on Hurricane Hilda – Flights Into Eye to Begin on Regular Basis

DATA COLLECTED BY U.S. 53RD WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT WAS CRITICAL IN DETERMINING THE INITIAL INTENSITY AND WIND STRUCTURE OF HILDA THIS EVENING.

Hilda5

ALTHOUGH HILDA IS ENCOUNTERING A PROVERBIAL WALL OF SHEAR…WITH ANALYSES FROM UW-CIMSS INDICATING AROUND 35 KT OF SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR…HILDA HAS THUS FAR BEEN ABLE TO MAINTAIN AN INNER CORE.

Hilda SatMAXIMUM SFMR WINDS ON THE INITIAL PENETRATION WERE NEAR 80 KT…AND A REDUCTION OF MAXIMUM FLIGHT LEVEL WINDS YIELDS SURFACE WINDS 0F 77 KT…THUS THE INITIAL INTENSITY WILL BE MAINTAINED AT 80 KT FOR THIS ADVISORY.

A 25 TO 30 NM WIDE EYE WAS NOTED BY THE FLIGHT CREW TO BE OPEN TO THE SOUTHWEST…WHICH WAS NICELY HIGHLIGHTED BY 0405Z SSMI/S AND 0411Z GPM MICROWAVE OVERPASSES.

IN COORDINATION WITH CHIEF…AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE COORDINATION…ALL HURRICANES /CARCAH/…FLIGHTS INTO HILDA WILL BEGIN AT 6 HOURLY INTERVALS STARTING TUESDAY EVENING…WITH THE NEXT MISSION SLATED FOR TUESDAY MORNING.

THE AIRCRAFT CENTER FIXES INDICATED THAT HILDA WAS MOVING VERY SLOWLY…HAVING MOVED ABOUT 7 NM TOWARD THE NORTH-NORTHWEST IN 2 HOURS. A SLIGHTLY LONGER TERM INITIAL MOTION ESTIMATE FOR THIS ADVISORY IS DETERMINED TO BE 315/04 KT. ALTHOUGH THE UPPER LEVEL FLOW OVER HILDA FEATURES RELATIVELY STRONG WESTERLY WINDS…THE CYCLONE IS CURRENTLY IN AN AREA OF LIGHT STEERING WINDS.

OVER THE NEXT 36 HOURS…HILDA IS FORECAST TO MOVE SLOWLY TOWARD THE NORTHWEST…STEERED BY THE WEAK CURRENTS BETWEEN A LOW ALOFT NORTH OF HAWAII…AND A HIGH TO THE DISTANT EAST. THIS WILL LEAD TO GRADUAL WEAKENING…DUE TO STRONG UPPER LEVEL WESTERLIES SHEARING AT LEAST THE UPPER PORTIONS OF THE CYCLONE NORTHEASTWARD. A TURN TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST AND A SLIGHT ACCELERATION ARE EXPECTED THEREAFTER AS HILDA BECOMES INCREASINGLY SHALLOW AND THE VERTICAL STRUCTURE OF THE CYCLONE BECOMES INCREASINGLY COMPROMISED.

THE OFFICIAL TRACK AND INTENSITY FORECASTS FOR THIS PACKAGE CLOSELY FOLLOW THE PREVIOUS…WITH THE TRACK PARALLELING THE TVCN CONSENSUS…AND CLOSE TO THE LATEST HWRF GUIDANCE. AFTER ACCOUNTING FOR THE INITIAL INTENSITY…THE OFFICIAL FORECAST CLOSELY FOLLOWS THE PREVIOUS…AND IS CLOSE TO SHIPS GUIDANCE THROUGH 48 HOURS. THE RATE OF WEAKENING THEREAFTER IS CLOSE TO THE IVCN CONSENSUS…AND SLOWER THAN SHIPS GUIDANCE…AND ANTICIPATES THAT HILDA WILL BECOME A REMNANT LOW BY THE END OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.

ON THE FORECAST TRACK…A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MAY BE REQUIRED FOR THE BIG ISLAND…POSSIBLY AS EARLY AS TUESDAY MORNING. UNCERTAINTY REMAINS AS TO THE EVENTUAL IMPACTS THAT MAY BE FELT IN THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS FROM HILDA…BUT THE POTENTIAL FOR LARGE SURF AND VERY HEAVY RAINFALL APPEARS TO BE INCREASING.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Update – High Aerial View of Pu’u O’o

High aerial view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking south-southwest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The current crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is about 280 m (~920 ft) long and 230 m (~755 ft) wide, with a depth of about 25 m (~82 ft). To the west of the crater is another pit 49 m (~161 ft) across that contains a small lava pond.

The pit west of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, shown here, is overhung on most sides and may continue to widen with time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava pond inside is relatively placid, appearing as a black surface, usually with a few tiny spattering areas along the edge.

Lava flows are scattered across a broad area extending from about 3 to 8 km (2–5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The active flows start just above the horizontal mid-line of the photo, but cannot be picked out easily within the broader inactive flow field due to their distance away in this photo. The most distant active lava is burning forest, and the bluish smoke from this can be seen in a few areas in the distance, partly shrouded by clouds.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Propose New Electronic Vehicle Charging Rates

The Hawaiian Electric Companies have asked the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve discount electric vehicle charging rates in a new time-of-use program.

The new rates aim to promote plug-in electric vehicle use by offering simpler terms and sign-up procedures compared to the existing EV discount charging pilot and to foster more use of excess electricity generated by rooftop solar systems during the middle of the day.

Hawaiian Electric is recommending that customers enrolled in the present EV time-of-use pilot program have the option to continue at their existing rates when the current pilot expires at the end of September, 2015.

“EV numbers continue to increase and automakers are bringing more advanced plug-in electric vehicles to market. And with over 70,000 customers statewide who have or will soon have rooftop solar, we see increasing amounts of excess solar electricity available at mid-day,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president for customer service.

“The proposed new rates will help make greater use of that solar electricity and accelerate EV adoption in Hawaii,” Alberts said.

In addition to upgraded discount charging rates, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are installing up to 25 DC fast chargers across Oahu, Maui County and Hawaii Island to alleviate EV drivers’ “range anxiety” and working with stakeholders on other endeavors as new ideas and technologies enter the market.

The proposed rates will have only two time-of-use schedules over 24 hours instead of three. Charging an EV at home using electricity from the grid will be most expensive during peak electricity demand from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. All other hours will be at the less expensive off-peak rate. EV owners may still choose to add a separate meter just for EV charging or keep a single meter for all household and charging use.

Signing up for EV rates will also be simpler. Customers need only certify ownership of a plug-in electric vehicle. As with the discount charging pilot in place for the last five years, customers on Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Oahu would be eligible to participate, upon PUC approval.

For commercial customers, the proposed new EV rates will waive “demand charges” during off-peak periods and eliminate demand charge minimums. This will make it less expensive for commercial customers who wish to provide charging for EV fleets or their customers with EVs.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are asking the PUC to approve this proposal by the end of September when the present pilot ends. The companies suggest the new program last until June 30, 2020, when all EV rates would be re-considered for the future.

The new rate is designed to provide more off-peak hours for home EV charging with a 6.1¢ per kWh savings for a typical residential customer on Oahu. By charging off-peak, that driver is estimated to save half the cost to “fuel” an electric vehicle (compared to a mid-sized gasoline-fueled sedan) by buying no gasoline but paying a slightly higher monthly electric bill. The proposed per kWh savings for off-peak EV charging for a typical residential customer on Hawaii Island is 9.2¢; on Maui is 7.3¢; on Lanai is 7.1¢; and on Molokai is 9.4¢.

Here are comparative sample driving costs under the proposed rates based on Oahu electricity and gasoline costs:

energy costs

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Prepares for Guillermo

In anticipation of the heavy rain and wind forecast with the arrival of Tropical Storm Guillermo, all backcountry areas in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be closed as of 5 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 4 until it is safe to reopen them. No backcountry permits will be issued until park staff reassess the storm’s impact.

Current projected path of Guillermo

Current projected path of Guillermo

In addition, Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu to the Mauna Loa Lookout,and Nāmakanipaio Campgrounds and A-frame cabins, will close as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. The visitor centers, restrooms, lava tube, front-country trails, steam vents, and other popular features, will remain open.

Park staff will continue to monitor the storm and assess conditions in the park. The public will be kept informed via news releases, social media, and the park website, nps.gov/havo.

Civil Defense Hurricane Update

This is Hurricane information update for Saturday August 1st  at 7:00AM.

As of 5:00AM this morning Hawaii Time, Hurricane Guillermo was located approximately 1145 miles east/southeast of Hilo and moving in a west/northwest direction at 14 miles per hour.  Currently, Guillermo has sustained winds of 105 miles per hour with higher gusts.

hurricane 8115

No watches or warnings are in effect at this time and the Civil Defense Agency will be maintaining close communication with the National Weather Service and monitoring the system.  Please monitor your local radio broadcasts for additional updates.   The community is encouraged to take this time to prepare for possible storm impacts that could include high surf, strong winds, and heavy rains.  At the current track and rate of advancement, hazardous conditions could begin to affect Hawaii Island in the next few days.  Although there is some indication the system will weaken, early preparations are recommended and encouraged.

New Lava Flow Map Shows Recent Changes to East Rift Zone

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

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on June 19 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of June 30 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, but on today’s overflight we observed a decrease in overall activity. In particular, breakouts that had been active closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō on previous days, around Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, were inactive today.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The active breakouts began about 4 km (2.5 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and reached nearly 8 km (5 miles). This farthest distance has not changed significantly in recent weeks.

Breakouts have further buried Puʻu Kahaualeʻa in recent weeks. The cone was originally covered in thick vegetation, but today only a single dead tree stands on the remnants of the cone rim.

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree!  (Click to enlarge)

A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree! (Click to enlarge)

More here: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/multimedia/index.php?display=default

Hemp Harvested Legally in Hawaii for First Time

The first stalk of legal hemp in Hawaii was harvested today.
Hemp in HawaiiHawaii Representative Chris Lee tweeted, “Harvesting the very first stalk of hemp in Hawaii. Uses less water, 100% organic, tremendous economic commodity

As Climate Warms Hawaiian Forest Birds Lose More Ground to Mosquitoes

Hawai‘i, the name alone elicits images of rhythmic traditional dancing, breathtaking azure sea coasts and scenes of vibrant birds flitting through lush jungle canopy. Unfortunately, the future of many native Hawaiian birds looks grim as diseases carried by mosquitoes are due to expand into higher elevation safe zones.

Palila Bird

A new study published in Global Change Biology, by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, assesses how global climate change will affect future malaria risk to native Hawaiian bird populations in the coming century.

Mosquito-carried diseases such as avian pox and avian malaria have been devastating native Hawaiian forest birds. A single mosquito bite can transfer malaria parasites to a susceptible bird, where the death rate may exceed 90 percent for some species. As a result, many already threatened or endangered native birds now only survive in disease-free refuges found in high-elevation forests where mosquito populations and malaria development are limited by colder temperatures. Unlike continental bird species, island birds cannot move northward in response to climate change or increased disease stressors, but must adapt or move to less hospitable habitats to survive.

“We knew that temperature had significant effects on mosquitoes and malaria, but we were surprised that rainfall also played an important role,” said USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit scientist Michael Samuel. “Additional rainfall will favor mosquitoes as much as the temperature change.”

With warming temperatures, mosquitoes will move farther upslope and increase in number. The authors expect high-elevation areas to remain mosquito-free, but only until mid-century when mosquito-friendly temperatures will begin to appear at higher elevations. Future increases in rainfall will likely benefit the mosquitoes as well.

Scientists know that historically, malaria has caused bird extinctions, but changing climates could affect the bird-mosquito-disease system in unknown ways. “We wanted to figure out how climate change impacts birds in the future,” said Wei Liao, post-doctorate at University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the article.

As more mosquitoes move up the mountainside, disease-free refuges will no longer provide a safe haven for the most vulnerable species. The rate of disease infection is likely to speed up as the numbers of mosquitoes increase and more diseased birds become hosts to the parasites, continuing the cycle of infection to healthy birds.

Researchers conclude that future global climate change will cause substantial decreases in the abundance and diversity of remaining Hawaiian bird communities. Without significant intervention many native Hawaiian species, like the scarlet ‘I‘iwi with its iconic curved bill, will suffer major population declines or extinction due to increasing risk from avian malaria during the 21st century.

There is hope for the birds. Because these effects are unlikely to appear before mid-century, natural resource managers have time to implement conservation strategies to protect these unique species from further decimation. Land managers could work toward preventing forest bird number declines by restoring and improving habitat for the birds, reducing mosquitoes on a large scale and controlling predators of forest birds.

“Hawaiian forest birds are some of the most threatened forest birds in the world,” said Samuel. “They are totally unique to Hawai‘i and found nowhere else. They are also important to the Hawaiian culture. And at this point, we still don’t fully understand what role they play as pollinators and in forest dynamics.”

The article, “Will a Warmer and Wetter Future Cause Extinction of Native Hawaiian Forest Birds?” can be found in the online edition of Global Change Biology.

The work was supported by the Department of Interior Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, which is managed by the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center. The center is one of eight that provides scientific information to help natural resource managers respond effectively to climate change.

Taro Inspired Benefit Luncheon in Waipio Valley

Kalo (taro) is Hawaii’s most elemental food for body and soul. Inspired by kalo, The Feeding Leaf events and catering company (TFL) will present a five-course benefit luncheon for the nonprofit Pōhāhā I ka Lani, on Sunday, July 26 at 12 p.m. at the secluded Waipi‘o Tea House.

Taro Picture

Waipi’o Valley Kalo. Photo by Anna Pacheco

Diners will take a culinary “huaka‘i,” a journey that begins with Moloka‘i venison, ‘uala (purple sweet potato) and pa‘akai (Hawaiian salt), and travels through Kona for Kamana‘o Farm pumpkin and Living Aquaponics lettuce. Mauka-to-makai entreés feature whole roasted pig and ‘ōpelu, followed by a trio of poni (purple) desserts: Punalu‘u Taro Sweet Bread Pudding with Kalo Vanilla Bean Sauce, ‘Uala Custard Flan Tart and Koele Pālau (sweet potato pudding).

Each course will be paired with a different type of kalo, selected by Pōhāhā I ka Lani founder Kūlia Kauhi Tolentino-Potter, to complement the specific foods being served. For example ‘ōpelu kalo will accompany the whole roasted ‘ōpelu entree to enhance both flavors.

“What makes this event so special is absolutely the Valley, Waipi‘o itself,” said TFL President Tracey Apoliona. “We are bringing the guests right there, right to the source. And we are making and serving the kinds of Hawaiian foods that have ancient roots, in modern, elegant preparations. That is how the menu is, and we as a business are, aligned with Pōhāhā—honoring the kalo, from those rich roots up to the green leaves that grow in abundance, reaching higher and higher.”

The Feeding Leaf partners Les and Tracey Apoliona, Paris DeCambra, Chef Scott Hiraishi.  Photo by Anna Pacheco

The Feeding Leaf partners Les and Tracey Apoliona, Paris DeCambra, Chef Scott Hiraishi. Photo by Anna Pacheco

Emceed by TFL’s new Director of Shared Services Paris DeCambra, lunch is accompanied by the Hawaiian music of Aliʻi Keanaʻaina, in the scenic setting of Waipiʻo Tea House, overlooking Hi‘ilawe falls. And, an exclusive silent auction will supplement fundraising efforts for future educational programs promoting stewardship, leadership and guidance.

Founded in 2009, Pōhāhā I ka Lani is a hands-on, place-based educational resource, dedicated to restoring and preserving indigenous Hawaiian culture. Numerous schools, clubs and community groups participate in their Kāhuli program, focused on traditional kalo farming and centuries-old food culture in the Napo‘opo‘o area of Waipi‘o Valley. http://www.pohahaikalani.com/

A limited number of tickets are available at $100 for this one-of-a-kind, alcohol-free food experience in Waipi‘o Valley. Price includes five course plated lunch, fresh brewed Māmaki and Ko‘oko‘olau teas, and shuttle transportation from Waipi‘o Shuttle Tour Company. To purchase tickets, please call 325-3803, or visit waipioteahouse.brownpapertickets.com.

The Feeding Leaf catering and event company specializes in Hawai‘i-raised food for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Les Apoliona, (808) 325-3803, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

Pahoa Safe for Now… New Lava Flow Map Released

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to lower Puna. The area of the flow on June 30 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of July 7 is shown in red.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Innovative Wave Power Device Starts Producing Clean Power in Hawaii

With support from the Energy Department and the U.S. Navy, a prototype wave energy device has advanced successfully from initial concept to grid-connected, open-sea pilot testing.

The device, called Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Azura, was recently launched and installed in a 30-meter test berth at the Navy’s Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) in Kaneohe Bay, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

This pilot testing is now giving U.S. researchers the opportunity to monitor and evaluate the long-term performance of the nation’s first grid-connected wave energy converter (WEC) device to be independently tested by a third party—the University of Hawaii—in the open ocean.

The project supports the Energy Department’s mission to research, test, and develop innovative technologies capable of generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from clean energy resources, including water. Marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies, which generate power from waves, tides, or currents, are at an early but promising stage of development. Many coastal areas in the United States have strong wave and tidal resources, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives within 50 miles of a coastline, making transmission from these resources more economical.

With further progress towards commercialization, MHK technologies could make substantial contributions to our nation’s electricity needs. To accelerate commercialization of wave energy devices, the Energy Department funds research and development—from laboratory and field-testing of individual components, up to demonstration and deployment of complete utility-scale systems.

The first phase of Azura’s development involved testing a smaller prototype in a wave tank and later deploying a prototype—at the same scale as the new deployment—in a controlled, open-sea area off the coast of Oregon in 2014. Those successful tests helped Azura’s developer, Northwest Energy Innovations (NWEI) of Portland, Oregon, verify the functionality of the device while collecting comprehensive performance data that could lower the cost of wave energy technologies in the future.

To further advance Azura towards commercialization, NWEI recently launched its grid-connected 20-kilowatt demonstration project at WETS. The current phase of in-water testing at the WETS’s 30-meter test berth has already proven valuable in gathering performance and reliability data from the device in deepwater, open-ocean conditions. The data will be used to further optimize Azura’s performance and refine existing wave energy computer simulations, ultimately supporting commercialization of this technology.

NWEI, with $5 million in additional funding from the Energy Department, will apply lessons learned from this current phase of development to modify the device design in order to improve its efficiency and reliability. NWEI plans to then test the improved design with a full-scale device rated between 500 kilowatts and one megawatt at WETS at even deeper test berths of 60 meters to 80 meters over the next several years, further supporting efforts to build a robust and competitive MHK industry in the United States.

The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. EERE supports innovative approaches that reduce both the risk and costs of bringing MHK technologies online. Watch our Energy 101: Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy video, and learn more about the Department’s efforts to support MHK research and development.

Groundbreaking Held for Long Awaited Hilo Bayfront Trails Project

A public groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday, July 7, for Phase 1 of the Hilo Bayfront Trails Project. Hilo Bay Ground Breaking

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has partnered with the nonprofit Hilo Bayfront Trails Inc. to deliver nearly a mile of paved, 12-foot-wide trails that will support walking, running, bicycling and other non-motorized transportation modes.

Two interconnected sections will extend from Mo‘oheau Park Bandstand to the canoe-storage area at Hilo Bayfront Beach Park. A third segment will start at the terminus of Kumu Street, run though the soccer fields mauka of Kamehameha Avenue, and end at Pauahi Street.

Hilo Bay Recreation Map

The Department of Parks and Recreation has obtained a $345,743 grant from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund’s State and Local Assistance Program and has committed $25,000 from its own budget to subside the purchase of materials. Hilo Bayfront Trails’ members will build the trail utilizing volunteer labor.

Total estimated cost is $750,000, and construction is expected to be finished by December 2016.

Mayor Billy Kenoi, state Sens. Gilbert Kahele and Lorraine Inouye, as well as Hilo Councilmen Dennis “Fresh” Onishi and Danny Paleka Jr. were among the dignitaries who praised the project’s benefits during the groundbreaking ceremony. Pastor Evan Carmichael of the Church on a Sure Foundation delivered the prayer.

The ceremony culminated a 10-year County and community effort to develop a walking and bicycling path that showcases Hilo Bay and Mauna Kea, while also meeting the diverse recreational needs of a growing population. Trail development was listed as a top priority by 56 percent of the people who participated in a 2008 public recreation user survey.

Hawaii Cannabis Business Expo and Kou Calabash Challenge

The state of Hawaii’s first and only medical cannabis magazine – Kaulana Na Pua, is pleased to announce that the Hawaii Convention Center will serve as the site for the inaugural Hawaii Cannabis Business Expo and Kou Calabash Challenge on July 17, 18, and 19, 2015.

See more here:

Hawaiian Cannabis Expo

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33rd Annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club Show

Find out how “You Can Grow Orchids” at the 33rd annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale Sunday, July 19 at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. In conjunction with this year’s theme, find informative displays illustrating what is needed to successfully nurture orchids.

Orchid Show

The free event offers attendees complimentary refreshments, plus an orchid boutonniere corsage—while they last.  Time is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with the Daifukuji Taiko Drummers performing at 10 a.m.

Enjoy an elaborate and colorful display of live blooming cattleya, cymbidium, dendrobium, phalaenopsis, miltonia, vanda and more. Cameras are welcome. In addition this year’s show will have a display of orchids appearing on “Plates, Platters and Plaques.”

Got growing questions? Veteran members will staff a Question and Answer Booth where attendees can get expert advice on caring for orchids. The club boasts eight charter members who each have been growing orchids at least 30 years at different Kona elevations.

In addition to the other displays, the annual event offers an outdoor sale of high-quality orchid species and hybrids grown by club members and Big Isle commercial growers.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.kdoc.us, get club updates at www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise or phone 808-325-3261.

 

Hawaii State Judiciary Launches New Environmental Court

On July 1st, Hawaii will take the historic step of establishing the second statewide Environmental Court in the United States.  Hawaii’s new Environmental Court will have broad jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases affecting the environment.

JudiciaryAccording to Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, “The goal of the Environmental Court is to ensure the fair, consistent, and effective resolution of cases involving the environment.  We are excited to be part of this new initiative.”

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the creation of environmental courts and tribunals around the world.  To date, 350 environmental courts of some kind are operating in 41 countries.  The Vermont State Legislature founded America’s first environmental court in 1990.  No other statewide environmental courts were formed in the United States until former Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law Act 218, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014.

Pursuant to Act 218, Chief Justice Recktenwald appointed Associate Justice Michael D. Wilson to serve as Chair of the Environmental Court Working Group, an assembly of court personnel from across the state, to manage the implementation of the new specialty court.  The Working Group has been preparing for the July 1, 2015 launch, starting with a report to the 2015 Legislature describing plans to implement the Hawaii Environmental Court.  Since then, environmental court judges for the district and circuit courts have been assigned, Circuit Court Rules were amended, case management systems were updated, and adjustments were made to some court schedules to accommodate environmental court calendars.

“With the Environmental Court, Hawaii will be better positioned to safeguard one of the most treasured environments in the world,” said Justice Wilson.  “By organizing the technical and legal environmental issues under the Environmental Court, the State Legislature’s intention of promoting and protecting Hawaii’s natural environment will be realized through informed, efficient and consistent application of Hawaii’s environmental laws.”