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Update Map of Lava Flow Field

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of December 14 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of January 12 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. Surface flows are focused on a branch of the flow east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō that has been active since late last year. The front of that flow branch has stalled, but there are weak scattered breakouts upslope along its length.

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. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Disregard the area around the Kamokuna ocean entry, where the Kamokuna lava delta collapsed on New Year’s Eve. The lava flow polygons in these maps are layered to show additions to flow. As such, they do not show where material has been removed, such as by lava delta collapse.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/).

November Lava Breakout Remains Active and Kamokuna Ocean Entry Continues

The November 21 breakout from the episode 61g lava flow remains active.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the upper left of the photo.

The tip is 2.4 km (1.5 mi) straight-line from the vent, and the furthest active lava is roughly 600 m (660 yd) back from the tip. The breakout, extending to the lower right of the image, can be identified by its light silver color.

The Kamokuna ocean entry remains active. On December 31, approximately 21 acres of delta collapsed into the ocean. The remaining ~2.5 acres can be seen at the base of the sea cliff in long narrow sections. On the lower right of the photo, a scarp is visible where a portion of the old sea cliff collapsed.

Degassing from the 61g lava tube is visible from the ocean entry to the upper right of the photo, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the top middle of the photo.

A close up view of where approximately 4 acres of old sea cliff fell into the ocean during the delta collapse on December 31.

The far eastern end of this collapse (right), is where the old public viewing area was located prior to the collapse.

On the left is a normal photograph of the ocean entry, which produces a robust steam plume and an area of discolored water extending out from the entry point.

The thermal image on the right shows how this area of discolored water corresponds to scalding water temperatures.

Another view of the ocean entry, with the plume of hot water extending out from the ocean entry point.

National Weather Service Has Issued a High Surf Warning

This is a Civil Defense message.

This is a High Surf Warning information update for Friday, January 13th at 11:30 AM.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the shores of Kohala, Kona and Ka‘ū to go into effect from mid-day today and will remain in effect through tomorrow morning.

A High Surf Warning means there is a significant threat to life and property from the surf.

Surf over 12 feet is predicted along these shores with highest surf heights to coincide with the high tides early this evening and again around sunrise tomorrow.

Oceanfront residents, all ocean activities and beachgoers along the affected shores are advised to be on the alert for possible high and dangerous surf.

You are advised to exercise caution due to the unpredictability of huge swells and dangerous surf.

As a precaution, boat owners and oceanfront residents should take actions to secure their property.

Thank you. This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense.

First Annual Global Tea Innovation Symposium

The launch of a Hawaii tea co-op, the first not for profit consumer cooperative tea business in the world will happen on February 1st, 2017 at 10am – 4pm at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, in Volcano, Hawaii.

Presenters scheduled:

  • Nigel Melican, Chairman,TeaCraft Ltd. (U.K): A global business development consultant to the leading world tea businesses.
  • Chairman, Kawasaki Kiko Ltd. (Japan): leading manufacturer of automated tea farming and tea processing equipment.
  • Jason McDonald, Founder of The Great Mississippi Tea Company and Co-Founder/Vice President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).
  • Grif Frost: Co-Founder/President of The Hawaii Medicinal Tea and Herb Cooperative (HawaiiTea.Coop).  Expert in not for profit consumer cooperative development.
  • Takeshi Akatsuka, Vice President, Akatsuka Orchid Gardens, the site of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.

Purpose: Provide A-Z, tea business development services, for Hawaii Tea enthusiasts.

Mission: Develop a model, which can be replicated, to help other tea enthusiasts worldwide, work together, to sustainably grow their tea businesses.

Services to be offered:

  • Propagation services: contract growing of the ideal tea plants, for specific geographical locales in Hawaii.
  • Farm Design services: contract selection and design of tea farm sites, suitable for automated equipment use.
  • Minimum tea farm acreage: 1 acre. There must a minimum of 10 acres of Co-op contracted tea farms, within a 5-minute driving radius.
  • Farm Site Preparation services: contract preparation of sites for automated tea planting services.
  • Planting Services: contracted automated tea planting services.
  • Growing Services: contracted automated pruning, pest control and fertilization services.
  • Harvesting Services: contracted automated tea plant harvesting services.
  • Processing Services: contracted processing services to prepare harvested tea for consumption
  • Sales Services: contracted sales of packaged tea
  • Research and Development Services: contracted research and development related to Hawaii tea community development.

50 seats available to people interested in participating in the development of the Hawaii Tea Co-op.  Price $250 ($200 may be applied to the purchase of Hawaii Tea Co-op shares). A tea and food pairing lunch will be served.

How to order: visit www.HawaiiTea.Coop to reserve your seat.

OHA Named Co-Trustee of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Gov. David Ige, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and the U.S. Secretaries of Interior and Commerce have signed an updated Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) adding OHA as a co-trustee of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. It is the largest, contiguous, fully protected conservation area in the U.S. and encompasses 583,000 square miles of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

With the signing of the updated MOA, co-trustee agencies are: the Commerce Department (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); the Interior Department (Fish and Wildlife Service); the State of Hawai‘i Land and Natural Resources Department (DLNR) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

“Honoring, respecting and perpetuating the Native Hawaiian culture and sustainability are among my administration’s top priorities. OHA has participated in the decision making process since the monument was first designated by President Bush more than ten years ago, and previously, when the area was managed as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. The monument is world renowned for both its natural and cultural attributes and OHA’s co-trustee role will ensure the protection of Native Hawaiian cultural features and provide a critical cultural sensitivity to every decision that is made to protect this unique place,” said Gov. David Ige.

“We fully support and embrace OHA as a co-trustee of the monument. It is impossible to separate decisions about nature from cultural considerations. OHA’s elevated voice and input will inform management actions on a broad scale,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.

OHA has been one of seven collaborating agencies for Papahānaumokuākea, including NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and National Marine Fisheries Service; the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ecological Services and Refuges, and the DLNR Divisions of Aquatic Resources and Forestry and Wildlife.

Papahānaumokuākea is rich in history and cultural significance. In 2010, UNESCO inscribed the area as our nation’s first mixed (natural and cultural) World Heritage Site.

“The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is of great cultural significance to the Native Hawaiian community and houses important marine ecosystems that the Department of Commerce is committed to protecting for future generations,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Over the past 10 years, we have forged a strong partnership with the State of Hawai‘i and we look forward to collaborating with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on our continued efforts to preserve this unique environment.”

“The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to one of the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet and a sacred place for the Native Hawaiian community,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “By including OHA as a co-trustee for Papahānaumokuākea, we are highlighting not only the protection of natural treasures like the pristine coral reefs and deep sea marine habitats, but also the significant cultural and historic resources of the area that will be preserved for current and future generations.”

“We thank President Barack Obama and our partners and supporters for making this a reality. Since our community’s first involvement in the management of these kūpuna island more than a decade ago, the goal has been to get Native Hawaiians a seat at the decision-making table. We understand the challenges ahead and are firmly committed to fulfilling our kuleana to this place and our beneficiaries,” said OHA Chair Rowena Akana.

“This historic action rightfully places the Native Hawaiian voice at the highest levels of decision making for this culturally and spiritually significant wahi pana (sacred place) and will help advance our people’s understanding of the deep connection of our entire paeʻaina (archipelago).  We look forward to serving in our new role, in partnership with our co-trustees, to develop and implement a resource management structure that integrates the best of conventional science and traditional practices. We hope that Papahānaumokuākea will demonstrate to the world that integrating science and indigenous knowledge is the best management model to sustain our fragile global environment,” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA’s chief executive officer.

OHA is a constitutionally established body, set as a separate state entity independent of the executive branch of the State of Hawai‘i. Its primary responsibility is representing the interests of the Native Hawaiian community, including in the monument, through the perpetuation of Hawaiian cultural resources. This includes the customary and traditional rights and practices of Native Hawaiians that are exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes under the Hawai‘i Constitution.

Hokulea Completes Transit Through Panama Canal and Returns to Pacific Waters

After two days of transit through the Panama Canal, iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea reached the Panama city of Balboa today at 2:54 p.m. EST.

The canoe went through three sets of locks on the man-made waterway and returned to Pacific waters for the first time in nearly two years. Because Hokulea has no engines, and because of the turbulence and currents within the canal, the canoe was safely towed by a powerful work vessel – DWS Linda – through the canal.

Crewmembers moored the double-hulled canoe at Balboa Yacht Club and will remain docked in Balboa for about seven days. From Balboa, Hokulea will depart for the Galapagos Islands, a sail that is expected to take approximately 10 days.

While in Balboa, Hokulea’s crew will engage with several indigenous organizations and leaders of the Panamanian community. Crewmembers will also use their time in Balboa to provision the vessel for her upcoming sail to the Galapagos Islands and then Rapa Nui, ensuring she is in exceptional condition for the remainder of her voyage home to the Hawaiian Islands.

State of Hawaii Ready to Implement Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan

The State of Hawai‘i, in a broad coalition of stakeholders led by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, has finalized the State’s first interagency and comprehensive biosecurity plan to protect Hawai‘i’s agriculture, environment, economy and health. In the past, individual federal, state, and local agencies have tried their best to address and manage the issues related to biosecurity within the context of their own agencies.

Click to read the plan

“The State of Hawai‘i now has a coordinated comprehensive plan to tackle the threats and harms from invasive species,” said Gov. David Ige. “I’m proud to announce that over the last year, several of my key state agencies have been working together with public and private stakeholders to develop the first Interagency Biosecurity Plan. This plan will provide a 10-year framework to prevent invasive species from entering our borders, detect them once they have entered the state, and better manage the established invasive species that are already within our state.”

The threats of invasive species are real and threaten our way of life. The Islands are home to more endangered species than any other state. These invasive species threaten Hawai‘i’s economy and natural environment and the health and lifestyle of its people and visitors. They replace native ecosystems, diminish fresh water quality and quantity, and increase disease and other human health concerns.

Invasive species have devastating impacts on our $600 million agricultural industry through crop damage and costly mitigation measures. Stinging ants, biting snakes, and other pests are also a threat to our $14.9 billion tourism industry.

The scope of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan addresses all three biosecurity areas including pre-border (for example, agreements on handling and treatment of products before they enter the state), border (for example, inspection authorities and technologies), and post-border (for example, tools and capacity for response after invasive species have become established). The benefit of a comprehensive interagency plan is that it facilitates actions and policies across a wide range of agencies and partners. The plan includes roughly 150 action items assigned to various agencies and stakeholders, with specific details on how and when to best implement each action.

“We have to be smarter in using state resources by working together and collaborating across and within their agencies.  We just don’t have the financial and human resources to do it by ourselves, the problem is much greater than just a Department of Agriculture issue,” emphasized Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “This plan gives us the framework or path to better address and manage the problems of invasive species.”

“This is really an example of many hands working together to achieve the best outcome,” said Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Our environment, our food, and our people are all interconnected. Using a cross-sector approach is the best way we can work to protect Hawai‘i.”

The Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan may be found on the HDOA website:

http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/blog/main/biosecurityplan/

Hokulea Transit Through Panama Canal Delayed

Traditional voyaging vessel Hokulea’s historic transit through the Panama Canal has been delayed due to unforeseen repairs being performed on the east lane of the Canal. The canoe was scheduled to make its legendary crossing today towards the Pacific Ocean and through the Atlantic Locks. Crewmembers have docked Hokulea in Colon, Panama and are now expected to commence her transit through the Panama Canal possibly as early as tomorrow, Jan. 10.

Crossing the Panama Canal from Colon to Balboa will take the crew approximately two days. Hokulea crewmembers will use their time in Balboa to work alongside indigenous communities and organizations to offer culturally relevant maritime activities to the Panamanian public. The canoe will also undergo necessary assessment and preparations before setting sail to the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia.

Filmmaker to Present Award-Winning Documentary at UH Hilo

Japanese filmmaker and educator Miho Aida presents her award-winning documentary film, “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins: Gwich’in Women Speak,” at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on Wednesday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. in University Classroom Building Room 100. The event is free and open to the public.

The Gwich’in is an Athabaskan-speaking First Nations of Canada and an Alaska Native people. The documentary explores the coastal plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that has been eyed for oil and gas development since 1986. In the film, Gwich’in women speak out for their sacred land.

The film was named the top documentary at the 2015 Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival, received the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 Earth Port Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2013 American Indian Film Festival. Following the screening, Aida will discuss the film and her new video series, “Standing Rock Women Speak,” along with her efforts to save the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North and South Dakota.

The event is sponsored by the UH Hilo Japanese Studies Program, Gender and Women’s Studies Program, Humanities Division, College of Arts and Sciences, and International Student Services and Intercultural Education Program.

For more information, contact Professor Yoshiko Fukushima at yf83@hawaii.edu or 932-7213. For more information about the film and filmmaker, visit http://mihoaida.com/gwichin.

Martin Luther King Day… A Day of Service – Beach Cleanups

Plastic Free Hawaii and Kailua Beach Adventures are hosting beach cleanups on Martin Luther King Day at Kahuku Beach and Kailua Beach Park:

Update HVO Lava Map Shows Revised Coastline

This map updates the preliminary ocean entry map below, based on mapping conducted on January 3, 2017. The map of the coastline at the lava flow ocean entry at Kamokuna shows the areas of the lava delta and adjacent coastline that collapsed into the ocean on December 31, 2016.

The collapsed areas are shown with an ‘x’ pattern and a blue background and are now part of the ocean. The shape of the eastern Kamokuna lava delta was revised based on satellite imagery acquired on December 25, 2016. The remaining sections of the lava delta, including the inactive western Kamokuna delta, are shown as a stippled pattern with a pink background. The active lava tube is shown with a yellow line and is dashed where its location is uncertain.

This image is from a research camera positioned on Holei Pali, looking east towards Lava Flow 61G and Kalapana.

The current ocean entry point, where lava cascades into the water, is located where the lava tube intersects the sea cliff. The NPS ropeline is shown as a dashed black line. The western extent of the ropeline was not mapped and is therefore not show; the eastern extent of the ropeline was moved on January 3, and has been approximated on this map between the emergency road and the coast. The dotted black line inland from the coast marks the location of the sea cliff before the Puʻu ʻŌʻō eruption began in 1983. The background is a Digital Globe satellite image acquired January 9, 2016; the episode 61g lava flow is the partly transparent area that overlies the background image.

Kamokuna Lava Delta Collapse Also Takes Part of Old Sea Cliff

The rocky shelf at the base of the sea cliff is all that remains of the Kamokuna lava delta following the New Year’s Eve collapse (Dec. 31, 2016), which sent acres of rock plunging into the sea.

The exposed lava tube continued to feed a cascade of molten rock down the steep sea cliff, beginning the process of building another lava delta at the ocean entry, as this photo was taken on Jan. 1, 2017.

When the lava delta collapsed, solid and molten fragments of lava and superheated steam exploded skyward, creating tremendous hazard for anyone who ignored the warning signs and entered the closed area on land or ventured too close to the lava delta by boat.

This map shows the coastline at the Kamokuna lava entry on Kīlauea Volcano, with labels denoting areas impacted by the large, progressive lava-delta collapse on December 31, 2016. Nearly all the Kamokuna lava delta collapsed into the sea, along with a large section of the older sea cliff east of the delta. The red line denotes the current (post-collapse) sea cliff; the land seaward of this line collapsed into the ocean. The blue line refers to the rope line that marks the boundary of the area closed by the National Park Service; a section of this rope line was taken out by the collapse on Saturday. These mapped lines, based on handheld GPS points captured on January 1, 2017, are preliminary and subject to change (HVO geologists are in the field again today). For up-to-date information about access to the new ocean entry viewing area, please consult the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Hawaiʻi County websites.

Hokulea Reaches Colon, Panama and Prepares for Historic Canal Crossing

Thirteen days since departing Key West, iconic sailing canoe Hokulea arrived yesterday in Colon, Panama, a seaport located by the Caribbean Sea near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal. The crew will spend the next two to three days preparing for their historic crossing through the 48-mile isthmus of Panama. Upon completion of the waterway, Hokulea will arrive in Balboa to re-enter the Pacific Ocean for the first time in nearly two years.

“It’ll surely be a sight to see Hokulea travel through the Panama Canal,” said pwo navigator and Hokulea captain, Bruce Blankenfeld. “Like Hokulea, the Panama Canal brings international communities together and serves as a bridge between the Atlantic and the Pacific.”

The Panama Canal has been an international landmark for over 100 years. The unique geography of Panama has allowed for increased international trade, fortifying international relations through modern technology. The canal continues on a new purpose with the passage of Hokulea, where both the vessel and its mission to share a message of caring for Island Earth will travel through the stretch of man-made waterway.

It will take the crew about two days to make their way from Colon to Balboa through the canal. With her return to the Pacific as an ancestral homecoming, Hokulea will continue with the mission of engaging with local communities worldwide before she reaches Hawaii.  The canoe will make stops in the Galapagos Islands, Rapa Nui and French Polynesia. Hokulea will conclude her Worldwide Voyage with a historic homecoming at Magic Island on June 17, 2017.

New Map Shows Collapsed Section of Lava Viewing Area

This map shows the coastline at the Kamokuna lava entry on Kīlauea Volcano, with labels denoting areas impacted by the large, progressive lava-delta collapse on December 31, 2016. Nearly all the Kamokuna lava delta collapsed into the sea, along with a large section of the older sea cliff east of the delta.

Click to enlarge

The red line denotes the current (post-collapse) sea cliff; the land seaward of this line collapsed into the ocean. The blue line refers to the rope line that marks the boundary of the area closed by the National Park Service; a section of this rope line was taken out by the collapse on Saturday. These mapped lines, based on handheld GPS points captured on January 1, 2017, are preliminary and subject to change (HVO geologists are in the field again today). For up-to-date information about access to the new ocean entry viewing area, please consult the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Hawaiʻi County websites.

New Coastal Lava Viewing Area Opens in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Park rangers opened a newly established lava viewing area at the Kamokuna ocean entry in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today, following a two-day closure caused by a large lava delta collapse on New Year’s Eve.

New lava cascade at Kamokuna in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Monday, January 2. NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

The new viewing area is approximately 900 feet east of a cascade of lava pouring into the ocean, and about 60 feet inland of the coastal cliffs. Rangers, in conjunction with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists, thoroughly assessed the area, and established the new viewing site with white rope lines and numerous signs that clearly mark hazardous closed areas.

Visitors are strongly urged to stay out of closed areas and heed all posted warning signs and park rangers.

Visitors who do not heed warnings not only endanger themselves but the lives of others, including our park rangers, who work tirelessly to ensure a safe visitor experience,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

Visitors begin the five-mile hike to Kamokuna shortly after the park opened the lava viewing area on Tuesday, January 3. Today marks the 34th anniversary of the eruption of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent on Kīlauea, the source of the lava flows going into the ocean today. NPS Photo/Janice Wei

After the delta collapse on New Year’s Eve, a group of five visitors ignored rangers and warning signs and slipped beneath the white rope lines into a closed area at the coast. Two park rangers had to chase after them, and made them turn around – 15 minutes before the area they were standing on collapsed into the ocean.

In addition to the threat of another land collapse, the toxic plume of volcanic particles and acidic gas generated by lava mixed with ocean water is very dangerous, and irritates the lungs, skin and eyes. Land collapses, which trigger tsunami-like waves, and the toxic gas plume, are also a serious threat to aircraft and boats. There is currently a 1,000-foot above-ground-level temporary flight restriction at Kamokuna.

HVO scientists estimate that nearly all of the 26-acre lava delta is now gone, along with more than four acres of older coastal cliff area, which included the former lava viewing site. The collapse on New Year’s Eve started in the afternoon and lasted several hours, creating blasts of volcanic rock and a series of damaging waves, in addition to a thick, dark plume of debris and gas.

It is closer from the east entrance to reach the new lava viewing area within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. From the east, or Kalapana/County of Hawai‘i side, visitors must hike about 4.2 miles one way along the gravel emergency access road. This entrance is open daily from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. From the park, or west side, visitors can hike out from the Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road, about five miles one-way. About one mile of the hike goes inland of the gas plume over hardened, uneven lava flows. The park entrance is open 24 hours a day.

Hikers need to be prepared for a long trek. Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes or boots, gloves to protect the hands, and long pants to protect against lava rock abrasions.  Carry plenty of water (three to four quart/liters per person). Wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Visitors who plan to stay after dark need a flashlight and/or headlight with extra batteries.

For hiking tips, visit the park website https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/Hiking-Tips.pdf. For County of Hawai‘i Lava Viewing information, call (808) 430-1966. For the latest eruption updates, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php. Monitor air quality at http://www.hawaiiso2network.com/.

October 1993 Eruption of Kilauea

Eruption of Kilauea Volcano in October 1993:

New Year’s Eve Delta Collapse Causes Temporary Closure at Kamokuna Ocean Entry

A large section of the 26-acre lava delta formed by the 61g lava flow collapsed into the ocean around 2:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, launching showers of volcanic rock into the air, and creating a flurry of large waves that eroded away a portion of the older sea cliff and viewing area.

As a result, the Kamokuna ocean entry within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will remain closed today as park rangers and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists survey the area. Rangers on duty New Year’s Day reported that the former viewing area is gone, and that loud cracks continue to be heard throughout the unstable area.

Although park rangers temporarily closed the Kamokuna lava viewing area last night, five visitors ducked beneath the white rope closure line and made a beeline for the coastal cliffs around 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Eruption Crew Ranger Travis Delimont and a co-worker had to chase after them before they turned around.  Within 15 minutes, the section of cliff where the visitors were standing crashed into the ocean.

“It was a really close brush with death for them,” Ranger Delimont said. “Luckily, they finally listened to us and turned around in time,” he said.

The lava viewing area will remain closed until it is determined safe to reopen. The County of Hawai‘i also closed the Kalapana access to the park.

“Fortunately, there were no aircraft or boats reported in the area at the time of the collapse, nor were any visitors on the delta itself, which is closed for public safety,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Had anyone been close by on land, water or air, lives would have surely been lost,” she said.

There is a temporary flight restriction of 1,000 feet above ground level at the Kamokuna ocean entry.

Lava deltas are extremely hazardous volcanic features and are formed when lava enters the ocean and builds new land on loose and unstable substrate. In addition to the threat of collapse, lava entering the ocean produces a highly a corrosive plume of hydrochloric acid and volcanic particles that irritate the lungs, skin and eyes. Visitors are strongly urged to stay out of closed areas and heed all posted warning signs.

Whale Carcass Prompts Closures at ‘Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve

5TH Report of Humpback Carcass Since November

Shoreline access at ‘Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve on Maui has been closed due to a whale carcass on shore.  Carcasses often attract sharks, thus the reason for the placement of beach warning signs by Maui County lifeguards and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).

Ahihi Kinau Natural Area Reserve

The latest Humpback whale carcass was first reported floating offshore last night. DOCARE, Maui County, and representatives from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service are on the scene now, assessing the situation.  The carcass washed on shore in a remote cove at ‘Ahihi Kinau. Depending on the carcasses movements additional closures or warnings may be imposed at Makena State Park and other areas.  Government officials are in the process of determining the best course of action for disposal of the carcass.  Options include leaving it in place or towing it back out to sea.  Additionally the officials are consulting with Hawaiian cultural experts on appropriate protocols.

This is the fifth dead Humpback report since November 11th, when a carcass was towed out to sea from Kailua Bay, Oahu.  Since then additional carcasses have been reported on West Oahu, West Molokai, and earlier this week off the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai’s west side.

Beachgoers and ocean users are asked to avoid whale carcasses on shore or in the ocean for their own safety.  They’re encouraged to check with lifeguards before venturing into the water. Humpback whales, dead or alive, are protected by both federal and state marine mammal laws.

Second Informational Meeting on Sea Level Rise Adaptation in Hawai’i

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold an informational meeting on sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation on Kaua‘i, Monday, January 09, 2017.  This meeting is one of a series of public informational meetings being held state wide in an effort to educate people about the impacts of sea level rise and to gather comments and input about key issues and concerns regarding preparedness and adaptation.  The first meeting was held on Oahu last June.

Climate change has the potential to profoundly impact our wellbeing and way of life.  In particular, rising sea levels will increase the occurrence and severity of coastal erosion and flooding, threatening natural resources and economic sectors concentrated along low-lying shores.  “We are in the process of developing a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability & Adaptation Report (SLR Report) that is to be submitted in anticipation of the 2018, Hawaii State Legislature and we are interested in soliciting input from our island communities to help us complete the report,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.  “This SLR Report is the first state-wide assessment of the impacts of sea level rise on our coastal areas.  Using the best available scientific knowledge, the SLR Report will help us prepare for future sea level rise and present recommendations to reduce our exposure to SLR hazards such as erosion and extreme flooding”, said Sam Lemmo, Co-Chair of the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee”.

The Kaua‘i meeting will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Līhu‘e Civic Center, Moikeha Building, Meeting Room 2A-2B located at 4444 Rice Street in Līhu‘e.  Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance please contact the Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) at least four days prior to the public hearing. For additional information contact OCCL at (808) 587-0377 or visit http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/.

Holiday Visitation Surges at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

Park visitation surges during the holiday travel season and this week is no exception with parking lots at popular destinations like Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Jaggar Museum and Kīlauea Visitor Center at capacity.

NPS Photo

And, with Kīlauea erupting from two locations, the park remains a powerful draw for visitors who want to see volcanic activity. As a result, the park is very crowded, especially during peak hours between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

“We’ve had some visitors wait up to an hour to park, and we have park rangers working in traffic control. We remind everyone to please be patient and treat rangers and other drivers with respect and aloha,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.

Park rangers offer these tips so all visitors have a positive and memorable time in the national park:

  • Plan to arrive early and explore Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) before 9 a.m. Not only is parking available, but the lava tube is often empty of people. Birdwatching at Nāhuku is best in the early morning.
  • Want to hike Kīlauea Iki Trail? This four-mile trek is one of the most scenic and popular trails in the park. Plan to hit the trail by 7 a.m., and be out by 10 a.m.
  • Drive and explore Chain of Craters Road. This historic and scenic road originates at the summit of Kīlauea and stretches 19 miles to Hōlei Sea Arch. Many overlooks, pullouts, and lesser-known hikes (Mauna Ulu, Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs) abound – and it’s an ideal way to avoid the crowds and see more of what the park offers. The Coastal Ranger Station at the end of Chain of Craters Road is the starting point for a 10-mile roundtrip hike to see lava enter the ocean at Kamokuna.
  • Night owl or early riser? The best time to observe the glow from Halema‘uma‘u is before sunrise, or after 9 p.m., when most visitors have left. The park is open 24 hours a day. You can see what Kīlauea is doing before you arrive by checking the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams.
  • Jaggar Museum is the closest visitors can get to the summit eruption’s glowing lava lake, and it’s the park’s most popular spot after 5 p.m. (More than 8,000 people were counted one evening at Jaggar Museum earlier this week.) If you can’t avoid peak hours, consider observing the glow from a less-crowded location, like Keanakāko‘i, ‘Akanikōlea (Steam Vents), or Kīlauea Overlook. From Kīlauea Overlook, it’s a short walk to Jaggar Museum along Crater Rim Trail, but bring a flashlight and a jacket.
  • Mauna Loa Road is well worth exploring during peak hours, especially in good weather. Kīpukapuaulu offers an easy, forested hike, and the views and birdwatching are excellent along the way to the Mauna Loa Overlook at 6,662 feet.
  • Visit Kahuku. Kahuku is free, never crowded, and is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Located on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5 in Ka‘ū.