Hawaii State Energy Office Schedules Community Meetings on Utility Model Study

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) will host a series of community meetings across the state next week to solicit community input for a study being done on future models for utility ownership and regulation in Hawaii.

HSEO, a division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), is undertaking the study at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature to evaluate the costs and benefits of various electric utility ownership models, as well as the viability of various utility regulatory approaches to help Hawaii in achieving its energy goals. The study will examine scenarios for each of Hawaii’s counties.

HSEO has contracted with Boston-based London Economics International (LEI) to carry out the study, which is expected to be completed by January 2019. LEI and subcontractor Meister Consultants Group will lead the community meetings for Oct. 9-13. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Maui County:

  • Wailuku, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.. Wailuku Community Center, 395 Waena St. RSVP Link
  • Kaunakakai, Oct. 10, 5:30-7 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center Main Hall, 90 Ainoa St. RSVP Link
  • Lanai City, Oct. 11, 5:30-7 p.m.  Lanai Community Center, Eighth St. and Lanai Ave. RSVP Link

Hawaii County:

  • Kailua-Kona, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m. NELHA Research Campus, Hale Iako Building, 73-970 Makako Bay Drive. RSVP Link
  • Hilo, Oct. 10, 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Waiakea High School, 155 W Kawili St. RSVP Link

Kauai County:

  • Lihue, Oct. 12, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, 4431 Nuhou St. RSVP Link

Honolulu County:

  • Waialua, Oct. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Waialua High & Intermediate School, 67-160 Farrington Highway. RSVP Link
  • Honolulu, Oct. 13, approx. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone #9, Homer Maxey Conference Center, 521 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 201, Pier 2. RSVP Link

Next week’s meetings will focus on the topic of utility ownership and the role the utility plays in achieving community and state goals, including achieving 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector and minimizing costs. There are two additional rounds of statewide meetings scheduled. The second round of meetings slated for next spring will focus on utility regulatory models, while the third round of meetings next fall will be used to gather community input on draft findings of the report.

Community members planning on attending the meetings are encouraged to RSVP at the link above. Light refreshments will be served. Those unable to attend a meeting in person can view a copy of the material presented, which will be posted on HSEO’s website after the meetings, and may participate by submitting feedback via email to: dbedt.utilitybizmodstudy@hawaii.gov. Questions about the meetings or the study can be emailed to the same address.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Taps Annual Industry Award Winners

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) named the recipients of its annual appreciation awards during the recent 27th Hawaii International Fruit Conference. Given to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry, the four 2017 recipients are Eli Ednie of Choice Mart supermarket, Catarina Zaragoza of the Locavore Store, Sweet Cane Café and Xavier Chung.

Inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award winner Xavier Chung with HTFGʻs ED Ken Love

Chung, a junior at Konawaena High School, received the inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award. The new service accolade remembers the late Hilo fruit and vegetable grower who was an avid supporter of Hawai‘i agriculture.
“The HTFG board instituted the new Lesley Hill Service Award to honor Lesley, who served numerous terms as an HTFG officer and enthusiastically contributed to the health and growth of our organization,” shares HTFG executive director Ken Love.

Chung was cited for orchard maintenance assistance at HTFGʻs Kona repositories, two of five throughout the state. The repositories serve as locations for propagation of fruit trees to make cuttings and scion for HTFG members.

In addition to volunteering with HTFG, Chung helps out with the National Park Service in West Hawaii, Na Maka O Papahanaumokuakea and the UH Sea Grant college program.

Recognized for a dedication to promoting locally grown tropical fruit at the Kealakekua Choice Mart, Ednie also volunteers at the HTFG Kona repositories.

Also cited for promoting local fruit was Locavore Store co-founder Catarina Zaragoza. Located in downtown Hilo, the store not only stocks a wide variety of local fruit, but also provides information on varieties and origins. The detailed labeling informs the buyer on the differences of fruit choices so purchasing can be done more accurately.

“This attention to detail is important when introducing consumers to new and different fruits like mamey sapote,” notes Axel Kratel, president of HTFGʻs East Hawaii chapter. “We want buyers to have a good experience, not just so they buy the fruit again, but also so they can better recognize what fruit variety best suits their taste and needs.”

Sweet Cane Café was recognized for serving locally grown fruit in value-added products. The Hilo business grows sugar cane in Onomea using Korean Natural Farming methods. After juicing the cane, the company features it in a line of beverages, slushies, smoothies, elixirs and drink shots served at its two cafes. Sweet Cane also uses a wide variety of fruits in its menu offerings.

“The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Love. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Maxillarias Orchids for Hawaii Gardens

“Maxillarias for Hawaii Gardens” is the topic of a presentation by Karen Kimmerle at the next meeting of the Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club 7 p.m. October 11. A potluck starts off the meeting and guests are invited to participate at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall.

Random orchid picture.

“Maxillaria orchids are diverse and interesting in both flowers and foliage,” says Kimmerle, co-owner of Sun Orchids in Hilo. Her presentation will look at the many Maxillaria species suitable for growing in Hawaii while sharing tips on their care. Kimmerle will also offer plants for sale.
For info, phone 808-328-8375.

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.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Local Environmental Group Partners with New York Artists to Build Giant Blue Whale Out of Plastic Trash

Since early July, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) and volunteers have been working to fill a 40 ft. Matson container with blue and white plastics for an architecture couple in Brooklyn, NY. Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of StudioKCA plan to build a 30 ft. blue whale sculpture made entirely out of the collected plastic marine debris. The whale sculpture will be installed as part of a triennial event in the town of Bruges, Belgium in May 2018.

Jason Klimoski (5th from top right) and Lesley Chang (3th from bottom right) of StudioKCA and Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Collection Team volunteers from Innovations Public Charter School in Kona. Photo by Alejandro Durán / WashedUp Project.

“The Bruges Whale is meant to spark conversation and raise awareness about the tremendous amount of plastic waste that is ending up in our oceans, hopefully helping the nearly 2,000,000 anticipated visitors reconsider what and how we consume, package, and dispose of plastic” said Jason Klimoski, StudioKCA. Jason adds, “Special thanks to Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund for their tremendous effort over the course of the last several months, helping us collect blue, white, and grey plastic to build ‘Skyscraper’, or ‘the Bruges Whale’ for the 2018 Bruges Triennial”.

In total, 17 Hawai‘i Island cleanup events were coordinated by HWF to fill the shipping container with approximately 3,000 lbs. of plastics while it was stationed at the Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station in Ka‘ū. Additionally, Surfrider Foundation volunteers on Kaua‘i collected 1,000 lbs. of plastic debris that were added to the container once it reached Hilo courtesy of a Young Brothers gratis-shipping grant that was received by HWF. Matson Navigation was another supporter of the project by extending the time allowed to fill the container for free. Kona Trans also provided StudioKCA with a discounted hauling rate for the project and the County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Environmental Management provided HWF space to store the 40 ft. container for 12 weeks as volunteers contributed to fill it with plastic debris, making this effort an especially collaborative project by local businesses and residents alike. The container will ship from Hilo on Oct. 4, to begin its journey to New York, and later Belgium.

“We are thrilled to able to work with artists to create awareness installations, like this Blue Whale project, and simultaneously divert some of this plastic pollution from our island landfills. Since 2003, HWF and volunteers have removed nearly 225 tons of debris from the shores of Hawai’i Island. Whatever cannot be recycled, generally ends up in landfills. Innovative projects that include re-use, art, research, and recycling are always preferred!” said Megan Lamson, HWF Hawai’i Island Program Director.

HWF is a small nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1996 to conserve native wildlife. During its 21-year existence, HWF and volunteers have removed a total of 260 tons of marine debris from the shores of Hawai’i Island (86% by weight), Maui, Midway and the French Frigate Shoals. In 2017 alone, HWF and volunteers have removed 63,343 lbs. of marine debris from Hawai’i Island & Maui during 51 community cleanup events. The majority of HWF’s marine debris removal work is conducted by volunteer labor, with financial support from the federal government (NOAA’s Marine Debris Program), local businesses (Matson Navigation, Kona Surf Film Festival, Kona Brewers Festival, Norwex, etc.), and individual donations from around the world.

If you would like more information on the project or how to get involved with HWF, please contact them at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or at 808-769-7629 or check out the HWF website at www.wildhawaii.org. For information about Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of StudioKCA, visit www.studiokca.com.

UPDATE – Just received a call from Kona Trans and the corrected scale weight of the “blue whale” debris plastics in the 40′ container is actually 19,212 lbs. (we had super underestimated at 4,000 lbs.!!).

9.5 tons of marine-debris plastics from Hawai’i Island and Kaua’i are shipping to Brooklyn from the port of Hilo tomorrow.

NOAA Awards Nearly $200,000 to Protect Hawaii’s Marine Mammals

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that Hawaii conservation programs will receive nearly $200,000 in National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funding for the recovery and treatment of stranded marine animals.

“We were all captivated by the birth of Kaimana the monk seal on the shores of Waikiki this summer. But, marine mammals are threatened by climate change, development, and pollution,” said Senator Hirono. “This funding will help two Hawaii organizations with a history in marine mammal protection to conduct research on marine mammal mortality and rehabilitate and release monk seals.”

This year’s John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance grant was awarded to The University of Hawaii (UH) and The Marine Mammal Center for their work to support conservation research. As part of the grant funding, UH will receive $100,000 to investigate causes of mortality in Pacific Island marine mammals.

“Whales and dolphins are sentinels of ocean health, and like a canary in a coal mine are one of our first indicators of change to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem,” said Dr. Kristi West, standing director for the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “As the only entity in the state that conducts cause of death investigations for stranded dolphins and whales, we rely heavily on the Prescott grant to determine what threatens the survival of 20 different species of dolphins and whales that call Hawaii home.”
In addition, The Marine Mammal Center will receive $98,951 to support its Hawaiian Monk Seal Rehabilitation Program.

“Public-private partnerships are essential for the successful conservation of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal,” said Dr. Jeff Boehm, Executive Director of The Marine Mammal Center, which operates Ke Kai Ola in Kailua Kona, a dedicated hospital for monk seals. “The critical funds from this award allow us to continue to rehabilitate vulnerable seals, understand health trends in the population, and enhance community involvement in recovery efforts.”

Senator Hirono continues to advocate for the protection of federal funding for NOAA. Earlier this year Senator Hirono and Susan Collins (R-Maine) led a bipartisan letter to the Trump administration urging reconsideration of proposed cuts to NOAA’s budget that would disproportionately hurt Hawaii and other coastal states.

The Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal currently threatens to zero out funding for the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program and other important NOAA programs.

Board of Land and Natural Resources Approves TMT Permit

Recognizing its responsibility to strike a balance between native Hawaiian traditional and cultural practices and other stakeholders in the state, a 5-2 majority of the Hawai‘i Board of Land and Natural Resources (the Board) adopted today the recommendation of retired judge Riki May Amano to approve the application for a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) to build the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT).

Board and DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “This was one of the most difficult decisions this Board has ever made. The members greatly respected and considered the concerns raised by those opposed to the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.”

Supporters of the project testified during a contested case hearing and in oral arguments that Hawaiian culture and modern science can co-exist on the mountain. Construction of the TMT is expected to provide jobs for more than 100 people and at completion, permanent jobs for as many as 140 workers on the island of Hawai‘i. The consortium of research universities behind the TMT have provided $2.5 million for scholarships, classroom projects, and STEM grants every year since 2014. Under the CDUP, builders of the TMT must provide an additional one million dollars each year for college scholarships for native Hawaiians and other educational initiatives on Hawai‘i Island.

The Board adopted 43 conditions to the permit including Governor David Ige’s previously detailed “path forward” 10-point plan requiring the University of Hawai’i to decommission three existing telescopes, any future development to occur on existing sites, and the TMT site to be the last new site on Mauna Kea. Additional conditions include:

  • Design choices to mitigate visual and aesthetic effects
  • Waste minimization plan for hazardous & solid waste, including a zero discharge wastewater system
  • Cultural and natural resources training for workers
  • No impact to water resources under the public trust doctrine, Lake Waiau hydrology & water resources considerations
  • Educational exhibits, specific community outreach efforts and cultural observation days
  • Invasive species prevention and control
  • Continued public access and continuing consultations with cultural practitioners
  • Arthropod monitoring and Wekiu bug habitat restoration study

A copy of the preface to the Board’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision and Order is attached.

Board’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision and Order: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/mk/files/2017/09/882-BLNR-FOFCOLDO.pdf

‘Alalā Released Into Natural Area Reserve

Six young ‘Alalā—critically endangered Hawaiian crows—were released into Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve on the Island of Hawai‘i, today. The first group of birds: two females and four males took some time to emerge from the aviary where they had been temporarily housed and they appeared to show a natural curiosity for their surroundings. Plans are to release a second group of five birds: two females and three males in mid-October from the same release aviary.

Previously, in December 2016 a reintroduction attempt was halted after challenges posed by winter storms and predation on ‘Alalā by `Io, (Hawaiian hawk). The concerted reintroduction efforts, funded by the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), San Diego Zoo Global, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have addressed those challenges by changing the timing of release to avoid winter storms, changing the release site location, releasing a social group of both males and females, and enhancing the “antipredator training program” to teach the released birds how to better respond to predators like `Io.  A high mortality rate is associated with releasing species into the wild. This is especially true for species like ‘Alalā that have been in captivity for longer periods of time. A successful conservation breeding program gives managers the flexibility to adapt their management techniques to improve successful transition to the wild. Conservation breeding programs are key tools for recovering threatened and endangered species.

For example, the nēnē, or Hawaiian goose, has returned from the brink of extinction thanks to an intensive breeding program and the dedication of many partners over decades, and this species still requires active management and monitoring. For ‘Alalā, these continued efforts are also essential to the species’ recovery.

“The recovery of the ‘Alalā is an excellent example of partners working together to do something that has never been done before.” said Bryce Masuda, conservation program manager of the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. “Although bringing the ‘Alalā back from the brink of extinction will take a lot of time and perseverance, many people are dedicated to saving this important species.”

Nine of the 2017 release birds were moved to a flight aviary in early 2017, to allow them to acclimate to the sights and sounds of the Hawaiian forest, and to socialize them with the two males that survived the December 2016 release. They were then transferred to a smaller aviary in the forest two weeks prior to the release. Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve is an area that conservationists of the Three Mountain Alliance and DLNR have worked for decades to preserve, protecting native plants and species, and it represents a type of high-elevation habitat where ‘Alalā originally lived before their numbers began to decline.

The outcomes of the 2016 release posed great conservation challenges to the members of the ‘Alalā Working Group, the decision-making body of the ‘Alalā Project. The next step to the recovery for ‘Alalā could only be realized through innovative thinking, consultation with outside experts, and extensive revisions to the reintroduction strategy. This was a process that took over six months to complete. “If not for the strength of partnerships in the ‘Alalā Working Group, we would not be able to move forward as efficiently as we have”, said Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, project coordinator of the ‘Alalā Project. In addition to the funding agencies and organizations of the ‘Alalā Project, cooperative partners include Kamehameha Schools, Three Mountain Alliance, U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.

The ‘Alalā, or Hawaiian crow, has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers managed by San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. With more than 125 individuals of the species at the centers, conservationists are ready to return the birds to their native forests. ‘Alalā are an important part of the life of the Hawaiian forest, as they eat and assist with the dispersal of native plant seeds. The reintroduction of this species, which has been gone from the forest for more than a decade, is expected to play an important part in the overall recovery of the ecosystem. ‘Alalā are not only ecologically significant as dispersers of Hawai’i’s native plants, but they are also significantly revered in Hawaiian culture. At sunrise on the day of the bird’s release, a ceremony was held by members of the ʻAlalā Project to set the intentions for their return to their forest home.

“Recovering threatened and endangered species takes dedicated partnerships like The ‘Alalā Project,” said Michelle Bogardus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Geographic Team Leader for Maui Nui and Hawaii Island. “We will continue to work with our partners to protect and recover Hawaii’s threatened and endangered species.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “This has been an ongoing learning process for everyone, to get it right for the ‘Alalā to learn the skills they need to survive. The entire project highlights the benefits of protecting habitat and addressing threats such as predators, disease, and invasive species before populations decline so rapidly that recovery becomes even more challenging.”

Six Alala Released into Hawaii Natural Area Reserve from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Mayor Kim to Declare October “Stop the Ant” Month in Hawaii County

This Friday, September 29th, Mayor Harry Kim will sign a proclamation declaring the month of October “Stop the Ant Month” for Hawaii County.

The Big Island will be joining with the rest of the state in an effort to raise awareness about the threat of little fire ants in Hawaii. The tiny pest, first detected in Puna in 1999, has been confirmed in every district on Hawaii Island and populations have been found on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai.

Little fire ants are considered a threat not just because of their painful sting, but also due to their impacts on agriculture and threat to food security. Little fire ants are associated with plant pests such as aphids and mealy bugs, and have driven farmers in other Pacific islands to abandon their farms. They are also associated with cloudiness and blinding in the eyes of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, and horses.

On the Big Island, residents have been very active in working to reduce LFA populations and mitigate the threat. In the last two years alone, over 2,000 Hawaii islanders have attended training on LFA control provided by BIISC or the Hawaii Ant Lab. More than two dozen neighborhoods are currently working on a year-long plan to eradicate the ants from localized areas.

Stop the Ant month is an effort to urge all residents of the state of Hawaii to survey their property for little fire ants. Because the ants are tiny (less than 1/16th of an inch) they are difficult to see. Ants can be present for six months ore more before they reach noticeable levels, and many people mistakenly believe the ants are not present because they have not yet been stung.

To remain fire ant-free, Big Island residents should survey for fire ants using peanut butter and chopsticks 4 times a year. Infestations can be controlled, but require regular and consistent effort.

More information can be found at StopTheAnt.org.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Offers Free Entry and Stewardship Opportunities on National Public Lands Day

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park offers free entrance and two opportunities to help protect Hawai‘i this Saturday, National Public Lands Day, Sept. 30, by removing invasive plant species in the park and in the Ocean View community.
In honor of National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offering the Stewardship at the Summit program from 9 a.m. to noon. Meet volunteers Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center at 8:45 a.m., then head into the forest to remove Himalayan ginger from the summit of Kīlauea.

NPS Photo

Himalayan ginger is one of the most invasive plants in the park, and on earth. It is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as one of the 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species. The park strives to protect the rainforest habitat of native birds and plants, but Himalayan ginger takes over the native rainforest understory, making it impossible for the next generation of forest to grow, and it crowds out many native plants, including pa‘iniu (a Hawaiian lily), ‘ama‘u fern, and others. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, sunscreen, raingear, snacks, and water. Loppers/gloves provided. No advance registration required.

Volunteers for Stewardship at the Summit on Saturday will receive a free park pass to use on another date of their choosing.

In Ocean View, volunteers are needed to remove invasive fountain grass from roadsides in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE). Meet at the Ocean View Community Center on Sat., Sept. 30 at 9 a.m.; bring lunch, water, a hat and sun protection. This noxious weed increases the risk of wildfire. In 2005, fountain grass was responsible for a 25,000-acre fire that forced evacuation of Waikoloa Village. Contact Park Ecologist David Benitez at (808) 985-6085 or email him at david_benitez@nps.gov for more information about this project.

Every year on National Public Lands Day (NPLD), all fee-charging national parks offer free entry. Many parks and public lands across the nation organize stewardship projects and special programs on NPLD to raise awareness about why it is important to protect our public lands.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the Space Station Tonight

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

Photo via Ignazio Magnani in the Space Station.

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

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

Public Hearings Scheduled on Proposal to Increase Commercial Marine License Fees

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

Click to view proposed amendments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘I‘iwi Receives Protection Under the Endangered Species Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Task Force Focuses on Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Task Force members include: 

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

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

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s October 2017 Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Informational Meetings on Rat Lungworm Disease Revised Scheduled Around Oahu

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

The meetings have been scheduled for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More information on RLWD may be found at:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,
Harry Kim
Mayor