UH Hilo Hosts Talk on Climate Change and World Peace

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo marks International Day of Peace (September 21) with an address by Professor Maxine Burkett, entitled “Is Climate Change a Threat to World Peace?” The event, to be held on Friday, September 20, in University Classroom Building (UCB) 127, is free and open to the public.
Climate Refugees

Burkett’s talk will be preceded by a viewing of the award winning film “Climate Refugees.” The documentary about the human face of climate change has been shown to audiences including prime ministers, presidents, the United Nations, and universities around the world, and is credited with changing the way the world is looking at climate change. The screening of “Climate Refugees” begins at 3:30 pm, followed by Burkett’s address at 5 pm.

Burkett is a professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law and Director of the Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy. She will discuss how vulnerability to climate change may reverse human development gains globally and increase the possibility of conflict through events like climate-induced migration.

“Migration might introduce unprecedented strains on the global community, while demanding that international law resolve novel questions of statehood and self-determination,” Burkett said.
[youtube=http://youtu.be/28MH3jZlucc]
The event is supported through funding UH Hilo received from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and is being organized by the UH Hilo International Student Services and Intercultural Education program.

For more information or to request accommodations, call the UH Hilo International Student Services and Intercultural Education office at (808) 974-7313.

 

Governor Signs Statewide Ocean Resources Management Plan for Effective Cross-Agency Resource Management

Fostering collaboration across government agencies, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed the 2013 Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan, which brings county, state and federal partners together to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of Hawaii’s ocean and coastal resources for current and future generations.

“It is essential that government agencies at all levels work together to address Hawaii’s resource challenges,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Our lives are intertwined with the natural resources of these islands, from the local economy to our island way of life. This plan provides a clear roadmap for achieving a necessary balance between use and preservation.”

Gov. Abercrombie signs the plan into action

Gov. Abercrombie signs the plan into action

The plan was developed with the participation of county, state and federal agencies responsible for ocean and coastal resources. It identifies 11 management priorities for the next five years and pathways for achieving goals. The priorities are based on community outreach conducted in all four counties through public meetings, oral and written submissions, and social media. 

Tracking the success of the plan will be coordinated with the state Office of Information Management and Technology to take advantage of the state’s data.hawaii.gov portal.

Abercrombie and plan

“The 11 management priorities address resource management challenges that can only be achieved through a statewide, coordinated effort among various government and community partners,” said Jesse Souki, director of the state Office of Planning. “It addresses some of the greatest challenges of our time, including the impacts of climate change and balancing economic, cultural and environmental considerations to ensure sustainable stewardship of our resources.”

The Office of Planning is responsible for coordinating the periodic update of the plan pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes sections 205A-62 and 225M-2(b)(6). The project leverages federal funding through the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program. To learn more about the plan and download a copy, visit planning.hawaii.gov or call the Office of Planning at (808) 587-2846.

 

2013 Hawai’i Conservation Conference – Call for Proposals and Abstracts

2013 marks the 21st anniversary of the annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference (HCC) allowing us the opportunity to bolster island conservation in Hawai‘i and wider Pacific Islands. Highlights include: thought provoking keynote speakers; innovative panels and forums; a community event, novel lunch & reception, training opportunities, and more.

Hawaii Conservation Alliance Executive Director Lihla Noori and Anuhea with the youngest attendee of the 2012 Hawaii Conservation Conference

CALL FOR PROPOSALS & ABSTRACTS

Living Today, Sustaining Tomorrow: Connecting People, Places and Planet, July 16th – 18th, 2013       Hawai`i Convention Center, Honolulu, HI

Session and Abstract Proposal Deadline: January 21, 2013      Revisions Deadline: March 15, 2013

Join us in celebrating the 21st annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference! If you are interested in sustaining our natural resources for current and future generations and would like to share your topic of expertise with the conservation community in Hawai‘i and the wider Pacific Region, the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance would like to  request your proposals and abstracts for the 2013 Hawai‘i Conservation Conference!

See the official call below, or download it from our website: HERE.

If you have any questions, please contact 808-687-6152 or coordinator@hawaiiconservation.org

TRACKS & SESSION TOPICS

The HCC organizing committee is soliciting proposals for sessions, forums, workshops, trainings and individual oral or poster presentations in the following six tracks. Integrated approaches to research and management that involve community and cultural knowledge and approaches as a best practice will be given priority ranking.

1. Practicing Laulima (many hands): Building of Bridges between Ecosystems and Society

Human well-being is inextricably linked to the natural world through a myriad of exchanges – most of which go unnoticed or are under-appreciated in modern times.  Radical changes in land use and natural resource governance over the past century has resulted in rapid degradation of our native ecosystems, alienating changes in human relationships to the land and sea, and a common disassociation with our natural world. Management and research organizations need to better understand the context of this history in order to better measure, and share the value of ecosystem services and, in turn, build a broader base of support for and engagement in effective conservation and management.This Track will focuson sharing lessons and experiences (good and bad) from efforts to build bridges among the diverse communities by providing credible and robust information on the links between ecosystem management and the attainment of economic and social goals. Sessions will demonstrate that conservation and management efforts that take a laulima (cooperative) approach are more likely to succeed, and will provide detailed experiences on how the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of the parts.

2. Safeguarding Sacred Places: Restoration and Protection of Managed Areas

Hawaiʻi is blessed with many special places set aside for their importance, bio-cultural resources, and unique characteristics.  These protected areas are found on the highest peaks, deep ocean, and everywhere in between.  Protected areas are microcosms of larger ecosystems and landscapes. At the same time, Hawaii’s extensive systems of protected federal, state and privately or community-owned and -managed lands and waters provide critical ecosystem system services that sustain us.  They also serve as important sources of native species used in restoration elsewhere. To be effective and successful, their managers must deal with both the issues that pervade conservation issues in Hawaiʻi: invasive species, loss of ecosystem function, climatic change, population effects, and the socio-cultural needs of community. This track will focus on place-based conservation occurring in our protected areas.  Sessions will demonstrate the importance of place-based conservation, the differences between place-based and issue-based conservation, ecosystem services provided by protected areas, the importance of refugia, and need for community stewardship.

3.  Invertebrates:  Gems of Pacific Island Ecosystems

With their incredible abundance, diversity, and distribution, invertebrates – both on land and in the sea – are the ties that bind our island ecosystems together.  Our amazing endemic species are not only vital food sources, pollinators, and decomposers, but serve as indicators of ecosystem health, harbingers of global climate change, and icons of cultural significance. The incredible physiological and behavioral adaptations that have made our native invertebrate species so unique also put them and the ecosystems that they support, at great risk. Track and sessions will focus on illustrating the role of invertebrates in sustaining our natural, agricultural, and urban ecosystems and their cultural importance into the future, and include demonstrations of achievements in research, conservation, and management.

4. Oceans and Shorelines: Where Conservation Meets Everyday People

Hawaii’s human history is based on the ocean.  From the earliest Native Hawaiians who settled here to people today, our shorelines and nearshore waters are the places where conservation most directly meets people – as the provider for food, transportation, recreation, livelihood, and settlement. Unfortunately, with declining fishery resources, rising sea levels, warming ocean temperatures, ocean acidification and pollution, the health of our oceans are changing rapidly, requiring us to focus more attention on how these changes will affect us and what we have to do to increase the resiliency of both ecosystems and human communities. Increased attention and focus on marine conservation will aid Hawaii’s conservation community in increasing our relevance to people and communities.  This track is aimed at: mainstreaming marine conservation issues and successes within the broader conservation community; highlighting successful mauka-makai conservation approaches; sharing new initiatives and innovations aimed at enhancing food security and restoring fisheries in Hawai’i and larger Pacific region; and focusing attention on the cultural importance of the ocean to Hawaii’s people.

5. Connecting People to Place: Bio-Cultural Foundations and Innovations in Resource Management

In Hawaiian conservation, there are cultural connections to the places we work. As such there is also a wealth of cultural knowledge tied to the history and people of these places upon which to draw from in order to increase our conservation success.  This track will focus on both the foundations of culturally integrated conservation, as well as examples of cultural innovations to conservation in Hawaiʻi. Sessions are aimed at bio-cultural innovations and approaches to conservation, including integration of biology, culture, land-use history, community-based stewardship, and all that is rooted in aloha ʻāina.

6. Collaboration Across Sectors: Island Leadership in Defining the New “Green (and Blue) Economy”

What sectors need to be involved in green initiatives, and how can island communities encourage cross-sector dialogue to promote effective developments in clean energy, food security, and the environment?

This track will focus on islands as microcosms for the world’s sustainability challenges.  It will highlight how Hawai`i is defining green growth to include sound management of our natural resources from the mountains to the sea and advancing innovative green growth initiatives through multi-sector and international collaborations. Sessions will demonstrate unique partnerships, programs and projects that will lead to a greener economy with more opportunities for green jobs.

WORKSHOPS/TRAININGS

Organizations and practitioners are welcome to conduct trainings (see “Conservation Campus” below) and workshops before or following the conference. While Hawaii Conservation Alliance (HCA) can contribute minimal logistical support, the facilitating organization(s) is responsible for organizing and supporting most aspects of their training or workshop. Please contact us for details about this new capacity building opportunity.

SUBMISSION PROCESS

Session Proposal & Abstract Deadline: January 21, 2013

Session proposals and abstracts must be submitted online. The submission form will be available on the HCA website in early December, 2012: www.hawaiiconservation.org

FORMAT DESCRIPTIONS

Symposium: a formal moderated session with 4-5 presentations organized around a topic or theme; individual presentation time is limited to 20 minutes; moderator introduces presenters and conducts Q&A session at end of session. Time limit: 2 hours per session. Abstracts for each presenter are required and due Jan 21, 2013, along with a complete session agenda.

Forum: A less formal, interactive panel or roundtable session organized around a topic or theme; moderator guides presenters’ discussion and conducts Q&A session with audience during or after presentations. Time limit: 2 hours per session, with a minimum of :30 for audience participation. Abstracts for each presenter are not required unless requested by the forum organizer/chair.

Workshop: An interactive, highly facilitated, “hands on” session that minimizes formal presentations and emphasizes the application of information and/or technology. Active audience participation is encouraged. Subject categories may include: Education & Outreach, Community Engagement, Career & Skills Development, Management Tool Applications, etc. To register, one cohesive workshop abstract is required that describes engagement technique used by the person(s) facilitating the workshop. Hawaii-based workshop facilitators must be registered participants.

Conservation Campus: This an opportunity for organizations to host capacity building trainings and activities that focus on a specific skills transfer to conservation practitioners, teachers, etc or a time to engage a specific audience in a particular topic related to our larger theme (i.e. GIS analysis, integration of conservation in the classroom for teachers). A description is required to explain the goals and target audience of the training. Hawaii-based training facilitators must be registered conference participants. Trainings may occur on the weekend before or after the conference.

Oral and Poster Presentation Abstracts

Formal, individual presentations on various conservation topics will be scheduled in one of the following sessions depending on the abstract content. On the abstract submission form, you will be asked to choose a preferred presentation format (oral or poster) and identify the status of your project: information or news item; project/idea under development; completed project with data and results. In some cases, the review committee may suggest that you change your preferred format depending on the content of your abstract, available time in the program, and available space in the exhibit hall. All oral and poster presenters must be registered participants.

Oral presentations:

a.) 20-minute individual presentations (16-minute talk, 3 minutes Q&A, 1 minute for transition time)

b.) 10-minute individual presentations (7-minute talk, 2 minutes Q&A, and 1 minute for transition time).

Oral presentations will be scheduled into 2-hour sessions concluding with a 20-minute Q&A session. The 10-minute presentation format is appropriate for a topic of broad appeal, a new project or innovative idea, a recent success, a news story or update.

Poster presentation: This is a visual presentation to showcase your work to conference attendees throughout the entire conference. Posters are particularly useful as a way to present quantitative research. More than one participant may author a poster, but at least one of the primary authors must be in attendance to discuss the poster at the Opening Reception July 16th.

For more information Contact HCA Program Coordinator, Shelley Steele  808-687-6152  coordinator@hawaiiconservation.org

Public Comments Sought on a Draft Wetland Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Mana Plain Forest Reserve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is seeking public comment on a draft wetland restoration plan/environmental assessment (EA) for the Mana Plain Forest Reserve on Kaua‘i.

The goal of the Mana Plain Forest Reserve Wetland Restoration Plan/EA is to develop a restoration plan that identifies sustainable management tools to restore approximately 105 acres of the historical Mana wetlands. Objectives of the project include restoring and maintaining native wetland habitat for four species of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds and other native wetland associated animals and plants, removing invasive vegetation and non-native vertebrates, and developing environmental education and community outreach opportunities.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit comments about the project during the scoping period so as to ensure consideration of all possible alternatives for the restoration of this important natural, cultural, and historic resource.

The public scoping period for the Mana Plain Forest Reserve Wetland Restoration Plan/EA runs from January 3, 2012 until February 3, 2012. The public is strongly encouraged to provide comments electronically via email to Jason.A.Vercelli@Hawaii.gov.

Comments may also be mailed directly to the DOFAW Kaua‘i Branch: DLNR-DOFAW, 3060 ‘Eiwa St., Room 306, Lihu‘e, HI 96766. Attn: DEA – Mana Plain Forest Reserve Wetland Restoration Project

Comments must be received by, time-stamped, and/or post-marked by February 3, 2012, 4 p.m. Hawai‘i standard time (HST). Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment — including your personal identifying information — will be included in the administrative record for the EA, and may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your scoping comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Scoping comments may also be published as part of the EA. All submissions from organizations or businesses will be made available for public inspection in their entirety.

Interested parties should also know that once the draft EA is completed it will be made available for a 30-day public review and comment period.

During the public comment period for the draft EA, public meetings will be held in Kekaha and Lihu‘e. Notices of public meetings will be advertised in local newspapers, at DOFAW offices, and on the DOFAW website.

For more information, please visit our website http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw or contact Jason Vercelli or Thomas Kai‘akapu at (808) 274-3433. DOFAW anticipates that the draft EA will be published for public review in the spring of 2012.

Hui Laau Kamaaina LaiOpua Preserve Project Receives Cooke Foundation Grant

The Hawaii Forest Institute (HFI) was awarded a $12,000 grant from the Cooke Foundation for the Hui Laau Kamaaina LaiOpua Preserve project. This dryland habitat restoration project is providing forest stewardship opportunities at the endangered plant preserves within the Villages of LaiOpua in Kealakehe, North Kona.

LaiOpua reserve

Kealakehe Intermediate Na Kahumoku Youth Leadership Program students assist Site Manager Wilds Brawner at LaiOpua Preserve. Photo by Keoki A. Carter

HFI, Hawaii Forest Industry Association (HFIA), landowner Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and community partners are working to protect and perpetuate this fragile endangered dryland ecosystem and share its historical, cultural, restoration, and scientific aspects with Hawaii residents and visitors. Volunteers are receiving a hands-on, land-based, learning experience to effect positive change in the areas of responsibility, stewardship, and interdependency of all living things.

In addition to creating a safe haven for the endangered plants Aupaka (Isodendrion pyrifolium) and Uhiuhi (Caesalpinia kavaiensis), endemic, indigenous, and Polynesian introduced species are being protecting under the leadership of Site Manger Wilds Pihanui Brawner.

Community Engagement Coordinator Keoki Apokolani Carter has been engaging community volunteers in preparing a site for the Hui Laau Kamaaina Outdoor Learning Center. Groups who have participated include Family Support Hawaii youth, Kealakehe Intermediate Na Kahumoku Youth Leadership Program students, Pono Pacific volunteers, and Brown University BELL program students.

The outdoor learning center will provide an opportunity for gathering, cultural practices, and ways to learn about this unique cultural ecology site. Site stewardship activities this year will include planting seedlings, pulling weeds, and collecting and distributing native seeds. The project also includes web pages documenting the stewardship activities at Hui Laau Kamaaina: Restoration and Education at LaiOpua Preserve and Kealakehe Restoration-Hui Laau Kamaaina, field learning guides, and a resource card featuring native plants of the Kealakehe region.

LaiOpua Reserve

Family Support Hawaii volunteer work day LaiOpua Preserve. Photo by Keoki A. Carter.

In addition to Keoki Carter and Wilds Brawner, Cultural Ecology Team members are Restoration Technician Kealakai L. Knoche and Outreach Consultant Yvonne Yarber Carter. Hawaii YouthConservation Corps (HYCC) intern Justin Ah Puck is assisting and learning from the Team.

DHHL’s LaiOpua Plant Mitigation and Preserve Restoration Plan (LPMPRP) outlines strategies to protect endangered plants and restore dryland habitat on approximately 70 acres within the 570-acre Villages of LaiOpua. The Cultural Ecology Team is forming relationships with local community members so they can adopt the project as their own over the next three years.

In addition to DHHL and the Cooke Foundation, other project funders are Arthur Lawrence Mullaly Fund and Kukio Community Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation and U.S. Department of Education’s “Education through Cultural & Historical Organizations.”

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides Wins 2011 Pualu Award for Environmental Awareness

Media Release:

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides‘ efforts to share important and little known information about Keauhou’s famed manta rays and the company’s respect for the ocean and its environment was acknowledged by the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce today with the Chamber’s 2011 Pualu Award for Environmental Awareness.

Puhi, Mendy and Alex Dant with their Pualu Award.

Puhi, Mendy and Alex Dant with their Pualu Award.

Established in 1979, the annual Pualu awards honor outstanding individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations in West Hawaii for their dedication and hard work in the community.

Fair Wind was also acknowledged by the Small Business Administration as the 2011 award-winner in the Family Owned Small Business category in Hawaii County. The SBA awards recognize small-business owners, advocates and entrepreneurs who show business skills and tenacity to excel in their industry, according to the SBA.

“For forty years, Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides has set the bar for quality ocean activities for residents and visitors to Hawaii Island,” explained Fair Wind Vice President Mendy Dant. “It is exciting for us at this particular juncture to be recognized by both the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration with these awards, which are made possible through the enterpeneurship of our father and perseverance, vision and dedication of the second generation as well as the talent, knowledge and dedication of our employees.”

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Sets Stage for Environmental War

The following was sent to me by Sydney Singer (Public Hearings Begin January 24.  Go to hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/hearings-workshops for dates and locations.)  I think most of my readers know how I feel about this guy in general. :roll:

WHOSE “INVASIVE” NOW?

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Sets Stage for Environmental War

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Coastal and Conservation Lands (DLNR OCCL) is responsible for overseeing approximately two million (2,000,000) acres of private and public lands, including beach and marine lands. In an attempt to better protect these lands, certain changes are being proposed to the Hawaii Administrative Rules 13-5 which govern the management of conservation lands. (To see the full text of the proposed amendments to the administrative rules, go to http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/.)

Unfortunately, these proposed changes as currently drafted will initiate an environmental war that will include poisoning and infesting our forests, coastal and marine lands and implementing a witch hunt against any nonnative species someone decides to call “invasive”.

This goes against the Hawaii Constitution, Article XI, Section 1, which states, “For the benefit of present and future generations, the State and its political subdivisions shall conserve and protect Hawaii’s natural beauty and all natural resources, including land, water, air, minerals and energy sources, and shall promote the development and utilization of these resources in a manner consistent with their conservation and in furtherance of the self sufficiency of the State.” (Emphasis added.)

Note that the Constitution refers to natural resources, not just native resources. The framers of the Constitution realized the value of introduced species for food, fuel, environmental services, and natural beauty. As an island that began as a lava field in the middle of the Pacific ocean, the paucity of native resources has been supplemented with numerous valuable introduced species to provide Hawaii with more natural resources…

The DLNR’s emphasis, however, is to condemn any nonnative species that can gain a foothold in the environment and change its “native” character. Such species are termed “invasive”, as though these species were “invading” native realms. However, preserving and protecting certain species is not a license to target others as harmful.

This is not about pests of agriculture or human health, like mosquitoes or tree borers or fruit flies. Laws already exist for the control of noxious weeds and pests. This is about attacking beneficial species of trees and plants and animals that are natural resources, but that are also altering the native motif of our conservation lands. It’s about native species supremacism and immigrant species suppression.

The list of “invasive” targets is extensive and growing all the time. It includes the guava, strawberry guava, thimble berry, African tulip, banyan tree, monkey pod, ironwood, cats, pigs, sheep, goats, all nonnative birds, all lizards, all frogs and toads, nonnative fish, and virtually any nonnative species that takes up space or water or air that might otherwise be taken up by a native species.

Jacksons’ chameleons are considered invasive. So are endangered veiled chameleons. And endangered Mouflon sheep. Parrots. Songbirds. Cattle egrets. Peacocks. All are considered “invasive” in Hawaii and are routinely killed.

It used to be about protecting endangered species. Then it became protecting all native species, even if they are not endangered. In reality, it’s an anti-immigration policy, a bioxenophobia used to justify poisoning, clearing, and infesting nonnative resources.

In effect the DLNR is taking the naïve position that once a species is labeled “invasive” it no longer has any positive qualities, and its control or eradication can only help native species and native ecosystems regardless of the means to achieve that end, and regardless of the fact that returning to a native ecosystem is an unattainable goal in today’s changing world and climate. However, life is not black and white. Native is not necessarily good, and nonnative is not necessarily bad.

Once a species becomes part of the environment, attacking that species is an attack on the environment itself. And defining a species as “invasive” is often controversial and political.

To allow an unfettered environmental war against “invasives”, however, the DLNR must first change the rules. Currently, the administrative rules place limits on weeding and landscaping activities on conservation lands to prevent environmental damage. The use of poisons, power tools, and biocontrol is prohibited. However, the proposed rule changes would lift all these safeguards for any attack on “invasive” species.

The proposed rule changes would allow poisons and biocontrol insects, fungi, and pathogens to be used to kill any “invasive” species of plant or animal on any number of acres of coastal or conservation land without requiring a permit or environmental assessment or any public hearing or public input.

No public input is allowed in making this determination of what is considered “invasive”, either. In fact, the proposed rule changes would severely restrict public oversight of DLNR decisions in violation of our Constitutional rights.

Proposed Rule Amendments

According to these rules, conservation lands are divided into different subzones depending on their qualities and the activities allowed. The most pristine and protected subzone is aptly called the Protective subzone. Next is the Limited subzone, with less restrictions of what you can do on these lands. Next is the Resource subzone, followed by the General subzone.

The first problem with these proposed rule amendments concerning invasive species control pertains to the definition of an invasive species.

I. Definition of Invasive Species

According to the draft proposal definitions,

“Invasive species” means any plant, plant pest, noxious weed, microorganism, biological control organism, or animal than can directly or indirectly injure or cause damage to the environment or to the interests of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture, animal or public health, native species, natural resources, irrigation, or navigation, or otherwise defined in §520A-2, HRS.”

The problems with this definition:

The “interests” of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture is not clearly defined, and can change with time and economic conditions. Also, some so-called invasive species can be also agricultural, horticultural or aquacultural.

Many so-called invasive species may also be natural resources. According to the draft proposal definitions, ““Natural Resource” means resources such as plants, aquatic life and wildlife, cultural, historic, recreational, geologic, and archaeological sites, scenic areas, ecological significant areas, watersheds, and minerals.” A species can therefore be both a resource in one context, and invasive in another context.

This means that natural resources can be devalued and destroyed if they are considered invasive, in violation of the state’s duty to protect our natural resources.

The definition of invasive species does not explained by what procedure a species would be determined to be invasive. Discretionary decisions on what species are “invasive” could be arbitrary and capricious (or political). Such decisions require public hearings and an environmental assessment. This makes sense since labeling a species “invasive” changes the applicable rules of what you can do without a permit on conservation lands.

A species can be “invasive” in one environmental context and invaluable in another. There are also important interactions that can develop between native and introduced species, even if these introduced species can be labeled as “invasive” in certain contexts. labeling every member of a species as invasive is over simplistic and ignores the actual and potential benefits offered by a species in a wide range of contexts.

The definition of invasive species ignores the fact that environmental conditions change, altering the relationships between species and the proper goals of conservation. In addition to development and pollution and associated land usage changes over time, climate change in Hawaii is resulting in a shift in environmental conditions away from those that supported past native ecosystems and native species. This means healthy and robust exotic species that do well in Hawaii may become the dominant and valuable species of the future.

II. Removing Invasive Species

In an attempt to better manage the threat of so-called “invasive species”, proposed rule changes would allow any invasive species control activities on any number of acres of land, using power tools, poisons, and even using biocontrol insects, fungi, and pathogens, without any permit or site plan requirement. The underlying assumption is that the ends of controlling or eradicating invasive species justifies any means of killing them.

In contrast, if the species being controlled is not labeled an invasive species, then there are strict limits and requirements for permits and site plans. In other words, if someone wanted to poison 1000 acres of trees and leave them to rot, it would be prohibited unless the trees were considered invasive, at which time it could be allowed without any permit or even a site plan.

A. The most egregious application of this draconian environmental policy is in Hawaii Administrative Rule 13-5-22, “Identified land uses in the protective subzone.” This is identified as use

(P-4) and would not require any permit or site plan.

P-4 “Removal of invasive species including clearing with power hand tools and herbicides and biocontrols. Includes invasive species control using herbicides and biological agents in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations for the purpose of protecting, preserving or enhancing native species, native habitat, or native ecosystem function that results in no, or only minor ground disturbance. The department or board reserves the right to require site plan, departmental or board approval if it is determined that the proposed action may cause secondary impacts on natural and cultural resources, or the surrounding community. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. For existing developed lots, compliance with section 13-5-23(L-2) satisfies the requirements of this section.”

The problems with this proposed use are:

“Removal of invasive species including clearing with power hand tools and herbicides and biocontrols.” Biocontrols, which constitute the release of insects, fungi, or other pathogens to attack the target species, do not remove the target species from the area. Gall forming insects used as biocontrol, for example as being proposed for the management of strawberry guava, infest the leaves of the tree but do not remove the tree. Poisons can kill a plant but do not remove it from the area.

“Clearing” protective subzone conservation lands of a so-called invasive species may result in soil erosion, aesthetic damage, impacts to native and endangered species, and other primary and secondary impacts.

Biocontrol agents are not limited to the areas in which they are released, and may therefore attack the target species on private property or other unintended areas where the target is desired, resulting in property damage. Biocontrol agents also evolve over time in unpredictable ways, posing a potential threat to other species. Clearly, the introduction of an alien insect or fungus or pathogen into our Protective subzone conservation lands is something that should require an environmental assessment and permit, if it is allowed at all.

“The department or board reserves the right to require site plan, departmental or board approval if it is determined that the proposed action may cause secondary impacts on natural and cultural resources, or the surrounding community.” It is not clear how the department or board will make this determination without a permit application, environmental assessment, and public comment. This clause also subverts the intention of these rules, which are to define categories of actions allowed in these subzones to allow ministerial, and not discretionary, decision making. This clause leaves it to the discretion of the department or board, and therefore should trigger an environmental assessment under HRS 343, which requires the preparation of an EA for discretionary decisions pertaining to actions on conservation lands. It may also constitute rulemaking under HRS 91 by ruling particular species as invasive.

“For existing developed lots, compliance with section 13-5-23(L-2) satisfies the requirements of this section.” HAR 13-5-23 (L-2) pertains to landscaping in the Limited subzone. Ironically, it is more stringent than P-4 in the Protective subzone, which in the old rules was also labeled as landscaping.

There are three types of landscaping actions addressed in L-2, depending on the area being landscaped. The first, least damaging landscaping is, “Landscaping, defined as alteration (including clearing and tree removal) of plant cover including clearing with power hand tools and use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations that result in no or only minor ground disturbance, in an area less than 2,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This type of landscaping requires site plan approval.

The next type of landscaping is, “Landscaping, (including clearing, grubbing, and tree removal, including the use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations) of plant cover in an area of less than 10,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This land use requires a departmental permit.

And then there is, “Landscaping, (including clearing, grubbing, and tree removal, including the use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations) of plant cover in an area of more than 10,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This land use requires a board permit.

The difference between landscaping in P-4 and L-2 is that the P-4 refers only to invasive species, and L-2 refers to species not labeled as invasive. Clearly, however, environmental impacts may result from clearing and removing trees (regardless of their nativity or invasiveness). The protections afforded by L-2 should apply to the more protected Protective subzone, regardless of whether the protected land is already a developed lot. Indeed, the more protective L-2 makes even more sense for undeveloped lots, since more care should be required for actions on undeveloped lands.

Recommendation: Replace P-4 with the text of L-2, including all three landscaping types mentioned. However, L-2 should be changed as discussed in B.

B. Again, the Landscaping uses described in L-2 are:

“Landscaping, defined as alteration (including clearing and tree removal) of plant cover including clearing with power hand tools and use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations that result in no or only minor ground disturbance, in an area less than 2,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This use requires site plan approval.

“Landscaping, (including clearing, grubbing, and tree removal, including the use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations) of plant cover in an area of less than 10,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This land use requires a departmental permit.

“Landscaping, (including clearing, grubbing, and tree removal, including the use of herbicides in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations) of plant cover in an area of more than 10,000 square feet. Any replanting shall be appropriate to the site location and shall give preference to plant materials that are endemic or indigenous to Hawaii. The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited.” This land use requires a board permit.

The problems with these uses are:

The sentence, “The introduction of invasive plant species is prohibited” is in each landscape use. Again, as discussed in Section I, the definition of invasive species is arbitrary and capricious, fraught with contradictions, prevents the use of possibly nonnative species that may be more appropriate than native species for a given site location, and excludes public input.

Recommendation: This sentence should be changed to say, “The introduction of noxious species is prohibited. Noxious species is defined by the chapter 152, HRS, and chapter 4-68.”

This amended L-2 should be used in place of P-4.

According to the proposed amendments, 13-5-23 Identified land uses in the limited subzone, it states, (a) “In addition to the land uses identified herein, all identified land uses and their associated permit or site plan approval requirements listed for the protective subzone also apply to the limited subzone, unless otherwise noted.” Unless P-4 is changes to read the same as L-2, this provision would expose Limited subzone lands to the same potential destruction caused by invasive species removal.

Note that the greater environmental care is required to remove noninvasive plants than invasive ones. However, the impacts to the environment can be just as damaging in either case. Ironically, landscaping that removes plants from an area of less than half an acre requires board permit and an environmental assessment according to L-2, while “removing” invasive species from any number of acres requires nothing according to P-4, unless, of course, the DLNR OCCL somehow decides permits may be needed.

C. 13-5-24 Identified land uses in the resource subzone.

All the above comments apply to this subzone, as well, since 13-5-24 (a) states, “In addition to the land uses identified herein, all identified land uses and their associated permit or site plan approval requirements listed for the protective and limited subzones also apply to the resource subzone, unless otherwise noted.”

D. 13-5-25 Identified land uses in the general subzone.

All the above comments apply to this subzone, as well, since 13-5-25 (a) states, “In addition to the land uses identified in this section, all identified land uses and their associated permit or site plan approval requirements listed for the protective, limited, and resource subzones also apply to the general subzone, unless otherwise noted.”

III. Land and Resource management

Returning to the Protective subzone, a newly proposed use is P-13, which requires no permit or site plan. P-13 is, “Basic land and resource management, including routine weed and invasive species control, clearing of understory, planting of native and/or endemic plants, tree pruning, predator and ungulate control (including fence enclosures for single plant or small native wildlife communities, less than one acre), invasive aquatic species control, fence maintenance, etc. The department or board reserves the right to require site plan, departmental or board approval if it is determined that the proposed action may cause secondary impacts on natural or cultural resources.”

The problems with this proposed use are:

The term “basic land and resource management” is poorly defined, and the examples given could entail significant primary and secondary impacts. While the fence enclosures indicated less than one acre, there are no area limits placed on clearing of understory or routine weed and invasive species control or aquatic species control.

This paragraph makes no mention of the methods allowed for clearing understory, predator and ungulate control, invasive species control, or aquatic invasive species control.

Predator and ungulate control may have significant impacts on hunters and wildlife resources, and may require an environmental assessment under HRS 343.

Realizing the potential for abuse, the proposed amendment includes departmental or board discretionary decision making. “The department or board reserves the right to require site plan, departmental or board approval if it is determined that the proposed action may cause secondary impacts on natural or cultural resources.” This may be in violation of HRS 91 and HRS 343. See comment to II A(4) discussed above.

Recommendation: P-13 is redundant with other landscaping actions defined by L-2. The only added action allowed by P-13 and not included in L-2 pertains to fencing. This action can therefore be changed to: “Fence enclosures for single plant or small native wildlife communities, less than one acre.” All the rest should be deleted.

IV. Standing for Contested Case Hearing

Pertaining to Departmental Permits, 13-5-33 (g) states, “The permit applicant or any person who has some property interest in the land, who lawfully resides on the land, or who otherwise can demonstrate that they will be so directly and immediately affected by the use that their interest is so clearly distinguishable from that of the general public may appeal the chairperson’s decision by filing a written appeal to the department not later than fourteen days after the date of the department’s determination of the departmental permit. The written appeal shall provide all relevant information and shall state with specificity the reason for the appeal.”

The problem with this is:

The original 13-5-33(g) allows “any person” standing, and this proposed amendment is designed to raise the bar to public challenges of departmental decisions. This goes contrary to the rights guaranteed in the Hawaii Constitution Article Xl Section 9 concerning Environmental Rights and ensuring a private cause of action to protect those rights, and HRS 344-10 and other statutes promoting public involvement in the environmental decision making.

Recommendation: Restore the “Any person” provision of this paragraph.

V. Conclusion

The proposed amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules governing how conservation lands are managed by the DLNR OCCL will cause the opposite of their intent.

We cannot achieve environmental protection by waging environmental war.

The public should be encouraged to participate in environmental management, not locked out of the process and denied Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The DLNR needs to be reminded that it is the Department of Land and NATURAL Resources, not the Department of Land and NATIVE Resources.

Department of Environmental Management Seeks Council Approval to Purchase Bulldozer

Media Release:

The County of Hawai`i Department of Environmental Management is seeking Hawai`i County Council approval to purchase a D8 bulldozer for use at the Hilo landfill. The new bulldozer would take the place of equipment the county now rents from a private company.

A resolution requesting authorization to buy the bulldozer under a five-year lease-to-own arrangement was submitted to the Hawai`i County Council on December 6.

The new bulldozer is needed to comply with state Department of Health regulations that demand that the county have sufficient equipment to properly manage solid waste at the Hilo and Pu`uanahulu landfills.

The County now owns or has access to four bulldozers at the landfills, with two available for the Hilo operation and two available at Pu`uanahulu. However, this equipment is operated for long hours under hazardous and demanding conditions, and equipment failures are common. As a result, the bulldozers that are available to the county at the two landfills are often sidelined for significant periods of time awaiting repairs.

When additional equipment is needed to maintain operations at one of the landfills, the county rents a bulldozer. The purchase of a new bulldozer would eliminate the long-term need for a bulldozer rental contract.

If the Council authorizes the purchase, county officials estimate the new bulldozer will cost approximately $800,000, and will be delivered sometime in the next year.

Commentary in Response to Syd Singer Mangrove Lawsuit

Commentary by Larry O’Brien from Knowing.net:

Ours is not “a time of rapid evolution,” as claimed by Syd Singer in his misguided commentary recently posted at http://mauinotices.com/2010/08/12/syd-singer-on-climate-change-and-conservation/. It is the opposite — a time of extinction and the passing of great things.

It saddens and shocks me that anyone who lives on these islands can dismiss extinction so lightly. You will never see or hear an ‘o’u, a a koa finch, a mamo, a nukupu’u, an ‘akialoa, a Kona grosbeak. You may see an ‘alala — there are some left in captivity. You might have seen a po’ouli but the last one died in captivity in 2004.

Kona Grospeak

I don’t know if it’s misguided hope or willful blindness that can claim that, because preserving nature is a struggle, we ought not “weed for the past.” Wouldn’t you have liked to go for a walk and caught a glimpse of some of these “weeds”.

Singer likes to say that the displacement of native species by non-native species shows that native species are “weak and unhealthy.” That’s nonsense. Any High School biology student (or anyone with the eyes to see our Hawaiian reefs and native forests) knows that islands create species that are specialists — the longnose butterflyfish that can snip away at individual coral polyps, the parrotfish that grind away at more solid corals and excrete the sand that, over thousands of years, become the beaches where the turtles lay their eggs. Just because lauwiliwili don’t expect to be eaten by roi (introduced in 1956), they are “weak and unhealthy”? Because the native birds aren’t immune to avian malaria (brought in the early 1800s) they are unworthy to live anywhere that mosquitos live?

Just as the native species are not “weak and unhealthy,” the ability of a species to invade is not proof of some moral superiority. The coqui frog is controlled in Puerto Rico by populations of specific species of tarantulas, whip scorpions, crabs, and lizards; we don’t have any of those species here. (And if Singer is such a fan of “winner takes all” conservation, does he think we should introduce whip scorpions to see if the coquis are really so wonderful?) One reason we have so many roi is because they can be ciguateric, so no one fishes for them (except for speardivers, who have begun conducting “roi roundups” — which Singer undoubtedly opposes).

It’s true that environmentalists sometimes overemphasize the drabness of invasive species — the mats of invasive algae that clog the once-colorful bays of Oahu, sparrows and pigeons as opposed to honeycreepers. But it’s not a matter of what’s prettiest — who’s to say that a java or saffron finch is not more attractive than an apapane or amakihi? It’s a matter of preservation. Just because there are plenty of sparrows in the world, is it okay if the i’iwi goes away? Just because there are plenty of cockroaches in the world, is it okay if the wekiu bug goes away?

The Hawaiian Islands have been changed by human activity ever since the first voyagers landed here bringing taro, pigs, and chickens. That the slopes above Kohala were covered with sandalwood trees when Kamehameha the Great built Pu’ukohola heiau and allowed cattle to begin roaming. Conservationists don’t deny that and aren’t motivated by a vision of a world that never was. Conservationists look at the world we have and see the passing of great things. I once saw a 1,000-pound bluefin tuna — you never will. I’ve dived on reefs that are gone now. My nieces and nephews have never seen an i’iwi or a blue whale. My 14-year-old nephew who lives in Pennsylvania has never seen the Milky Way. The world becomes a lesser place when uniqueness is lost.

If Hawaii is overgrown with the same vegetation that grows in Florida and the same birds that live in Hong Kong, what unique stories will our grand-children hear from the land? If the coral is gone and the reefs are covered by the same algae that lives in the Mediterranean and, without the reefs, the honu and the mano and the billfish go away, what stories will our grand-children hear from the ocean? If the sky above Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa is painted over with the same glaring lights that blanket the mainland, what will our grand-children learn by looking to the sky? That what came before was “weak and unfit,” nothing but “weeds,” and that you preferred to “surf the wave of change”?

Or are you going to tell them that you once saw great things, and you fought to preserve them?

Syd Singer on the Continuation of the Mangrove Lawsuit

Commentary by Syd Singer:

A public meeting was scheduled by Mayor Kenoi to discuss the controversial mangrove eradication and poisoning project that has now left over 30 acres of mangroves dead and rotting along the Puna coastline. The meeting, scheduled for July 31 at the Pahoa Community Center, was the first chance given to the public to comment on and question the project.

But the meeting never happened. Malama o Puna, the organization spearheading the poisoning, backed out at the last minute, causing the County to cancel the meeting, according to Hunter Bishop, spokesperson for Mayor Kenoi.

The public is left with an ugly, poisoned shoreline and still without any voice on the issue.

The 30 acres of mangroves now stand dead and defoliated along the sensitive Big Island coastline, left to rot over the years and blighting what had been beautiful, treasured areas. Wai Opae (which is the popular snorkeling area in Kapoho), Pohoiki (also called Isaac Hale Beach Park), Paki Bay, and Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo have all been poisoned.

There was no public hearing or public comment period allowed for this mangrove eradication project, which was done with the cooperation of the DLNR, County of Hawaii, and Big Island Invasive Species Committee. There was no environmental assessment or environmental impact statement prepared. For most residents who frequent these areas, awareness of the project began when they noticed the mangroves were dying and brown scum was floating on the water. Heaps of dead leaves from the defoliated trees still line the high tide mark.

A public protest against the mangrove poisoning was held in January, 2010, and the controversy was reported in the media. But Malama o Puna refused to stop the poisoning.

A citizen lawsuit was filed in February to get an injunction to stop the poisoning until an environmental assessment was done. Despite requests that they stop their work, Malama o Puna continued with their poisoning, killing 7 acres of mangroves at Pohoiki and 3-4 acres of mangroves at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo while the lawsuit proceeded.

A ruling has just been made on the lawsuit, which continues in Third Circuit Court in Hilo. The Court has ruled that it is too late to sue Malama o Puna for not doing an environmental assessment. This does not mean Malama o Puna did not have to do an environmental assessment. It just means that it was too late to have the issue considered by the Court.

Attorneys for defendants Malama o Puna, DLNR, and County of Hawaii tried to get the case dismissed, claiming that private citizens cannot sue for violations of the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, or Hawaii Pesticide law. But the Court reaffirmed that the public has a right to a clean and healthy environment, as provided in the Hawaii Constitution Article Xl, Section 9, and that all citizens have a right to sue to protect those environmental rights.

The lawsuit now will focus on whether Malama o Puna violated clean water regulations and threatened endangered species that are known to use the poisoned areas. No further hearings are scheduled at this time.

Ironically, mangroves may be the best species for Hawaii’s subsiding coastline, especially given the climate change predictions coming from the Hawaii government and environmental groups that the oceans are rising. Mangroves protect the shoreline from erosion, storm surge, and tsunamis. In fact, mangroves have been shown to save lives.

Unfortunately, while recognizing climate change is the environmental issue of our time, some environmental groups and government agencies have not yet realized the implications climate change has for “invasive” species control. Climate change is an inconvenient truth for those who want to save native species that thrived in the past but which may not survive in today’s and tomorrow’s altered environment. Introduced species which grow well here may belong to the Hawaii of the future. Today’s “invasive” species may become tomorrow’s “invaluable” species.

This especially applies to mangroves, considered by the Nature Conservancy in its Summer, 2010 magazine as one of the most valuable and beneficial species in the world. Mangroves may prove critical to shoreline protection in Hawaii as the oceans rise and the land sinks.

While their presence in Hawaii is controversial, as is the use of powerful poisons to kill the mangroves and leave them rotting along the shoreline, the public will not have an opportunity to comment on this eradication. And while the County meeting was too little, too late, it was at least an attempt to include the public. But now, even that attempt has been poisoned.

For more information, see www.mangrovelawsuit.com.

Sydney Ross Singer

P.O. Box 1880, Pahoa, Hawai 96778

Beginning Today: Waimea and Pahoa Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events

WAIMEA & PAHOA Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events:

Today  (Waimea) and Tomorrow (Pahoa), 2009 8:30am3:30pm
hazard_house

Bring your automotive fluids, chemicals and cleaners and other hazardous household wastes to the Waimea Transfer Station  collection area on March 7th and the Pahoa Transfer Station collection area on March 8th.  For full details on what materials are and are not accepted please visit Household Hazardous Waste.

Whatever Happened to the Fly that Eats Coqui Eggs?

So what ever happened to these flies that were supposed to save the Big Island from these coqui frogs more then six years ago?  I think there is an “Old Lady” to be held responsible.

In a July 2003 Honolulu Weekly article by Patricia Tummons, she reports:

…A fungal disease, chytridiomycosis, that has devastated vulnerable frog populations across the world is a possible biocontrol agent for coqui. Another might be a type of fly that eats coqui eggs in Puerto Rico. The species is already in Hawai‘i, said Arnold Hara of the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, “and may only need some time to begin infesting coqui eggs…”

Is there some lady around that’s swallowing flies?

I Don’t know why she swallowed the fly… perhaps she’ll die.

“Project Better Place” An Interesting Debate

I was the first in the State to mention Project Better Place coming to Hawaii back on September 7th of last year.

I’ve thought about the project for awhile, and I think it might work on the other islands the way they have the stations planned now, but I just don’t see how they can be feasible with only four stations on the Big Island.

charging1

In this recently released youtube clip, Project Better Place CEO Shai Agassi talks about the Hawaii Project at  about the 7:00 minute mark.  Towards the end of the video, a managing editor at Forbes explains why this might not work.

Better Place CEO and founder Shai Agassi wants to change the automotive industry by switching gas stations with battery replacement and charging stations for the next generation of electric cars.

Although current plans include smaller areas like Hawaii, Israel, Denmark, and San Francisco, Better Place aims at nothing short of an industry-transforming revolution. Will it be possible?

In this extended interview (at end of clip), Shai Agassi discusses his companys plans and challenges. Bruce Upbin, a managing editor at Forbes Magazine, comments on Better Places challenges and why the network may not work in the U.S.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXL76NyTSKU&hl=en&fs=1]

Things to think about:

1. Prices of Gas have fallen…

2. Building a network… is there enough stations

3. Capital… does Project Better Place have enough money?

VOG Legislation: Rep. Souki… “This is a Natural Disaster, and No One’s in Charge.”

Hat tip to Georgette Deemer over at the Hawaii House Blog for blogging about the recent VOG hearings at the capital which obviously affect us all.

Deemer blogs “Who’s in Charge?“:

Six House committees met jointly this morning to hear VOG related bills in order to make it easier for testifiers from the various state/county agencies and the public. Rep. Robert Herkes coordinated the hearing, as chair of the House Special Committee on VOG Effects…
…At the end of the hearing, Rep. Herkes summed it up by saying that Rep. Souki hit the nail on the head when he concluded that “This is a natural disaster, and no one’s in charge.” Rep. Herkes has and continues to be frustrated by a lack of response from certain state agencies in addressing the immediate problems faced by the people on the Big Island…
…Although the state administration has established an Interagency Task Force on Vog, Rep. Herkes exclaimed that the task force has no chair and has only met twice. Rep. Souki added, “Meanwhile, the whole island is going to pot.”

Full Blog here

The other day, I posted our own District 5 Councilwoman’s testimony that she submitted to the legislature. You can view that interesting piece of testimony here.

Deemer also lists the following “VOG Package” that is before the legislature this year:

HB313 RELATING TO HIGHWAYS. This bill requires the Department of Transportation to conduct more reviews of the highway guardrails on the Big Island, as they are deteriorating from exposure to acid rain caused by VOG.

HB318 RELATING TO VOG. This bill requires the Department of Agriculture to work with the University of Hawaii to determine the best methods of VOG treatment and to research VOG-resistant varieties of plants.

HB316 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE. This bill establishes a temporary reimbursement program for tenants of state agricultural lands in VOG-impacted areas in order to reimburse tenants for costs of reapir and maintenance of fencing and other infrastructure.

HB312 RELATING TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES. This bill directs the Department of Defense to develop and implement a program to ensure that an adequate number of monitors are in place throughout the state where high VOG and sulfur dioxide incidences are known to occur.

HB317 RELATING TO MOBILE MEDICAL CARE. This bill authorizes the use of the federal Homeland Security Grant Program funds for mobile emergency and clinical medical care for the people in the southern sections of the Big Island.

HB314 RELATING TO WORKERS’ COMPENSATION. This bill requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to develop rules for workers’ compensation claims involving VOG-related medical conditions.

HB315 RELATING TO VOLCANIC EMISSIONS. This bill requires the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to establish standards to promote worker safety during high incidences of VOG or sulfur dioxide.

Deemer concludes, “As the Labor Committee had a quorum, they passed HB314 as is, and passed HB315 with amendments. The other bills were deferred for decision making next week.”

Rep. Corinne Ching Calls for Heritage Tourism (Pahoa Take Note)… Videos

Heritage Tourism is an interesting topic and these recent bills introduced are something I think the town of Pahoa should take note in:

Pt. 1:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dMAJ6Q37pw&hl=en&fs=1]

Pt. 2:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SU-QuprIbjw&hl=en&fs=1]

Pt. 3

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVeOmnjNsd0&hl=en&fs=1]

Heritage Tourism interview with Representatives Cindy Evans Angus McKelvey’ Senator Daniel Inouye Introduces a bill in Congress to designate the downtown State Capitol part of the Heritage of Hawaii. The artfully constructed interface between natural and built environment has been hailed as a work of genius, harmoniously joining land and sea in a magnificent, yet sensitive statement, making the State Capitol Building worth preserving based on artistic merit alone.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdcqAMqyC5s&hl=en&fs=1]


1. HCR18.DOC HCR18 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15391
Electronic File Date: 1/24/2009 12:00:12 AM
2. HCR23.DOC HCR23 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15391
Electronic File Date: 1/23/2009 11:58:28 PM
3. HR20.DOC HR20 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15394
Electronic File Date: 1/24/2009 12:01:36 AM
4. HR25.DOC HR25 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15394
Electronic File Date: 1/23/2009 11:56:36 PM
5. SCR4.DOC SCR4 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15525
Electronic File Date: 1/30/2009 5:32:44 PM
6. SR7.DOC SR7 Status
Context: THE HERITAGE TOURISM COMMUNITY TO COLLABORATIVELY WORK TO, among other things, …CREATE A HERITAGE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN FOR USE BY THE HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY. WHEREAS, the state of Hawaii has a rich and vibrant heritage, blending history, architecture, values, and culture from Data Book; and � ���� WHEREAS, one of the fastest growing niches in the tourism industry is heritage tourism, travel that focuses on experiencing the
Filesize: 15524
Electronic File Date: 1/30/2009 5:50:04 PM

33 Confirmed Rat Lungworm Cases Since 2001

The Honolulu Advertiser has an excellent article on the recent epidemic here on the Big Island:

The rat lungworm disease that put two Big Island residents into comas is bringing attention to an illness confirmed in 33 reported cases in Hawai’i since 2001…

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

The state Health Department knows of 33 cases from 2001 to now. But state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said it is not known how many people have suffered through a milder form of the disease. Total reported Hawai’i cases before 2000 weren’t available late last week.

Symptoms can range from headache, joint pain and other symptoms that resolve on their own, to blindness, nerve damage and death.

Slugs and snails in Hawai’i are known to carry the rat lung-worm, a nematode named because it hatches in the lungs of rats. From there, the larvae pass through rat feces to slugs, snails or other mollusks. People who ingest snails or slugs that contain the parasite can get a rare form of meningitis — infection of the spinal fluid.

More Here

Councilwoman Naeole’s Testimony on Vog Bill

I received an email copy of the Testimony that Councilwoman Naeole sent in to the Legislature regarding HB312.

HB312
RELATING TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES.
Vog; Sulfur Dioxide Monitoring
Directs the Department of Defense to develop and implement a program to ensure that an adequate number of monitors to detect sulfur dioxide are strategically placed throughout areas of the state where high incidences of vog, sulfur dioxide, or both occur.

——————————————

February 7, 2009

Council Member Emily Naeole District 5 Puna

TESTIMONY ON HAWAII HOUSE BILLS 312-318

I have before me, House Bills 312-318 relating to vog and sulphur dioxide that covers highway guardrail replacement, workers safety and compensation and agrarian concerns but is shockingly silent on resident safety, aid and compensation.

Where is the legislation to bring aid and relief to the people of Puna?  Residents on coastal Red Road, the Kalapana-Kapoho Road are closest of all communities to the ocean plumes. During Kona, interchangeable winds, or no-wind conditions, the vog can be intolerable during higher emission periods. also it has been noted that the vog has a tendency to linger in corridors of Highway 130 near the Maku’u Hawaiian Homestead. One can see and smell it.

To make matters worse, on Sunday, 2/01/09, the Hawaii Herald-Tribune, published the latest report from the Hawai’i volcanic Observatory, (HVO), informing us that another deadly ingredient has been added to the vog: Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S), a broad spectrum poison that can poison several different systems in the body, although the nervous system is most affected. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide.

In order for this act to be complete I believe that the monitors should monitor H2s emissions too.

We have had a very rough time in the Kehena area in December and January. Everyone I know in Seaview is suffering ill effects of one degree or another. We have had two deaths and much illness in this small neighborhood in the first two months of this year.

According to the Pahoa Fire Chief all procedures come through Civil Defense. At this time the fire station in Pahoa uses the SO2 monitoring device only when “it looks” voggy at the fire station. The fire chief then, and only then, sends out someone to take SO2 readings at C.D. authorized sites. Everyone knows looks can be deceiving when we are talking about poisons in parts per million terms. It should not be left to people at the fire station to guesstimate for an entire district.

This is totally unacceptable. Sometimes the vog is thick in Pahoa but it is very light in the Kehena area, and visa-a-versa. At this time of heavy volcanic emissions, SO2 readings should be taken several times a day in all locations.

Nowhere in Puna Makai is there any place to evacuate to. Emergency shelters can be created quickly by converting designated schools and community center areas to airtight rooms with vinyl velcro windows and portable air filter and air conditioning machines.
Funding is available through FEMA and Homeland Security Grant programs.

The cocoanut wireless is saying that Hawaii is the next Katrina. Is this life threatening situation being allowed to escalate in order to create enough panic to justify the evacuation of the whole island that will then could be turned over to the military/industrial complex? I ask you to consider this testimony when discussing the solution to this problem and very important Act.

I ask that the Legislature take serious thought to include Lower Puna in all of these bills.

Lau lima,
Emily I. Naeole

EIN/rh

Zero Waste Public Input Meeting in Pahoa… Pictures & Video

“Zero Waste” (Taxonomy) is a philosophy and a way of life that promotes the goal to reduce the amount of material we throw away. Through small shifts in our daily activities, we can greatly reduce how much rubbish we generate, protecting Hawai’i Island’s natural environment, preserving our resources, and saving our community tax dollars.”

Tonight was Pahoa’s turn to have “Public Input” on the Counties Zero Waste Implementation Plan.

zerowaste-002

I asked Dr. James Weatherford for a brief summary of what Zero Waste meant for Pahoa and this was his response:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3GkuVJgVN0&hl=en&fs=1]

The meeting was filled with about 20 – 25 people.  Former Council Bob Jacobson is one of the spearheaders of this plan and he took notes for the group.

Former Councilman Bob Jacobson

Former Councilman Bob Jacobson

Councilwoman Emily Naeole showed up about half way through the meeting because she had prior arrangements, however, legislative aide R.J. Hampton sat in for her and took notes while she was gone.

Legislative Aide RJ Hampton listens to Paul J. Buklarewicz of Recycle Hawaii

Legislative Aide RJ Hampton listens to Paul J. Buklarewicz of Recycle Hawaii

The Mayors office of course is very interested in what is going on these days.

Hunter Bishop, Public Relations Specialist to the Mayor for the County of Hawaii Listens to the Plan

Hunter Bishop, Public Relations Specialist to the Mayor, Listens to the Plan

An example was shown of just how much garbage could actually be reused.

Just some of the tons of rubbish dumped

Just some of the tons of rubbish dumped

Community members were given a chance to give their public input, but many choose to remain quiet.

Community members listen intently

Community members listen intently

Here are some things you can do to reach our Zero Waste goal (from the Hawaii Zero Waste website):

  1. Buy products that can be reused or recycled.
  2. Avoid buying items that are made of or packaged in non-recyclable materials, for example, styrofoam.
  3. Ask your favorite take-out restaurant to use biodegradable containers and utensils. Take them home and compost them.
  4. Products and packaging can be redesigned to use less materials, last longer and not create pollution. Hawai’i residents can choose to buy these products. This will encourage producers to offer products with less overall packaging and use more recyclable and recycled-content materials.
  5. When you go to a store take reusable shopping bags.
  6. Buy products in bulk or with less packaging.
  7. Recycle used materials.
  8. Take your green waste to be made into mulch.

I’m hoping to get the power point presentation mailed to me.  When/if I receive it… I’ll post it then.

BIVN has video of Thursdays Hilo meeting here.


Will Hawaii Based Algae Fuel Primarily Be Used for the Military?

Knowing me… I’m probably reading into this completely wrong.  But it does seem a bit strange for us to be focusing so much on “alternative energy” only to just give it up to the military.

Jet fuel and other fuels made from algae are being developed in San Diego. Some of the research is being funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), part of the Department of Defense.

DARPA has provided $35 million to San Diego-based companies SAIC and General Atomics to pursue the creation of algae-based jet fuel…

Military Jet Fuel Focus:

…The DARPA money for SAIC could total up to $24 million to develop algae based military jet fuel JP-8 that costs $3 per gallon, according to an article on the Web site Earth2Tech.com

…The Web site CleanTechnica.com also noted the interest in algae fuels. It reported, “SAIC says there will be two phases to the project. The first will involve refining the technology and developing lab-scale production capabilities. The second phase will involve the construction of what SAIC calls a pre-pilot scale production facility.”

CleanTechnica.com also stated, “SAIC will do the work at company facilities in Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Texas. The company will work with a team of industrial and academic partners.”

Here is a recent CleanTechnica article on the Maui Algae Plant.

…While a number of factors still need to be put in place before the first phase of the program can begin, the anticipated start date could be as early as 2011…

However, it appears to me, that it was sold to the State as something else:

This innovative partnership can help move Hawaii one step closer to securing energy independence and achieving our goal of having 70 percent of Hawaiis energy come from clean sources by 2030, said Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle”…

Maui Algae Plant

Maui Algae Plant

Hawaii Agencies Launch Food Safety Program

The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Farm Bureau have partnered for a three-year pilot RFID program designed to promote food safety by enabling product visibility throughout the supply chain. The Hawaii Produce Traceability initiative uses RFID technology to track fresh produce down to the farm, or even field, level.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers a win-win situation for consumers and participating growers. When a food safety issue arises, product recalls can be enacted within an hour. With traceability down to the field level, growers can localize the impact of a recall to the relevant area, minimizing losses.


Beyond improving food safety, growers, who can participate by either slap-and-ship tagging or usage of a hand-held RFID system, can reap a bounty of other benefits from the program. Gathered data can be used to optimize harvest productivity, strengthen food processing controls, increase cold chain visibility, reduce produce dwell time on shipping and receiving docks, accelerate transportation times between trading partners and improve inventory turns; all this can help increase profit margins in a competitive industry.

Lowry Computer Products developed the first phase of the system, which includes hardware from Motorola and Symbol Technologies, software from Globe Ranger, and UPM Raflatac RFID inlays paired with waterproof labels. Lowry’s own Fresh Harvest tracking solution unifies these components, providing real-time supply chain data including when boxed produce is planted and harvested, what pesticides are used, and when and where RFID-tagged boxes are scanned. All this information is automatically uploaded into a database accessible to both program participants and, via the initiative’s web portal, the general public.

State officials are now planning for the next two phases of the initiative. Enhancements may include RFID-enabled cellphones to enable more farms to participate, and implementing produce temperature tracking to reduce the threat of food spoilage. The program may eventually be expand to cover 5,000 Hawaiian farms.

Funding for the pilot program was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.