Hawaii Agriculture Theft a Problem – Hawai’i Law Seeks To Reduce Increasing Problem

The Hawai’i Forest Industry Association (HFIA) encourages farmers, ranchers and the public to know the law regarding ownership and movement of agricultural commodities.

Hawai’i law requires ownership and movement certification on any amount of an agricultural commodity that is to be marketed for commercial purposes or when transporting agricultural commodities weighing more than 200 pounds or with a value of $100 or more.

In testifying for passage of the law, the Hawai’i Farm Bureau Federation wrote, “Everyone knows farming is inherently risky. There are no guarantees of a successful crop. Besides being vulnerable to invasive pests and diseases, erratic weather patterns, and multi-year droughts, high land, labor, fuel, and other farm costs leave us unable to compete with mainland prices. On top of this, farmers are highly susceptible to theft. Our location and relatively large acreage, usually in more remote areas and impossible to guard 24 hours a day, leave us open to thieves that reap the benefit of our hard work or vandals that destroy our crops for kicks.”

The law requires that those convicted of agricultural theft face criminal penalties and pay restitution to their victims in an amount equal to the value of what was stolen as well as the cost of replanting.

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke'e State Park, Kauai

A slab was brutally cut from this koa tree, which subsequently killed the tree in Kōke’e State Park, Kauai

In October 2013 Kaua’i’s The Garden Island newspaper reported on koa trees cut down by poachers. In the article Deborah Ward, the information specialist for the Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, said “DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement is investigating recent cases of theft of koa at Kōke’e State Park, as well as other pending cases. The majority of thefts have been on State Parks lands, most recently last week on park land, and in June 2013 in the Nā Pali-Kona Forest Reserve.”

From the theft of exotic fruit and native Kou trees on Hawai’i Island to pineapple by the truckload on Maui to valuable landscaping plants on O’ahu, agricultural theft costs farmers and ranchers millions of dollars annually. Losses also occur from vandalism and illegal hunting and cattle poaching on private lands. These costs are ultimately passed on to consumers.

Hawai’i Forest Industry Association encourages anyone suspecting agricultural theft to contact their local police department to report the crime.

 

Update on the Big Island Shark Attack

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and DLNR Aquatic Resources staff are responding to a report of a shark incident that took place today between 8 to 8:30 a.m. in ocean waters between the County’s Punaluu Beach Park and Ninole, in Ka’u District of the island of Hawaii.

It was reported by Hawaii County Police that a male, 29 years old and two friends were in the water body boarding about 7 a.m. About an hour later, while the male was paddling back out, he was about 20 yards from shore when he was hit and knocked of his board by a shark. Type of shark is thought to have been a 10 to 12 foot tiger shark according to the victim’s friends.

According to DOCARE, water depth was about 8-12 feet , conditions windy with surf. The male was transported by friends via private vehicle to a hospital in Pahala with non life-threatening injuries.

Shark Sighted

Hawaii County Police have confirmed to DOCARE that Punaluu Beach Park has been closed by Hawaii County Lifeguards. Lifeguards have posted shark warning signs at Punaluu beach park, which will remain closed the rest of today. The fire department helicopter flew over the area at 10 a.m. today and will do so again tomorrow morning, If there is no further sighting of sharks the park will reopen at noon tomorrow.

Ka’u Kako’o, a local community outreach group at Punaluu will help to inform beachgoers that the beach is closed.

 

DLNR Holding Hearings Statewide to Ammend Hawaii Rules Relating to Stony Coral and Live Rock

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold statewide public hearings to amend Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) relating to stony coral and live rock.

Stony Coral

The proposed amendments would clarify what activities constitute “damage” to stony coral and live rock, and establish a formula for calculating administrative penalties for such violations.

The hearings are scheduled as follows:

  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Lanai City at the Senior Center, 309 7th Street, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Kailua-Kona at Kealakehe High School Cafeteria, 74-5000 Puohulihuli Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 10, 2013, in Honolulu at Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria, 1202 Prospect Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Hilo at Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 101, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Lihue at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Auditorium, 4431 Nuhou Street, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 11, 2013, in Kauanakakai at Mitchell Pauole Center Conference Room, 90 Ainoa Street, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Dec. 12, 2013, in Kahului at Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria, 795 Onehee Avenue, 5:30-8:00 p.m.

All interested persons are urged to attend a 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, Dec. 27, to the Division of Aquatic Resources, 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 or may be obtained by clicking on the link below.

Stony coral and live rock draft rules
http://state.hi.us/dlnr/dar/rules/drafts/stony_coral_live_%20rock_dr.pdf

In connection with the public hearings on Lanai and Molokai, Division of Aquatic Resources staff will be available to offer issue new or renew Commercial Fishing Licenses and to register lay nets:

Lanai – Tuesday, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m., at Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement office, 917 Fraser Avenue, Lanai City

Molokai – Wednesday Dec. 11 at10:30 a.m.at Mitchell Pauole Center, Kaunakakai Gym conference room, 90 Ainoa Street, Kaunakakai

For further information, contact the Maui office of Division of Aquatic Resources at 243-5294.

American Jungle Producer Responds to Allegations by State Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources

The producer of History Channel’s latest TV Series “American Jungle” has responded to the allegations made by the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources.

TJaye Forsythe

TJaye Forsythe

TJaye Forsythe posted the following on Facebook tonight:

I can no longer be silent. I’ve been informed that the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has made a statement regarding the show “American Jungle”. The press release alleges that the show is “inaccurate, offensive, and in some cases, potentially illegal”.

Let me get straight to the point of being “inaccurate.” This is a television show not a documentary. Television shows have fictional and non-fictional elements to them. “American Jungle” was considered more of a reality show because these are not actors and they are not reading from a script. If the show was meant to be an accurate depiction of hunting in Hawaii, we would have created a documentary. If the DLNR believes that the show is “inaccurate” then I believe they’ve answered their own question about “American Jungle” just being a television show. Like the show Hawaii 5-0, I don’t believe this is how police procedures are done in the State of Hawaii because I know it’s just a show.

Second, what is “offensive” is that DLNR has made a press release placing false allegations on A&E and History Channel without making any contact with the network. I have been informed by the network that no one from the DLNR had contacted them prior to making the press release to clear up any inaccurate or illegal issues. DLNR claims that “filming may have occurred on private land, the maps depicted in the show clearly demark areas that are under DLNR’s jurisdiction.” DLNR decides to use the animated map on the television show and claims it clearly marks the areas they believed were used in filming. For those who have watched the show, it is obvious that this animated map is not drawn to scale and has no ratio measurements to pinpoint the exact locations. DLNR’s use of the animated map from the television show indicates the extent of their investigation. DLNR did not contact the network to clear the private and public land issue. Instead, they chose to use an animated map from the television show. A quick call to the network would have clarified that it was private land.

Third, since the filming is on private land, does DLNR now feel that they are going to begin regulating what can be done on private land? Their concern was that there may have been illegal hunting at night. Was DLNR on site during filming to see the time the hunt took place and if the pig was alive? Again, this is a television show, and no one from the network was contacted by DLNR to clarify if any illegal activity took place. In fact, Governor Neil Abercrombie stated, “If we discover any laws or regulations have been broken we will vigorously pursue legal and/or criminal charges.” Is this a witch hunt? How can you discover if any laws were broken when you do not contact the network and decide to do your own investigation by watching an edited television show?

Finally, and most importantly, DLNR states that the “series depicts ‘clans’ that are fighting over access trails to territorial hunting grounds that inaccurately portray restrictive access to Hawaii’s public lands, which are held in public trust for the people.” DLNR continues by stating that “the cultural insensitivity of the series is also a concern.”

But I believe the biggest and most important issue of “territorial hunting grounds” is DLNR’s plan to ban hunting within 4,800 acres of public forest located south of Hilo. This DLNR “land grab” is the biggest territory war that the hunters of the Big Island have ever faced. This “land grab” calls for installing 17 miles of fencing to keep pigs, goats and sheep out and will extend almost to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park boundary. The area would be closed to hunting as DLNR’s way of protecting the ecosystem from invasive species. If the land is truly held in the “public trust for the people” why are you taking away these hunters rights to gather on land that has been providing food for their families for generations? You are taking away these hunting grounds like a “thief in the night.” You claim that you are concerned about “cultural insensitivity”. Where is your cultural sensitivity to these hunters as you threaten the local culture by targeting one of its traditional food sources?

DLNR is a bully taking away rights, threatening cultural livelihood and even trying to censor what can be shown on television. To this I say, long live “American Jungle” for exposing the land grab issues DLNR was trying to hide and showing how hostile Hawaii is towards the filming industry.

If I had known “American Jungle” would have received this much attention from the DLNR, I would have made an accurate documentary showing the “inaccurate, offensive, and in some cases, potentially illegal” land grab issue that threatens these Big Island hunter’s way of life. This documentary would have exposed the DLNR’s land grab as the largest territory war that hunters of the Big Island have ever faced.

Big Island Flash Flood Watch Tonight Through Thursday

Waimanu trail closed, camping permits canceled due to Big Island flash flood watch tonight through Thursday

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in cooperation with Hawaii County Civil Defense, is canceling all camping permits for, and closing the Waimanu trail in north Kohala today, until further notice, due to a flash flood watch for the Big Island for late tonight through Thursday afternoon.

DLNR

With long sustained rains stream levels are likely to rise, which is a safety hazard for hikers crossing streams. Do not attempt to cross a flooded stream. Remain on higher ground and wait for the stream to subside.

“We are cancelling all camping permits and the remote Waimanu trail until further notice until the trail can be inspected and deemed safe for public use,” said Roger Imoto, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator.

 

Hawaii Boaters Have 12 Months to Take Required Safety Course

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding Hawaii boaters they now have a year’s time to take a boating safety course approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators and the State of Hawaii.

DLNR

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Hawaii Administrative Rule Chapter 13-244 on Oct. 30, 2012. This law provided for a two-year period before the rule could be enforced to allow the DLNR time to develop multiple compliance methods and give the boating community time to make use of those methods to become compliant.

Hawaii boaters now have 12 months to take a boating safety course approved by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators and the State of Hawaii to comply with HAR 13-244-15.5, which became effective on Nov. 10, 2012.

Enforcement of the new rule will begin on the second anniversary of the rule’s effective date, on Nov. 10, 2014. After that date in 2014, boaters will be required to show proof of successful completion of an approved boating safety course.

“Our primary goal in pursuing and formalizing the Mandatory Education rule was safety,” said William Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.  “The use of the ocean continues to diversify.  People are venturing far from shore to enjoy our waters. All boaters should be well versed in the state current boating laws to prevent accidents and loss of life.”

“In Hawaii, approved boating safety courses must include Hawaii-specific information that can help our boaters survive at sea after an accident or better yet, help boaters avoid trouble so their sea voyages are safe and enjoyable.  It is our hope that boaters will not perceive mandatory education as a burden but rather as a way to ensure safety for our ‘ohana and enhance their enjoyment of our waters,” said Aila.

The Mandatory Education Rule, HAR 13-244-15.5 is a part of the administrative rules under DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) and will be enforced by DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

Any person violating this rule shall be fined not less than $50 and not more than $1000 or sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than thirty days, or both, for each violation; the court may also prevent an individual from operating a vessel in State waters of the State for up to 30 days.

Information about the mandatory education rule and how to sign up for courses is posted on the DOBOR web site at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/mandatory-boating-safety-education-qa/

The public may also contact DOBOR offices on each island.

The division has worked with boating safety partners to provide Internet and classroom courses, is nearing completion on a home study course and plans to issue its own proof of compliance cards.  People who have previously taken NASBLA boating courses may be able to take an abbreviated course just on state-specific information to comply with the new rule.

Mandatory education for boaters has been endorsed as a method to reduce boating related fatalities by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, National Safe Boating Council, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

 

DLNR Announces Opening of Game Bird Hunting Season on the Big Island

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announces the opening of the 2013-2014 Game Bird Hunting Season on the Big Island, on Saturday, November 2, 2013.

DLNR

The fall game bird hunting season will run through Monday, January 20, 2014, with legal hunting days on Saturday, Sunday, and State Holidays.

DLNR wildlife biologists are predicting an “average” season of bird hunting, with the easing of drought conditions in many parts of the state. A December 31, 2007 appellate court ruling determined that no game bird stamp sales are allowed for hunting. A valid hunting license only is required for all game bird hunting on public and private lands. All game bird hunting is regulated by Hawaii Administrative Rules Title 13, Chapter 122 (see http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw “Administrative Rules”).

Here is the pertinent information for the island of Hawaii:

MAUNA KEA FOREST RESERVE AND Game Management Area (GMA) will be open for game bird hunting Saturdays, Sundays, and State Holidays for the entire game bird season.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA will be open for game bird hunting, at the direction of the Department of Defense, subject to training schedule. Hunters are to call the hunter’s hotline at 969-3474 for information on hunting days, open areas and access routes.

KAPAPALA RANCH COOPERATIVE GMA (CGMA) AND KAPAPALA FOREST RESERVE will be open for game bird hunting Saturdays, Sundays, and State Holidays for the entire game bird season.

PUU WAAWAA CGMA (now FOREST RESERVE) – All sections of Puu Waawaa CGMA, will be open for game bird hunting Saturdays, Sundays, and State Holidays for the entire game bird season

PUUANAHULU GMA will be open for game bird hunting Saturdays, Sundays, and State Holidays for the entire game bird season.

KAOHE GMA and STATE LEASED AREA (now MITIGATION SITE) will be open for game bird hunting Saturdays, Sundays, and State Holidays for the entire game bird season.

KIPUKA AINAHOU will be open for game bird hunting on weekends and State Holidays throughout the game bird hunting season. A special permit is required, and is available from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices in Hilo and Kamuela and at the Puu Huluhulu Hunter Check Station. Hunters are to avoid nene geese that are in the area. Mammal hunting in this area is closed from November 1 through February.

CLOSED: KAHUA/PONOHOLO RANCH SPECIAL PERMIT AREA will be closed due to continuing drought conditions with private landowners concerns with the potential for wildland fires.

OPEN: All other public hunting areas not listed above are open to game bird hunting on weekends and State holidays, November 2, 2013 through January 20, 2014 in accordance with Chapter 13-122.

PRIVATELY OWNED LANDS are open to game bird hunting on weekends and State holidays November 2, 2013 through January 20, 2014, with landowner permission and in accordance with Chapter 13-122.

FOR ALL AREAS STATEWIDE:

All game bird hunters should be familiar with Title 13, Chapter 122 “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting.”

Hunters will be required to check in and out at established hunter check stations. First obtain permission from landowners when seeking to hunt on private land. Prevent wildfires. DO NOT PARK OR DRIVE IN TALL GRASS OR BRUSH! Report fires to 911.

Support wildlife conservation: Report game law violators to the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement by calling 643-DLNR (-3567). Further information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry & Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers: Kauai: 274-3433; Oahu: 587-0166; Maui: 984-8100; Molokai: 553-1745; Lanai: 565-7916; Hilo: 974-4221; Kamuela: 887-6063.

 

DLNR Sets Public Hearing For Amendments To Waiakea Public Fishing Area Rules

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold a public hearing to amend Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) relating to the Waiakea Public Fishing Area (PFA) in Hilo, Hawaii.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the Aupuni Center at 101 Pauahi St., Suite 1.

Click to read draft

Click to read draft

The proposed amendments would prohibit the use of stand-up paddleboards in the Waiakea Public Fishing Area, limit boat fishing to only when the boat is anchored, and prohibit the possession or use of any net within the public fishing area.

“These changes will help to maintain the focus on active pole and line fishing for which this area was designated,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

Other amendments include the updating of provisions on the mullet closed season and the taking of female Samoan crabs to be consistent with existing regulations.

Rules may be reviewed in DAR offices on all islands or on the DAR website at http://state.hi.us/dlnr/dar/rules/drafts/Waiakea_PFA_dr.pdf

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, Nov. 8, 2013, to the Division of Aquatic Resources, 75 Aupuni St., Room 204, Hilo, Hawaii 96720.

Anyone with a hearing impairment who wishes to attend the public hearing may request assistance of a sign language interpreter. The request may be made in writing (to the DAR address above) 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 above.

 

It’s Seabird Fledging Season

Every year from Mid-September to December, seabird chicks leave their nests and make their first nocturnal flight from their nesting burrow to the sea. Guided by moonlight, the lights from cities, towns and homes can confuse these young birds – and even some adults – and cause them to fall inland rather than continue out to the ocean.

SeabirdDowned seabirds may acquire impact injuries and, once grounded, are also vulnerable to dangers including passing cars and predators. You can help protect our native seabirds by being prepared and knowing what to do if you find a downed seabird.

How to prepare: keep a clean towel, pillow case or large t-shirt and a ventilated cardboard box, pet carrier or other non-airtight container in your car. If you are on foot, just a towel will do.
How to rescue a downed seabird: gently pick up the bird from behind with a towel, carefully wrapping the material completely around its back and wings. Place it in the ventilated container as soon as possible. Keep the bird covered and in a quiet, cool location and do not feed, water or handle it. Take the bird to a permitted wildlife rehabilitation center or contact your island’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife office for further directions (contact numbers provided below). Do not attempt to release the bird yourself as it may have internal injuries or be too tired or weak to survive. Throwing the bird in the air could also cause additional harm.
Hawai‘i Island:
Hawai‘i Wildlife Center: (808) 884-5000
DOFAW Office: (808) 887-6063 or (808) 974-4226
Maui Nui:
DOFAW Office: (808) 984-8100
O‘ahu:
DOFAW Office: (808) 973-9776
Kaua‘i
Save our Shearwaters, Kaua‘i Humane Society: (808) 635-5117
DOFAW Office: (808) 274-3433
For more information, including a step-by-step breakdown on how to rescue a downed seabird and ways that you can help reduce light attraction, visit the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center seabird fallout response page at www.hawaiiwildlifecenter.org/seabird-fallout-response.html.

Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Multiple Fishing Violations

A Hau‘ula fisherman pled no contest on Sept. 26, 2013, to multiple fishing violations in Kane‘ohe District Court and was sentenced to 213 hours of community service work, in lieu of a $1,500 fine, plus one year of probation.

Travis K. Fonoimoana, 34, was cited by a Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer on Feb. 2, 2013, on the shoreline in Punalu‘u for violating Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR) 13-75-12.4(a)(2)(B) relating to laynets, HAR 13-95-10 for ‘O‘io, and HAR 13-95-23(a) for Moi.

Illegal length and mesh size net. DOCARE photo.

Illegal length and mesh size net. DOCARE photo.

He was found possessing and using four laynets longer than 125 feet in length and with less than 2 ¾ inches stretched mesh, as well as for taking several ‘o‘io under 14 inches and several moi under 11 inches — which are the minimum legal sizes.

Undersized fish. Photo by DOCARE.

Undersized fish. Photo by DOCARE.

The state asked that the fisherman’s laynets be destroyed, but the Kane‘ohe District Court judge returned it to the owner with a warning that he must comply with the terms and conditions of probation.

For more information on fishing regulations, refer to DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources’ website located at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar.

“Enforcement of laynet use is crucial in DLNR’s mission to ensure the sustainability of marine resources through compliance with state rules in Hawaiian waters, and to ensure that endangered species are not harmed,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

 

DLNR Plans Lottery For Special Access Feral Cattle Control In Pu‘u ‘O‘o Area Of Hilo Restricted Watershed

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be opening special access to Pu‘u ‘O‘o area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed for the control of feral cattle.

DLNR

Special access will be granted to one hunter group per Saturday beginning Nov. 16, 2013, and running through the end of March 2014. Hunters will be selected through a random lottery drawing to be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the East Hawai‘i DOFAW office at 19 E. Kawili St., in Hilo.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.

Applications may be obtained at both the East and West Hawai‘i DOFAW offices or online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

These actions are pursuant to Hawai‘i Administrative Rules 13-124-7, Indigenous, Endangered, Threatened, and Injurious Wildlife, and Introduced Wild Birds, and as authorized by Hawai‘i Revised Statutes; 183-19 Exclusion of Livestock from Forest Reserves, Game Management Areas, and Public Hunting Areas and Title 13, Chapter 123, Unit D, Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting. Feral pigs and sheep may be hunted as usual. No dogs are allowed.

Special access will be temporarily granted into the Pu‘u ‘O‘o area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed BY PERMIT ONLY on the following dates:

  • Nov. 16, 23 and 30
  • Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28
  • Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 25
  • Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22
  • March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Applications must consist of a minimum of five and maximum of 10 licensed hunters as a group. Applicants may only submit their name on a single application. Duplicate entries will be discarded. Results of the random lottery drawing will be made available at both the East and West Hawai‘i DOFAW offices, as well as online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

Selected applicants must confirm acceptance of their assigned hunt period by calling the East Hawai‘i DOFAW office at (808) 974-4221 no later than noon Wednesday preceding their assignment. Permits will be issued and/or validated at the entrance gate into Pu‘u ‘O‘o near the 22 mile marker along Daniel K. Inouye Highway (formerly Saddle Road) on the Saturday morning of the assigned hunt. If selected applicants decline or do not call to confirm by the deadline, then a stand-by group will be chosen from the original list of applicants who were not previously selected. Stand-bys will be notified by phone. No stand-bys waiting at the gates will be allowed.

Access to the Hilo Restricted Watershed will be provided at Pu‘u ‘O‘o and a 4×4 vehicle is required. ATVs will be allowed on the access roads and parking area. There will be a bag limit of two cattle of either sex per licensed hunter.

Interested persons wanting additional details regarding the feral cattle control program, application process and/or special accommodations, may contact Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221.

 

DLNR Proposes to Restore and Manage Watershed in Pu’u Maka’ala Natural Area Reserve

Yesterday the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved a management plan for Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve. The Land Board also approved Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) issuance of a finding of no significant impact for the final environmental assessment for the plan.

Puu Makaala Forest Trail

Puu Makaala Forest Trail

“This management plan is part of the DLNR’s goal to increase protection of Hawaii’s forested watersheds, and to protect and restore rare native Hawaiian animals and plants such as the ‘I‘iwi, the Mauna Loa Silversword and the ‘Alalâ,” said William J. Aila, Jr., BLNR Chairperson.

The 18,706 acre reserve, on the east side of the island of Hawai‘i, was established in 1981 to protect native wet koa and ‘ohi‘a forests and habitat for rare species of plants and animals. Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR) is managed by the DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the overall management goal is to protect, maintain, and enhance the reserve’s unique natural, cultural, and geological resources.

The plan outlines specific actions needed to protect and enhance native Hawaiian ecosystems in the reserve including management of invasive species and restoration of rare and endangered plants and animals. Public access is allowed in the reserve and the management plan includes the enhancement of public access through trail improvements. New interpretive hiking opportunities will provide opportunities for the public to learn more about the reserve, its unique native species and ecosystems and ongoing management activities.

The plan discusses collaborating closely with partners, including Kûlani Correctional Facility, to achieve management goals. The Department of Public Safety is planning on reopening Kûlani in 2014.

“Before Kulani closed in 2009, inmate conservation worklines helped DLNR work to remove many invasive plant species, restoring parts of the reserve to its natural beauty,” said Department of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai. “This collaboration resulted in substantial cost-savings for the state and, in turn, gave inmates valuable education and work training opportunities. We are pleased to once again partner with the DLNR and reestablish these successful community service programs.”

The reserve is part of the state’s Natural Area Reserves System, created in 1971 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to preserve and protect areas which support communities of the natural flora and fauna, as well as geological sites, both for the enjoyment of future generations and to provide baselines against which changes to Hawaii’s environment can be measured. The Natural Area Reserve System protects the best remaining ecosystems in the state, and actively manages them to preserve the natural heritage of Hawai‘i.

The Natural Area Reserve System presently consists of 20 reserves on five islands, encompassing more than 123,000 acres of the state’s most unique ecosystems. These diverse areas range from marine and coastal environments to alpine desert, and from fresh lava flows to wet forests and serve as habitat for rare native plants and animals, many of which are on the verge of extinction. The Natural Area Reserve System includes important watersheds and also contributes to the natural scenic beauty of Hawai‘i.

Fifteen species of federally listed endangered plants occur in or near Pu‘u Maka‘ala NAR, and DOFAW is planning to use the reserve as a key recovery site for these species. Pu‘u Maka‘ala is also home to endangered forest birds, the Nene and ‘Io. This area may also be considered as a potential future release site for captive-raised Hawaiian crow, or ‘Alalâ.

Click here for The management plan and final environmental assessment

For more information about the project contact Lisa Hadway, Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hawai‘i Branch Manager at (808) 974-4221.

 

In a State of Shark Paranoia

Note this first appeared here on HuffPost Hawaii:

With the recent shark attacks that have happened in the state of Hawaii, there seems to be a state of paranoia going on. I understand folks are afraid of sharks and they are certainly the last thing I would ever want to see in the ocean, however, they are there and there is nothing we can really do to prevent them from being in their ocean.

The State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) now has budgeted $186,000 for a two year study that will be lead by Dr. Carl Meyer to study shark movements around Maui.

As a taxpayer, this study sounds ridiculous to me:

“DLNR is paying close attention to the recent series of shark incidents statewide,” said William Aila, DLNR chairperson. “These appear to be random events involving sharks of different species and different sizes. There’s nothing we can yet discern that connects the incidents or provides any sort of explanation.” In 2013, there have been eight incidents, including four within the last month. Four of this year’s incidents occurred on Maui, three on the Big Island, and one on Oahu.

Most of us here in Hawaii understand that there are sharks in the ocean. If you ask the majority of folks who are attacked, getting back into the ocean is often considered one of their number one priorities after healing from their wounds.

Spending $186,000 of our money to basically tell us that yes, there are sharks in the ocean just seems a bit ridiculous to a resident of Hawaii like me. I could see that money going to hire more lifeguards, which would definitely save lives in the future!

Just a bit of trivia, two Universal Studio movie producers, Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown read a novel written by Peter Benchley named “Jaws.” After reading the book, they purchased the movie rights to “Jaws” for only $175,000 and the rest is history.

Kauai’s South Shore Shearwater Colony Decimated By Dogs and Cats

State urges pet owners to help protect native birds, which aid local fisherman

A large colony of Hawaiian ‘ua‘u kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters) located along a coastal path on the south shore of Kaua‘i has been decimated in two attacks this summer by dogs and feral cats.

Shearwater killed in its coastal habitate. DOFAW photo

Shearwater killed in its coastal habitate. DOFAW photo

Recently, several more freshly killed birds were found in the area, suggesting that the colony is still being hit hard by dogs and cats. At the same time state biologists searching wedge-tailed shearwater burrows in the area known to have been active this year, found that the burrows were now abandoned, many with dead eggs inside.

Earlier, in July and August, more than 80 of the native seabirds (many of them actively breeding) have been found slaughtered in their nesting area. Injuries sustained by the birds showed that they were killed by dogs and feral cats.

“It appears that the entire colony in this area has been severely depleted, and it is likely that very few breeding birds now remain,” said Thomas Kaiakapu, Kaua‘i wildlife manager for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).

The wedge-tailed shearwater, also known as “matori” to local fishermen, is one of the more familiar seabirds on Kaua‘i, with large concentrations of the birds seen off shore in the late afternoon as they gather to return to nest sites at night. At this time of year, the birds are either sitting on eggs or raising very small chicks, making them particularly vulnerable to dogs and cats.

“Large feeding flocks of matori, or ‘ua‘u kani, help fishermen to locate feeding schools of tuna,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “The birds use tuna to drive their prey (small fish and squid) to the surface where they can catch them. We ask that fishermen speak to their neighbors about keeping their dogs and cats under control so that these important friends to fishermen can survive.”

“There are signs placed along the south coast path asking dog owners to keep their dogs on leashes and their cats indoors. No matter how friendly or docile you think your dog may be, if it gets near a nesting seabird the dog will kill it – it’s as simple as that. We ask the general public to act responsibly in these areas with their pets to prevent similar instances from happening again.”

“While this large kill of shearwaters is particularly alarming, we unfortunately get reports of mass kills of this species every year on the island,” said Kaiakapu. “As these birds breed in dense colonies along the coast, they are particularly vulnerable to dogs that have been let off of their leashes or feral cat colonies located near the breeding areas.”

 

Molasses Spill Closes Keehi Lagoon

Effective today, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has closed Keehi Lagoon to commercial and recreational ocean activities – including fishing and canoe paddling – for public safety due to impacts of Monday’s molasses spill in nearby Honolulu harbor. Warning signs are being posted by DLNR and the Hawaii Department of Health.

Molasses Sharks

“We are asking the public’s cooperation to keep out these waters for their wellbeing as conditions are unsafe for public activity due to risks of attracting ocean predators, as well as the possibility for contamination due to decayed marine life and bacteria,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “We are working with the Department of Health to post warning signs along the shores of Keehi Lagoon, small boat harbor and west side of Sand Island nearest Keehi channel. Our officers will also patrol the area to warn the public to remain out of these waters until water conditions are safe again.”

The closure will affect two permitted commercial thrillcraft (jet ski) operations in Keehi Lagoon, Aloha Jetski and Diamond Head Parasails and Water Sports. These companies will not be able to continue renting jetskis to clients to use in the lagoon jetski riding area.

“The operators understand the reasons why we are closing them for the time being,” said Aila. “They are able to make a claim to Matson for lost revenues.”

DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Rcreation (DOBOR) is also restricting any recreational use of thrill craft in Keehi Lagoon and the designated riding area off the reef runway. DOBOR staff is reaching out to canoe clubs that launch from Sand Island State Recreation Area, and has also contacted the ILH regarding a planned kayak event scheduled tomorrow at Keehi Lagoon.

 

DLNR Presence Planned Over Labor Day Weekend

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding the public it will be enforcing all state rules this Labor Day weekend in state harbors, parks, beaches and marine waters in the interest of public safety and to protect natural and cultural resources.

In addition, officers will be conducting both land and waterborne enforcement operations at Heeia Small Boat Harbor and Ahu O Laka in Kaneohe Bay. As part of their normal duties, officers will be boarding vessels on a random basis to verify current registration and compliance with carriage requirements and all state rules. Vessels going out more than one mile from shore must be equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or VHF radio, and any child under age 13 MUST wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD while the vessel is underway or anchored offshore. These laws are designed to protect all ocean users. Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff will be present at Heeia Small Boat Harbor over the weekend, monitoring the launch ramp and parking lot areas.

Sandbar Party

Officers will also be addressing activities that could affect public health and safety at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar. The new safety zone state boating rule enacted last year prohibits the possession, use or consumption of alcohol; loud, abusive or disorderly conduct; and the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or non-prescription drugs in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone (also known as the Kaneohe Sandbar) in Kaneohe Bay.

Violators may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, in addition to administrative fines, fees, costs and damages. Persons cited will be processed administratively at a public meeting before the Land Board. Persons wishing to contest the infraction(s) may request a contested case hearing.

Here are some helpful reminders to encourage compliance with rules for public health and safety and to protect natural and cultural resources:

FOR BOATERS:
Holiday weekends mean more boats, as well as fishers, divers, paddlers and surfers in nearshore waters. For safety, have someone act as a lookout for diver and dive flags, other vessels, obstructions in the water and other hazards to navigation.

All boats, personal water craft and kayaks are required by federal and state laws to be equipped with approved operational safety equipment. Rules and regulations established by DLNR and the U.S. Coast Guard also prohibit vessel overloading, and boating under the influence of intoxicants.

Boats should have a designated non-drinking driver because the effects of alcohol are greatly amplified by the sun and dehydration. Boating under the influence is prohibited under state law.
Every boat owner should inspect their vessel to make sure it is in good working condition and prevent problems while on the water,

Take a boating safety course. It can save your life. For more information go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dobor/

FOR DIVERS AND FISHERS:
Divers are required by law (HAR 13-245-9) to use a diver’s flag when diving or swimming underwater in navigable waters and may surface no more than 100 feet from their dive flag (50 feet in a navigable stream).

A 12-inch square dive flag may be attached to a float or mounted on the highest point of a vessel up to 16 feet in length and visible from all directions. Vessels over 16 feet must display a 20”x24” flag along with a blue and white alpha flag mounted at the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions.

Vessels are prohibited from approaching within 100 feet of a displayed diver’s flag (50 feet in a navigable stream) unless conducting SCUBA, snorkeling, or free-diving activities. These vessels may approach within the restricted area at a speed of slow-no-wake. Violations of HAR13-245-9 are subject to imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

AT THE BEACH AND PARKS:
Park rules are designed to help users have an enjoyable visit while protecting the cultural and natural resources. Always observe and adhere to posted signs in the parks. In addition, you can help us by observing the following rules.
Where not prohibited, build fires in the fireplaces and grills provided. Portable stoves or warming devices may be used in designated camping and picnicking areas unless otherwise prohibited. Dump live coals only in designated ash pits or receptacles. Do not dump hot coals on the beach or bury in sand. They keep their heat a very long time and can badly burn anyone that might accidentally step into the coals.

GENERATORS: Operation or use of any portable electric generator is prohibited, except with a special use permit.
Pets and other animals are prohibited wherever posted, and are not allowed in restaurants, pavilions, swimming areas, campgrounds, lodges, or on beaches, and at Kaena Point State Park. Where permitted, pets are to be crated, caged, on a 6-foot or shorter leash or otherwise under physical restrictive control at all times. Please clean up after your pet. For more information, go to www.hawaiistateparks.org

 

Governor Abercrombie Releases $18.7 Million for Capital Improvement Projects

Governor Abercrombie announced the release of more than $18.7 million in capital improvement project (CIP) and grant funds for priority repairs and improvements at state facilities and public schools, as well as installation of a new photovoltaic system for a charter school on Kauai.

“Our economy is getting stronger, and capital improvement projects are key to maintaining our positive momentum while enriching state services, improving public areas and enhancing learning environments throughout Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “A portion of these funds will go toward the installation of a new photovoltaic system at Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Charter School on Kauai, allowing the school and its K through 12 students to meet 100 percent of their classrooms’ energy needs.”

Allotment of funds for the following priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, has been approved by the Governor:
Kauai High School

Education:

$9,895,000 – Kauai High School Gymnatorium, Kauai – Construction for a new gymnatorium (gymnasium/auditorium) building, which will include a wrestling room, boys and girls locker rooms, an athletic director’s office, and other support spaces

$2,500,000 – Heeia Elementary School, Oahu – Design and construction to provide covered play courts and help alleviate drainage issues due to frequent rain common in the Kaneohe area

$1,000,000 – Campbell High Athletic Track and Field Complex, Oahu – Design and construction for improvements to the existing cinder track and a new press booth; the project will also start design for a new synthetic track

$180,060 – Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha Charter School Photovoltaic System, Kauai – Capital improvement grant to Aha Punana Leo, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, for planning, design and construction of a new 30 kilowatt photovoltaic system to supply 100 percent of the charter school’s power

Other

$2,597,000 – Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) CIP Administrative Services, statewide – Financing for wages and fringe benefits of DLNR’s project-funded positions for fiscal year 2014

$2,000,000 –  Puhawai Culvert, Oahu – Construction of culverts and other related drainage improvements to alleviate flooding along Puhawai Road in Waianae (The Lualualei Flats area is prone to flooding due to insufficient drainage infrastructure, lack of stream maintenance, and illegal dumping in streams and ditches)

$300,000 – Hilo Harbor Mooring Buoys, Hawaii Island – Construction to install five-day use mooring buoys (DMBs) as mitigative measures to comply with permit requirements for the dredging of Hilo Harbor (DLNR will install DMBs as part of the existing program to provide mooring opportunities in areas of high vessel traffic to reduce damage to natural resources from anchors)

$300,000 – Kewalo Basin Jetty Riprap Wall Repair, Oahu – Design to repair the riprap wall, located in a popular surfing area, which has been damaged by wave action creating potential danger to individuals

 

Hawaii to Study Shark Movements in Island Waters – Four Shark Attacks in Last Month

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is initiating a study of tiger shark movements in island waters.

“DLNR is paying close attention to the recent series of shark incidents statewide,” said William Aila, DLNR chairperson. “These appear to be random events involving sharks of different species and different sizes. There’s nothing we can yet discern that connects the incidents or provides any sort of explanation.”

In 2013, there have been eight incidents, including four within the last month. Four of this year’s incidents occurred on Maui, three on the Big Island, and one on Oahu.

In 2012, there were 10 confirmed, unprovoked shark incidents*, the highest number ever recorded. Six of last year’s 10 incidents occurred on Maui. At the time, Aila convened a meeting of shark experts and public safety personnel, similar to the Shark Task Force of the 1990s that guided shark management decisions at that time.

Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi was attacked two days ago at Pohoiki.  Photo by Karen Welsh

Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi was attacked two days ago at Pohoiki. Photo by Karen Welsh

At last year’s meeting, Aila asked University of Hawaii researchers to submit a proposal to specifically study tiger shark movements around Maui and see how their behavior compares with known movement patterns around the other main Hawaiian Islands. The results will help determine whether any management options should be considered. The study, led by Dr. Carl Meyer, will begin next month at a cost of $186,000 over two years.

Aila noted: “As we look at numbers of incidents per year over the last two decades or so, we see a lot of variation from year to year, including years with no incidents or just one incident. Recently, there’s been an average of about three or four incidents per year. But every few years there’s a little spike, and we’ve now seen an unprecedented spike.”

These spikes in activity occur worldwide. In recent years, West Australia, Reunion Island, Egypt, Brazil, and other locations have seen their own versions of increased shark incident activity, many of them fatal. In some cases, human behavior — such as introduction of shark attractants into the water — has been considered a contributing factor. In other cases, no change in environmental conditions or other possible factors could be identified.

“Historically, October through December are the months when the rate of shark incidents increases,” Aila added. “This is part of traditional Hawaiian knowledge, reinforced by our own statistics. So we urge people to be extra cautious, and follow our suggestions for reducing the chances of being bit (SEE BOX).

“Remember that sharks play an important role in marine ecosystems, and the ocean is their home. We’re the visitors. Going into the ocean is a wilderness experience. There are animals out there that can hurt you. The chances of something like that happening are incredibly small, given how many people are in the water every day. There are precautions you can take to make those chances even smaller.”

# # #

DLNR recommends following these precautions, adopted by the original Shark Task Force and updated slightly based on new understanding of shark behavior.

  1. Swim, surf or dive with other people, and don’t move too far away from assistance.
  2. Stay out of the water at dawn, dusk and night, when some species of sharks may move inshore to feed. But realize that sharks, especially tiger sharks, have been known to bite people any time of the day or night.
  3. Do not enter the water if you have open wounds or are bleeding in any way. Sharks can detect blood and body fluids in extremely small concentrations.
  4. Avoid murky waters, harbor entrances and areas near stream mouths (especially after heavy rains), channels or steep drop-offs. These types of waters are known to be frequented by sharks.
  5. Do not wear high-contrast clothing or shiny jewelry. Sharks see contrast very well.
  6. Refrain from excessive splashing; keep pets, which swim erratically, out of the water. Sharks are known to be attracted to such activity.
  7. Do not enter the water if sharks are known to be present. Leave the water quickly and calmly if one is sighted. Do not provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.
  8. If fish or turtles start to behave erratically, leave the water. Avoid swimming near dolphins, as they are prey for some large sharks.
  9. Remove speared fish from the water or tow them a safe distance behind you. Do not swim near people fishing or spear fishing. Stay away from dead animals in the water.
  10. Swim or surf at beaches patrolled by lifeguards and follow their advice.

*Data citation from Hawaii Sharks website www.hawaiisharks.org

 

DLNR UPDATE – Pohoiki Shark Attack on Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi – Pohoiki to Reopen Tomorrow

The Department of Land and Natural Resources closed ocean waters along the Pohoiki coastline in Puna this afternoon, following a shark incident in which a 16 year old male surfer was bit across both legs at the Pohoiki surfing area near the Pohoiki boat launch ramp. The male was transported by County Fire Department first responders to the Pahoa Fire Station, and he was then air lifted to Hilo Medical Center.

Ulu Boy Napeahi - Here is a picture of him surfing in the Shane Doian Keiki Surf Competition when he was 10 years old. Please pray for him! (Photo via Karen Welsh)

Jimmy “Ulu Boy” Napeahi – Here is a picture of him surfing in the Shane Dorian Keiki Surf Competition when he was 10 years old. Please pray for him! (Photo via Karen Welsh)

A DLNR aquatic resources specialist posted shark warning signs at publicly-accessible areas of Pohoiki Bay and north of Pohoiki at the area known as “Shacks”.
DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers responded to warn beach-goers and ocean users. County Fire Department planned to send a helicopter up today to scan ocean waters in the area for presence of shark(s).
Shark warning signs will remain up until the Monday morning assessment by state and county officials and helicopter flyover.
If no sharks are sighted, the warning signs will come down and waters will be reopened by noon.  No information was immediately available on size and type of the shark.

Hawaii Gets Federal Money to Protect Crows, Hawks and Snails

Imperiled species will benefit from a total of $5.1 million in grants to 11 states through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s competitive State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program. The grants, which focus on large-scale conservation projects yielding measurable results, will be matched by more than $3.1 million in non-federal funds from states and their partners for projects that work to conserve and recover Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) and their habitats.

Shown: Achatinella bulimoides. This snail was thought to be extinct for the past 20 years until the Army rediscovered it in Oahu's Ko'olau Mountains.

Shown: Achatinella bulimoides. This snail was thought to be extinct for the past 20 years until the Army rediscovered it in Oahu’s Ko’olau Mountains.

“The projects funded by these grants target some of the most imperiled species and habitats in the United States,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “These projects are receiving funding because they are tied to well-thought-out conservation plans that identify the highest-priority areas where we can make the biggest difference for imperiled species.”

HAWAII FUNDING:

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Title: Creating Capacity to Restore a Self-Sustaining Wild Population of ‘Alala (Corvus hawaiiensis) to Hawai’i Island

Goals and Objectives: A broad coalition of private and federal partners working under the leadership of Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources will collaborate to protect and restore the Hawaiian Crow, or ‘Alala, which has been federally listed as an endangered species since 1967. The partners will establish field aviaries at proposed ‘Alala release sites and keep the sites free of ungulates, predators, and habitat-altering weeds. The long-term goal of the effort is to establish a viable wild population of the species through the release of captive-bred birds. A key partner in this project is the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research.

Federal Funds Requested: $248,524; Non-Fed Match: $150,000

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Title:  Initiating Landscape-Scale Conservation Management of Ka’u Forest Reserve

Goals and Objectives: Hawai’i State Department of Land and Natural Resources will implement critical conservation actions within a 2,000-acre management unit of the Ka’u Forest Reserve. The work will address key threats to 18 SGCN, including 12 federally-listed endangered species such as the ‘Io or Hawaiian Hawk (Buteo solitarius). This broad partnership effort includes many private, state, and federal partners working together to protect imperiled species within a Priority Ecosystem Conservation Area—one of the most diverse and intact forests on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Conservation actions include fencing and ungulate control, invasive plant control, and habitat restoration.

Federal Funds requested: $250,000; Non-Federal match: $125,000

Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Title: Management Actions to Prevent the Extinction of Rare Hawaiian Land Snails

Goals and Objectives: The Hawai’i Division of Forestry and Wildlife will partner with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a U.S. Army Garrison, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa to implement conservation efforts targeting 41 snail species of the federally-listed genus Achatinella as well as five extremely rare species in the family Amastridae. The partners’ strategy includes release of captive-bred snails into natural habitat protected by predator exclusion fencing in the Ko’olau Mountains of O’ahu. Other actions include population surveys, monitoring, and predator control.

Federal Funds Requested: $249,952; Non-Fed Match: $87,483

The SWG funds will benefit a variety of species and habitats: In North Carolina and South Carolina, partners’ work will help inform decision-making and management for the robust redhorse and up to 52 additional fishes, mussels and crayfish.  In Minnesota, SWG funds will support conservation actions to benefit the imperiled wood turtle, the rare smooth softshell turtle, the Blandings turtle and other turtle species of greatest conservation need. SWG funding also will be used by Iowa, Missouri and Illinois to conserve and improve habitat for the greater prairie-chicken as well as a range of other bird and butterfly SGCN. For more information about each of the grant projects, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SWG/SWG2013FundedProjects.pdf

SWG-funded projects implement strategies and actions to conserve SGCN as identified in approved State Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plans (also known as State Wildlife Action Plans). Funding for the grants comes from Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations.

“We appreciate the strong ties formed by state agencies and their partners to protect these imperiled wildlife species and their habitats,” said Hannibal Bolton, the Service’s Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration. “These partnerships are critical to the on-the-ground success of these projects.”

All 50 states and six territorial wildlife agencies have approved State Wildlife Action Plans that collectively provide a nationwide blueprint for actions to conserve SGCN. The plans were created through a collaborative effort among state and federal agencies, biologists, conservationists, landowners, sportsmen and -women and the general public.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) is a 75-year partnership to benefit fish and wildlife and provide Americans with access to the outdoors through a self-imposed investment paid by manufacturers and users of gear bought by anglers, boaters, hunters and shooters and managed by federal and state fish and wildlife agencies. Fishing and hunting licenses and motorboat fuel taxes also support fish and wildlife. For 75 years, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has provided more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife, supplied jobs for many Americans and benefited local economies through boating, fishing, hunting and shooting activities.