36 Endangered Hawaiian Seabirds Fledge in First Two Years of Relocation Effort

“An enormous success,” is how people and organizations involved in an effort to further protect endangered Hawaiian seabirds describe the first two seasons of translocating Hawaiian Petrels and the first Newell’s Shearwaters to a predator-proof enclosure at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kaua‘i’s north shore.

Newell’s Shearwater Miracle Chick and First Fledglings

Today, the last of 20 Hawaiian Petrels brought into the 7.8 acre Nihoku colony this fall, fledged – flying safely out to sea.  Dr. Lindsay Young, of Pacific Rim Conservation, the non-profit organization responsible for care and feeding of the birds at Nihoku, said, “Each time one of these young birds fledges it leads us one step closer to our ultimate goal of recovery for these native birds. A huge number of individuals and organizations are involved in this project and the success of these first two years of translocations bodes well for the future.”

All of the birds were collected from colonies located in Kaua‘i’s rugged, mountainous interior, where the birds are under threat from introduced predators and loss of breeding habitat.  This, coupled with collisions with powerlines and attraction to artificial lights, has dramatically reduced their populations on Kaua’i.  Once carefully extracted from their burrows, the birds were flown by helicopter to Princeville airport where they were then driven to the Nihoku enclosure.

There the birds were placed into artificial burrows and, over the course of several weeks were fed and cared for by a dedicated team until they finally fledged. Dr. André Raine, who leads the Kaua‘i Endangered Forest Bird Recovery Project explained, “Like the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine,’ Kaua‘i’s endangered seabirds serve as a warning for the overall health of our forests and watersheds.  With the breeding populations of these iconic birds dropping so precipitously in the last two decades, we should look to the overall health of our native forests and watersheds which is also at risk.”

American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a primary partner in the planned five-year translocation effort to establish breeding colonies of Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters at Nihoku. Hannah Nevins, ABC Seabird Program Director, remarked, “The Nihoku colony is the only fully protected colony of federally listed seabirds in Hawai‘i and what’s happened over the past two years is a major achievement and step forward in stabilizing and recovering these important endemic Kaua‘i seabirds.”

The effort is a collaboration among the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project (KESRP), Pacific Rim Conservation, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. KESRP is a DOFAW/Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit project. Other partners also provided much-needed assistance for the project. The Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative provided critical support for predator control in collaboration with DOFAW at montane nesting areas within the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve and the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) at Upper Limahuli Preserve. NTBG also conducted vegetation restoration at Nihokū, where the fence is located in the refuge. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation provided critical funding support. The Kaua‘i DOFAW Natural Area Reserve team also provided on-the-ground support.

“We hope that residents of Kaua‘i, folks from around the state, and Hawai‘i’s millions of visitors, along with people the world over will appreciate the scope of this management tool and partnership as a critical step toward reversing the decline of both Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters,” concluded Heather Tonneson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s, Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

UH Hilo Receives OHA Grant Funding

Na Pua No`eau- The Center for Gifted and Talented Native Hawaiian Children has announced that the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received funding from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) `Ahahui Grants program. The funds support UH Hilo’s strategic goal to strengthen its impact on the State of Hawai’i by working in partnership with other UH campuses to deliver joint program events or activities.

On February 23, 2017, Na Pua No`eau will present “E Ho`okama`aina” at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC). OHA awarded a total of $5,300 for this event, which will invite high school juniors and seniors to engage and learn about the various degree programs from faculty and program coordinators to inspire them to enter into higher education and further their career aspirations.

“Ma Uka a i Kai Akamai Engineers” will be held on April 3, 2017 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mänoa. OHA awarded $1,950 to invite K-12 students and their `ohana to explore how the different types of engineering (mechanical, electric, civil, etc.) were applied during the days of their kupuna. The Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program is a partner in the event, which will include games and work on projects that provide hands-on learning about the field of engineering.

`Ahahui Grants support community events that meet at least one primary strategic result. The events will address OHA’s Exceed Education Standards and UH’s Hawai’i Graduation Initiative (HGI). For more information, contact Nä Pua No`eau Director Kinohi Gomes at kinohi@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Officer of the Month: Andrew Springer

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee recognized Kona Patrol Officer Andrew Springer as “Officer of the Month” for December in a luncheon ceremony Wednesday (December 7) at Huggo’s restaurant in Kailua-Kona.

Officer Andrew Springer

Springer was honored for arresting a man who had broken into one vehicle and appeared to be selecting his next target.

On May 24, police received a report that someone had entered a parked vehicle at a store in Kailua-Kona and removed a backpack. After reviewing surveillance video, Officer Springer made checks in the immediate area and then expanded his search. He located the suspect in the parking lot of a nearby business. The man was sitting in a pickup truck and using the victim’s binoculars to focus on a third parking lot, where he apparently was targeting his next victim.

Springer arrested him and recovered the victim’s property. Police also recovered a small amount of crystal meth and a smoking pipe from the suspect’s truck.

The suspect was charged with unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle, promoting a dangerous drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

As “Officer of the Month,” Springer is eligible for “Officer of the Year.”

The Kona Crime Prevention Committee is an organization that encourages community involvement in aiding and supporting police in West Hawaiʻi.

Mayor Kim Takes Oath of Office – Outlines Past Accomplishments

Mayor Harry Kim took the “Oath of Office” at the Hawaii County Inaugural Ceremonies on Monday, December 5th at the Hilo Civic Center.

Soon after, the Hawaii County website changed to reflect the new mayor’s vision with a statement from him on the side of the website along with a couple announcements talking about what he accomplished the previous time he was in office:

The following are some highlights of my previous administration from 2000-2008. The key at the bottom of the post indicates what level of involvement we had from identifying a site, negotiating, conducting an EA, acquiring a site, preliminary planning, obtaining funding, planned, funded, construction started, to construction completed.

Budgeting Through Hard Times & Good Times

In 2000, the economy was bad, and it soon got worse after 9/11/01. Immediate mid-year budget cuts were required and taken. A tax rate increase was passed in May 2002 just to maintain current services. Property values started increasing around 2004, so relief for homeowners was proposed and passed:

  • 3% cap on increase in value per year
  • Higher exemption based on % of value
  • Improved Homeowner Dedication program

Also proposed were revisions to agriculture tax laws for fairness and relief. As property values continued soaring, we prepared for future hard times:

  • Created and proposed funding reserves
  • Created “Rainy Day” Fund
  • Disaster & Emergency Fund
  • We were also able to address long needed priorities and programs that were neglected during many years of hardship.

In November 2008 – County’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s was upgraded due to sound financial management.

Environment

HI5 redemption (“bottle bill”) When bill was proposed at legislature and seemed unlikely to pass, Hawai‘i County offered to be a “pilot program” to promote passage.

Recyling

  • Hired first Recycling Coordinator
  • Increased land ll diversion from 13.9% in 2001 to 29.1% in 2008
  • Established at 19 transfer stations

Reuse Center

  • First one developed at Keaau Transfer Station, 2003

Hilo Landfill

  • Increased life by up to 10 years

Scrap metal

  • Established long-term contract for scrap metal recycling to encourage private investment – succeeded in eliminating decades-old scrap metal piles

Programs & Initiatives

2005 General Plan

  • Included “important ag lands” designation
  • Community Development Plans

Free bus rides

An economic stimulus, as free bus rides allowed those who use the bus to spend more money on family and other things

Aging and Disability Resource Center

First in state, bringing together agencies dealing with seniors and caregivers in a single facility

Community Development Plans

Initiated & adopted

  • Kona (2005-2008)
  • Puna (2006-2008)
  • North and South Kohala (2007-2008)

Shoreline public access

  • Ten miles new public access in N. Kohala
  • Three miles new public access in Pepeekeo
  • Kohanaiki compromise, new park
  • Donation of Hakalau Mill site
  • Honl’s (Waiaha) beach park, Kailua-Kona
  • Honuapo, 145 acres purchased
  • Waipio Ranger Program

“Concurrency”

Concept introduced in 2004

Fiber optic

Upgraded County’s telecommunications network with fiber optic

Waste to Energy

Followed the County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan and pursued a waste to energy project. Issued a nationwide RFP and the final selection of Wheelabrator was made after committee review. Project fell short of implementation because of Council concern over costs.

Public Safety

During the second term, County was able to finally address long-unmet needs for increased police and reprotection, especially
in the fast-growing districts of Kona and Puna. Personnel shortages were caused by the many years of hiring freeze due to the extreme revenue shortages of the 1990s and early 2000s. We were able to support department requests for new positions:

  • Police – Added 143 new positions
  • Fire – Added 141 new positions

Buildings

  • West Hawaii Civic Center (2)
  • Aupuni Center (1)
  • Pahoa Fire Station (2)
  • Pahoa Police Station (4)
  • County Building Renovation (2)
  • East Hawaii Detention Facility (1)
  • Makalei Fire Station Site (6)

Roads

  • Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road (2)
  • Ane Keohokalole Highway (prelim planning) (5)
  • Puainako (Saddle Road) Extension (1)
  • Kuakini Highway, Palani to Hualalai (1)
  • Palani Rd Improvements at Kealaka’a St (2)
  • Mamalahoa Hwy Impr, Honalo to Captain Cook (2)
  • Pohoiki Road Realignment (1)
  • Waikoloa Emergency Road (1)
  • Mamalahoa Resurfacing, S. Kohala (1)
  • Mud Lane Resurfacing (1)
  • Puako Escape Route (1)
  • Coastview/Wonderview-Palisades connectors (2)

Parks

  • Pohoiki/Isaac Hale Beach Park Improvement (1)
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park Improvements (2) West
  • Hawaii Veterans Cemetery Expansion (1)
  • Waiaha Beach Park (Honi’s) (1)
  • Pahoa park land – 50 acres purchased (1)
  • Pu’umaile/Lehia Beach Park (King’s Landing) (1)

Other (Managed by DWS)

  • HOVE Water Well (State funded) (2)
  • Island-wide Water Spigots (2)
  • Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water I.D. (1)

Infrastructure Key

  1. Planned, funded, construction complete
  2. Planned, funded, construction started
  3. Site identified and acquired, master plan approved
  4. Site identified and acquired, planning phase
  5. Preliminary planning and EA done so ready to go
  6. Site identified, in negotiations

Civic Projects:

Kona Community Development Plan (CDP)

Initiated the General Plan’s intent of community development plans that provide a forum for community input into managing
growth and coordinating delivery of government services.

  • 2005: Kona selected as the first of seven geographic districts to begin the process of creating a CDP.

    The process involved hundreds of meetings and thousands of individuals.

  • 2008: Kona CDP adopted by ordinance, and the work of the Action Committee continues.

West Hawai‘i Civic Center

Identified the need to bring County services together in one place and prioritized the construction of a new West Hawai‘i civic center. Extensive community input guided the design of the facility as a “gathering place”, resulting in an inviting and energy-efficient civic center that received LEED Silver certification.

  • 2002: Site selected; land acquired from State by E.O. 3952
  • 2005: Contract awarded for design and community input
  • 2008: $50.5M of County funds committed for design/build contract; groundbreaking in October
  • 2011: Construction completed

Road Projects

The following projects were initiated by the Kim Administration and were in various stages of completion by the end of 2008:

Keāhole to Hōnaunau Regional Circulation Plan:

Completed in 2003, this plan comprehensively analyzed options to address the growing commuter traffic from Ka’u and South Kona traveling through North Kona. The recommendations were incorporated into the Kona CDP and is the foundation for
Kona road projects.

Ane Keohokalole Highway:

The Keāhole to Kailua Development Plan introduced the concept of a Mid-Level Road in 1991. In 2007 started engineering and an environmental assessment. In 2008 the Kona CDP officially recognized this road as a priority. These actions positioned
this project to qualify for federal stimulus funding.

Keanalehu-Manawalea Connector Road:

This road connects the Villages of La‘i ‘Ōpua, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kealakehe Intermediate School, Kealakehe High School, and the Kealakehe houselots to reduce the travel times for school children. In 2007 secured funding and started construction.

Kuakini Highway Improvements:

This project widened Kuakini Highway from two to four lanes from Palani Road to Hualālai Street. Weekly meetings were held among the contractor, Public Works staff, and the community. Completed in 2006.

Palani Road Safety Improvements at Kealaka‘a Street:

This project realigns Kealaka‘a Street to intersect with Palani Road and Palihiolo Street with a traffic light. In 2006 funds secured and construction started.

La‘aloa Avenue:

This project improves mauka-makai connectivity between Ali‘i Drive and Kuakini Highway for traffic flow and emergency evacuation purposes. In 2004 secured funds for engineering, environmental assessment, and land acquisition. In 2008 final environmental
assessment culminated months of meetings with the community; funding secured for construction.

Māmalahoa Bypass:

Negotiated with the Hokuli‘a developer to grant an easement to the County for the use of the Māmalahoa Bypass on a limited basis for southbound afternoon traffic. Introduced amendments to the rezoning ordinance and traffic code to allow use of Haleki‘i Street as a connector prior to the opening of entire bypass to Nāpō‘opo‘o, and specify improvements to Ali‘i Drive and Haleki‘i Street to accommodate the increased traffic.

Traffic Flow Improvements:

Completed a number of smaller projects to improve traffic flow on existing streets — Hina Lani/Queen Ka‘ahumanu Highway, right turn lane; Hina Lani/Māmalahoa Highway, traffic signal; Kaiminani/ Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Kaiminani/Māmalahoa Highway, right turn lanes; various improvements to Māmalahoa Highway, Honalo to Captain Cook.

Housing, Water, & Public Safety Projects

“A Friendly Place” for Homeless:

When previous attempts to locate a homeless service center and shelter faced community resistance, the Administration relocated a County baseyard in the Kailua Industrial area to build a homeless intake and service center. The structure was donated by developer Stanford Carr.

Emergency Housing for Homeless:

The Administration initiated a homeless shelter on the Friendly Place site. In 2008 a partnership between the County, State and HUD allowed construction to go forward.

Kaloko Housing Program:

This project provided decent, safe and sanitary housing and support services to qualified homeless families with children. This was an urgent need due to the pending closure of the Kawaihae transitional housing. In 2006 secured the site by working with the private developer of the Kaloko Industrial Park, TSA Corporation, to acquire eight acres of land along Hina Lani Street.

Kona Coastview/Wonderview Water System Improvement District:

Responded to a community’s outcry for assistance through an innovative partnering of County and federal resources. This project constructed a County dedicable water system serving 437 Kona households to replace aging private water systems and leakage-prone
“spaghetti lines”.

Mākālei Fire Station:

Upon determining a previous site as too costly and not suitable, in 2007 secured a site donated by a landowner with assistance of Mr. Yamamoto and Mr. Lynch. In 2008 Final EA published.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Kona Girl Missing Since August

12-12-16 UPDATE: Hawaiʻi Island police have located 17-year-old Summer Steenolsen of Kailua-Kona, who was reported missing.

She was found December 9 in Kona.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Kona girl who was reported missing.

Summer Steenolsen

Summer Steenolsen was last seen in Waimea on August 10.

She is described as 5-foot-7, 135 pounds with blond hair and green eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

VIDEO – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Honors 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard honored the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor:

“My heart is in Hawaiʻi today. At almost this exact time, on this very day 75 years ago, the first bombs were dropped in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 people perished on that fateful day that will forever live in infamy.

“We remember our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price, and those who answered the call to serve in the months and years that followed, including our two former Senators Inouye and Akaka, and the more than 320,000 who gave their lives in that war.

“We remember the Japanese Americans whose lives forever changed when after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were thrown into internment camps. And the brave Nisei, who in spite of these atrocities, volunteered to serve, forming the Nisei-only “Go For Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment, serving courageously, and sacrificing greatly.

“May we never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor, the lessons learned, and the sacrifices of all who served.”

Background: Last month, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reintroduced a House resolution originally authored by Congressman Takai that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and honoring the more than 320,000 men and women who gave their lives in defense of the United States during World War II.