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EPA, State of Hawaii Receive Navy’s Red Hill Fuel Tank Upgrade Study

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) are reviewing the draft Tank Upgrade Study for the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility as part of a 2015 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with the Navy. The Navy study provides in-depth conceptual design information for six upgrade options, but does not recommend one option. EPA, DOH and the Navy will use the study, along with community input and other work produced under the agreement, to select the final upgrade option.

Click to view

“This report provides EPA and DOH with information for us to evaluate as the Navy progresses in upgrading the Red Hill tanks,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work is proceeding under our enforceable agreement with the U.S. Navy as EPA and DOH oversee long-term solutions for the Red Hill facility to protect public health and Hawaii’s aquifers.”

A public information workshop will be held in spring 2018 to explain the report and allow EPA, DOH and the Navy to respond to questions and concerns from the community. After the workshop, the Navy will propose a tank upgrade option. EPA and DOH will hold a second public meeting about the Navy’s proposed upgrade decision before approving or disapproving the Navy’s proposal.

The Red Hill Tank Upgrade Study considered more than 30 different approaches to physical improvements to the tanks. Six of the 30 were ultimately selected for in-depth study and evaluated for 20 factors ranging from construction challenges and cost to inspection and maintenance requirements. Three improvement options use a single-walled tank system and three are double-walled systems.

“The Red Hill tank upgrade is an important issue to Hawaii residents, and the AOC outlines a process of careful analysis and decision-making that will result in the most appropriate final outcomes at the facility,” said Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Health. “The Navy has met an important milestone in delivering this assessment of potential tank upgrade options.”

The Tank Upgrade Study and the Navy’s decision process for proposing a tank upgrade option are available for public review and comment at https://www.epa.gov/red-hill/tank-upgrade-alternatives-red-hill.  Any questions, comments or concerns related to the Red Hill Facility can be directed to DOH and EPA by sending an e-mail to red-hill@epa.gov or contacting agency representatives identified on our Red Hill websites.

In January 2014, while refilling Tank 5, the Navy identified a loss of jet fuel from the tank and reported it to DOH, estimating that about 27,000 gallons was released. The Navy drained the tank and collected samples from existing water monitoring wells. Results of samples taken around Tank 5 indicated a spike in levels of hydrocarbons. The Navy increased the frequency of monitoring at a nearby Navy drinking water well, and current monitoring results for the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam water system confirmed they were in compliance with federal and state drinking water standards both before and after the January release.

Red Hill, constructed in the 1940s, is a unique facility in the United States, consisting of 20 underground bulk fuel storage tanks built into a mountain hillside. Each tank is 250 feet tall and 100 feet in diameter, constructed of steel and encased in a minimum of 2.5 to 4 feet of concrete surrounded by basalt bedrock. Each tank has a fuel storage capacity of 12.5 to 12.7 million gallons, giving the facility a maximum capacity of approximately 250 million gallons. Eighteen tanks are currently active, and two are not in use.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/red-hill and http://health.hawaii.gov/RedHill.

Pesticide Testing to Expand to Maui and Hawai‘i Island

The House Committee on Health & Human Services, chaired by Rep. John M. Mizuno, and the Committee on Agriculture, chaired by Rep. Richard P. Creagan, held an informational briefing today to update the status and progress of the Kauai Pesticide Joint Fact Finding (JFF) Study Group’s recommendations released last year.

The report, completed in May 2016, provided an analysis of environmental and health issues associated with pesticide use on Kauai, and today’s briefing was to hear how the various state and county departments had followed up on the group’s recommendations. Lawmakers also want to make sure continued environmental and human health impacts related to pesticides are addressed with fact-based policy and decision making.

Rep. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, Lower Kalihi) said pesticide use will continue to be an important issue for Hawaii and will be discussed during the next legislative session.

“I want to acknowledge the state departments of Health, Agriculture, and Education along with the County of Kauai, and the Kauai Department of Water for working together on the pesticide issue and taking positive steps to protect residents,” said Mizuno. “This is a critical health and environmental issue that we need to have consensus and solution building to stay in front of.”

At the briefing, department representatives reported that steps taken since May, 2016 include:

  • The hiring of three new agriculture inspectors that has reduced the number of open pesticide investigation cases from 780 to less than 10.
  • Funding to hire an epidemiologist by the Department of Health.
  • Training of departments and first responders to coordinate rapid response to pesticide exposure incidents.
  • Training of the local medical community to record birth defect data.
  • Testing more than 50 surface water areas for pesticides on Oahu and Kauai and planning to expand testing to Maui and Hawaii Island.

Scott Enright, Chair of the Board of Agriculture told the Representatives that the Department of Agriculture has also developed a packet of rules that update Hawaii’s pesticide laws and regulations.

Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) said lawmakers see these as positive steps and want to make sure the departments have the resources they need to continue their efforts.

“This has been good information to direct us moving forward on this issue,” Belatti said.

Rep. Dee Morikawa, (Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea) said Kauai County has developed a pesticide policy and she suggested all four counties work together to develop a statewide policy on pesticide use, testing, enforcement and treatment.

“Let’s have a plan that allows proper pesticide use, protects our residents and notifies communities if there is any possible contamination,” Morikawa said.

Rep. Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) said he is concerned about the long-term effects of exposure to pesticides.

“I am concerned with the possibility of birth defects, particularly nerodevelopmental injuries to the fetus from long-term, low level pesticide exposure, especially related to chlorpyrifos,” said Creagan.

Pacific Paradise Finally Removed From Waikiki Reef

The grounded Pacific Paradise was successfully removed from the reef off Kaimana Beach Thursday.

Following removal from the beach, crews prepare the Pacific Paradise further about a mile offshore from Oahu, Dec. 7, 2017. A combination of salvage and response experts worked over a 58-day period to repair, refloat and remove the vessel from the beach. The cause of the original grounding remains under investigation. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Todd Duke/Released)

The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Pacific Paradise to conduct cleanup of the wreck site as the pollution threat has been removed. The state will assess any damage done to the reef and facilitate the next step in mitigating the impacts and rehabilitating the reef.

“This response has been long and challenging, but the professionalism and expertise of the crews that came together was nothing short of impressive”, said Capt. Michael Long, captain of the port and commander U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. We appreciate the patience and support of the public, the diligence and persistence of our partners and are grateful the Pacific Paradise was safely removed.”

Suzanne Case, chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, expressed her sincere appreciation to everyone involved for their patience, persistence and care in getting the Pacific Paradise removed from the reef successfully and safely. Case said, “These efforts are complex, and with the addition of unpredictable ocean conditions, the position, size and weight of the ship on the reef, and its proximity to one of Hawaii’s most populated beach areas, it was important that we all worked together to remove the ship while minimizing risk to people and to the environment. DLNR is conducting a full assessment of the reef and any associated natural resource damage that occurred during the event.”

Response crews refloated the Pacific Paradise Wednesday and moved the vessel about 600 feet into the sandy channel before losing the tide. Crews conducted additional work to the vessel late in the day to prepare for the refloat and tow Thursday. That effort was ultimately successful in fully removing the vessel at 7:15 a.m. on the high tide using the tug Pi’ilani.

Just over a mile offshore the tow was switched over to the tug American Contender for the transit out to the EPA-approved disposal site 13 miles south of Oahu in federal waters. The responders are now in the process of sinking the Pacific Paradise in nearly 1,800 feet of water, which may take several hours.

During the operation to refloat and remove the grounded vessel minimal pollution entered the water.
The vessel originally grounded just before midnight Oct. 10. In the time since, local and mainland experts have worked diligently to remove the vessel as quickly and safely as possible with the least amount of impact to the marine environment. Responders spent the past weeks preparing and patching the hull, removing excess weight by pumping water and removing heavy spare parts including sheet metal and the rudder and adding additional buoyancy. The challenging environment and weather did slow or delay some work.

The Coast Guard is continuing the investigation into the cause of the grounding. That process will likely take several months. Once complete those findings will be released to the public and action will be taken to levee any fines or punitive actions that may be deemed appropriate.

Hawai‘i Volcano Watch: Did Aerial Bombing Stop the 1935 Mauna Loa Lava Flow?

Aerial view of a bomb detonating on Mauna Loa near the 8,500-foot elevation source of the 1935 lava flow on the morning of Dec. 27, 1935. This was one of twenty 600-pound bombs dropped on the lava flow that morning by the Army Bombing Squadron from Luke Field, O‘ahu. Photo by Army Air Corps, 11th Photo Section.

A widely-held belief is that Thomas Jaggar, founder of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, was able to stop a Mauna Loa lava flow in 1935. But is it true?

The eruption in question began on Nov. 21, 1935. Six days later, an unusual breakout at an elevation of 8,500 feet on the north flank of Mauna Loa sent ʻaʻā lava to the north. Pāhoehoe lava ponded at the base of Mauna Kea for two weeks before advancing toward Hilo at a rate of about one mile per day.

On Dec. 23, fearing that the flow would reach the headwaters of the Wailuku River, which supplied water for the town of Hilo, Jaggar called on the Army Air Service, based on Oʻahu, to bomb the lava flow source. His hope was that the lava tubes or channels could be destroyed, thereby robbing the advancing flow while feeding another flow that would re-cover the same area. The flow was bombed on Dec. 27, and lava stopped flowing during the night or early morning of Jan. 2, 1936.

Jaggar publicly praised the Army for its responsiveness and technical accuracy in delivering the bombs to his selected targets. In turn, Jaggar was praised for his successful experiment and for saving Hilo.

What is not widely known is that a USGS geologist, Harold Stearns, was on board the last plane to deliver bombs to Jaggar’s targeted areas. Stearns had been mapping the geology and water resources of Maui volcanoes. But when he heard about the plan to bomb the lava flow on Mauna Loa, he traveled to Hilo to see if he could fly with the Army.

Stearns got his chance. At 12:40 p.m. on Dec. 27, his plane dropped two 600-pound bombs (each with 300 pounds of TNT), but they landed a few hundred feet from their target. Jaggar himself watched the bombing through a telescope from the base of Mauna Kea.

Assessing Jaggar’s bombing goals, Stearns said, “The tube walls look 25 to 50 feet high and deep in the flow so that I think there would be no change of breaking the walls. The lava liquid is low. The damming possibility looks effective but the target is too small.”

Following up with a letter to Jaggar in January 1936, Stearns questioned the effectiveness of the bombing.

Jaggar wrote back that later examination of the flow’s source showed that “This channel was broken up by the bombing and fresh streams poured over the side of the heap…. I have no question that this robbing of the source tunnel slowed down the movement of the front…. The average actual motion of the extreme front.… for the five days after the bombing was approximately 1,000 feet per day. For the seven days preceding the bombing the rate was one mile per day.”

Jaggar then asked the rhetorical question, “How long would the flow have lasted without bombing it?” He used the 1919-1920 Kīlauea eruption, which sent lava into the Kaʻū Desert to form Mauna Iki, as an analog. “If we had bombed Mauna Iki in February 1920, the pāhoehoe tunnel system would never have reached the lower Kaʻū desert….”

Stearns remained unconvinced. In his 1983 autobiography, he wrote about bombing the Mauna Loa flow: “I am sure it was a coincidence….”

Jaggar’s boss at the time, Hawai‘i National Park Superintendent E.G. Wingate, was also skeptical.

The day after the bombing, Wingate wrote to the Army commanders, “Though we are as yet unable to determine what effect the airplane bombardment achieved.… I feel very doubtful that it will succeed in diverting the flow. Therefore, I am.… reconnoitering the flow region and will try to locate a feasible spot on the ground where a land expedition might successfully attack the flow channel by dynamiting or other methods.”

In Wingate’s December 1935 report, he summarized the effort: “Just what part the bombardment had in stopping the lava flow the superintendent is not qualified to say. Certainly the facts are most interesting and Dr. Jaggar believes the experiment to have played a definite part.”

Modern thinking mostly supports Stearns’ conclusion. Whether or not the bombing stopped the 1935 Mauna Loa lava flow remains a controversial topic today.

Volcano Watch is a weekly article written by U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and colleagues.

 

UH Researchers Discover New Fish – The Marianna Snailfish

The ocean’s deepest fish doesn’t look like it could survive in harsh conditions thousands of feet below the surface. Instead of giant teeth and a menacing frame, the fishes that roam the deepest parts of the ocean are small, translucent, bereft of scales — and highly adept at living where few other organisms can.

A specimen of the new species, Mariana snailfish. Credit: Mackenzie Gerringer, UW and UH.

Meet the deepest fish in the ocean, a new species named the Mariana snailfish by an international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), that discovered it. The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) thrives at depths of up to about 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the Mariana Trench near Guam. The team published a paper describing the new species this week in the journal Zootaxa.

“This is the deepest fish that’s been collected from the ocean floor, and we’re very excited to have an official name,” said lead author Mackenzie Gerringer, graduate student at SOEST at the time of this work and current postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories. “They don’t look very robust or strong for living in such an extreme environment, but they are extremely successful.”

Snailfish are found at many different depths in marine waters around the world. In deep water, they cluster together in groups and feed on tiny crustaceans and shrimp using suction from their mouths to gulp prey. Very little is known about how these fish can live under intense water pressure; the pressure at those depths is similar to an elephant standing on your thumb.

This new species appears to dominate parts of the Mariana Trench, the deepest stretch of ocean in the world that is located in the western Pacific Ocean. During research trips in 2014 and 2017 aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor, scientists collected 37 specimens of the new species from depths of about 6,900 meters (22,600 feet) to 8,000 meters (26,200 feet) along the trench. DNA analysis and 3-D scanning to analyze skeletal and tissue structures helped researchers determine they had found a new species.

Since then, a research team from Japan has recorded footage of the fish swimming at depths of 8,178 meters (26,830 feet), the deepest sighting so far.

“Snailfishes have adapted to go deeper than other fish and can live in the deep trenches. Here they are free of predators, and the funnel shape of the trench means there’s much more food,” said co-author Thomas Linley of Newcastle University. “There are lots of invertebrate prey and the snailfish are the top predator. They are active and look very well-fed.”

A handful of researchers have explored the Mariana Trench, but very few comprehensive surveys of the trench and its inhabitants have been completed because of its depth and location, Gerringer explained. These research trips involved dropping traps with cameras down to the bottom of the trench. It can take four hours for a trap to sink to the bottom.

After waiting an additional 12 to 24 hours, the researchers sent an acoustic signal to the trap, which then released weights and rose to the surface with the help of flotation. That allowed scientists to catch fish specimens and take video footage of life at the bottom of the ocean.

“There are a lot of surprises waiting,” Gerringer said. “It’s amazing to see what lives there. We think of it as a harsh environment because it’s extreme for us, but there’s a whole group of organisms that are very happy down there.”

The Mariana snailfish’s location was its most distinguishing characteristic, but researchers also saw a number of differences in physiology and body structure that made it clear they had found a new species. With the help of a CT scanner at the UW’s Friday Harbor Labs, the researchers could look in close digital detail to study elements of the fish.

The authors, including SOEST oceanography faculty Jeffrey Drazen and Erica Goetze, acknowledge the broad collaboration needed for deep-sea science, particularly in this discovery, and decided the new fish’s scientific name should reflect that collaborative effort. The fish is named after a sailor, Herbert Swire, an officer on the HMS Challenger expedition in the late 1800s that first discovered the Mariana Trench, and in recognition of the critical role of crew members on board research vessels.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Schmidt Ocean Institute and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.

Rainbow Falls Claims Two Lives

The Hawaiʻi Fire Department has confirmed that two people lost their lives on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, near Rainbow Falls.

The Hawaii Fire Department continued their search for a male body on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2017. Big Island Now photo

Four people went swimming above Rainbow Falls and two of them got swept away. One female victim was rescued at the base of Rainbow Falls and a search continues for the male victim.

The fire chief who was on hand on Sunday, Nov. 26, at Rainbow Falls, believes that they were tourists from the mainland.

Saturday, The Hawai‘i Fire Department arrived 12:40 p.m., and within the first 10 to 15 minutes, witnesses reported that a man and a woman were having difficulty swimming in a pond above of Rainbow Falls. The two were seen going under and not seen again.

The female was found unconscious in the water below Rainbow Falls yesterday.

Today, an aerial, ground and dive search continued in the pond and areas upstream of Rainbow Falls for the missing male but no body has been found.

Anyone See Pele?

Spattering is common in the summit lava lake, normally at one or more sites along the lake margin. A spattering area along the northeast lake margin on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, is shown here.

USGS Photo

The surface crust tends to flow into the spattering area, where it sinks. This migration can produce rips and tears of the lava lake crust as it approaches the chaotic spattering zone.

Half of Hawaii’s Coral Bleached in One Year

Scientists estimate that beaching affected 56 percent of the coral around the Big Island, 44 percent of that along West Maui and 32 percent around Oahu over a one-year period spanning 2014-2015.

Researchers recently completed an 88-day expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Hi’ialakai to survey two remote regions in the Pacific. First, they traveled to the islands of Jarvis, Howland, Baker and Wake, all part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Then they traversed to the Mariana Archipelago, working their way up the island chain from the populated islands in the south to remote locations in the north.

map of mission area

During the expedition, researchers collected data to evaluate climate and ocean change, coral ecosystem health, and the extent of coral bleaching. Scientists with NOAA, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, San Diego University, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution participated in the mission.

1. Coral Bleaching in the Pacific

The Pacific Islands experienced unusually warm ocean temperatures in the last few years, during the longest global coral bleaching event on record to date. Prior to the bleaching event, Jarvis Island had very high coral cover. Preliminary surveys in 2015 and 2016 indicated that most coral colonies died due to coral bleaching. While at Jarvis in 2017, researchers surveyed these coral reef communities and assessed the recovery potential from the thermal stress that caused the coral to bleach.
All images courtesy of NOAA:
Coral reef colonies near Jarvis Island; Image credit:Tate Wester

2. Bumphead Parrotfish

The giant bumphead parrotfish is an amazing fish that can live to be 40 years old, growing up to four feet long and 100 pounds. They use their large head bumps to literally bump heads during competitive displays, when large numbers of fish aggregate to spawn on a lunar cycle. Researchers saw many bumpheads during their first day at Wake Island. The bumphead parrotfish has been heavily targeted by fishing throughout much of it’s range and is now considered globally rare by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
The giant Bumphead parrotfish; credit: Andrew E. Gray
 3. Reef Life

On the east side of Agrihan Island, an octopus takes off across the rocky reef after being discovered by a diver. All reef life is important, including this clever invertebrate. These fascinating creatures can rapidly change color to blend in with their surroundings, making them difficult to spot.

octopus near Agrihan Island; credit Louise Giuseffi)
 4. Crown-of-thorns Sea Stars

The scientists found many crown-of-thorns sea stars at Alamagan Island. These prickly invertebrates feed on coral tissue. Here, the sea star leaves only the skeleton of this Acropora coral in its wake. In large numbers, they can do significant damage to coral reefs, but in small numbers, they are a natural key component of the coral reef ecosystem.

Crown-of-thorns sea stars at Alamagan Island; credit: Keisha Bahr
 5. A Rare Sighting

An extremely rare sighting at Farallon de Pajaros, scientists found this female angelfish after completing their fish survey. Little is published about this species beyond aquarium enthusiast blogs. Some describe it as being endemic to the Bonin or Osagawara Islands just south of Japan, although the researchers discovered this fish within the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument waters during their expedition.

Rare anglefish species; credit: NOAA, Andrew E. Gray)
 6. Volcanic Vents

Underwater volcanic vents near the Maug Islands release carbon dioxide gas that cause surrounding waters to acidify—a localized example of how carbon dioxide emissions in our atmosphere cause global climate change and ocean acidification. Maug’s carbon dioxide vents occur near coral reef ecosystems, allowing scientists to glimpse the future of these ecosystems along a naturally occurring gradient of changing ocean chemistry conditions.

Maug's underwater volcanic vents; credit: Kaylyn McCoy)
 7. Bubble Coral

Despite their appearance, these Plerogyra corals, also known as bubble coral, are actually a type of Scleractinian, or hard coral. The tissue is soft and bubble-like, and hides the hard skeleton underneath.

Bubble coral; credit: Tate Wester
 8. Colorful Nudibranch

Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) uncover many beautiful creatures, including this nudibranch. a nudibranch; credit: Ingrid Knapp)

9. Healthy Coral

Corals at Pagan Island seem to have fared much better than other areas hit hardest by the recent global coral bleaching event. Here is a close-up of an Acropora coral (typically more susceptible to bleaching events), which appears to be doing just fine.
healthy coral in Pagan; credit: Ingrid Knapp
 10. Stars in the Sand

If you look closely in the sand, sometimes you can find “star dust,” or the star-shaped skeletal remains of Foraminifera, microscopic unicellular organisms that form an important part of the marine food chain.

Star-shaped skeletal remains of Foraminifera, microscopic unicellular protists; credit: Louise Giuseffi)

DLNR Responds to Circuit Court Ruling on Aquarium Fishing Permits

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources issued a statement on Friday, Oct. 28, in response to a Circuit Court ruling on aquarium fishing permits.

Yellow tang, one of the Hawaiian reef inhabitants most sought by aquarium fish collectors, will get greater protections under rules signed by the governor. Wikimedia Commons photo.

Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree ruled on Friday that, based upon a Hawaiʻi Supreme Court opinion issued on Sept. 6, 2017, existing permits for use of fine mesh nets to catch aquatic life for aquarium purposes are illegal and invalid. Judge Crabtree also ordered the DLNR not to issue any new permits pending environmental review.

In its statement on Friday, officials with the DLNR said the department continues to believe that existing aquarium fishing practices are sustainable and environmentally sound.

The department also expressed appreciation for local businesses and families that depend on the industry for their livelihoods, but said it respects Judge Crabtree’s ruling and will fully comply so long as it remains in effect.

VIDEO: Tulsi Gabbard Calls on Congress to Protect Bristol Bay, Alaska

Tulsi Gabbard is calling for immediate action to put a stop to a dangerous move executed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump Administration. Unless the decision is overturned, thousands of jobs will be lost and an entire Alaskan watershed will be destroyed—killing the aquatic life within it and endangering the people who, for thousands of years, have depended on the fish and miles of streams, wetlands, and other habitats it supports.

Tulsi Gabbard, a lifelong environmentalist with a proven record of protecting our environment, explains the critical situation facing Bristol Bay, Alaska and calls on Congress to take action to protect it.

Nearly half of the world’s Sockeye Salmon comes from Bristol Bay, Alaska. Its watershed employs over 14,000 full-and part-time workers, generates $1.5 billion dollars in economic activity, and is home to 25 federally recognized tribal governments—many of whom have maintained a salmon-based culture and subsistence-based way of life for more than 4,000 years.

Yet the world’s most valuable salmon fishery is facing a direct threat by the very government agency given the job to protect it—the Environmental Protection Agency. Its newest administrator and Trump nominee, Scott Pruitt, recently held closed-door meetings with Canadian-owned mining company Pebble Limited Partnership about developing a copper and gold mine in Bristol Bay larger than Manhattan and nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Just over an hour after the meeting, Pruitt rescinded federal salmon protections in the area, opening the door for development and mining.

Despite numerous studies and historical data over the years that cite the ecological and economic importance of protecting Bristol Bay from mining project development, Pruitt has made it clear that he has no qualms with brokering deals at the expense of the American people and the planet.
To quote his own agency’s 2014 assessment, such a mine “would result in complete loss of fish habitat due to elimination, dewatering, and fragmentation of streams, wetlands, and other aquatic resources,” and the loss of miles of streams, wetlands, and other habitats. In addition, the EPA calculated a 95% chance of spill, per pipeline, in 25 years, threatening “acute exposure to toxic water and chronic exposure to toxic sediment” to fish and invertebrates.

Along with the virtual destruction of these species and wetlands, this would poison the watershed and needlessly endanger the communities who have relied upon the Sockeye Salmon for sustenance for thousands of years. The cost of destroying thousands of jobs and decimating the environment and resources these communities rely on is too great to measure.

The economics of Bristol Bay are everything President Trump promised to protect: American workers supplying American families and businesses through American jobs.

Yet the president and his administration have demonstrated time and again that they are eager to put their friends and business partners’ interests and profit before the health and wellbeing of the American people.

Hawaiʻi and Alaska have long shared a special and unique relationship, working together across party lines for the wellbeing of our people. For decades, we’ve worked together to empower our native communities, promote our local economies, secure resources for our rural populations, and much more. Now, we must stand together again and urge our colleagues in Congress to join the fight to protect Bristol Bay and its irreplaceable resources before it is too late.

Additional ‘Alalā Released Into Natural Area Reserve

Second Group of Rare Crows Joins First Group in Native Forests of Hawai’i Island

Five young ‘alalā, two females and three males, were released into Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on the Island of Hawai‘i on Wednesday, October 11th.  This second group of birds joins a previous group that had been released into the forest at the end of September.  These eleven birds represent what conservationists hope will be the beginning of a recovered population of the endangered crow species on the island.

The ‘alalā, or Hawaiian crow, has been extinct in the wild since 2002, preserved only at the Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers managed by San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.

“Our efforts to bring this species back from the brink of extinction have been tremendously bolstered by our ability to protect a small population of ‘alalā in a conservation breeding program in Hawai‘i,” said Michelle Bogardus, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Geographic Team Leader for Maui Nui and the Hawai’i Islands.  “Now that we have built up the population to more than 125 birds at the Hawaiian Bird Center we can begin the long road to recovering this incredible species in its native habitat.”

The first group of ‘alalā released into the forests of Hawai‘i in late 2016 encountered predation pressures from the native Hawaiian hawk, or `Io.  Surviving birds from this first group were brought back into aviaries while a team of conservationists looked at ways to improve their chances in the next reintroduction.

“Knowing that there is a high mortality rate associated with releasing species into the wild, particularly in a situation like this where the species has been absent from native habitats for close to two decades, the ‘Alalā Working Group looked closely at how to improve the many factors that might affect the success of these two groups,” said Jackie Gaudioso-Levita, Project Coordinator of the ‘Alalā Project. “The team developed new strategies that took into account outcomes from the last release, while adapting management techniques to improve successful transition to the wild.”

The concerted reintroduction efforts, funded by the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), San Diego Zoo Global, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have addressed challenges by changing the timing of release to avoid the peak of winter storms, changing the release site location, releasing mixed-sex cohorts with established social associations, and enhancing the “antipredator training program” to reinforce the instinctual behaviors for responding to predators like `Io.

“The first group has stayed together, foraging close to the release aviary and creating social groups with each other similar to what we expect for young birds of this species,” said Joshua Pang-Ching, Research Coordinator for the Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program.  “We also observed some alarm calling showing us that these individuals are very aware of their surroundings and are learning to respond to the natural threats that may occur in their environment.”

The team will continue to monitor the group of eleven birds in the NAR for years to come.  The NAR is an area that The Three Mountain Alliance and DLNR have worked for decades to preserve, protecting native plants and species, and it represents one of the types of habitat where ‘Alalā originally lived before their numbers began to decline.

‘Alalā have a legacy of being an integral part of the life of the Hawaiian forest, as they eat and assist with the dispersal of native plant seeds. ‘Alalā are not only ecologically significant as dispersers of Hawai’i’s native plants, but they are significantly revered in Hawaiian culture.  The reintroduction of this species is expected to play an important part in the overall recovery of native ecosystems.

Television Special Documents Lehua Island Restoration Project

The recent project aimed at eradicating invasive rats from the State of Hawai‘i’s Seabird Sanctuary on Lehua Island is the subject of a half-hour long TV documentary that chronicles the operation from beginning to end.

Lehua Island

Scheduled for broadcast on KFVE-TV (K5) on Saturday, Oct. 21st and Sunday, Oct. 22nd at 9:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. respectively, the program was produced by DLNR with support from the Lehua Island Restoration Steering Committee; the group of government agencies, non-profit and community organizations, and other supporters involved in the eradication of rats.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We see this as an opportunity to show people exactly what happened during the trio of aerial applications of rodenticide in August and September, as well as to highlight the stunning beauty of Lehua Island, the incredible diversity of bird life possible on a rat-free island, and the tremendous amount of planning and thought that led up to the eradication project. Few people actually get to go to Lehua and I think viewers will be astounded that this little island off Kaua‘i’s west side is so rich in life – with the successful demise of rats there, soon to be a much richer place in all respects.”

Island Conservation (IC) is the world renowned organization contracted by the State to conduct the restoration project. Dr. Patty Baiao, Hawai‘i Program Manager for IC, explained, “This show is incredibly visual and is in alignment with our oft-stated goal of being completely transparent about the restoration project.  We understand and appreciate community concerns about dropping rodenticide on an island, but hope that when people see and hear from the dozens of really dedicated individuals closest to this project, they will come to the realization that this was done with extraordinary care, thought, pre-planning and execution.”

While no rats have been spotted by monitoring teams since after the first aerial application in August, Lehua Island will not be declared rat-free until a year after the last application. Rats are documented to be voracious predators of seabird eggs, chicks, and the seeds of native plants that seabirds rely on.

The television program includes interviews with project leaders and participants, with community members, cultural practitioners, and outside experts who all reinforce the science and cultural reasons for the removal of rats from Lehua.

from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Updated Map of Lava Flow Field

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of September 21 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of October 12 is shown in red. Older Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube.

The blue lines over the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Responders Continue Efforts to Remove Fishing Vessel Grounded Off Honolulu – Pacific Paradise Catches Fire

Responders will continue efforts to remove the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise aground off Honolulu Sunday.

At first light the salvage team will reassess the vessel and attempt another towing evolution if weather allows this to be done safely.

The vessel remained grounded Saturday despite several attempts to tow it from the reef located off Waikiki’s Kaimana Beach during the most favorable tide.

During work to dewater the vessel gasoline used to fuel a dewatering pump splashed on hot surfaces causing it to ignite and start a fire aboard. The seven members of the salvage team abandoned ship, were picked up by Ocean Safety crews, and returned to the salvage vessel with no injuries.

Surf lessons continued as the Pacific Paradise fishing boat continued to burn off-shore of Kaimana Beach. Photo via Kaimana Pine

Hawaii Fire Department crew dropped water on the vessel from a helicopter with a bambi bucket attached knocking down the blaze to a smolder. The fire rendered the vessel unsafe to board. Salvage crews continued efforts to tow the vessel making little progress and were forced to cease towing operations as the tide went out.

Front row seats to Honolulu Fire Department’s Air 1 effort at extinguishing the flames. Photo via Kaimana Pine

A release of roughly 200 gallons of diesel fuel was detected by responders. Until crews can access the vessel and survey the damage it is unknown exactly where this release came from. After lightening efforts during the week two-thirds of the fuel was removed along with the marine batteries leaving a maximum of 1,500 gallons aboard prior to the release of fuel.

NOAA crews are standing by to assist marine mammals as necessary, none have been affected thus far. The Department of Health has also reached out to residents and beach goers in the area to caution them against swimming in the vicinity of the vessel and discuss water quality monitoring.

A safety zone remains in effect around the vessel extending out 500 yards in all directions. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations. The Coast Guard Cutter Kittieake (WPB 87316) will remain on scene to monitor the vessel and enforce the safety zone.

Partners in the effort include personnel in several divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party, commercial salvors and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel are forecast as 28 mph winds with 3 to 5 foot waves and a long 3-foot south southwest swell. Rain showers are possible. These conditions are expected to remain through midweek. The vessel is somewhat sheltered from the wind by Diamond Head as it’s on the south shore of Oahu.

The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports that the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. Those crewmen were released to Customs and Border Protection. The cause of the grounding remains under investigation.

Breakouts Remain Active on Lava Flow Field, Changes to Ocean Entry Lava Delta

Surface breakouts (light in color) remain active on the upper coastal plain. These breakouts are fed by both the main eastern tube—left of the kipuka and below the tube’s fume trace on the pali—and from the eastern June 26 breakout branch, visible to the right of the kipuka.

The misty day obscured a view of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, which, on a clear day, would be visible on the skyline in the center of the photo. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

The leading edge of the coastal plain breakouts is on the western (left) flow margin and is approximately 1.3 km (0.8 mi) from the closest section of the emergency road. At the Kamokuna ocean entry, recent breakouts near the edge of the cliff (lighter in color) have been spilling onto the lava delta (foreground) for the past few weeks, resurfacing almost the entire area of the delta.

Tragedy on Kauai: Multi-Agency Community Response to Pilot Whale Strandings on Kaua`i – Five Dead

UPDATE: Five whales have now tragically passed away.

Update: A third dead whale washed ashore this afternoon.

This morning NOAA Fisheries, the U.S Coast Guard, Kauai County Fire and Police Departments and the DLNR Divisions of Aquatic Resources (DAR) and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) joined concerned community members and native Hawaiian cultural practitioners to respond to a beaching event and attending to two five Pilot whales that died on Kalapaki Beach on the north side of Nawiliwili Harbor.

Kaua‘i County provided heavy machinery to lift the deceased stranded whales off the beach and onto truck trailers provided by DOCARE. The whales were taken to an undisclosed location where autopsies are expected to continue into the night.

David Schofield, NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Response Coordinator in Hawai‘i said, “We have no indication of a cause of death at this time.  Disease and old age are common causes of death for whales, but it’s too soon to know.  Post mortem exams occasionally reveal a likely cause, but more often they are inconclusive, and we must then wait for lab test results.  Working with the UH Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, our stranding response partner, we will ensure the post mortem exam and lab tests are thorough and comprehensive.”

Gregg Howald, Director of Global and External Affairs for Island Conservation, the organization that led recent rat eradication efforts on Lehua Island, said, “As conservationists committed to preserving wildlife, we are deeply saddened by these mortalities. We know, with the highest degree of confidence that the Lehua Restoration Project and the rodenticides applied in that project have virtually no chance of contributing to the whales’ demise; The likelihood of any impact to pilot whales is so unlikely, it is bordering on the impossible. The good people of Hawaii have had the good fortune to observe natural wildlife in paradise for hundreds of years, and they can tell us that Pilot Whale beachings are quite common.”

Coast Guard Station Kaua‘i received initial notification of the stranding from an off duty Coast Guard member who was out surfing. Station personnel immediately called the local NOAA representative on Kaua‘i for direction and response. Coast Guard personnel were directed to monitor the whales and prevent anyone from touching them prior to the arrival of the NOAA staff within 15 minutes. Once on scene, NOAA personnel evaluated the animals and directed Coast Guard and Kaua‘i Fire Department personnel on the proper way to reintroduce the animals to the ocean. Once in the water Kaua‘i Fire Department personnel and volunteers aboard outrigger canoes escorted the whales out of the harbor.

“We appreciate the public’s concern for these animals and the strong partnership we have with NOAA and other agencies to address strandings,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Michael Winiarski, officer-in-charge Coast Guard Station Kaua‘i. “NOAA are the experts and the lead agency in these cases. They have the veterinarians, personnel and authority to properly handle marine mammal strandings. The public can best help stranded marine animals by contacting NOAA’s hotline at 888-256-9850. Serious injury can result when untrained people attempt to hold or move these animals.”

At Kalapaki Beach native Hawaiians offered pules for the whales that stranded and it’s expected additional pule will be offered prior to their burial. Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho commented, “It was a very emotional scene this morning at Kalapaki, and it leaves us very heavy-hearted that we could not save all the whales. But at the same time, everyone on the beach pulled together with a sense of aloha to help the whales in a way that was respectful and professional. Mahalo to the state DLNR, the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Kaua‘i Marriott, and our responding personnel with the Kaua‘i Police Department, Kaua‘i Fire Department, Ocean Safety Bureau, and all the volunteers involved in the care, concern, and assistance of the whales.”

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point also is conducting fly-overs of Kalapaki Bay to further assess the situation, and look for any other stranded marine mammals. NOAA, DLNR and county representatives will continue monitoring the beach and the harbor through at least tomorrow in the event other whales become stranded on the beach.

Pilot whales are considered among the most social of all whale species. On the East Coast and in New Zealand hundreds of them have been known to become stranded on beaches at one time. Scientists believe their very close social connections may account for behavior that suggests when one member of the family gets sick or in trouble all the others will stick with them.

Response to Grounded Vessel Off Honolulu Continues

Responders continue work, Friday, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf.

Responders continue work, Oct. 12, 2017, to remove potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu, prior to the onset of larger swells and surf. The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides after removing about two thirds of the the fuel aboard. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Air Station Barbers Point/Released)

“We are working diligently with the salvage team and our partners to ensure a safe and deliberate response,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “The safety of the public and the environment remain our top priority. We have removed about two-thirds of the fuel aboard significantly reducing the pollution threat. Due to the tides and incoming weather we have transitioned to the towing evolution to take advantage of our best window for removal of the vessel prior to the arrival of stronger winds, surf and swells this weekend.”

The salvage team are surveying and rigging the vessel for tow to take advantage of favorable tides.

Roughly 3,000 gallons of fuel was removed by the salvage team before operations were suspended Thursday. Approximately 1,500 gallons remain.

Further assessment by the salvage team Thursday revealed the initial amount of fuel aboard to be 4,500 total gallons of diesel, less than previously reported. No pollution has been sighted in the water or on shore.

A safety zone remains in effect around the vessel extending out 500 yards in all directions from position 21-15.69N 157-49.49W. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations.

Partners in the effort include personnel in several divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party, commercial salvors and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Weather conditions in the vicinity of the vessel are 11 mph with waves of up to 3 feet with a long south southwest swell. Rain showers are possible. These conditions are expected to degrade through the weekend. Weather for Oahu is forecast as 25 mph winds with wind waves to 6 feet, but the vessel is somewhat sheltered from the wind by Diamond Head as it’s on the south shore of Oahu.

The Pacific Paradise is a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports that the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. The cause of the grounding is under investigation.

UH Hilo Interns Join Scientists on Marine Research Expedition

Two interns from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Option Program (MOP) have recently returned from a 25-day expedition to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where they took part in the 2017 Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) cruise conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

School of bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) and a NMFS PIFSC CRED diver conducting fish counts at Swains Island, American Samoa, as part of the Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (Pacific RAMP). NOAA photo by Ben Ruttenburg of NMFS SEFSC.

UH Hilo’s Roseanna (Rosie) Lee and Keelee Martin were joined by UH Mānoa MOP intern Colton Johnson aboard the Research Vessel Hi’ialakai on the journey to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM), where they worked alongside regular NOAA divers as full members of survey crews, conducting Rapid Ecological Assessments (REAs) of reef fish, corals and non-coral invertebrates. Their work was guided by NOAA scientists and researchers from Papahānaumokuākea, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research and UH Hilo.

The survey crews visited Lehua, French Frigate Shoals, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll within Papahānaumokuākea to conduct their various activities. The results of their research will help scientists gain a better understanding of the health of coral reef ecosystems throughout the archipelago.

Martin worked on the benthic (sea floor) team that counted, measured and assessed the health of the coral reefs, which are home to over 7,000 marine species. She said the experience made her a better diver, scientist and team player.

“This was a humbling and gratifying opportunity that allowed me to work in an area few people will ever see alongside acclaimed scientists mentoring me the whole way through,” Martin said.

Lee was assigned to the fish survey team, whose work included identifying, counting, and sizing fish for set intervals of time and taking photographs of their habitat. She is now a far more confident researcher and scientific diver.

“The kind of experience you get by jumping into the field and actually getting to do the same work as the established scientists you are working with is a learning experience you can’t get any other way,” Lee said.

Their work drew praise from the scientific leads on their respective teams, who both predicted amazing futures for the interns. REA fish team head Jason Leonard said Lee and Johnson “both performed at very high levels of professionalism and overcame obstacles.” Benthic team leader Stephen Matadobra said of Martin “her excitement and enthusiasm to be in the Monument and collect data gave the team a positive mood every morning.”

Martin, who graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science, a minor in English and a MOP certificate, wants to become a science writer. Lee, a senior, seeking a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science and a MOP certificate, is still considering her career path.

The UH Hilo internships are made possible through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the NOAA PMNM Division and are available to MOP students who complete the two-week field SCUBA diving course QUEST (Quantitative Underwater Ecological Surveying Techniques). The agreement provides funding to hire up to four students each year to work on the RAMP cruises. Lisa Parr, Instructor of Marine Science, MOP Site Coordinator at UH Hilo, and Principal Investigator on the MOA says the research opportunities the program provides to work with established scientists on important research prepares the students well for careers in marine science.

“Our partnership with NOAA provides an invaluable opportunity for our students, who consistently receive outstanding reviews for their performance on the cruises, and we’re extremely proud of how well they represent UH Hilo, the Marine Option Program, and QUEST,” Parr said.

Additional information on the RAMP cruises is available at
https://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/cred/pacific_ramp.php. For more information on the UH Hilo internships with NOAA email lparr@hawaii.edu.

Responders Work to Remove Fuel, Vessel Grounded Off Honolulu

Responders are working to lighter all potential pollutants from the 79-foot fishing vessel Pacific Paradise currently aground off Honolulu.“The safety of the public is our primary concern as we work with our state partners and responsible party to address the potential pollution threat and salvage the vessel,” said Capt. Michael Long, commander, Coast Guard Sector Honolulu and captain of the port. “I want to thank our state and federal partners who worked with us to affect a safe rescue of the crew and continue to work with us on the response. The Coast Guard is also investigating the cause of the grounding.”

An incident management team has been established. The Coast Guard is working with the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response, the responsible party and commercial salvors to mitigate the potential pollution threat and salvage the vessel. The salvage team is stabilizing the vessel with anchors and will attempt to lighter the vessel fully before dark Wednesday with the intent to remove it from the reef during the next optimum high tide, currently forecast for late morning Thursday.

Approximately 8,000 gallons of diesel, 55 gallons of lube and hydraulic oils and four marine batteries are reported aboard.

A safety zone has been established and is being patrolled by Coast Guard crews. The vessel is about 1,000 feet offshore of Kaimana Beach. The zone extends 500 yards in all directions from position 21-15.69N 157-49.49W. The public is asked to remain clear of the safety zone to prevent injury or impact to operations.

The Coast Guard is working with NOAA’s marine mammal protection division, sanctuaries division, Office of Response and Restoration, NOAA Fisheries and DLNR to minimize impact to any marine mammals. DLNR’s divisions of Aquatic Resources, Boating and Ocean Recreation and the HEER and DOH are assisting in evaluating and minimizing risks to aquatic resources from the grounding and salvage operations and potential fuel spills. No marine mammals have been impacted. Coast Guard survey crews will walk to the beaches as an additional impact assessment tool.

Coast Guard response and Honolulu Fire Department crews rescued the master and 19 fishermen from the vessel late Tuesday night following reports the vessel grounded off Diamond Head near Kaimana Beach. The crew was released to Customs and Border Protection personnel for further action.
The Pacific Paradise a U.S.-flagged vessel and part of the Hawaii longline fleet homeported in Honolulu. The vessel’s last port of call was American Samoa and they were en route to the commercial port of Honolulu. No injuries or pollution are reported. Weather at the time of the incident was not a factor.

Two-Month Repair Work on Akaka Falls State Park Trail Gets Underway

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks has begun repair work to the 0.4-mile loop trail at Akaka Falls State Park, necessitated due to accidental damage caused by earlier removal of invasive albizia trees in February this year.  Site Engineering was selected as contractor and cost estimate is $297,400. Work is expected to be completed in December.

Akaka Falls (DLNR Photo)

Initial repair work began last week on the longer trail section that is to the right of the loop trail starting point that was closed after the damage. Workers are removing and repairing damaged concrete walkways and steps, and replacing railings

From October 16 – 20 the park will be completely closed for work on the shorter, left side of the trail to the Akaka Falls lookout.  Hopefully this will be the only time the park will need to be closed. If additional closure is needed, an announcement will be posted on the Division of State Parks website and in local news media.

Aside from the closure dates of October 16-20, access to the Akaka Falls lookout area may be interrupted along the shorter, open walkway path, due to equipment and/or material transport to the damaged areas.

The park offers a pleasant family walk through lush tropical vegetation to scenic vista points overlooking the cascading Kahuna Falls and the free-falling ‘Akaka Falls, which plunges 442 feet into a stream-eroded gorge. It requires some physical exertion and will take about 1/2 hour for the full loop.

The paved route, which includes multiple steps in places (not wheelchair accessible), makes an easy to follow loop offering stunning viewpoints of the two waterfalls. To view ‘Akaka Falls only, take the path to the left (south) from the first junction. The waterfall view is just a short walk down the path. For more information see http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/hiking/hawaii/akaka-falls-loop-trail/