Governor Abercrombie Releases $21.8 Million for Airports, Highways Statewide

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the release of more than $21.8 million for capital improvement projects (CIP) for state airports and highways that will further stimulate Hawaii’s improving economy and job environment.

“Our state’s economy is growing stronger, and it is important that we maintain this positive momentum by continuing to invest in priority capital improvement projects – particularly those maintaining and upgrading our transportation infrastructure, which is essential to island commerce, business, the visitor industry, and our way of life,” Gov. Abercrombie said, adding, “As I directed upon taking office, the state Department of Transportation is restructuring its procurement process and will ensure proper training and implementation of strong, centralized controls to meet standards required by law.”

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

Airports

  • $6,340,000 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Pavement reconstruction for Runway 4R to comply with applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements
Honolulu Airport

Honolulu Airport

  • $4,750,000 – Kahului Airport, Maui – Construction for repaving a portion of Runway 2-20 to comply with applicable FAA requirements
Kahalui Airport

Kahalui Airport

  • $2,700,000 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Construction to replace 12 passenger loading bridges at the Ewa Concourse
  • $1,250,000 – Kahului Airport, Maui – Planning funds to prepare technical studies and an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) related to proposed Runway 2-20 improvements
  • $1,075,400 – Honolulu International Airport, Oahu – Airfield lighting improvements for Runway 4L to comply with applicable FAA requirements
  • $100,000 – Kapalua Airport Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) Station Expansion, Maui – Additional construction to complete the station expansion with the addition of a two-bay garage and storage structure

Highways

  • $1,380,000 – Kuhio Highway Intersection Improvements, Kauai – Design and construction to improve traffic flow and safety in the area by widening the intersection and creating left-turn storage lanes at the intersection of Kuhio Highway and Kapaka Street
Kuhio Highway

Kuhio Highway

  •  $1,150,000 – Statewide Planning and Research Program, Fiscal Year 2013 – Planning and research activities related to the development, management and operation of transportation systems and facilities in the state (Highway planning and research is a prerequisite to continued receipt of federal highway funds)
  • $1,019,000 – Kekaulike Avenue Drainage Improvements, Maui – Construction to improve the drainage capacity by installing an underground drainage system along the mauka shoulder, as well as acquisition of land for a drainage easement parcel and the rental of two construction easements
  • $944,000 – Castle Hills Access Road (Phase 2), Oahu – Improvements to stabilize the streambanks and construct erosion control facilities along Kapunahala Stream in the vicinity of Pookela Street
  • $400,000 – Freeway Management System (Phase 2), Oahu – Design activities, including the preparation of plans, specifications and estimates for the purpose of deploying equipment and hardware such as closed-caption television cameras, variable message signs, vehicle detectors (sensors), and license plate readers to provide data on speeds and travel time
CCTV's

CCTV’s

  • $395,000 – Statewide Bridge Inspection and Appraisal, Fiscal Year 2013 – Planning for the bridge inspection and appraisal program to determine bridge needs and the prioritization of those needs
  • $310,000 – Kalanianaole Highway Drainage Improvements, Oahu – Design for a new drainage system to address flooding in the vicinity of Wailupe Place

 

National Park Service Releases Final Plan & EIS for Protecting and Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-Native Ungulates

The National Park Service (NPS) has released a Final Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (plan/EIS) for Protecting and Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-Native Ungulates in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Volcanoe EIS

The plan provides a park-wide framework to systematically guide non-native ungulate management activities in a manner that supports long-term ecosystem protection, supports natural ecosystem recovery and provides desirable conditions for active ecosystem restoration. It also supports protection and preservation of cultural resources.

The NPS’s preferred alternative includes a progression of management phases, monitoring, and considerations for the use of management tools; a population objective of zero non-native ungulates, or as low as practicable, in managed areas; complete boundary fencing for Kahuku and ‘Ōla‘a rainforest; and potential use of localized internal fencing to assist in the control of non-native ungulates. Control techniques would be primarily lethal, but non-lethal techniques could also be considered. Volunteer programs would continue, but modifications would be required for lethal removal programs to meet current NPS practices.

The plan/EIS is available online: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo_ecosystem_feis. After a required 30-day waiting period following release of the plan/EIS, the NPS will finalize its choice of alternative in a record of decision.

 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Seeks Comments on Draft Plan and EIS

The National Park Service is pleased to announce the availability of the draft plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement  (DEIS) aimed at protecting and restoring native ecosystems by managing non-native ungulates (hoofed mammals) within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

The purpose of the draft plan/DEIS is to develop a comprehensive and systematic framework for managing non-native ungulates that supports long-term ecosystem protection, promotes recovery and restoration of native vegetation and other natural resources, and protects and preserves cultural resources.

Endangered plants such as this Ka‘ū silversword, thrive in ungulate-free areas (NPS photo)

A copy of the draft plan/DEIS is available for review and download online at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/havo_ecosystem_deis.  Hard copies of the draft plan/DEIS are also available for review at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center, and state public libraries on the Island of Hawai‘i.  A limited number of CDs and hard copies may be obtained by calling the park Superintendent’s office at (808) 985-6026. The project website for Protecting & Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-Native Ungulates Plan/EIS is at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/havo.

Hawai‘i supports a rich diversity of native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world.  Many of these unique species are rare and in danger of becoming extinct.  Ungulates are an issue of concern because Hawaiian ecosystems evolved without large mammalian herbivores and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of non-native ungulates.

Non-native goats, pigs, sheep, mouflon sheep, axis deer and cattle destroy habitat, degrade watershed, inhibit native forest regeneration, cause loss of sensitive native species (including state and federally listed threatened and endangered species), and have potential to damage archeological sites and cultural landscapes.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes provides habitat for more than 50 native species that are federally listed as threatened, endangered, or are candidates for either list. Among these are the Ka‘ū silversword, Hawai‘i creeper, and nēnē.

The park has actively managed non-native ungulates since the 1920s, allowing for the recovery of native species in many areas of the park.  The park’s current EIS addressing ungulate control is more than 30 years old. The new plan/EIS will provide a park-wide framework to guide non-native ungulate management activities over the next decades that considers the recently acquired Kahuku unit, new invasive species challenges, and current NPS policy and guidance.  Using the initial comments received by the public and incorporating input from a team of scientists, the National Park Service has developed a range of management alternatives.  The no action and four action alternatives were analyzed for impacts on natural and cultural resources and the broader human environment, and the analysis is included in the draft plan/EIS now available for public comment.

The public is encouraged to comment by attending upcoming public open house meetings, or by submitting written comments electronically on the project website, or by mail.

Three public open house meetings are scheduled on the Island of Hawai‘i: Mon., Dec. 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center, Tues., Dec. 6 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Nā‘ālehu Community Center, and Wed., Dec. 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kona Outdoor Circle Educational Center. The meetings will include various small stations where NPS staff will be available to answer questions and record comments. Directions to these locations are posted on the project website.

Written comments can be submitted at http://www.parkplanning.nps.gov/havo_ecosystem_deis or by mailing correspondence to: Cindy Orlando, Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, PO Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718.

All written responses must be postmarked or transmitted no later than midnight MST (8 p.m. HST), Jan. 20, 2012.