Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Kaʻū News Briefs Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016

Scientists held a summit to plan the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, which threatens
Kaʻū's native forests. The fungus can kill a tree in a month or less.
Photo from College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources
AGAINST MORE MISSILES FOR SYRIA, Kaʻu’s Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard voted yesterday against the FY17 National Defense Authorization Act. She said: “This bill contains the same deeply concerning and dangerous Syria train and equip measures that I’ve fought against since the program's inception.
     “First, it creates the potential for dangerous ground-to-air missiles getting in the hands of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. Several months ago, as this bill was being crafted, I and many of my colleagues voted for an amendment that would have prohibited the Department of Defense from transferring any Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems to fighters in Syria. In the wrong hands, these dangerous weapons are capable of shooting American planes out of the sky.
    “The final bill that passed today allows for the transfer of MANPADs, with some weak restrictions, which could allow terrorist groups to get a hold of them and use them against the United States and our allies," said Gabbard. See her statement at facebook.com.

KAʻŪ COFFEE GROWERS COOPERATIVE is throwing its support behind Miss Teen Kaʻū Jami Beck who is running for Miss Teen Hawaiʻi in Honolulu on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the Neil Blasdell Center’s Pikake Room at 5 p.m.
     Kaʻū Coffee Farmers Cooperative President Gloria Camba reminds everyone that online voting for Miss Photogenic in the Miss Teen Hawaiʻi contest takes place through Dec. 12 online. Vote at Facebook.com.
     Beck, a graduate of Kaʻū High School, won the swimsuit competition and tied for first in talent in the 2016 Miss Kaʻū Coffee pageant held at Kaʻū Coffee Mill.
     She is a youth ranger at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and interested in modeling and acting. She attends college at University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo with a major in administration of justice. She was born in Kaʻū and attended public school in Nāʻālehu and Pāhala. Her mother is Sharon Beck, principal of Kaʻū High & Elementary School, and former vice principal at Nāʻālehu School who started her teaching career in Pāhala. Jami Beck’s father is James Beck who works at Dorvin Leis Mechanical Contracting in Kona and has made the drive to work in Kona for more than two decades.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.
THE RAPID ʻŌHIʻA DEATH SUMMIT in Honolulu this week saw Kaʻū well represented in the fight against the fungus that is killing thousands of acres of native forest here. The meeting on Wednesday brought together front-line researchers, forest managers and policy makers who have worked since late 2014 to identify cause of the disease and how it spreads. Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death is devastating the native tree that is integral to the pristine forest life and watershed of Kaʻū. The disease has also led to a ban on exporting live ʻōhiʻa and its wood from this island.
     At the meeting, a new Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Strategic Response Plan was presented. It calls for funding of over $10 million for three years for “research, response, recommendations, outreach, and management strategies.” Rob Hauff, a forester with the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, explained, “The goal of this plan is to provide a road map that conveys what the situation is and where we need to go to manage this.” 
     The lead scientists in the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death on Hawaiʻi Island joined Gov. David Ige and other top policy makers for the first-ever Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit, at the Hawaii’i state Capitol Auditorium.

Locations where Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death has been found, as of November 18.   
     Speakers provided situation reports on the disease and presented the recently completed, strategic response plan to guide statewide response to this dire threat to Hawaiʻi’s most iconic tree species.
     This fungal disease Ceratocystis fimbriata has devastated more than 50,000 acres of ʻōhiʻa.
     Understanding the disease and how to prevent or slow further spread is a top priority of the executive branch. The governor, who provided the welcome and opening remarks said, “Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death has prompted the mobilization of several state and federal agencies and is a top priority for leading researchers who are learning more about this disease as they work to stop it from spreading.”
    The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit was open to the public, and included a presentation on the biocultural importance of ʻōhiʻa by Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon III, of The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi, which manages thousands of acres in Kaʻū. Gon explained that primary cultural underpinnings of ʻōhiʻa support the notion that it is the most significant cultural tree in Hawaiʻi. It is also considered the most important tree for the protection of Hawaiʻi’s forest watersheds.
     A panel of state and federal experts discussed and updated the latest research and management actions. Dr. Lisa Keith of the U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service explained, “The identification of the ceratocystis fungus used to take two-four weeks to confirm in the lab. We can now test very small samples of a tree’s DNA and determine within 24 hours if this fungus is killing it."
      “Unfortunately” she continued, “there is no silver bullet (for a treatment) and the science is important for informing management decisions.”
     Dr. Flint Hughes with the U.S. Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry painted a grim picture for the future of ʻōhiʻa forests if the disease continues unchecked. He said, “We currently have 52, one-quarter acre monitoring plots on Hawaiʻi island. These are in places where the fungus has killed trees and our data shows that 11 percent of the ʻōhiʻa, on average, in these plots, will die each year. In some areas the mortality has been 100 percent.”
The crown of the ʻōhiʻa tree can turn brown within days to weeks.
Photo from College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources
     Dr. Gordon Bennett of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is one of the researchers collaboratively investigating the linkage between non-native beetles and the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. He explained that these wood boring beetles are attracted to unhealthy trees and set up homes (galleries) in them. He and other researchers are looking at pest control and management strategies based on science. Bennett said, “We’re just starting in this area. It’s a new challenge.”
Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death is prompting a Strategic Response Plan
with a request for over $10 million in funding.
Photo from state Division of Forestry & Wildlife
   Dr. Greg Asner of Stanford University’s Carnegie Airborne Observatory detailed the use of laser guided imaging spectroscopy to produce 3D imaging that shows the size and precise location of trees to within six inches. He explained, “We’re trying to use this technology to look ahead in time. This technology even allows us to measure 15 different chemicals in tree foliage, which is like going to a doctor for a blood test.” Data from the 3D aerial surveys conducted in January of this year is currently being analyzed and results are expected to be available around the first of the year.
    The findings of Wednesday’s presenters earlier prompted a strict state Dept. of Agriculture quarantine against movement of all ʻōhiʻa wood, soil, and Metrosideros species plants and plant parts from Hawaiʻi Island to other islands. The state also publicized and distributed protocols to inform the public and forest users about steps to prevent spread of this disease (see www.rapidohiadeath.org).
   Hauff and Christy Martin of the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species organized the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit. Martin said, “This is the first time we’ve had all the principal players in the fight against this disease in one place, to provide background to decision-makers and the public. People are eager to understand what’s happening to ʻōhiʻa, and what more they can do.”
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Just before sunset Friday, Mauna Loa weather observatory
was covered with snow. Photo from NOAA
HEAVY RAINS FLOODED HWY 11 AT KAWA YESTERDAY, blocking access between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu. In Volcano, Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) and the Kahuku Unit at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park shut down with heavy rainfall and flash flooding. On Friday, the floor of Thurston Lava Tube flooded and rainwater covered the electrical conduit system. Park staff shut off the power and announced that visitor access is prohibited until further notice. With heavy snow, the summit of Mauna Loa remained closed to all day use and overnight camping. Closures remain in effect until it is safe to reopen. 
     Kahuku Unit,  usually open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, was closed for the day due to flooding and a road closure on Highway 11. Staff will reassess conditions today, and determine if Kahuku will open for the weekend.
     The summit closure is in effect above the Red Hill (Pu‘u‘ula‘ula) Cabin. Hikers can still obtain a backcountry permit to hike to and stay at Red Hill Cabin, but backcountry permits to areas above 10,000 feet are suspended and day hiking is prohibited. Hikers going to Red Hill will be advised during the permit process to proceed with caution and carry appropriate gear.
    “Park rangers will constantly monitor the roads and destinations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during this storm, and additional closures may be warranted,” said Chief Ranger John Broward.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

VOLCANO ACTIVITY UPDATES: Kīlauea’s summit lake exploded again early Friday morning for the second time this week. Both events were caused by large portions of the vent wall breaking away, without warning, and falling into the molten lava. 
At 6:58 a.m. yesterday, a large slab of the summit vent wall below HVO’s HMcam,
collapsed. Rocks falling into the lava lake triggered a small explosive event that 
bombarded the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with fragments of molten lava, similar to
Monday’s event. Rockfalls, explosions and SO2 emissions are why hazardous areas
are closed. See hvo.wr.usgs.gov
Image and video from USGS

     The falling rock stirred up the lava lake, causing it to explode – releasing clouds of gas and flinging hundreds of fragments of molten lava into the air. 
     Yesterday’s explosion at 6:58 a.m. happened when “a large slab of the summit vent wall, located directly below HVO’s web cam, collapsed,” according to USGS. The camera is located at the Jaggar Museum, overlooking the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, in the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The camera operates continuously so that events such as yesterday’s rockfall and explosion can be recorded for scientists to study, analyze and interpret.
     According to the USGS website: “Rocks falling into the lava lake triggered a small explosive event that bombarded the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater with spatter (fragments of molten lava), similar to Monday's (Nov. 28) event. These rockfalls and explosions, which occur without warning, in addition to sulfur dioxide gas emissions, are why this hazardous area remains closed.”
     The USGS also reported that Kīlauea continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone. This past week, the summit lava lake level varied between about 6.5 and 20 m (21–66 ft) below the vent rim. The 61g lava flow continued to enter the ocean near Kamokuna. On Dec. 1, a new breakout from the 61g vent area on the flank of Pu'u 'Ō'ō sent a small surface flow to the east, on top of existing 61g flows. The 61g lava flows do not pose an immediate threat to nearby communities.
     Mauna Loa is not erupting. During the past week, about a dozen small earthquakes occurred primarily northwest of the summit caldera at depths less than 5 km (3 mi). Deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone continues, with inflation occurring mainly in the southwestern part of the magma storage complex.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rockfall from the south wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater triggered  a small
explosive event in the summit lava lake on Nov. 28.The explosion
threw fragments of molten lava onto the rim of the crater, mostly
to the west of the former visitor overlook. The area has been closed
since 2008 due to ongoing volcanic hazards.
See video at hvo.wr.usgs.gov
BEST PRACTICES IN VOLCANO HAZARD ASSESSMENT is the subject of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist’s Volcano Watch this week:
    “There are more than 1500 active volcanoes on Earth. With many millions of people living and working in their shadows, developing ways to co-exist safely with potential volcanic threat is essential. To do so, those at risk need to know the type and severity of hazards they may face.
   “One of the primary jobs of volcanologists is to prepare evaluations or assessments of volcano hazards. This information – often in the form of maps and reports – is intended for use by a wide range of individuals and groups that would potentially be impacted by future volcanic activity or are responsible for planning and responding to eruptions. These include residents, emergency managers, land use planners, utility providers, and insurers.
   “In mid-November, 70 representatives of volcano observatories from 20 volcanically active nations around the world came together in Vancouver, Washington, to share techniques, lessons learned, and challenges faced in preparing effective, useful volcano hazard maps and analyses. This meeting was the third in a series of Volcano Observatory Best Practices workshops, and the first to be held in the United States.  
   “Sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the International Association of Volcanology and the Earth's Interior, the World Organization of Volcano Observatories, and the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica and Volcanologia, the four-day workshop featured formal presentations about volcano hazard assessments in Indonesia, Colombia, the Philippines, Ecuador, New Zealand, Iceland, Mexico, Italy, and the U.S.
Close-up of stream of lava stream entering the ocean at the front of
Kamokuna lava delta on Kīlauea's south flank, Nov. 30. The billowy
white plume formed by interaction of hot lava and seawater may look
harmless, but it is a mixture of superheated steam, hydrochloric acid,
and tiny shards of volcanic glass – all of which should be avoided.
USGS photo. Video at hvo.wr.usgs
    “Throughout the workshop, participants shared examples of hazard assessment products developed for specific volcanoes in their respective countries, and described the science behind the products and how they have been used. Not surprisingly, styles and approaches vary from country to country, but some commonalities emerged.
    “To create such assessments, volcanologists must determine what hazards are likely to affect a particular area. In order to answer this question, scientists must have a thorough understanding of a volcano’s past eruptive history and behavior. This understanding requires extensive and careful hvo.wr.usgs geologic studies of a volcano to completely characterize its style and frequency of activity.
     “Even further work is required to develop a conceptual model for how that volcano actually behaves over time, an effort that can take many years to complete. Not all volcano observatories have the necessary resources to conduct the detailed work that many in the scientific community consider absolutely essential. In those cases, early assessments must be done with the geologic information that is available, even if it is incomplete.
     “Other workshop presentations focused on tools for portraying volcano hazards. Increasingly, scientists are using mathematical models and modern computer graphics to simulate volcanic processes, such as lava flows or lahars (mudflows). These models can help people visualize areas that would likely be affected during a variety of eruption conditions. This approach is more quantitative and provides more detail, but models require assumptions that contain some degree of uncertainty.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist
Frank Trusdell (right) discusses methodologies for lava flow
hazard assessment in Hawaiʻi with a volcanology colleague
from Ethiopia during the Volcano Observatory Best
Practices Workshop in Vancouver, Washington. Eruptions
in the East African Rift bear some broad similarities to
Hawaiian volcano rift zone eruptions.
USGS photo
    “Another topic addressed in the workshop is how to ensure that users of hazard assessments understand the information provided in the assessments and know how to incorporate conclusions of the assessments into their decision-making process. Workshop participants agreed that engaging stakeholders prior to the creation of hazard assessments is critical to make certain that the resulting information is understandable and useful. Lively discussion ensued as colleagues gathered around several dozen posters displaying examples of hazard assessments from around the world.
   “A tangible outcome of the workshop will be a report identifying initial best practices for preparing volcano hazard assessments. The report can help guide scientists and their nation's policies as they complete this work. Closer to home, U.S. participants renewed their commitment to develop a plan to guide the ‘next generation’ of volcano hazard assessments for the highest priority volcanoes, including those in Hawaiʻi.”
     For information on the current long-term hazard assessment for Hawaiian volcanoes, see: hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pāhala Filipino Community Association takes part in Pāhala Christmas 
Parade each year on the second Sunday, Dec. 11 this year.

Photo by Julia Neal
CHRISTMAS DECORATION VOTING IS ON AT KĪLAUEA MILITARY CAMP. The stone cottages across from the parade field are decorated with lights and displays for Christmas. The public can stroll along the sidewalk with Christmas cottages lights and vote for best decorated units. Ballots for the voting are available at the front desk, KMC General Store, Crater Room Cafe, Lava Lounge and Bowling Alley. The competition is between groups of KMC staff members.

ALYSHA & PETE 3-ON-3 BASKETBALL WINTER JAM tournament will be held at the new Kaʻū District Gym, Dec. 9-11 with opportunities for adults and youth of all ages. Age groups are ten and under, 12 and under, 14 and under, boys, girls and co-ed. Men and women are also invited to compete. The tournament raises money to help fund Trojan Senior basketball players Pete Dacalio and Alysha Gustafson to travel to the mainland with coach Jen Makuakane to look at colleges who may provide them with sports scholarships. To donate, call Summer Dacalio at 498-7336, Pete Dacalio at 498-3518 or Alysha Gustafson at 339-0858.
Don Elwing’s depicting of a pair of ʻAlala
took third in woodworking.
Photo by Ann Bosted

PĀHALA’S CHRISTMAS PARADE welcomes community groups, churches, sports teams coffee farmers, classic vehicle drivers and more to travel through the village on Sunday, Dec. 11. The parade, in its 38th year, travels through the streets of Pāhala, with Santa and his helpers handing out candy to kids. A traditional stop is Kaʻū Hospital where long term patients come outdoors to see the decorated trucks cars and floats, marching groups and costumed characters. Participants begin gathering at the old Pāhala Armory at noon and the parade starts at 1 p.m. The parade ends at the Catholic Church on Pikake Street for refreshments. Organizer for almost four decades is Eddie Andrade. For more information, call Andrade at 928-0808.

FRIEND-RAISER IS NĀʻĀLEHU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S Winter Fest theme for Saturday. Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Make New Friends,” declares the poster, which also reports on opportunities to enjoy shave ice, drinks, hot dogs – all for $1. Games are 50 cents. Also featured is a bounce house, raffle, bake sale, splash booth, jail, face painting and information vendors. Winter Fest is sponsored by the Nāʻālehu School Council. Anyone wishing to donate prize items or make a monetary donation should contact Nāʻālehu Elementary vice-principal Christina Juan or student council adviser Amberly Keohuloa at 323-4000.

DEADLINE FOR THE DIRECTORY, to sign up for listings and advertising for businesses, community groups, churches and agencies is Dec. 15. The annual business and community resource guide is sponsored by Kaʻū Chamber of Commerce and produced by The Kaʻū Calendar. It includes photography and art by Kaʻū residents, a calendar of events, listings and feature stories including winners of the recent Beauty of Kaʻū art show, sponsored by the Chamber. Among the winners is Don Elwing’s  sculpture depicting of a  pair of ʻAlala , which took third in woodworking. The ʻAlala is the critcally endangered Hawaiian Crow.
     The Directory raises scholarship money for students from Kaʻū throughout their higher education in trades, college and university studies. Printed each January, 7,500 copies of The Directory are distributed throughout Kaʻū and Volcano. To sign up, contact geneveve.fyvie@gmail.com .

CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY holiday exhibit daily through Jan. 2 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Featured at Christmas in the Country is the 17th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit, with prizes awarded for the best wreaths. To participate, contact Emily Weiss at 967-8222 or gallery@volcanoartcenter.org. Free; park entrance fees apply.

                               AND   KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL
See www.kaucalendar.com

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