Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Visitors observe the erupting volcano from the safe overlook in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
NPS Photo

BUSTED, SNEAKING INTO THE ERUPTING VOLCANO's closed area at Halema'uma'u - A tour guide based in France and a tour group of 13 were caught early Monday in off-limits territory of the summit crater of Kīlauea volcano.
     National Park Service law enforcement officers spotted the group just after midnight, and issued citations for violating the terms of the closure to all 14 people. The tour guide was issued additional citations for operating a non-permitted business in the park and creating a hazardous condition. All 14 were escorted out of the park.
     The 44-year-old male tour guide, affiliated with the French tour company Adventure et Volcans, must make a mandatory court appearance and faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 and six months in jail. His name is being withheld as the investigation continues. The violation of closure citations are $100 each, with a $30 processing fee.
     "This is a serious violation," said Chief Ranger John Broward. "Areas surrounding Halema'uma'u Crater are closed because of extremely hazardous volcanic conditions that include high concentrations of toxic gases and particulates, ongoing volcanic explosions and frequent collapses of the crater walls," he said.
Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory provides a legal viewing area.
NPS Photo 
                 Explosions from Halema'uma'u can occur anytime, without warning. Last August, a summit explosion hurled a layer of volcanic rock, lava bombs and molten spatter nearly 300 feet beyond the crater rim, and covered an area about 720 feet wide along the rim. It destroyed the power system of a U.S. Geological Survey instrument that was used for scientific research and monitoring volcanic activity. Last October, two explosions blasted lava spatter, rock and glassy particulates a quarter mile from the crater to the closed portion of Crater Rim Drive. In November, spatter from another lava lake explosion damaged the cable on a USGS webcam located on the rim of the crater.
     Halema'uma'u Crater, a 4.7-mile section of Crater Rim Drive, and sections of the Halema'uma'u and Crater Rim trails, have been closed since the most recent summit eruption began in 2008.
     "Visitors need to be aware that, while much of the attention lately has been on the hazards of the 61g ocean entry at Kamokuna, the park staff remains very concerned about the ongoing hazards in the vicinity of Halema'uma'u," Chief Ranger Broward said. "Rangers will continue to monitor and take appropriate action to reduce the occurrence of risky behavior in both areas."
     Since July 2016, rangers have issued 35 citations for closure violations at Halema'uma'u, and nearly 100 citations at Kamokuna.

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Black-footed albatross practice their courting on Midway Island.
Photo by Eric VanderWerf/Pacific Rim Conservation
FIFTEEN THREE-WEEK-OLD BLACK-FOOTED ALABATROSS chicks made history by flying before they can fly. Before they could become victims to rising sea levels and storm surges, they were collected by conservationists, boxed and flown from Midway Atoll to Honolulu. They are now at their new home at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge, on the north shore of Oʻahu. Partners on the project to relocate the chicks include Pacific Rim Conservation, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
     The small, fluffy chicks are part of a pioneering effort to establish a new black-footed albatross colony on the main Hawaiian Islands. Black-footed albatross build nests on low-lying islands so are now at risk of losing their nesting habitat to encroaching waves.
Affectionately known as Gooney Birds, albatross can have wingspans up to 11 feet, and can weigh up to 22 lbs. The black-footed albatross, however, is smaller (with a wingspan of up to 7.2 feet) and has black plumage, a dark beak and dark feet.
The chicks safe at their temporary indoor home at
James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge.
        Photo by Lindsay Young/Pacific Rim Conservation
     “We are thrilled that the Refuge can provide a safe place and a new home for this species on Oʻahu,” said Joseph Schwagerl the Refuge Manager at the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge. “This translocation is the first step toward creating a new colony of black-footed albatross in the main Hawaiian Islands and ensuring the albatross will be protected for future generations.”
     Besides a few small colonies on volcanically active islands near Japan and one colony on the small islet of Lehua near Kauaʻi, black-footed albatross currently nest only on low-lying islands in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
     “We know that sea level rise and increased storm surges are a threat to this species, and many others,” said Eric VanderWerf of Pacific Rim Conservation. “We have an opportunity to do something to mitigate that threat now, before it becomes an emergency.”
     Midway Atoll, Laysan Island and Tern Island, which support 90 percent of the world's breeding population, all have very low elevations and are predicted to be highly susceptible to sea-level rise and storm surges in the coming century.
     “Midway Atoll is home to one of the largest black-footed albatross populations in the world. As conservation managers, it is important we use good science to evaluate other options that might protect these seabirds into the future,” said Midway Atoll Refuge and Memorial Project Leader Bob Peyton in a statement. “Refuges like Midway Atoll and James Campbell provide the healthy habitat that black-footed albatross, and other seabirds, need to thrive.”
A diet of fish and squid for black-footed albatross.
Photo by Eric VanderWerf/Pacific Rim Conservation
     The chosen translocation site at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is high enough that they are less at risk from rising sea-levels and increasing storm surges. Additionally, birds nesting within the predator-free enclosure will be protected from non-native predators that are common in the main islands such as mongooses, rats, and feral cats and dogs.
     The chicks are hand fed a diet of fish and squid and will be closely monitored by biologists for four to five months, until they are able to fly out to sea and feed themselves. Black-footed albatross chicks imprint on their birth colony at about one month of age and they will return to breed at the same colony as adults. By moving the chicks at this critical one-month period, they will imprint on their new home at the refuge. Then they will go out to sea and will stay there for the next four to five years. When they return as adults, to raise their own chicks, they will become the pioneers of a new colony.
     “We won’t know if this project works until they come back and breed at six to nine years old,” VanderWerf said. “They’ll probably pick a mate from the group they came from Midway with.”

Twenty-five more black-footed chicks will be flown in from Midway each year, for the next two years.
Chicks could be overwashed and perish
on low-lying islands with rising sea waters.
Photo by Pete Leary/U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
     The black-footed albatross mates for life. After fledging the birds return to the colony after about five years, and spend two years building nests, dancing and being with prospective mates, a behavior that probably evolved to ensure maximum trust between the birds. They will start reproducing after about seven years. Nests are simple depressions scraped in the sand, into which one egg is laid. The egg is incubated for about 65 days. Both birds incubate the egg, the male incubating more as the female leaves soon after hatching to recoup reserves used for egg-laying. The average time spent on incubating shifts is 18 days. However, mates can wait up to 38 days to be relieved, and if something happens to the mate the other has been recorded incubating for 49 days without food or water.
     The chick is brooded for 20 days by its parents, after which both parents leave the nest and return to feed the chick. The chick is fed regurgitated food by sticking its bill inside that of its parent. Fledging occurs after 140 days.
     The black-footed albatross is considered vulnerable because it is unintentionally killed by longline fishing. Instead of fishing with nets, fleets trail long lines from their ships – some lines can be over 60 miles long. Baited hooks are set at intervals, in order to snare large predatory fish, such as swordfish, tuna and halibut. But birds are also attracted to the bait, often with fatal consequences - especially for juvenile birds. An estimated 6,150 birds are killed each year by fishing fleets. It is also vulnerable to oil and ingestion of floating plastics, which reduces the space in the stomach available for food to be brought to the chick.

Scientific instruments to collect climate change
and air quality data on board Hawaiian
Airlines. Photo from IAGOS
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HAWAIIAN AIRLINES PLANS TO COLLECT CLIMATE CHANGE DATA, beginning in April, to become the first U.S. carrier to join an international scientific project with participating airlines worldwide. Hawaiian partnered with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) venture to equip one Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool that will collect data on air quality and climate throughout the airline’s network covering the Pacific, Asia and North America.
Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft, bearing registration N384HA, arrived at Honolulu International Airport in late February after spending weeks in Brisbane, Australia, where technicians installed IAGOS instruments under its cockpit that will be attached to probes in the front-left fuselage. The probes will autonomously perform atmospheric air samples from take-off to landing and record key high-altitude greenhouse gas measurements. They will also retrieve information about icing conditions that may be useful in aircraft safety studies. The system is expected to be operational following FAA certification.
“We are honored to lend our support to IAGOS and help assess the health of our atmosphere and measure climate change,” said Captain Ken Rewick, Hawaiian’s vice president of flight operations.
“We are excited to see Hawaiian Airlines becoming a partner in IAGOS. Instrumenting commercial airliners is a cutting-edge approach and cost-effective for obtaining large amounts of high quality data about our atmosphere,” said James Butler, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Monitoring Division, and chairman of the IAGOS Science Advisory Board. “Scientists around the world will increasingly use data from IAGOS flights to help improve weather forecasts, climate models, and our overall understanding of the Earth system. This is a great step forward for science.” Scientists expect Hawaiian’s system to produce valuable metrics thanks to the carrier’s unique central Pacific location and network of non-stop flights extending from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa,
Probes on Hawaiian Airlines plane that will sample
the atmosphere and share the data with scientist.
Photo from IAGOS
and Tahiti in the South Pacific, to China, South Korea, Japan and the United States (including ten western U.S. gateways and New York) in the North Pacific. According to IAGOS, commercial aircraft are uniquely positioned to collect highly relevant observations on a scale and in numbers impossible to achieve via dedicated research aircraft or satellites. All information will be transmitted after each flight to the IAGOS data center in France and shared with the scientific community within a few weeks.
Based in Brussels, the European-funded IAGOS is a not-for-profit association whose members include leading research organizations, universities and weather services from Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The program observes atmospheric data to better understand transcontinental pollution and validate air quality and climate models. Its information is used by about 200 universities or institutes in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, India and China.
A statement from Hawaiian Airlines says the company's "participation in IAGOS aligns with the carrier’s ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment." Hawaiian is also investing in fuel efficient aircraft by adding 18 new A321neos to its fleet starting later this year. Last year, the airline also conducted two demonstration flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland using a series of gate-to-gate environmental best practices outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions. See more at iagos.org.

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KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BEAT PARKER SCHOOL Wednesday night in boys volleyball at the new Ka`u gym. In jayvee play Ka`u won the first 25-14 and 25-23. In varsity play, the Ka`u Trojans won, with 55-15, 25-14 and 28-4.

IN GIRLS SOFTBALL, KA`U HIGH lost to Waiakea on Tuesday at the Pahala ball field. the final score was Waiakea 17 and Ka`u 7. Outstanding Ka`u players were Sheri Freitas and Shailei Penera who each hit singles. Pitching for Ka`u were Lei Chun Galban and Kin In.
JAZZ IN THE FOREST, Saturday, March 11, Volcano Art Center. With Jean Pierre Thoma & The Jazztones. 967-8222

SUNDAY CLAY: High Fire, Sundays, March 12 – May 7, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. or 2:45 –5:45 p.m. at Volcano Art Center. $185/$166 VAC members plus $13 materials fee. 967-8222
KAUAHA`AO CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH in Waiohinu, will host a Turkey Dinner Fundraiser on Tuesday, March 28, from 4 p.m. -7pm. Plates can be either taken out or eaten at the church hall. There will be live entertainment during that time. Dinner plates are selling at $7 each plate, or 4 plates for $25. Plates will include: Kalua Turkey, Rice or Mash Potatoes, Butter Corn, Cake.

Church member are pre-selling tickets. To purchase a ticket, call 929-9997. Dinner plates can also be purchased at the fundraiser.


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