Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Economic impacts of the shutdown of national parks, including Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, on surrounding communities are documented in a new report. Photo by Julia Neal
THIS IS HAWAI`I INVASIVE SPECIES AWARENESS WEEK, promoting information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawai`i State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawai`i’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawai`i’s people.” Several bills regarding invasive species are still alive at the state Legislature.
Bills to battle the coffee berry borer and other invasive species
are still alive at the state Legislature.
Photo by Peggy Greb/USDA Ag Research Service
      House Bill 1514 would appropriate moneys for mitigation of, and education relating to, the coffee berry borer. It would establish a pesticide subsidy program for the purchase of pesticides containing Beauvaria bassiana to combat the borer.
      Senate Bill 2343 would appropriate $5 million to Hawai`i Invasive Species Council for invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research and planning.
      Senate Bill 2920 would allocate an as-yet unspecified appropriation for a pilot program in Hawai`i County to research solutions for addressing the little fire ant threat in the state.
      Senate Bill 2347 would require nursery stock that is infested with certain pests to be treated for eradication of pests before sale or transport of nursery stock from one island to another island within the state or intraisland.
      House Bill 1994 which would regulate the movement of nursery materials and establish civil fines for those transporting coqui or little fire ants to other counties.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK experienced a 35 percent decrease in visitation in Oct. 2013, compared to an average of visitation in the previous three Octobers, due to the 16-day federal government shutdown that closed the park. The decrease resulted in a $2.9 million loss in visitor spending in surrounding communities, according to a recently released report.
Visitors had to bypass Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
during October's federal government shutdown.
Photo by Julia Neal
       Gateway communities near forty-five national parks experienced a loss of more than $2 million in NPS-related October visitor spending, and a 7.88 million decline in overall NPS October visitation resulted in a loss of $414 million NPS visitor spending within gateway communities across the country.
      The report is available at nature.nps.gov/socialscience-/docs/Economic2013Shutdown-Report_Final_nrss_VSE.pdf.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

NEW RULES REGARDING PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEMS may help more homeowners connect to the grid and lower their utility bills, as well as increase the number of solar installations.
      Hawaiian Electric Co. changed the way it allows solar energy to connect to the electrical grid in September, preventing many homeowners who had installed PV systems from connecting to the grid.
      The utility said the changes were necessary to ensure the safety and reliability of rooftop solar, into the grid.
      Pacific Business News reports that HECO has issued new rules that address safety and reliability concerns on circuits with high amounts of PV.
      The rules call for PV projects to include mitigation for “transient overvoltage,” or a voltage spike, which could lead to a power surge.
      “Existing inverter functionality” and installation of an electronic transfer switch can mitigate spikes, according to the story.
      “For circuits on which back flow is monitored, interconnections will be allowed to happen above 120 percent as long as transient overvoltage mitigation is included, but on unmonitored circuits, it stays at 120 percent until monitoring is installed and potentially reveals that there is more space,” reports Duane Shimogawa.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE CURRENT ISSUE OF VOLCANO WATCH discusses the inner workings of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s seismic lab: 
      “When a large earthquake occurs, HVO staff members do what everyone should do — drop, cover, and hold on! As the shaking occurs, we can see the earthquake waves ring through the seismic network. The data are automatically collected and processed within seconds of the earthquake, and the first automatic earthquake location and magnitude are available about three minutes after the event. About a minute later, our automated earthquake location and magnitude are posted on the HVO website and transferred to the National Earthquake Information Center.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's seismic lab has seen many changes since
the days of the Whitney Vault, seen here with Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger
 as founder Thomas Jaggar. Photo from KDEN
      “Prior to the first release of earthquake information, the HVO seismic team assembles to wait for the results, after which they must follow up on several tasks, depending on the location of the earthquake and the size (magnitude) of the event.
      “By about the three-minute mark, our partners at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center have also calculated a location and magnitude, which assist them in assessing the tsunami hazard from the earthquake. Because PTWC operates on a 24/7 schedule, the calculations can be quickly reviewed by a seismologist prior to public release. They are then plotted on our website if our automatic solution has not already been posted.
      “HVO’s automatic processing can be quite good, especially if an earthquake occurs in a densely instrumented area of the seismic network, such as the south flank of Kilauea. The automated processing is not as good, however, in areas where seismometers are sparse, such as in off-shore locations. In any case, however, an analyst must review the event and refine the location and magnitude to correct any errors made by the computer when the event was first recorded. The result is a ‘reviewed solution,’ which is always more precise than the initial automatic location and magnitude.
      “During regular business hours, when the HVO staff are on hand, a reviewed solution for a large earthquake can be completed in as little as 20 minutes. But after business hours and during weekends and holidays, the ‘duty seismologist’ might take far longer to analyze an earthquake due to a slower internet connection at home or, especially, the need to find one if that person is not at home.
      “With more time for analysis following the initial quick assessment of an earthquake, more sophisticated (and time-consuming) calculations become possible. Since many stations around Hawai`i send data only when they detect a large event, data arrival time may be several minutes. The additional information generated is then included on a ‘Shakemap,’ a map of instrument-measured shaking. Using the additional data, we might also recalculate the location and magnitude of the earthquake and release an update. Each update in earthquake location or magnitude is reflected on the HVO and NEIC websites within minutes of being released and may result in a small shift in either location or magnitude or both.
      “Once the seismological calculations are completed, HVO issues a news release that includes information about what happened, how the event compares to other earthquakes in history, what caused it, and what people can expect going forward. We have found this process to be the best way to convey the correct information to the media, which, in turn, is disseminated to the public. Once the release goes public, we stand by to answer questions from the media. Then we wait for the next ‘big one.’”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

USGS HVO scientist-in-charge Jim Kauahikaua
HIGHER EDUCATION ASSISTANCE is available tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Na`alehu United Methodist Church when Kamehameha Schools representatives meet with students who want to pursue education beyond high school and families who want help with summer program applications and more information about resources. Call 935-0116.

USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY scientists Jim Kauahikaua and Janet Babb discuss the origin and history of lava flows along Highways 11 and 190, and recount the stories of people impacted by the eruptions that created the volcanic landscape at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.

WANT TO LEARN JAPANESE? Class is held Wednesday at 4 p.m., at Na`alehu Hongwanji. Space is limited. Contact Maiki at 989- 4259 or hawaiiislandlife@gmail.com.

See the March issue of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper online at kaucalendar.com.


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