Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, April 8, 2015

An endemic nene feeds on indigenous naupaka kahakai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Public registration is now open for the two-day BioBlitz species count in the park next month. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
WHETHER TAX BREAKS WOULD BE for any Ka`u residents is unclear under a bill in the state Legislature that seeks to reduce the financial burden to homeowners who are hooking up to sewage treatment systems. Homes in Pahala and Na`alehu that are served by old plantation gang cesspools are in neighborhoods where owners will be required to pay to hook up to new county sewage systems once they are built. However, the bill as written gives priority for tax credits to owners of houses whose cesspools affect public drinking water wells or are within 200 feet of shorelines, streams and wetlands. Both Na`alehu and Pahala are far way from the ocean and Pahala`s well and drinking water tank are above the town.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      The Senate Ways & Means Committee approved HB 1140 yesterday. According to Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today, Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman, a member of the committee, said he supports the tax credit being given in cases where the state mandates conversion. However, Ruderman expressed concern about placing the burden to upgrade sewage treatment on his Puna constituents right now. “The fact it affects Puna so much and it’s been such a difficult year, I have real concerns,” he said. “Long range, it’s the right thing.” The EPA requires many cesspools to be switched to expensive septic systems or sewer systems.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DEPARTMENT OF LAND & NATURAL RESOURCES chair nominee Suzanne Case gave an idea of what it could mean to have the DLNR run by someone who comes to the job with a strong conservation ethic. In an interview with Pacific Business News reporter Duane Shimogawa, published this morning, Case, nominated yesterday by Gov. David Ige to oversee state lands, told PBN, “I view DLNR work as important to the state to protect our natural and historical resources.”
The Nature Conservancy Executive Director Suzanne Case, at right
is Gov. David Ige's nominee to head DLNR. Photo from TNC
     She also told Shimogawa, “I think, generally, the important areas of focus are stewardship of our natural and historical resources... . We need to make sure that our public and conservation lands and waters are properly set for success for future generations.”
      Case has worked with The Nature Conservancy for 28 years. The organization has its Big Island offices in Ka`u and manages the Kamehame hawksbill turtle nesting area, Kaiholena and other preserves in this and other districts. TNC has worked closely with DLNR on various endangered species, resource protection and invasive species projects in Ka`u.
      A hearing on her confirmation before the Senate Water and Land Committee is expected next week.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THIRTY METER TELESCOPE OFFICIALS have addressed what they call inaccurate claims that have been made recently. Construction at the summit of Mauna Kea is on hold while Gov. David Ige discusses the situation with officials from University of Hawai`i and Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Protesters have been blocking access by construction workers, and 31 of them were recently arrested. 
A group of sign wavers opposing the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea
interacted with motorists along Hwy 11 below Pahala yesterday.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “The most common (inaccurate claim) is that TMT is a danger to the Maunakea aquifer and drinking water on Hawai`i Island,” TMT officials stated. “Comprehensive research by expert hydrologists confirms that TMT and the existing 13 telescopes pose no such danger.   Furthermore, TMT is designed to be a zero waste discharge facility with all waste securely transported off the summit. There is also very little precipitation above 8,000 feet, and the observatories are located well above that at the top of Maunakea at 14,000 feet. 
      “Another claim is that TMT did not meet the eight criteria for a conservation district use permit issued by the Hawai`i Board of Land & Natural Resources in 2011. The Third Circuit Court ruled that TMT did meet the criteria by being consistent with state laws governing the districts, not causing substantial adverse impact to existing natural resources, being compatible with the surrounding area, preserving the existing physical and environmental aspects, not subdividing or increasing the intensity of the land use and not being materially detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare. State regulations specifically identify astronomy as a permitted use in the Maunakea Science Reserve.”
      See tmt.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PUBLIC REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN for the National Park Service’s and National Geographic’s two-day BioBlitz species count, part of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Biodiversity & Cultural Festival on Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. 
      To be part of a scientist-led inventory team, participants must register online at nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz. Participation on inventory teams is limited, and spots will be filled on a first-come basis. Children ages eight and older, accompanied by adults, may participate in the free inventory opportunities.
Keiki examine insects with an entomologist in Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park. Photo from NPS
      Themed I ka nana no a `ike(By observing, one learns), the BioBlitz is part scientific endeavor, part outdoor classroom excursion and part celebration of biodiversity and culture. It will bring together more than 150 leading scientists and traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, more than 750 students and thousands from the general public. Together, they will be dispatched across the park’s 333,086 acres to explore and document the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rain forests of Kilauea volcano.
      “We are honored to host BioBlitz 2015,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “BioBlitz provides an unparalleled opportunity to work alongside leading scientists and cultural practitioners to discover, count and add to the park’s species list; to explore the interconnectedness of plants, animals, Hawaiian people and our daily lives; and to protect this amazing biodiversity and rich culture in our park.”
      In connection with the BioBlitz opportunity, the park is moving its 35th annual Cultural Festival from July to May this year and expanding it to include biodiversity. At the two-day festival, visitors will discover how native Hawaiians lived closely to the land as its stewards, embodying I ka nana no a `ike principles that continue today. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment, plus the opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and to learn how to join their efforts. The festival is free and open to the public.
      The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park BioBlitz is the ninth in a series of 10 BioBlitzes co-hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service at different national parks across the country, leading up the National Park Service centennial in 2016.
“Each year, the BioBlitz evolves,” said John Francis, National Geographic’s vice president of Research, Conservation and Exploration. “Last year we moved away from paper data sheets and used smartphones and the iNaturalist app to photograph, identify and map species finds, adding more detailed information to both Park Service and international species databases. This year, we are going to build on that and blend technology with Hawaiian culture. This exciting, holistic approach will enhance our appreciation for the amazing resources in this breathtaking park and establish a more complete model for scientific exploration in Hawai`i and around the globe.”
      A longtime partner of the National Park Service, the National Geographic Society helped draft legislation to establish the Service in 1916. It has given many grants to create and sustain national parks across the United States and has extensively covered the parks in its media for nearly a century.
      The BioBlitz program is the latest successful collaboration between the two partners. The first BioBlitz took place in 2007 at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Smaller-scale events take place throughout the year at various national parks across the country. For more information, see nature.nps.gov/biology/biodiversity/.
      To learn more about BioBlitz and the festival, see nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call 800-638-6400, ext. 6186. For more information about the park, see nps.gov/havo.
Halau Hula O Leonalani, with Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, dances at Punalu`u Beach
and will perform twice this week at Merrie Monarch. Photo by Julia Neal
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PAHALA HALAU AND MUSICIANS are headed for performances at Merrie Monarch Festival this week. Halau Hula O Leonalani, with Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, perform at Prince Kuhio Plaza during Merrie Monarch Festivities at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and again at Hilo Civic Auditorium on Saturday at noon. Pahala hula dancers are joined by their hula sisters from Okinawa, Otsu, Shiga, Japan and O`ahu. They are accompanied by Demetrius Oliveira and friends. Halau Hula O Leonalani will also perform Saturday, May 2 at the annual Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee’s meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. Agenda items include an update on the Na`alehu Park kiosk, communications from the state Scenic Byway Committee, location of proposed lava flow signs and concrete at overlook signs.
      For more information, email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net.

Keiki learn how to make `ohe kapala, Hawaiian bamboo stamps, with Park
Ranger Rebecca Carvalho. NPS Photo by Jay Robinso
STAFF FROM HAWAI`I PACIFIC PARKS ASSOCIATION share the traditional art of bamboo stamping tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

LEI MAKING DEMONSTRATIONS take place Friday in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai, Patti Kaula demonstrates a variety of traditional techniques including haku, kui, hipu`u and hilo styles.
      Master lei maker Randy Lee celebrates Merrie Monarch with lei making at Volcano Art Center Gallery from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf.

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April2015.pdf.

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