Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, June 23, 2015

`Ohi`a forests rising above  Ka'u ranch lands between Pahala and Na'alehu are threatened, but apparently not stricken by Rapid Ohia Death fungus, which can kill a tree in a week, an `Ohi`a stand in three years.
Photo from The Nature Conservancy by Rob Schallenberger
HAWAI`I’S `OHI`A FORESTS AND WATERSHEDS face a dire disease threat. The native forest, watersheds and plants and animals that depend on the canopy of `ohi`a lehua trees are at risk as a fungus spreads from Puna, where it already killed half the `ohi`a on 6,000 acres. Called `ohi`a wilt, the aggressive fungus clogs the tree’s vascular system. The `ohi`a dies of thirst in weeks. A stand of `ohi`a dies in three years.
      John Replogle, of The Nature Conservancy in Ka`u, attended a meeting in Honolulu last week where he said the pest was called Rapid `Ohi`a Death fungus. He said his team is very concerned and is taking many precautions. Contractors working on new Kaiholena fencing are using brand new equipment, from tools to boots, to “start clean.” Replogle said summer youth working for The Nature Conservancy under the Works Projects Administration program are taught to protect the forest. He said he “personally sprayed all their shoes to impress on them that this is serious.” He said The Nature Conservancy cleans all tools, shoes and vehicles with Lysol spray when moving from one forest to another.
Sam Ohu Gon III
Photo from The Nature Conservamcy
      Scientists are trying to figure out how to keep Rapid `Ohi`a Death fungus in Puna, away from adjacent Ka`u, location of some of the largest and most pristine native forests in Hawai`i. Sam Ohu Gon III, senior scientist for The Nature Conservancy, which manages some of the most intact native forests in Ka`u,  also urges anyone entering infected forests to clean vehicles, tires, boots and clothing before bringing them back to Ka`u.
      As with the coffee berry borer that threatens the Ka`u Coffee industry and the macadamia felted coccid that threatens Ka`u’s macadamia production, there is little agreement on how the `ohi`a tree killer reached the Big Island. Just like the coffee berry borer and macadamia pests, the `ohi`a fungus may have arrived to Hawai`i only a few years ago but could quickly take away what nature created eons ago.
      Flint Hughes, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, told Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Gary T. Kubota that `ohi`a make up 40 percent of native forest biomass. “A loss of `ohi`a would result in an utter transformation of our forests, not to mention the cultural importance of the trees,” Hughes said. “`Ohi`a really forms the foundation of our native forests. It’s the keystone species in terms of forest development.”
      The story explained that “unlike some alien trees that discourage ground cover by blocking sunlight or changing the chemistry of the soil, `ohi`a provides cover for many native plant species that in turn capture rain for Hawai`i’s watersheds.”
      “It’s our ultimate nurse tree for our native species,” Hughes told reporter Kubota.
      The fungus, Ceratocystis fimbriata, was identified as the cause of `ohi`a wilt late last year by Hawai`i-based Lisa Keith, a research plant pathologist with U.S. Department of Agriculture. She and her colleagues have determined that the fungus can spread in `ohi`a wood carried from one place to another to use for fires, fencing and other purposes. It can be carried from the soil around infected trees, and in insect excrement. There is a possibility that beetles and pigs are carriers, as well as humans walking and driving through an infected forest.
      See more at staradvertiser.com, civilbeat.com and environment-hawaii.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Renee Dufault
THE FOOD INGREDIENT AND HEALTH Research Institute is seeking twenty parents of learning-disabled children to participate in a web-based tutorial as part of a study to determine whether the curriculum can help families facilitate healthy dietary changes. Parents selected to participate in the tutorial will be randomly assigned to a test or control group. Those assigned to the test group will be required to participate in the first six-week tutorial session. Parents serving in the control group will be offered the opportunity to participate in the tutorial during the second session. Test and control group participants will be required to take an online diet survey at the same time before and after the first tutorial session. As each parent finishes participating in the tutorial, he or she will receive a stipend of $200 to offset any increased grocery costs that may occur as a result of dietary changes.
      Instruction for the tutorial is provided by Renee Dufault, a retired Food and Drug Administration Public Health Service officer and prominent researcher, who lives in Ka`u. Participants will receive a copy of Dufault’s book and instruction during the tutorial at no charge, she said.
      Prior to being selected to participate in the study, parents will be screened to determine their eligibility. Parents found eligible to participate in the study will be required to sign an informed consent form before starting the tutorial. Results of the study may be reported in a journal article, at a scientific meeting or through media. All participants will be assigned unique user identification numbers for logging on to the tutorial, and their identities will remain confidential.
      Interested parents may contact Dufault at rdufault@foodingredient.info for their eligibility screening appointment or visit foodingredient.info/parentnutritioncourse.html and fill out the interest form.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A beach cleanup station like this one
will be installed at Punalu`u.
Photo from All One Ocean
PUNALU`U BEACH CLEANUP STATION stewards are needed. All One Ocean has been granted permission from Hawai`i County to install a Beach Cleanup Station at Punalu`u. To date, the organization has installed 17 stations in the San Francisco Bay Area and one on Hawai`i Island at Hapuna Beach State Park. The stations are simple wooden boxes containing repurposed bags that provide a simple way for beach goers to pick up trash that threatens marine life while enjoying the beach.
      Each station has one or more dedicated stewards, community volunteers who care for, manage and help evaluate the station’s impact. Stewards commit to visiting the station approximately once every couple of weeks to maintain it and replenish the stock of reusable bags. Stewards also estimate usage of the station on each of their visits.
      Ka`u residents interested in becoming a steward and joining the All One Ocean team can contact Katie Strong at 415-933-9589 or katie@alloneocean.org.
      For more information, see alloneocean.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

GOV. DAVID IGE IS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., for The Washington Post’s Powering Cities forum today.
       The Washington Post invited Ige to speak about Hawai`i’s commitment to clean energy and generating 100 percent of its electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2045. Ige recently signed Act 097 into law, making Hawai`i the first state in the nation to set a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard for the electricity sector.
      Ige joins other elected officials, government innovators and business leaders at the one-day forum. Currently, the U.S. consumes the equivalent of 18 percent of the world’s total primary energy usage. Speakers discuss and debate policies and programs across the country related to clean energy, battery and energy storage, the grid, energy efficiency, innovations in oil and gas and more.
Gov. David Ige is participating in a forum sponsored by The Washington Post
today. Photo  from Office of the Governor
      The event is live-streamed through the governor’s website at governor.hawaii.gov. Video will also be available after the event.
      While in Washington, Ige will also meet with Hawai`i’s congressional delegation and various federal officials to discuss issues that include easing air access for international travelers to Hawai`i, renewable energy, affordable housing and the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress to be held in Hawai`i in next year.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U BOYS VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS succeeded on a national stage last weekend at the Southern California Volleyball Association annual tournament at Anaheim Convention Center. Emmett Enriques, of Punalu`u, joined top 18-year-old players from Hawai`i to take third in competition among more than 50 teams from around the country. Ka`u athletes Cameron Moses, Naia Makuakane and Adison and Avery Enriques played for their team that tied for ninth in the competition among 82 teams from around the U.S.
      The Ka`u volleyball standouts scrimmage this week with teams in San Diego and travel Thursday to Columbus, Ohio for the U.S.A. Boys Junior National Championships.
      Both events provide venues for college scouts, who talk to players, their coach Guy Enriques and parents. Ka`u’s outstanding players over the years have received numerous scholarship offers following participation on the national stage.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

John Keawe
JOHN KEAWE PRESENTS A TRIBUTE TO SLACK KEY at Na`alehu Public Library today at 3 p.m. Originally planned for last Thursday, the program was rescheduled due to a miscommunication, library manager Sara Kamibayashi said.
      For more information, call 939-2442.

THE TOPIC AT AFTER DARK IN THE PARK this evening is highly collaborative, large-scale endangered plant re-introduction efforts on Hawai`i Island. The program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      $2 donations support After Dark programs. Park entrance fees apply.

A MEN’S BASKETBALL LEAGUE is forming for the summer, starting in July with play at Ka`u High School Gym. Men of high-school age and older are invited to form teams and join the competition that take place Mondays and Thursdays starting at 6 p.m.
      Call Elijah Navarro at Pahala Community Center at 928-3102 or 430-9461. Sponsor is county Parks & Recreation.


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