Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015

More than doubling the number of monk seals on the main Hawaiian Islands is the goal of a newly released draft management plan. This pup was born in Ka`u in 2013. Photo by Justin Viezbicke
KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN’S Steering Committee discussed alternatives for increasing access to small agricultural lots during its meeting Tuesday at Pahala Community Center. The committee will consider alternatives for the CDP’s final draft. 
      One alternative is changing State Land Use District designations from Agricultural to Rural. This would allow 1/2-acre lots, which are typically too small for viable ag lots. The draft Ka`u CDP Land Use Policy Map designates agricultural lands in Ka`u as areas to be preserved for agriculture and open space. According to Policy 39, development and construction in “Important Agricultural Land” and “Extensive Agriculture” areas shall be limited to agriculture, related economic infrastructure and cottage industries, renewable energy, open area recreational uses, and community facilities unless otherwise permitted by law.”
Map from draft Ka`u CDP identifies extensive and important ag lands in Ka`u.
      Another alternative is a change of zone and standard subdivision. A potential advantage is that farmers could own smaller lots for high-value crops and farm dwellings. Such actions could result in sprawl away from town infrastructure and services and decreased affordability due to expense of infrastructure and services, according to planning documents. This option opens up the possibility of losing ag land to “gentlemen estates,” increasing property values and taxes. The draft CDP calls for no rezone that increases allowable residential density, improvement of “farm dwelling” enforcement and updating tax incentives for ag land.
      Under farm subdivision, farm land is preserved and sprawl prevented, but farmers are not allowed to live on the property. Policy 44 of the draft CDP encourages farm subdivision.
      Creating agricultural parks is another option. Potential advantages are that farm land is preserved and sprawl is prevented, smaller lots could be leased for high-value crops, lots would be more affordable due to lack of infrastructure and property values and taxes would remain unchanged. However, farmers would not be able to live on the property. The draft CDP supports ag park development.
      Agricultural land trusts also preserve farm land and prevent sprawl while potentially creating land and dwelling equity in smaller lots and limiting impact on property values and taxes. A potential disadvantage listed in planning documents is the potential for village development away from town infrastructure and services. Policy 128 of the draft CDP states, “In those cases where agricultural land is of high value for particular markets in which Ka`u has a unique niche (e.g., coffee, macadamia nuts, grass-fed beef), the County should endeavor to protect that land for agricultural use and secure long-term tenure on that land for local farmers.”
      Ka`u News Briefs yesterday reported on a sixth alternative, subdivision or Planned Unit Development with water and/or road variances, using Moa`ula as an example.
      The Steering Committee holds another meeting Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center to discuss special permits and development there.
      See kaucdp.info for more information.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MAIN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS’ MONK SEAL population would more than double from the current 200 to 500 under a draft National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service draft management plan released this week. The plan calls for sufficient shoreline and marine habitat in the main Hawaiian Islands to support resting, pupping, molting, foraging and other natural behaviors of at least 500 monk seals. 
      The goal of at least 500 seals in the main Hawaiian Islands is one of the conditions in the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan (National Marine Fisheries Service 2007) to consider down-listing the monk seal species from endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.
      The Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (NMFS 2007) identifies and lists the overall threats to the species. However, to develop a comprehensive plan for management of seals in the main Hawaiian Islands, the new plan separately identified and analyzed the primary management and recovery challenges for this portion of the population. Through discussions with NOAA Fisheries biologists, agency partners, workshop and focus group participants, community organizations, nonprofit groups, educators, Native Hawaiian focus group participants and the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Team authors identified the following priority management and recovery challenges: infectious disease, fisheries interactions and entanglement, human-seal interactions, habitat threats and human dimensions, which the plan defines as management capacity, communication and community engagement, and public knowledge and attitudes that influence every aspect of monk seal recovery.
      The plan lays out management strategies for each challenge. They include identifying sick or injured seals and reducing risk of disease, education and outreach programs, improved communication with fishermen, more effective community management and volunteer participation.
      The intended time frame for implementing the Main Hawaiian Islands Monk Seal Management Plan is five years. Many of the activities in the plan are large-scale, so while some level of implementation may be possible under current circumstances, full implementation will likely require additional resources and partnerships.
      Approximately 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals exist, with most of them living in the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The species was listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1976.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hilda is now a tropical depression, continuing to weaken as the storm
passes south of Hawai`i Island. Map from NOAA
HILDA HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED to a tropical depression and will pass far enough to the south of Hawai`i to avoid any wind impacts. However, the associated moisture plume north of the system may trigger heavy rainfall over portions of the state, especially over the Big Island. 
      A flash flood watch is in effect for Ka`u through 6 a.m. Saturday. Storm total rainfall amounts of four to eight inches with local amounts up to 12 inches are possible. Highest amounts are expected to occur along east and southeast facing slopes.
      At 11 a.m., the storm was almost directly south of the eastern edge of Hawai`i Island.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

CHANGES IN NEW DIGITAL FLOOD Insurance Rate Maps for Ka`u and Hawai`i County are on the agendas of public information meetings next week. Doors are open from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with presentations from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 17 at Aupuni Center in Hilo and Tuesday, Aug. 18 at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona.
      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA is nearing the end of a multi-year effort to update and modernize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Hawai`i County. The updated maps will help community officials and local residents better identify known flood risks, and when finalized, will be used for flood insurance, land use and development decisions.
      Flooding is one of the major natural disasters in the United States. These maps can help residents make informed decisions about flood insurance options and flood protection measures.
Ka`u and South Kona residents can learn about new flood insurances maps
next week. Photo by Kaiali`i Kahele
      The preliminary FIRM maps serve to revise and update information on existence and severity of flood hazards in Hawai`i County. The revised maps reflect the combined efforts of FEMA and Hawai`i County.
      The maps will be available for viewing beginning tomorrow at Hawai`i County Department of Public Works Engineering offices at either 101 Pauahi St., Suite 7 in Hilo, 961-8327; or 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Building D, 1st floor of West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona, 323-4850. They will also be available for online viewing on the State of Hawai`i’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat. To learn how to view the preliminary maps using FHAT, click on the tutorial link provided on the Hawai`i NFIP website www.hawaiinfip.org.
      Personnel from FEMA, DLNR and Hawai‘i County will be available to answer questions, concerns and provide information on the mapping timeline and appeals process.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE meets today at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. The public is invited. Email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net for more information.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Niaulani Campus features British artist Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop with host Elizabeth Miller this evening at 7 p.m. Participants can join a discussion and view some examples of Banksy’s art after the film.
      Call 967-8222 for more information.

Randy Lee teaches lei making tomorrow.
Photo from VAC
RANDY LEE TEACHES LEI MAKING tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Volcano Art Center Gallery’s front porch in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 
      Call 967-8222 for more information.

PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT PU`U O LOKUANA and enjoy an expansive view of lower Ka`u on a moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Kahuku unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Call 985-6011 for more information.

KUMU AB VALENCIA and Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu present Na Mea Hula (All Things Hula) on Volcano Art Center Gallery’s front porch in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and perform on the hula platform near the gallery from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Free; park entrance fees apply
      For more information, call 967-8222.


BUSINESS SPACE IS AVAILABLE for rent at the open location where Kama`aina Kuts and Styles by Elise are located in Na`alehu. Call Corrine at 937-1840 for more information.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_August2015.pdf.


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