Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015

Portions of the Ka`u Coast are critical monk seal habitat under new federal rules. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COAST SHORELINE SETBACKS continue to be undecided in the Ka`u Community Development Plan. After much input from residents and discussion among CDP Steering Committee members last night, members voted on a motion regarding setbacks, but it did not receive a necessary majority. According to CDP documents, “the affirmative vote of a majority of voting members shall be necessary to take any action.”
Ka`u residents discuss options regarding shoreline setbacks with Ka`u CDP
Steering Committee members. Photo by Nalani Parlin
      Members present voted on a motion by Michelle Galimba to place the setback at a minimum of 1/4-mile or a distance determined by a science-based assessment. Galimba made an exception of Punalu`u, where the distance would be determined with community input, she said. Galimba said the policy is still open for more discussion and that her motion was to help the process “move forward.”
      The majority of residents at the meeting testified in favor of some form of setback. Retired oceanographer Phil Sharkey said he presently cannot access areas at Pohue Bay to research hawksbill turtles.
      Lehua Lopez Mau said almost everyone she has spoken with approves setbacks and that plans by Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo for pavilions and a small structure at Honu`apo would be acceptable under the CDP.
      John Replogle said he was speaking for the “fish, reefs and people yet to come” to Ka`u. He said he spoke to many people who favor setbacks, which would “keep Ka`u their place” where they can walk on the coastline, unlike other shores in the state. He said he recognized that some residents are against setbacks, but, “in the end, it will be good, and they will be happy.”
      Chris Manfredi said he does not support houses on the Ka`u Coast but questions the CDP’s definition of development. “The devil is in the details,” he said. He said setbacks could affect parks, trails and other public uses.
      Guy Enriques questioned the appropriateness of setbacks, especially at Punalu`u, where past nearshore development has provided employment for local residents. “We have some opportunities here to do some really good things,” he said. Enriques favored site-specific setbacks that would be individual to different locations rather than a “blanket” setback for the entire Ka`u Coast.
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A system in the Central Pacific could become a tropical depression.
Map from NOAA
AS HURRICANE SEASON CONTINUES, a broad area of nearly stationary low pressure about 915 miles south-southeast of Hilo could slowly develop into a tropical depression during the next couple of days. According to Central Pacific Hurricane Center, formation chance is 60 percent. 
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THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS INCORPORATED input from Hawai`i into new rules aimed at further protection for the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal by focusing protection on areas most important for foraging, pupping and resting, including some portions of the Ka`u Coast. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Services recently finalized the rule that identifies coastal areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands as critical habitat. This was in response to a petition by a local advocacy group, KAHEA, the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance and two other environmental organizations. Hawaiian monk seals face extinction and are one of most endangered marine mammals in the world with about 200 monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands.
      “Hawai`i has a responsibility to protect our natural and cultural heritage, Department of Land & Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case said. “A part of that is making sure that our very special, unique, native Hawaiian monk seals have safe places to thrive. It is a shared responsibility among the people, the state and the federal government. Monk seals are protected under state and federal law even without critical habitat, and this habitat rule will not impact most activities, like swimming, surfing, boating, fishing and gathering.
This monk seal was born in Ka`u in 2013. Photo by Julie Steelman
      “We look forward to enhanced state and federal co-management of monk seals throughout Hawai`i. Critical habitat helps manage federal activities to avoid habitat destruction. Most fishermen and other ocean users will never even notice this rule has been implemented. Critical habitat designation is an important tool in the larger effort to recover this valued native species, found nowhere else in the world.”
      While the final critical habitat rule identifies areas on most of the Main Hawaiian Islands, NOAA reduced the area from its initial proposal. Marine water protections have also been tailored to include the key for aging depths on the sea floor, rather than all surface waters. Activities most likely to require some modifications include dredging, coastal construction, water pollution permits and military activities.
      A resolution adopted unanimously by the Legislature this year directs DLNR to strengthen rules governing protection of indigenous marine wildlife, particularly spinner dolphins, marine mammals and sea turtles and to increase collaboration with federal partners on rules related to spinner dolphins, marine mammals and sea turtles.
      Critical habitat designation does not make lands federal, restrict public access or forbid activities or developments. It identifies areas where federal government projects must give extra consideration and minimize destruction and degradation of the coast.
      “Protecting coastal and marine habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal is also good for Hawai`i’s people, culture and economy,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawai`i. “The critical habitat rule does not restrict public access — people can still swim, surf, snorkel, fish and gather.”
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Ocean View resident and math and science enthusiast Madalyn McWhite-Lamson
 urges Ka`u fifth-grade girls to register for GEMS. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U’S FIFTH-GRADE GIRLS ARE INVITED to attend the annual Girls Exploring Math and Science program at Crown Marriot King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. Registration forms will be sent to public and private schools on Aug. 24, and the deadline for forms to be postmarked is Sept. 25. This event is sponsored by the American Association of University Women, Kona Branch, whose mission is to advance equity for women and girls though advocacy, education and research. This annual day of discovery features hand-on workshops and exhibits led by local women volunteers who work in math- and science-oriented careers and who show the girls how they use math, science and technology in their daily work. The program is designed to stimulate interest and bolster confidence of girls in these fields, as well as provide positive female role models. It may also stimulate a girl’s interest in a new career goal. As many as 30 girls from Ka`u have attended in previous years. 
      Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The fee is $20 per girl. Scholarships are available, and no girl will be turned away for financial reasons. Sponsorship of girls by individuals or businesses will be accepted. Girls should register early to get their first choice of workshops.
      For more information about GEMS, to sponsor a girl, or to request a registration packet, contact Cindy Armer, GEMS chairperson at cbarmer@hotmail.com or 808-896-7180.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS opened their regular season in Honoka`a yesterday. Junior Varsity lost 2-1 in a hard-fought, three-set match. Honoka`a Varsity took two straight sets to win on their home court, 25-20 and 25-8.
      Ka`u hosts Laupahoehoe Friday at 6 p.m.
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ADVOCATS OFFERS a spay and neuter clinic today until 7 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Call 939-7033 for more information.

EVENTS AT OCEAN VIEW Community Center tomorrow include Family Reading Night at 5 p.m. and OVCA Board Meeting at 6 p.m. Call 939-7033 for more information.

HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUB OF KA`U meets tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Call 929-9731 or 936-7262 for more information.

KA`U SUMMER BASKETBALL League championships are free to the public at Ka`u High School Gym tomorrow. The women’s game begins at 6 p.m., and the men’s at 7 p.m. The Summer League started in July with six men’s teams and four women’s teams. Playoffs leading up to the championship games wound up Monday.


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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