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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, July 20, 2013

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A proposed pipeline would carry water from Old Plantation Spring in The Nature Conservancy's Kaiholena Unit to
ranchers below. Photo from Conservation District Use Application to DLNR
INSTALLATION OF A 3.45-MILE PIPELINE from Old Plantation Spring to Ka`u ranchers and farmers is the topic of a public hearing in Na`alehu next month. Department of Land and Natural Resources will receive testimony on a Conservation District Use Application by Kuahiwi Contractors, which names Michelle Galimba as secretary and contact person. The hearing takes place Monday, Aug. 12 at Na`alehu Community Center. 
      The water source is in The Nature Conservancy’s Kaiholena Unit, and the pipeline would travel through the Ka`u Forest Reserve to ranch and farm lands below.
      According to the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association archives, the tunnel at Old Plantation Springs was built in the late 1920s to find water to use in flumes that carried sugar to the mill at Honu`apo until 1948, when fluming was abandoned in favor of using trucks and, for a short while, an aerial tramway. In more recent years, the water has been used for watering livestock and farming.
      According to the application, the “proposed use is installation and maintenance of (a) water system for agricultural uses of water … to the agricultural zoned lands immediately makai of the source.”
      The application states that “water from the source presently falls into a small catchment pool at the base of the cliff-face. The water flows from this pool into an intermittent stream-bed, where it flows for 50-250 yards, depending on the spring output and presence of rainwater runoff in the intermittent stream-bed, before being absorbed into the ground.
Blue, dotted line shows route of proposed water pipeline.
Map from Conservation District Use Application to DLNR
      “Water from the system will be distributed to ranches and farms within the watershed through an existing informal agricultural water network/co-operative. Members of the informal water cooperative include: Walter Andrade (approximate water needs 16,000 gallons per day), Richard Johansen (2,000 gallons per day), Phil Becker (700 gallons per day), Kirk Derasin (300 gallons per day). We are all currently sharing water from the Mountain House/Department of Water Supply overflow. However, as this is an overflow system, availability of water is extremely variable especially during the last three to four years of extreme drought conditions. Several members of the informal co-op lease a portion of their ranchland from the Olson Trust. We will be transitioning toward a formal agricultural water cooperative in future, especially as use expands beyond the current handful of ranches and farms. All water will (be) used for agriculture and will remain in the watershed. Water in the pipeline will be metered near the source for record-keeping and reporting. Water use by individual users will also be metered so as to ensure responsible use and resource conservation. This water system is critical toward helping area ranchers and farmers to mitigate current and future extreme drought conditions.”
      The water system will require “minor alterations in the conditions of land, water, or vegetation,” the application states. “Proposed use will benefit a number of ranchers and farmers in Ka`u – an area particularly vulnerable to drought and severely impacted by lack of agricultural infrastructure such as water systems. Any excess water from the system will be stored in reservoirs for use during times of drought.”
      The application describes the proposed pipeline and its path: “The footprint of the proposed water system will be minimized by using flexible, inert, small diameter (two-inch) pipeline that will rest on the surface of the soil. Total footprint of water system will be approximately 4,560.25 square feet. Pipe will be placed in the catchment pool at the base of cliff-face below the water source, with a small filter box on the intake. Water will be obtained passively and transported by gravity flow. Pathway of the pipe has been walked in its entirety with Nature Conservancy staff and adjusted so as to cause only minor temporary alteration of vegetation (handclearing of small sections of `uluhe and minor trimming of hapu`u fern.) Installation of the pipe will be done by unrolling pipeline by hand, so as to minimize impact on flora, fauna and soil. No trees will be felled for this project. No grading, grubbing, or any form of soil disturbance will occur in the course of this project.”
      Copies of the application are available for inspection at Na`alehu Public Library and hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl/meetings.

William Rolston considers microwave depolymerization to be an
"unproven technology." Photo from biofuels-solutions.com
CURRENT AND FUTURE ENERGY-RELATED matters in Hawai`i County will be discussed at Tuesday’s meeting of the Water and Energy Sustainability Committee. Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford asked Laverne Omori, director of the Department of Research and Development and William Rolston, Economic Development Specialist, to give the presentation.
      Rolston has provided testimony on behalf of Hawai`i County to the state Public Utilities Commission regarding the proposed 20-year contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined in Ka`u from feedstock grown in Ka`u. He has testified that the contract “is not reasonable and should not be approved by the Commission based on its excessive biofuel price, long-term contract, unproven technology, lack of due-diligence, associated negative externalities (including ‘crowding-out’ of better alternatives) that will impact the community and environment for many years to come.
      The committee meets Tuesday at 1:45 p.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK CELEBRATES the tenth anniversary of the Kahuku Unit by offering free programs to introduce visitors and residents to the park’s southernmost section now through September.
      For all activities, participants enter Kahuku on the mauka side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5 and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear and a snack are recommended. No advance registration is required, except for Ka`u `Ohana Day.
Free programs, including a guided hike exploring the People and Lands of
Kahuku, celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Kahuku Unit.
Photo from NPS
      `Ohi`a Lehua program is about the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a tree and the lehua flower. Visitors traveling through the park will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit. The `Ohi`a Lehua program is offered Aug. 18 and Sept. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
      Mauna Loa Southwest Rift Zone program takes participants on a short, guided hike to an overlook on Upper Palm Trail. From the overlook, park rangers orient visitors to numerous prominent geologic features of the many eruptions of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Hikers learn about the natural processes that created these features and the cultural traditions associated with them. The Mauna Loa Southwest Rift Zone program is offered tomorrow, July 21, Aug. 10 and Sept. 15 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
      At Ka`u `Ohana Day, keiki of all ages join park rangers and explore Palm Trail by GPS and compass. At least one adult family member or adult group leader must accompany children. Participants enjoy a free lunch and cultural craft demonstrations. Bring a refillable water bottle and sturdy hiking shoes. Registration is required for this free event; call 985-6019. The program takes place July 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered Aug. 17 and Sept. 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

      People and Lands of Kahuku is a moderate, two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore Kahuku’s human history. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Hikers learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered Aug. 24, Sept. 14 and Sept. 22 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is live theater this weekend with shows today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. The show runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 28. The venue is Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. KDEN is the sponsor, and tickets are available at Kilauea General Store, Kea`au Natural Foods, Paradise Plants, the Most Irresistible Shop and by calling 982-7344. Prices are $15 general, $12 students/seniors and $10 children.

BEFORE EVENING PERFORMANCES of Beauty and the Beast, a casual dinner is served at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

Kenneth Makuakane is one musician who will lead a three-day Hawaiian
songwriting workshop next month at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Photo courtesy of Kenneth Makuakane
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers a three-day Hawaiian music songwriting retreat for just $25 from Friday, Aug. 2 through Sunday, Aug. 4 with Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakane and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer.
      The Friday, Aug. 2 workshop runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 3 and Sun., Aug. 4 both begin at 8 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.
      Advance registration is required. Contact Elizabeth Bell at 985-6019 or elizabeth_bell@nps.gov no later than Thursday, July 25.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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