Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016

`Ohi`a lehua seeds are being banked in the face of threats to Hawai`i's native forests from rapid `ohi`a death.
Photo from The Nature Conservancy by Rob Schallenberger
THE THREAT TO `OHI`A TREES is so intense that their seeds have been taken from Hawai`i Island to O`ahu to be placed in a seed bank of endangered plants, deep in Manoa Valley.
      With rapid `ohi`a death continuing to ravage forests on Hawai`i Island, researchers are banking seeds from resistant strains of `ohi`a that could used for reforestation.
Seeds of many `ohia lehua varieties are collected.
NPS Photo by Michael Szoenyi
      “What’s at stake is basically our native forest in Hawai`i,” J.B. Friday, a forester with UH-Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, told Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “`Ohi`a comprises about half the forest area in Hawai`i. All the other forest trees such as koa, mamane, naio, kiawe, eucalyptus, and koa haole together comprise the other half. More importantly, the native `ohi`a forests protect our most important watersheds, especially at the higher elevations where we have more rainfall. No one knows the effects if we have large-scale mortality of `ohi`a, but it can’t be good.”
      “Seed banking is a really efficient and effective way to store a lot of genetic diversity of a plant,” Marian Chau, manager of the Seed Conservation Laboratory at Lyon Arboretum, told the Star-Advertiser. “That’s why we want to use this method to do our part to help to conserve `ohi`a during this crisis. Hopefully, if we preserve that genetic variation, and we preserve enough of it, then the plants that we plant out in the future will have more adaptability to these types of threats.”
      To finance collection of seeds, the program has set up a crowdfunding campaign at gofundme.com/ohialove.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U RESIDENT BRENDA IOKEPA MOSES represented Hawai`i as the state’s Agricultural Conservation District President at the National Association of Conservation Districts’ 2016 annual meeting in Reno, Nevada. The conference at Grand Sierra Hotel and Casino featured speakers, an ag expo, a live auction and a board meeting to vote on new ag policy. Over 750 people from 47 states attended.
Brenda Iokepa Moses, wearing lei, represented Hawai`i at the National
Association of Conservation Districts' annual meeting.
      A symposium at the conference focused on NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network and other soil health activities. A panel of soil health voices, including conservation district leaders, shared their soil health experiences from around the country.
     “I was proud to represent the state and was welcomed and commended by the executive board for participating on the Education and Stewardship Committee,” Iokepa Moses said. “Hawai`i representatives have not been able to attend these annual meetings consistently due to budgetary restraints in the past. I have suggested bringing the conference to Hawai`i in 2018 and hope to spearhead that conference to bring some business to the islands and allow the other states to see firsthand our ag programs and challenges.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Russell Ruderman
KA`U STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN’S bill relating to rat lungworm disease has been adopted and passed without amendments by the Senate Committees on Water, Land & Agriculture and Consumer Protection & Health and moves on to the Committee on Ways and Means.
      “Mahalo to the committees and Chairs Rosalyn Baker and Mike Gabbard,” Ruderman said. “This terrible disease has occurred on Maui and O`ahu as well as the Big Island, causing deaths and paralysis. Like an STD, it is preventable, but only through increased education and research.”
      SB2516 would appropriate funds to the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, the state Department of Health and the Department of Land & Natural Resources for programs, studies and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm. It calls for implementing a statewide collaborative effort to monitor invasive hosts for rat lungworm infection, conducting laboratory testing of a wide range of commercially available produce washes as well as other potential solutions, conducting laboratory testing of commercially available filters and ultraviolet systems to determine effectiveness in catchment, optimizing existing tests or developing new blood-based tests for rat lungworm diagnostics, developing an integrated pest management plan for best practices for control of rat lungworm hosts and providing that information to the public, developing a rural health educational outreach program for rainwater catchment users, providing educational outreach to farmers’ groups and farmers providing food for schools to implement integrated pest maintenance for control of carriers of rat lungworm disease, providing educational outreach to kindergarten through twelfth-grade school personnel involved in food procurement and preparation and school garden projects, developing rat lungworm curriculum and an integrated pest management plan for control of invasive hosts in all Hawai`i school garden projects, and providing educational outreach materials for the general public and Hawai`i health care providers.
      Track progress on this and other bills at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Brian Schatz
U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ JOINED 45 Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to President Obama urging a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad. 
      “As the dengue outbreak continues to impact communities on Hawai`i Island, we need more aggressive action to contain it and to stop the threat of Zika, another mosquito-borne virus that is devastating dozens of countries around the world,” Schatz said. “By increasing funding for critical government research and response programs, we can make real progress toward mitigating the impact of the Zika virus abroad and preventing its spread to Hawai`i and the United States.”
      The letter calls for the President to take a number of new actions, including taking the Zika virus into consideration as the Administration coordinates and allocates resources in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY16 and moves forward with the President’s upcoming FY17 budget request, or subsequent amendments. Additionally, Senate Democrats urge President Obama to develop a coordinated interagency response plan to address the Zika virus both at home and abroad; identify key gaps in international and country-level response; ensure that federal agencies work with state and local partners to develop a cohesive national strategy for the monitoring, identification and reporting; develop educational materials to inform travelers regarding the risk of Zika virus exposure; ramp up research efforts to better understand the link between Zika, microcephaly, Guillain-Barré Syndrome and other public health impacts and accelerate diagnostic and vaccine development; and encourage federal agencies to coordinate, collaborate or share information with international counterparts.
      Zika is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which also carry dengue fever. For most people, symptoms of Zika are mild, but when pregnant women become infected, the effects can be devastating. Zika has been linked to microcephaly in developing fetuses, which can lead to below-average head size, developmental difficulties and brain damage.
      The number of dengue fever cases on Hawai`i Island currently stands at 250, with three cases potentially infectious to mosquitoes.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ann Hassler Photo by Piper Seldon
RECYCLE HAWAI`I BRINGS its popular composting workshop to Ka`u this Saturday. Master composter-educator Ann Hassler presents the workshop from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Earth Matters Farm on South Point and Kama`oa Roads. Register at hiartrecycle@gmail.com or 985-8725.

KA`U RESIDENTS 60 YEARS of age or older can apply for senior ID cards tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Jude’s Church in Ocean View.
      Call 928-3100 for more information.

KA`U PHOTOGRAPHERS PETER AND ANN BOSTED present a program at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday. The longtime photographers have been permitted to survey and photograph lava tubes that give volcanoes their shield-like shape by acting like pipes to transport lava from its source to the ocean.
      Where lava tubes go, new land is formed. What do they look like? How are they formed? What can we learn from them?
Peter and Ann Bosted, of Ocean View, offer a 3D tour
of lava caves at After Dark in the Park Tuesday.
NPS Photo from Peter and Ann Bosted
      The Bosteds share their stunning 3D photos of these mysterious volcanic caves. Thanks to 3D, you will feel that you are there. You’ll learn about their beauty, ecological and cultural importance. Hear how they are documented, protected and conserved. After seeing this show, you may never feel the same about lava tubes.
      The program at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park begins at 7 p.m.
      See nps.gov/havo.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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