|Olive ridley turtle. Photo courtesy of Seaturtle.net|
THE TURTLE PROJECT reports a very successful season, not only for thousands of baby hawksbills leaving their nests to reach the ocean along Ka`u’s coast, but for a rare olive ridley turtle, whose nest was found and protected at the end of Road to the Sea. The olive ridley nest was saved from the surf and protected by volunteers at `Awili Point. It was the fourth documented nesting of a ridley in Hawai`i.
|Baby olive ridley turtles. Photo courtesy of the|
Hawai`i Volcanoes Hawksbill Turtle Project
The hawksbills did well, with 39 nests on six beaches: Apua Point and Halape inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park; Kamehame, The Nature Conservancy preserve makai of Pahala; Koloa-Ninole near Punalu`u; Pohue Bay and `Awili. No nests were found at Punalu`u this year. More than 40 volunteers helped to protect these rare turtles at the 40 nests along the Ka`u coast. Hawai`i Volcanoes Hawksbill Turtle Project leader Will Seitz said that more than 4,000 hatchlings made it safely to the ocean, where they will spend the rest of their lives.
TRACE AMOUNTS of radiation reached Hawai`i yesterday, emanating from the Fukushima nuclear plants that were broken by the tsunami just off the coast of Japan on March 10. The state Department of Health stated that data from Hawai`i RadNet monitors showed no risk of harmful radiation to Hawai`i residents. In Japan, radiation entered the drinking water in Tokyo and into milk, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips and other fresh foods grown near the nuclear plant, but none of the affected foods are being shipped to Hawai`i.
|Older construction, like this home at Okoe Bay, was exempt from setbacks from high tide lines and|
restrictions from building on ground level within inundations zones. Photo by Kaiali`i Kahele
TSUNAMI DAMAGE SEEN around Hawai`i Island hit many structures that would be prohibited from being constructed under today’s building code and setbacks from the ocean. Buildings are usually required to be at least 40 feet beyond the highest wash of the waves. Inside inundation and flood zones, buildings must be constructed with strong materials and high off the ground to let the ocean wash under and through them. The wrecked beach houses at Kapua, Okoe and Honomolino near Miloli`i, as well as the huts along the shore at Kona Village and restaurants hanging close to the bay on Ali`i Drive were all constructed before strict regulations were adopted. The news service Civil Beat quoted Hawai`i County Program Planning Manager Mark Bennett as saying that it might be a good idea to change state law to create a setback farther than 40 feet from the high-tide mark, particularly for properties where the shoreline is variable with a high rate or erosion. A proposal by Coastal Hazard Mitigation Specialist Dennis Hwang of University of Hawai`i Sea Grant program calls for increased setbacks, said Civil Beat.
REP. BOB HERKES, who has championed disaster preparedness at the state Legislature, is pushing for more mapping of the islands for risk management for tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and other natural phenomena. Sophisticated mapping can layer various disaster risks to help direct planning for new development and delivery of emergency services, said Herkes.
COUNCIL MEMBER BRITTANY SMART said that she is working hard to secure some $20 million from the state to build a new gym in Pahala that would also serve as a disaster shelter, not only for tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions but also for short-term protection from bad air during vog events. The location is by the tennis courts next to the Ka`u High School campus on land owned by the county. It would be a county facility open to the schools and public for sports and other events. A state bond would be floated to pay for it, and the county is working on a design-build proposal for Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s consideration. Sen. Gil Kahele visited the site last weekend.