About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Nov. 26, 2012

A wisp of steam marks the site of lava entering the ocean this morning. Photo from USGS/HVO
NO COMMENT ON THE KA`U FOREST RESERVE MANAGEMENT PLAN lawsuit filed last week by Pele Defense Fund. That’s the word from the state Department of Land & Natural Resources. Comments are expected after the state Attorney General looks at the suit, which calls for an Environmental Impact Statement.
Map from DLNR shows hunting areas and proposed
fencing areas in Ka`u Forest Reserve.
      The management plan for 61,641 state-owned acres, which are surrounded on three sides by other state and federal properties, calls for fencing through some of the high elevation of the Ka`u Forest Reserve to keep out ungulates such as pigs, goats and sheep, which destroy native plants and endanger native Hawaiian birds. The plan also calls for reintroduction of the endangered `Alala, the native Hawaiian Crow, which is believed to be extinct in the wild and lives only in bird sanctuaries.
      Some hunters, however, recoil at any more access limitation in Ka`u, where new fencing has been strung for cattle ranching and by new owners of property that was left open to the community by the old sugar company. Some ranches, such as Kapapala, work with hunters and give access through pastures. However, the word “fencing” has become a hot-button issue, and some residents see it as further restricting subsistence hunters and gatherers from land where they traditionally traveled.
      The management plan calls for walkovers – stairways going over fencing – to preserve hunting trails. Much of the proposed fenced-in area would be at high elevations that are less frequently used as hunting grounds, the plan states.
      The EA lays out the general purposes of the management plan as follows:
  • Develop management actions for general and specific areas that protect and restore the watershed and native species as vital natural and cultural resources. These actions include fencing and ungulate removal from the most critical area(s), predator control, invasive plant removal and control, and native plant restoration.
  • Reintroduce the `Alala to the Ka`u Forest Reserve.
  • Enhance public access to Ka`u Forest Reserve through development and maintenance of public access roads and other infrastructure (trails, cabins and/or campsites, etc.).
  • Conform with the purpose of the Forest Reserve System and the Ka`u Forest Reserve, in particular as stated in Hawai`i Revised Statutes (Chapter 183) and associated Hawai`i Administrative Rules (Chapter 104), to protect, manage, restore and monitor the resources of Forest Reserves for the public benefit, particularly water resources.
      “Implementation of this management plan will be a huge benefit to rare, threatened and endangered plant and animal species in the ecosystem,” the DLNR statement says.
      The Ka`u forest provides habitat for 16 native Hawaiian birds, including seven listed as Endangered Species; encompasses five major native-dominated forest ecosystems, contains critical habitat for 32 rare plants (listed or candidate) and four endemic and, or, listed invertebrates and likely also provides habitat for the Hawaiian hoary bat.
      Fencing is already built on one side of the unit, and partnership opportunities are available with adjacent landowners for additional habitat protection, says a DLNR press release.
      To read the entire management plan, see http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2010s/2012-10-23-FEA-Kau-Forest-Reserve-Management-Plan-5B.pdf.

Life of the Land director
Henry Curtis
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION HAS DENIED a request by several parties and participants in the docket concerning the proposed contract between Hawai`i Electric Light Company and `Aina Koa Pono. HELCO, `Aina Koa Pono, the Consumer Advocate, the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism and the County of Hawai`i requested a new, shorter Schedule of Proceedings. Life of the Land, an intervenor and one of the parties in the procedure, objected to the new schedule, which set the final due date for Companies’ responses to Information Requests on rebuttal testimony as May 3, 2013 instead of Aug. 2, 2013.
      The requestors had interpreted language in the original order as not requiring unanimity to make changes to the schedule, but the PUC said that interpretation is “without merit” and that the order “clearly identifies the ‘Parties’ as the Companies, the Consumer Advocate and LOL, and the ‘Participants’ as the County of Hawai`i and DBEDT.
      “In the absence of unanimous agreement, no new, proposed procedural schedule should have been filed with the commission,” the PUC statement said.
      This and other documents and public testimony can be read at puc.hawaii.gov/dockets. Docket number is 2012-0185.
      Deadline for public written comments to the PUC regarding the proposed biodiesel supply contract is this Friday, Nov. 30. Email testimony to hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov or mail to 465 South King Street, #103, Honolulu, HI 96813.

Cowman greets winner Alexandre Ribeiro, left, at the 28th annual
Ultraman Triathlon finish line. Photo from realendurance.com
THE 28TH ANNUAL ULTRAMAN TRIATHLON, after zooming through Ka`u, wound up in Kona yesterday with 47-year-old Alexandre Ribeiro, of Brazil, winning the swim, bike and run in 22 hours, 51 minutes and 12 seconds. Amber Monforte, of Reno, NV, won the women’s division with a time of 34 hours, 25 minutes and 29 seconds.
      Ribeiro and Monforte were last year’s winners, as well. Of the 35 who started the grueling three-day race, 27 finished.

LAVA FROM KILAUEA VOLCANO continues to flow into the ocean after reaching the coastline in lower Puna around 1 p.m. Saturday. The last lava flow to reach the ocean occurred in December last year at West Ka`ili`ili, then stopped on New Year’s Day.

HAWAI`I NEI, THE ANNUAL EXHIBIT celebrating Hawai`i’s native species, runs through the end of the month at Wailoa Arts and Cultural Center in Hilo. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m.

Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura
Photo from NPS
DR. JADELYN J. MONIZ-NAKAMURA discusses fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. She examines geologic evidence and the recent discovery of hundreds of archaeological features that indicate prehistoric activity in the area, suggesting that the footprints may be much older than expected.
      The program takes place at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.