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.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013

Noxious weeds such as miconia are pervasive in Hawai`i. Photo from Big Island Invasive Species Committee
FAILING TO STEP UP PROTECTION FROM INVASIVE and harmful plants can be devastating in Hawai`i, sometimes called the “endangered species capital of the nation,” according to conservationists quoted in a story in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The article by Gary Kubota notes that the federal endangered species list has 853 plants, and 395 (or 46 percent) are native to Hawai`i and only live here, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
      “In the past 37 years of having a Federal Noxious Weed List that could be key in protecting Hawai`i’s native species, the USDA has banned only 120 of more than 250,000 known plant species in the world,” Kubota writes.
      Although a federal noxious weed list exists, states like Hawai`i have developed their own lists of undesirable alien plants which they believe are more comprehensive.
      The last time the USDA added to its list was in December 2010, when nine species brought the total to 120. By comparison, there are more than 206 on California’s noxious weed list alone.
      “The list is too short,” said Mark Fox, the Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i’s director of external affairs, reports the Star-Advertiser.
      Kubota writes: “As Hawai`i continues with costly extraordinary efforts to rid pristine native forests of one invasive plant after another, environmentalists and scientists here and elsewhere are beginning to criticize the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s system of protecting the country from destructive alien plants.
      “Critics say the system of screening for noxious weeds used by the department’s plant inspectors is inefficient and ineffective, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually. It also threatens native vegetation and agriculture and lacks a balanced approach to conservation, they maintain.
      “As federal and state agencies spend millions of dollars annually in Hawai`i to try to control stifling weeds, the USDA allows some of the same destructive alien plants to enter the country and to be distributed and sold between states.”
The state's noxious weed list has no impact on
the sale or movements of plants such as
pampas grass. Photo from BIISC
       Kubota points to what critics and observers consider a lack of accountability in the USDA’s screening system. He says the agency has the power to determine whether plants enter the country, and if an import becomes a problem, USDA defers responsibility for addressing it to other federal agencies or to states.
      The state noxious weed list has no impact on the sale or movement of plants, “crippling the program,” said Neil Reimer, state Plant Pest Control Branch manager.
      Under federal law, to be put on the list a plant must have the potential to be destructive to a large portion of the United States. “Because Hawai`i is generally a tropical environment, most of our problem species are tropical, and they cannot survive throughout most of the United States,” University of Hawai`i biologist Curt Daehler said. 
      Also under federal law, a plant that has become too “pervasive” to be eliminated keeps it from being put on the federal list.
      North Carolina weed specialist Rick Iverson said a more meaningful basis for determining whether a plant is invasive is whether it can be quarantined.
      Kubota says that, according to critics, a more effective screening method is to place the burden of proof that a plant will not prove harmful to the environment on the importer. Such a system was put in place in New Zealand in 1993 and in Australia in 1994.
      In New Zealand, plants not on its list of non-invasive species require a risk assessment study before being put on the list.
      Paul Champion, New Zealand’s principal scientist for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, said the move to a pre-approved list has reduced the government cost of screening plants. “It has certainly reduced the risk of new pest species from entering New Zealand and allows more of a focus on species we already have in the country,” he said.
      Australian agricultural officials said the system has worked well and comes with considerable economic benefits.
      See staradvertiser.com.
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INTERESTED PERSONS CAN APPLY TO BECOME members of an advisory committee for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Forest Stewardship Program. The Forest Stewardship Advisory Committee will have several open seats in early 2014. 
      FSAC reviews and recommends for approval all project proposals and management plans for the state’s Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy Programs.
      Ideal candidates are those with significant forestry and/or conservation experience in Hawai`i. The committee meets four times a year in venues throughout Hawai`i, and appointments are for three years.
      To download the application and learn more about the Forest Stewardship and Forest Legacy Programs in Hawai`i, see dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/lap/fsp.
      Applications are due by Tuesday, Dec. 31.
      For more information, contact Irene Sprecher, of DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, at 808-587-4167 or Melissa.I.Sprecher@hawaii.gov.
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DLNR seeks public input on amendments to rules
regarding stony coral and live rock.
Photo from Wikipedia
STONY CORAL AND LIVE ROCK are the subject of public hearings by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which plans to amend Hawai`i Administrative Rules relating to their conservation. Live rocks are those with sealife living on them, and it is illegal to take, break, move, pollute, poison or otherwise damage them. 
      The proposed amendments would clarify what activities constitute “damage” to stony coral and live rock and establish a formula for calculating administrative penalties. The rules include the possibility of fining for each coral colony or small areas where they live.
      All interested persons are urged to attend a public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider. Written testimony can be sent by Friday, Dec. 27, to the Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 330, Honolulu, HI 96813.
      Hawai`i Island hearings are this Tuesday, Dec. 10 at Kealakehe High School Cafeteria in Kona from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and this Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 101 in Hilo, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
      See stony coral and live rock draft rules at state.hi.us/dlnr/dar/rules/drafts/stony_coral_live_%20rock_dr.pdf.
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USGS HVO map shows distribution of small particles ejected
by Kilauea volcano.
IN ITS CURRENT ISSUE OF VOLCANO WATCH, U.S Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory tracks the flight of particles ejected from Kilauea Volcano. 
      Sometime between 1790 and 1823, an explosive eruption deposited ash and small particles in the area shown on the map. The dots are places where the average particle size, in millimeters, was measured. Black lines, or contours, connect equal sizes. For the particles described in the article, red lines show rising pathways, and green lines show falling pathways.
      Volcano Watch is a weekly newsletter written by HVO scientists. Article topics range from volcanic features on the Big Island, volcanic hazards, informational topics of Long Valley, Montserrat, or Alaska to topics about HVO.
      See more at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch.
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THE WESTBOUND LANE OF CRATER RIM DRIVE, fronting Steam Vents, will be closed for up to 10 weeks while crews replace a deteriorated water main, beginning tomorrow, according to a statement from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Traffic controllers will alternate traffic flow through the single open lane from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Wait times to pass the construction area should not exceed 15 minutes.
      Both lanes will be open to traffic if there is no active construction.
      The project will replace approximately 3,000 feet of failing pipe that supplies water to Jaggar Museum and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
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KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS PRESENTS FALL CREATIVITY DAY today until 3 p.m. at Discovery Harbour Community Hall, offering batik, `ohe kapala (bamboo stamp making), dying, sewing and jewelry making workshops.

PAHALA CHRISTMAS PARADE IS at 1 p.m. today. Starting at the armory on Pikake Street, the parade winds its way through town, making a stop at Ka`u Hospital.

Carl Ray Villaverde Photo from NPS
MUSICIAN AND HILO NATIVE CARL RAY VILLAVERDE performs Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. After spending more than a decade on the mainland teaching `ukulele and guitar at Santa Barbara City College and performing throughout California, Villaverde returns to the islands with his new CD, Hawaiian Magic, on sale at the show. $2 donations support park program.

FREE TRAINING TO HELP THE PUBLIC follow the 2014 state Legislature takes place Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. Sponsored by the state of Hawai`i Legislative Reference Bureau’s Public Access Room, the training demystifies the state lawmaking process and demonstrates ways people can participate in the Legislature.