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.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ka'ū News Briefs Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ta'ape from Tahiti are invasive and have taken over coral reef habitat in most waters of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands,
but are absent from much of the marine preserve at Papahānaumokuākea, report scientists. See story below.
REASONS FOR OBJECTION TO THE HŪ HONUA PROJECT and its plan to harvest eucalyptus from 3,700 acres around Pāhala will be stated in the Hawai'i Supreme Court appeal, filed by Life of the Land this week. The eucalyptus, on Kamehameha Schools land, would be cut and trucked along Hwy. 11 through  Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and Hilo to burn in a Pepe'ekeo power plant.  Life of the Land and its Executive Director Henry Curtis states that its case is the "first challenge by a Public Utilities Commission docket participant regarding climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Hawai'i." Life of the Land is represented by Maui attorney Lance D. Collins.
Henry Curtis points to the high cost of electricity and 
climate change in the Life of the Land Appeal to
reverse the PUC Hū Honua approval.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     Life of the Land testified against the Hū Honua proposal in proceedings before the PUC, which approved the project. Life of the Land recommended to the PUC that “this project is not in the public interest and should be rejected.” It brought up cost, environment and pricing concerns.
     Life of the Land contends that contracted prices for electricity derived from Hū Honua burning trees would be much higher than other alternative energies such as solar. “In light of steadily-decreasing costs for other energy sources, Hū Honua’s costs are exorbitant and escalating. In the face of dramatically falling prices across the globe, Hū Honua has proposed a 30-year contract, running from 2019 to 2048. Hū Honua is asking to be paid over 20 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2018, which would then rise to over 32 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2048. Unidentified additional costs to cover transmission, distribution, and administration will then be tacked on by HELCO.”
    Life of the Land compares the Hū Honua contract with lower priced proposals: The PUC approved one Kaua'i Island Utilities Cooperative solar-based electricity project, at 11.08 cents per kWh, and another SolarCity Corporation solar-plus-battery Power Purchase Agreement at 14.5 cents per kWh.
    The PUC also approved a waiver from competitive bidding for the proposed West Loch PV Project on O'ahu, stating, “the Equivalent Levelized Energy Payment for the Project, as well as the PPA equivalent energy price, is estimated by HECO and the Consumer Advocate to be 9.56 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).” Life of the land points out that “With respect to the West Lock Project, the Commission took notice of Tucson Electric Power's solar-plus storage project priced at 4.5 cents per kWh.”
     Life of the Land also contends that Hū Honua’s “environmental-impact discussion is incomplete and its claim of ‘carbon-neutrality’ is unsupported. Honua’s proposal fails to fully address issues of Climate Change and the environmental impact of their proposed operations."
    Life of the Land points to new legislation that Gov. David Ige signed into law, which includes the statement: “The legislature finds that not only is climate change real, but it is the overriding challenge of the 21st century and one of the priority issues of the senate. Climate change poses immediate and long-term threats to the State’s economy, sustainability, security, and way of life.”
     Life of the Land also quotes Hawaiian Electric Industries CEO Constance Lau, who talked about Climate Change at the VERGE Hawai'i 2017 conference. She said, “Everybody is still moving in the same directions, that they were moving in, and particularly for the electric utility industry, that's been towards much more renewables, and it all started with climate change, and it still is about climate change, but frankly, there are so many forces that are actually making it economically right, to have renewables.”
     Life of the Land reports that community members asked the Hū Honua team about climate change at a community meeting in Kukuihaele Village, on June 19, 2017. One Hū Honua representative Rob Robinson said, “We are carbon-neutral.” Another Hū Honua backer Kevin ‘K.J.’ Johnson said, “In our case...it ends up being carbon neutral." According to Life of the land, “No details were offered aside from an assertion that they would plant trees that would be harvested and replanted every seven years. No discussion of the carbon costs of transportation or the harvesting operation itself was discussed.”
     Life of the Land asked for an analysis of fossil fuels to be used in the mechanization of growing, chopping, chipping, and transport. “Hū Honua alleges that this operation is carbon neutral. In the absence of hard facts, however, the only thing supporting Hū Honua’s analysis is an audacious statement that amounts to, ‘Trust us, we're green,” states Life of the Land.
     The Public Utilities Commission assigned Life of the Land to consider two issues in the Hū Honua case. One concern was whether the energy price components of the Hū Honua proposal “property reflect the cost of biomass fuel supply.” States Life of the Land, “The cost of biofuel includes both financial and non-financial components, which Hū Honua has failed to adequately address.”
    The other issue is whether HELCO's purchase power arrangements with Hū Honua are prudent and in the public interest. "The issue of climate change is of major public interest to the State and to the world, except, apparently, to Hū Honua.” states Life of the Land.
      Life of the Land notes that for other PUC considerations, it has sponsored Dr. Tad Patzek, an expert scientist who questions the role of biofuels. He has been a consultant and expert witness for the California Energy Commission, General Electric, Inc., and has testified before Congress. In testimony before the PUC, he said, "People, especially the so-called pure environmentalists, are loath to accept the fact that what they think religiously -- that is, green is good — is not necessarily so. And they really have a hard time believing or accepting or - thinking that not everything that is green is in fact good."
     Patzek listed transportation distance as an important consideration in the cost benefit of a biofuel.
     Life of the Land also brought up endangered species, asking whether bats or other endangered species would be impacted by the logging operations.

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Ta'ape were introduced from Tahiti to O'ahu and made their way up the island chain, but are absent
from much of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Map from University of Hawai'i
MUCH OF THE NORTHERN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS MARINE PRESERVE has escaped intrusion of invasive ta'ape, a fish introduced in the last century from Tahiti. NOAA and University of Hawai‘i marine scientists just published a study describing a complete absence of the introduced, invasive bluestriped snapper (Lutjanus kasmira) - locally called ta‘ape, across a large region of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
      Deep coral reefs between 130 and 330 feet in the northwestern half of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (which encompasses the NWHI) were found to be completely devoid of the widespread invasive fish species. In comparison, large schools of ta‘ape are common on shallow and deep reefs across all of the inhabited main Hawaiian Islands, and also in the southern half of Papahānaumokuākea.
Deep coral reefs in the marine preserve show more
diversity and more native species, with fewer
ta'ape, Photo from NOAA
      “Ta‘ape are widespread throughout the main Hawaiian Islands, and are considered to be an invasive species with the potential to compete with our native species. This finding indicates that deep coral reefs of Papahānaumokuākea represent a large zone where native species can thrive in the absence of introduced invasive species,” said NOAA Deputy Superintendent of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Randall Kosaki, one of the co-authors of the study.
       In 2016, scientists discovered that deep coral reefs between 300 and 330 feet at Kure Atoll, the northernmost of all the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, had fish communities composed exclusively of Hawaiian endemic species, or fishes that are found only in Hawai‘i.
       The study further found that schools of ta‘ape were typically found in close association with more desirable food fish such yellowfin goatfish (weke ‘ula, Mulloidichthys vanicolensis) and sleek unicornfish (opelu kala, Naso hexacanthus) on shallow reefs.  On deeper reefs below 130 feet, ta‘ape were associated with soldierfish (‘u‘u or menpachi, Myripristis amaena). 
       “It is possible that ta‘ape may compete with these native species for habitat space. However, dietary overlap between these species is minimal, so they are not direct competitors for food," said Atsuko Fukunaga, Papahānaumokuākea Ecological Research Statistician, first author of the study.
Ta'ape were introduced to Hawai'i from Tahiti
in the late 1950's.
       Brian Hauk, PMNM Resource Protection Manager, co-author of the study, explained: “Although research has not conclusively demonstrated any detrimental impacts to more preferred native species of fishes, the ta‘ape is nevertheless considered to be a nuisance species by local fishermen, because they frequently bite on hooks intended for more desirable fishes.”
        Using advanced closed-circuit rebreather dive technology, scientists were able to survey reefs at depths of up to 330 feet (100 meters), which is much deeper than any research conducted using conventional scuba gear. 
       Greatest abundances of ta‘ape, schools of many hundreds of fish, were recorded at French Frigate Shoals in 170 to 200 feet. At all atolls and islands further north, scientists saw zero ta‘ape on deep reefs between 130 and 330 feet.
Ta'ape are widespread in the inhabited Hawaiian
Islands and compete with native fish. NOAA photo
     The bluestriped snapper, better known to local fishers by its Tahitian name, ta‘ape, was intentionally introduced to O‘ahu from French Polynesia in the late 1950's. At the time, the Hawai‘i Division of Fish and Game (predecessor to today’s DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources) thought that the introduction would supplement fisheries based on native species. However, recreational or commercial fisheries for ta‘ape failed to develop as the fish spread rapidly across the archipelago. By the 1970's, ta‘ape were found throughout the MHI in large schools from shallow reefs to depths of over 400 feet. By 1981, they had been recorded as far north as Laysan Island in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, 830 miles from their point of introduction on O'ahu. By 1993, they had been recorded at Midway Atoll (1160 miles from O'ahu), and they are now known to occur as far north as Kure Atoll, the northernmost of the Hawaiian Islands.
         The NOAA study also noted that the peacock grouper (Cephalopholis argus) or roi, which was also introduced to Hawai‘i from French Polynesia in the 1950's, were found in abundance on shallow reefs of Papahānaumokuākea as far north as French Frigate Shoals, but not beyond. Roi were not noted in deep reef surveys anywhere in Papahānaumokuākea.  
      The study shows that large portions of Papahānaumokuākea serve as a refuge for native species where introduced and invasive ta‘ape and roi have failed to become established. 
      The article, authored by Atsuko Fukunaga, Randall Kosaki, and Brian Hauk, entitled Distribution and abundance of the introduced snapper Lutjanus kasmira (Forsskål, 1775) on shallow and mesophotic reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands can be viewed online at http://www.reabic.net/journals/bir/2017/3/BIR_2017_Fukunaga_etal.pdf
      For more on Papahānaumokuākea visit www.papahanaumokuakea.gov.

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UPCOMING EVENTS FOR FALL TROJAN SPORTS:

Girls Volleyball: Wednesday, Sept. 6,
Ka'ū vs. Waiakea, away game.

KA'Ū COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN will be considered for adoption at the Hawai'i County Council Planning Committee's next meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 6 at 9:15 a.m. The Planning Committee Agenda can be found at hawaiicounty.granicus.com/viewpublisher.php?view_id=1 and the Ka'ū CDP Steering Committee agenda can be found at: hawaiicountycdp.info/kau-cdp/steering-committee/steering-commitee-meetings/september-6-2017.
 
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REGISTER KEIKI FOR SUNFLOWER CRAFT until Sept. 15. The craft class, for keiki ages 6 to 14, will take place on Monday, Sept. 18, at Kahuku Park from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 929-9113 for more.

HIKE TO THE TOP OF PU'U O LOKUANA this Sunday, Sept. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., within the Kahuku Unit of
Pick up the September edition of The Ka`u Calendar delivered
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka`u, from Miloli`i 
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online at www.kaucalendar.com

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the formation and various uses of this grassy cinder cone and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū on this free, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top. For more detail, visit nps.gov/HAVO.

HAM RADIO OPERATORS INVITES all American Radio Emergency Service members, anyone interested in learning how to operate a ham radio and families to attend a potluck picnic on Sunday, Sept. 3, at Manukā Park. For more details, call Dennis Smith at 989-3028.

A VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT MEETING is set for Monday, Sept. 4, 4 p.m., at the Ocean View Community Center. For more details, call 939-7033.

KA'Ū COFFEE GROWERS COOPERATIVE MEETS TUESDAY, Sept. 5, from 6 pm. to 8 p.m., at the Pāhala Community Center.

HAWAI'I COUNTY COUNCIL MEETS Wednesday, Sept. 6, and Thursday, Sept. 7. Ka‘ū residents can participate via videoconferencing at Nā‘ālehu State Office Building. Agendas can be found at hawaiicounty.gov.


Register by Sept. 11, 2017.
For more details, see the
  Ka'ū News Briefs Aug. 30, 2017.
OCEAN VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETS Thursday, Sept. 7, 6 p.m., at the Ocean View Community Center. For more details call 939-2442 or 928-2015.

REGISTER 5TH GRADE GIRLS FOR GEMS BY SEPT. 15. Ka‘ū fifth grade girls are invited to start registering for GEMS, Girls Exploring Math and Science. The annual all day event has been set for the Crown Marriot King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel for Nov. 9.
     Registration is on a first come, first served basis, and space is limited. Registration fee is $20 and scholarships are available. No girl will be turned away because of financial need.
     All fifth grade girls residing in the West Hawai‘i School complex in public, private, or home-schooled are welcome. Sponsorship of girls by individuals or businesses will be accepted. For more information about GEMS, to sponsor a girl, or to request a registration packet, contact Cindy Armer, GEMS chairperson at cbarmer@hotmail.com or 808-896-7180. Remember GEMS registration form must be postmarked by 9-15-17. See more details on Ka'ū News Briefs from August 15, 2017.