About The Kaʻū Calendar

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022

This old Ninole bridge was replaced in recent years along Hwy 11, mauka of Punalu'u. State DOT photo

REPAIRING AND IMPROVING BRIDGES IN HAWAI'I is the aim of funding announced on Friday by U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. He said Hawai'i will receive $339 million in new federal funding over five years with the first round totaling $67.8 million this year.  He said more than 80 bridges across the islands are in need of repair or replacement.
    The federal funding comes from the Department of Transportation’s newly launched Bridge Replacement, Rehabilitation, Preservation, Protection, and Construction Program, which was created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress and signed into law last November.
    “This historic investment will help rebuild bridges across Hawai‘i, making them safer and more resilient for everyone,” said Schatz, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing. “The bipartisan infrastructure law is already helping our state, and I’m proud to have supported it.”
This old Hilea Bridge was recently replaced
along Hwy 11 in Kaʻū. State DOT photo
    The program, to be administered by the Federal Highway Administration, represents the single largest dedicated bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system – providing $26.5 billion to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico over the five years of the law and $825 million for Tribal transportation facilities. The total amount that will be available to states, D.C. and Puerto Rico in Fiscal Year 2022 is $5.3 billion, along with $165 million for tribes.
    The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes an incentive for states to direct the new Bridge Formula Program funds to off-system bridges owned by a county, city, town or other local agency. While states normally must match federal funding with up to 20 percent state or local funding, the guidance issued today notes that federal funds can be used for 100 percent of the cost of repairing or rehabilitating such locally owned off-system bridges.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com.
Kass Ulmer, Research Corp. of the University of Hawaiʻi
 seismologist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, deploys a
 temporary seismometer at Kīlauea summit on 1/1/2021.
 USGS image by P. Dotray

COLLABORATION BETWEEN U.H. AND HAWAIIAN VOLCANOES OBSERVATORY is the subject of this week's Volcano Watch written by U.S. Geological Survey scientists and affiliates:
    Thanks to late Hawai'i Senator Daniel Inouye, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UHH), and the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), a cooperative agreement with the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi (RCUH) was established in 1998.          Since then, many RCUH employees have played crucial roles at HVO, helping with real-time volcano monitoring, assessing hazards, disseminating information, and conducting research on Hawaiian volcanoes.    Much of this work is done behind the scenes, but the start of Kīlauea's ongoing summit eruption on Sep. 29 helped shine a spotlight on these RCUH employees as HVO rapidly responded to an eruption that showed very little precursory activity. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is made up of experts with a wide variety of specializations. Seismologists, geodesists, geochemists, geologists, technicians, and support staff all work together to accomplish the same mission: to monitor, research, and assess hazards related to volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii. HVO's staff is mostly made up of federal employees; however, many critical tasks are handled by staff members affiliated with the University of Hawaiʻi.
    Kass Ulmer, a RCUH seismologist, is generally one of the first people at the observatory to spot changes occurring within the volcanoes. They monitor seismic data to look for subtle low-frequency signals, small earthquake migrations, and deep tremor. The recent Kīlauea eruption was no different. Ulmer quickly identified complex patterns in seismic activity below Halema'uma'u crater that suggested an eruption was imminent. They immediately notified other HVO staff and the decision was made to raise the alert level, notify field crews, and prepare for an eruption.
Lil DeSmither uses a thermal imaging infrared camera to measure surface temperatures
 on a cracked road with steam coming up from lava. USGS photo
    HVO quickly released information to the public thanks to Katie Mulliken, another RCUH scientist who specializes in public communication. Mulliken worked closely with others at HVO to raise Kīlauea's Volcano Alert Level prior to the eruption; she continued to put eruption information on the HVO website after the eruption started to keep Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park staff and the public informed. The entire event from first detection to eruption unfolded in less than forty-five minutes.
    Real-time monitoring, forecasting and detecting eruptive activity is a major part of HVO's mission, along with informing the public of changes in activity. But there are other important HVO responsibilities including data collation, documenting activity, and historical analysis that cooperative projects with UHH/CSAV help HVO accomplish.
  Lil DeSmither and Miki Warren are two other RCUH employees who participate in crucial projects at HVO. DeSmither is often part of the geology field crews; she's gained experience by routinely monitoring volcanic activity during the Pu'u'ō'ō, 2018 lower East Rift Zone, and recent Kīlauea summit eruptions. In the field, DeSmither measures Halema'uma'u lava lake, lava fountain heights, and other features using a laser rangefinder. She also helps collect, organize, post, and archive visual and thermal photographs and videos during helicopter overflights. These products are then used to create eruption maps, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), and eruption chronologies.
Miki Warren conducts most of USGS' S02
 emission rate measurements. UH photo
    Warren conducts the majority of Kīlauea's sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rate measurements—one of the most critical gas datasets at HVO. Sulfur dioxide emissions inform us about eruption intensity and potential for vog (volcanic air pollution) in communities downwind. Miki also calculates the height of the summit volcanic gas plume from camera imagery and assists with water sampling, gas sampling, and other gas measurement campaigns.
    Several RCUH postdoctoral researchers at HVO work on projects related to volcanic ash deposits, volcanic plumes, and lava flow modeling. HVO is also in the process of bringing a ground deformation specialist on board through RCUH. The cooperative agreement has also supported Dr. Cheryl Gansecki and Dr. Steven Lundblad's real-time geochemistry lab at UHH that played an important role in monitoring the 2018 eruption.
    These current RCUH employees are just a small sample of the many RCUH staff that have aided HVO over the years. The dedication and passion that the RCUH employees bring to work every day contributes to HVO's mission and several RCUH employees have gone on to have careers with the USGS.
    Collaborative and cooperative work between USGS and RCUH staff enhances data acquisition, hazard assessments, and information distribution at HVO. At times, this work is difficult and can go unnoticed, but it is vital to volcano and earthquake monitoring in Hawai'i. USGS and RCUH staff at HVO, with diverse backgrounds, and specialties, work together to accomplish our mission at the highest possible level.

This Uplink program is at the Pāhala public school campus.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com.

COVID COUNTS STATEWIDE SWANG WILDLY OVER THE WEEKEND.  The highest daily count of new cases to date reached 5,997 on Saturday and declined to 3,787 on Sunday.
    In the last 14 days the number of cases from Volcano through Ocean View were 19 in Volcano, 20 in Pāhala, 23 in Nāʻālehu and 13 in Ocean View. The state Department of Health reported a positivity rate for Hawai'i Island on Friday at 18.1 percent, which is a decline. Continued decline over the next week or two could indicate that perhaps the disease has reached its peak and may drop away in the near future.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com.

A SCAM SEEKING SOCIAL SECURITY AND LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS has drawn a warning from the state Department of Transportation. DOT reports that the phishing link comes via an email from profileinfos@hat.kr and stays, “You have an incomplete Hawaii DMV contact informations on your Hawaii Department of Motor Vehicle."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com.

See archives of The Ka`u Calendar at
www.kaucalendar.com and find the
monthly print copy in mailboxes from 
Volcano through Ocean View.