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Saturday, April 16, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Saturday, April 16, 2022

Cleanup around the Punalu'u Black Sand Beach area continued on Saturday, with volunteers from O Kaʻū Kakou and the
 broader community, as well as Black Sand Beach, LLC staff and family members. See more below Photo by Matt Baker

FOUR NATIVE HAWAIIAN BIRDS WILL LIKELY GO EXTINCT IN NEXT TWO TO TEN YEARS, unless more measures are taken to save them. One of the measures could translocate some of the birds to places like Kaʻū where they could be released into a mosquito free area, high in the massive native forest on Mauna Loa. All four of the most endangered Hawaiian birds live on other islands, two on Kaua'i and two on Maui.
    A  recent study, with results released this week, says that avian malaria, a non-native disease spread by non-native mosquitoes, is the major culprit and that the territory of the mosquitoes carrying malaria is expanding uphill into native forest bird habitat, as temperatures rise with global warming and climate change. "Just one bite from an infected mosquito can result in the death of a bird," said Dr. Robert Reed, Deputy Director of USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center. In announcing the report, Reed noted the the study involved USGS, U.S Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Native Hawaiian Relations. It was published by University of Hawai'i Hilo's Hawai'i Cooperative Studies Unit.

The four most endangered native Hawaiian forest birds may be translocated to high elevations
to places like Kaʻū where mosquitos won't kill them with avian malaria. DLNR photos
    The four most endangered Hawaiin birds are all native honeycreepers. One is the ‘akikiki, which is found only at the highest elevations on in Koke'e State Park and the Alaka'i Wilderness Peserve on Kaua'i, with 45 birds in the wild and 45 in captivity. Another is the ‘akeke‘e, which is found only on Kaua'i in Waimea Canyon State Park, Alaka'i Wilderness Preserve and Koke'e State Park, with 638 in the wild and seven in captivity.  The third is kiwikiu, the Maui parrotbill, which is found only in a 50 square-meter area on the windward slope of Haleakala on Maui, with 135 in the wild and two in captivity. The fourth is ʻākohekohe, which lives only above 5,000 feet on Maui, with 1,657 in the wild, none in captivity.
Ridding the islands of mosquitos by using a bacteria that prevents
 them from reproducing would go a long way toward preventing
 extinction of native forest birds. Image from DLNR
    The study came up with three ways to prevent extinction: Suppressing mosquito population using the naturally occurring bacterium wolbachia; bringing birds into captivity; and/or translocating birds from their native forests to higher elevation forests on other islands. The report does not recommend a specific set of actions for preventing extinction of the four birds. It does provide expert assessment of the probability of success of the various management actions to inform decision makers, said Reed.
    He said, as many as 11 other Hawaiian forest birds are threatened with extinction in coming decades. If disease continues to spread, conservation strategies enacted now may help these other birds and keep them from the brink of extinction.
    David Smith, administrator of the state Division of Forestry & Wildlife, emphasized that mosquitos are expanding their range uphill, making more birds vulnerable to avian malaria. In the past, mosquitos were limited to a range from sea level to up to about 4,000 ft. in elevation, but higher temperatures are allowing mosquitoes to live at higher elevations. Smith said there is a rapid decline in several species of native birds and that all Hawaiian forest birds are in danger.
Stanton Enomoto said saving native
 Hawaiian birds is akin to 'ohana
supporting an ill family member.
    Stanton Enomoto, Office of Native Hawaiian Relation's Senior Program Director, noted the importance of involving Hawaiian cultural practitioners in determining the path toward saving the birds from extinction. “It’s akin to ‘ohana supporting an ill family member undergoing treatment here in Hawaiʻi. ‘Ohana support for these bird species not only enhances their chance for recovery, but it sustains the biocultural relationship and preserves their legacy in the event they decline towards extinction,” said Enomoto.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano

A COMMUNITY CLEANUP ON LANDS AROUND PUNALU'U BLACK SAND BEACH drew some 30 people on Saturday, including volunteers with O Kaʻū Kakou and the Black Sand Beach, LLC staff and family members. They were assisted with some machinery.
    The morning work ended as heavy rains began and volunteers picked up free pizza from Eva Liu and Matt Baker. Liu, who owns the property with her Black Sand Beach company, participated in the cleanup. OKK, led by Wayne Kawachi, has volunteered cleaning up the pond at Black Sand Beach for many years but concentrated on the coconut tree grove between the pond and the walkway to new parking for beach goers. Last Wednesday parking was restricted from the Black Sand Beach area, with the exception of vehicles used by lifeguards, lei stand employees and the handicapped.

A cleanup day on Saturday followed the establishment of no parking along the roadside nearest
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach. Also restricted this week is parking on the black sand. Photo by Matt Baker

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano

OVERLAPPING ERUPTION HISTORIES OF MAUNA LOA AND KILAUEA are the subject of this week's Volcano Watch, written by postdoctoral researcher Julie Chang at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. She writes:
     Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are the two most active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai‘i, and they have overlapping eruption histories. They are located in close proximity, with their summit craters only about about 34 kilometers (21 miles) apart. In fact, part of Kīlauea is built on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa, which is the older of the two volcanoes.
      Both volcanoes produce lava flows that can travel many miles from the volcanic vent. Additionally, they produce tephra (material ejected explosively) that can be erupted high into the atmosphere and travel long distances by wind. With this in mind, it can sometimes be difficult to determine, with the unaided eye, which volcano is responsible for a specific lava flow or tephra layer.
A geologist examines a two-meter-thick (7 feet) tephra outcrop on the
southeast flank of Mauna Loa. USGS photo by J.M. Chang
    Knowing the source of the erupted material, whether from Mauna Loa or Kīlauea, is important for assessing volcanic hazards on the island. Geologists look to past eruptions, both effusive (in the form of lava flows) and explosive (in the form of volcanic ash and other tephra) to understand the frequency of volcanic eruptions. Recurrence intervals can be calculated to determine how often effusive or explosive events occur, which can help forecast when they may occur in the future.
    For example, if geologists observe an outcrop with six tephra layers sandwiched between an upper lava flow dated at 800 years ago and a lower lava flow dated at 2,000 years ago—a time period of 1,200 years preserved between the two flows—the minimum recurrence interval would be 200 years (1,200 years divided by six explosive eruptions).
    This means that an explosive eruptive event occurred, on average, every 200 years within that 1,200 year time period. If we know that there are six tephra layers, but we donʻt know if they erupted from Mauna Loa or Kīlauea, it is difficult to understand how often eruptions occurred from the individual volcanoes.
    For example, if only one of the tephra layers were from Mauna Loa, the minimum recurrence interval would be 240 years for Kīlauea and over 1,200 years for Mauna Loa. But if three of the tephra layers were from Mauna Loa, the minimum recurrence interval would be 400 years for Kīlauea and 400 years for Mauna Loa.
    So how, then, do geologists determine which volcano produced a certain flow or tephra? Field geologists often use detailed mapping. An explosive eruption, for example, will generally have thicker deposits near the source and thin out away from the source.
    Geologists can also use geochemistry to determine if a particular eruptive product is from Mauna Loa or Kīlauea. Studies have shown that the two volcanoes have different geochemical signatures. For example, Mauna Loa lavas generally have higher silica (Si) and lower calcium (Ca), titanium (Ti), and potassium (K) at a given magnesium (Mg) content than Kīlauea lavas.
Julie M. Chang
    The two volcanoes and their older predecessors generally have different trace element concentrations and isotope signatures as well, with the geochemistries defining two different families along the island chain. On the Island of Hawaiʻi, Mauna Loa and Hualālai form one family, and Kīlauea, Mauna Kea, and Kohala form another. The chemical differences are thought to originate in the hotspot plume and demonstrate that the magma systems for the two volcanoes are not interconnected.
    A new study is applying these geochemical differences between Mauna Loa and Kīlauea to understand the volcanic source of individual layers within a two-meter-thick (7 feet) tephra exposure on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa. The exposure is located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) south of Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, and 35 kilometers (22 miles) southwest of Halemaʻumaʻu, the summit crater of Kīlauea. Due to varying wind directions, either volcano could potentially be the source of the tephra.
    Initial geochemistry obtained from fresh glass shards found in the tephra layers suggests that tephra from both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are present at the field site. Tephras from both the Keanakākoʻi Ash (circa 1500–1820 CE) and the Kulanaokuaiki Tephra (circa 400–1000 CE), which erupted from Kīlauea, appear to be present, as well as at least one tephra layer from Mauna Loa.
    The new data will be important for constraining recurrence interval calculations for explosive events on Mauna Loa and Kīlauea and will help the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory provide more robust hazard assessments for the Island of Hawaiʻi.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano

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