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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Tuesday, Oct.17 , 2023

Many visitors arrive, after reading online recommendations to stop in at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach to see the turtles.
Some of these folks expressed disappointment that they were forbidden to go near the turtles. A new Hawai‘i Tourism
stewardship program is set to train local stewards to educate visitors and help take care of the coast and its resources.
Photo by Julia Neal

HAWAI‘I TOURISM AUTHORITY ANNOUNCED DETAILS OF ITS PUNALU'U VISITOR IMPACT MITIGATION PROGRAM on Tuesday. HTA, in partnership with the Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau, has engaged two community-based organizations to support visitor education efforts and mitigate tourism impacts in Punalu‘u and Kealakekua Bay.
    This effort is a part of HTA’s newly launched Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program. HTA is funding this community-driven approach to destination management as guided by its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan and Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan.
    "HTA continues to collaborate with Hawai‘i Island residents to better manage tourism’s impacts and 
support the initiatives they want to see and actively engage in for their communities, such as in Punalu‘u
and Kealakekua Bay,” said Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i, HTA’s Interim President and CEO. “Reinvesting in these

non-profit organizations to expand the work they are doing to protect, preserve, and educate people about the culture, history and natural resources of these special places is our kuleana to the community and those who visit.” 
     Ka ‘Ohana O Honu‘apo was selected for its Ka‘ū Hoa Pili ‘Āina Training Program to focus on training ten local stewards in Punalu‘u on the practices of mālama ‘āina built on the foundation of cultural practices and protocols, conservation and biological sciences, and placebased messaging about the Ka‘ū Coast. The stewards will educate visitors about the area and assist with data collection. 
      Ka ‘Ohana O Honu‘apo will also hire a Mālama ‘Āina Coordinator to oversee and organize the stewards’ training as guided by its Board of Directors and with support from other local non-profit organizations. Ka ‘Ohana O Honu‘apo will work with the local Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, which will handle HR management for the coordinator position. While this ʻāina-based education program will initially cover the fragile and highly visited coastline of Punaluʻu, the training will later be expanded to the greater Kaʻū coastline and mauka into forests and watersheds. 
      Ho‘āla Kealakekua Nui, Inc. was selected for its project, Building ‘Āina-Based Stewardship Programs for Kealakekua Bay. The indigenous-led non-profit organization has been building the capacity to co-manage Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park and the surrounding community. Through this project, Ho‘āla Kealakekua Nui aims to educate visitors, residents and commercial tour operators about the Kealakekua Bay Community Action Plan Code of Conduct developed by the community on how to respectfully interact within Kealakekua Bay; provide equipment to community volunteers restoring coastal habitat during Hana Lima workdays; and train citizen scientists to monitor the health of the area using a recently developed app called Kilokilo, customized for Kealakekua Bay. 
    “With the support of HTA and its emphasis on destination management, we are seeing more ways in which regenerative tourism on Hawai‘i Island is working through ‘āina- and placed-based community models,” said Rachel Kaiama, IHVB’s destination manager. “These programs will further assist in our collaborative efforts to care for the natural and cultural resources of sacred places with resident-community stewards taking the lead for Punalu‘u and Kealakekua. Mahalo nui to our partners Ka ‘Ohana O Honu‘apo and Ho‘āla Kealakekua Nui, Inc.” 
Logo for Ka'u Ohana O Honu'apo
     IHVB issued a Request for Proposals in July for ‘āina-based non-profit organizations on Hawai‘i Island to develop and manage community stewardship programs to educate visitors and protect natural and cultural resources in areas including Punalu‘u and Kealakekua Bay, as called for by residents in HTA’s Hawai‘i Island DMAP. These areas have become especially popular with visitors, resulting in overcrowding, congestion, natural and cultural resource degradation, and safety hazards.
     The statement from Hawai‘i Tourism Authority says, "The Hawai‘i Island Community-Based Action Stewardship Program builds on the success of the Keaukaha Steward Pilot Program and Community Cultural-Based Education Program which launched in July. This effort, supported by HTA, the County of Hawai‘i and IHVB, works to mitigate visitor impacts and protect natural resources at Waiuli (also known as Richardson Ocean Park) and Lehia Beach Parks. 
      To learn more about how destination management and stewardship is advancing on the island of Hawai‘i, visit: https://holomua.hawaiitourismauthority.org/hawaii-island/.

TRAILS ARE REOPENED AT HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK following a decrease in Kīlauea volcano seismic action for a few days. However, USGS reports that the major intrusive event beneath the area extending from the southern part of Kīlauea caldera southwest to the Koaʻe fault zone appears to ramp back up. 
     Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported on Tuesday an increase in earthquakes, from 23 per day on Monday, to 136 recorded in  24 hours. These earthquakes were at depths of 1-5 km (0.6-3 mi) beneath the surface.
    Uēkahuna summit tiltmeter located north of the caldera recorded very slight inflation over  24 hours, in a NE direction. The Sand Hill tiltmeter, located just south of the caldera, is showing an inflationary tilt trend, in NNW direction. 
A lone hiker walks Devastation Trail with a large sinkhole in the foreground. NPS photo by Janice Wei
   Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates remain low and were measured at a rate of about 100 tonnes per day on Oct. 6. Other monitoring data streams, including webcam views, do not show any significant changes. HVO continues to monitor the summit region of Kīlauea volcano closely. 
    When earthquake and ground deformation rates beneath the southern part of Kīlauea volcano's summit caldera and extending to the southwest decreased over several days, suggesting the intrusive event that began last week was coming to an end, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park reopened:
- Hilina Pali Road from Chain of Craters Road to Hilina Pali Overlook
- Kulanaokuaiki Campground
- Puʻupuaʻi parking lot, Puʻupuaʻi Overlook, and the trail that connects Puʻupuaʻi Overlook to Devastation Trail
- Devastation parking lot and Devastation Trail
- Keanakākoʻi Overlook and the paved trail from Chain of Craters Road
- Crater Rim Trail from Chain of Craters Road to Keanakākoʻi Crater.
- Maunaiki Trail
- Kaʻū Desert Trail
    Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park announced that it continues to closely monitor Kīlauea in collaboration with colleagues at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
    Visitors are encouraged to check the park website at www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes for closure updates, safety alerts, air quality, and other information. This includes links to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams and eruption updates.

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THERE ARE NO NEW EXTINCTIONS OF ENDANGERED BIRDS ON HAWAI‘I ISLAND that are listed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the Endangered Species List. The agency, in its statement issued Monday, delisted eight birds on other islands that were protected under the Endangered Species Act. The endangered birds, on Maui, Kaua‘i and Moloka‘i, were taken off the Endangered Species List after intensive research concluded that they are extinct. 
    Most of the birds may have been extinct since long before the Endangered Species Act and have not been seen. The one seen most recently that was  taken off the list as extinct, 
‘Akialoa on Hawai‘i Island, once plentiful in ‘ohia forests, were
declared extinct years ago. On Oct. 17, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
declared its relative, the Kaua‘i ‘Akialoa as also extinct. This Hawai‘i
Island honeycreeper was called the hook-billed green creeper.
Photo of specimen from NPS
seen was the po‘ouli, listed in1975, with the last confirmed sighting in 2004.
    One native plant in Hawai‘i that was proposed for delisting was kept on the list. Found on Lana‘i, Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis, a perennial herb in the mint family with no common name, maintained its Endangered Species listing, due to new surveys identifying new, potentially suitable habitats for the species.
    The delisted birds are all forest honeycreepers: Kaua‘i ‘akialoa, Kaua‘i nukupu‘u, Kaua‘i ʻōʻō, Kāmaʻo or large Kaua‘i thrush, Maui ākepa, Maui nukupu‘u, Moloka‘i creeper and po‘ouli, also known as the black-faced honeycreeper.
    U.S. Fish & Wildlife also delisted 13 other birds in the U.S. that have gone extinct. Its Director Martha Williams said, “Federal protection came too late to reverse these species’ decline, and it’s a wake-up call on the importance of conserving imperiled species before it’s too late. As we commemorate 50 years of the Endangered Species Act this year, we are reminded of the act’s purpose to be a safety net that stops the journey toward extinction. The ultimate goal is to recover these species, so they no longer need the act’s protection.”

    Michael Parr, president of the American Bird Conservancy, said, “Most of these extinct birds are Hawaiian species that were unique to those islands. It’s a tremendous loss. Their Endangered Species Act listings happened too late for their protection and recovery. Sadly, this tragic outcome could have been prevented if actions to conserve their habitats had been taken sooner.” The American Bird Conservancy statement said that even though species on the Endangered Species List still go extinct, many on the list were already extinct or extremely rare when the Endangered Species Act became law in 1973. Its "success rate has actually been extremely good with very few extinctions and many species recoveries since it was passed.” Parr said.
    American Bird Conservancy noted that "Once a bird paradise, Hawai‘i is now the bird extinction capital of the world with many species on the brink and more at risk of disappearing in our lifetime. Most of the remaining bird populations have been substantially reduced by habitat loss and invasive species, and the honeycreepers, including Kiwikiu and ‘I‘iwi, have been hit particularly hard by nonnative diseases transmitted by invasive mosquitoes."
    Through the Birds, Not Mosquitoes program, the American Bird Conservancy is helping coordinate the design and implementation

of a strategy to disrupt mosquitoes' breeding cycle. Under the plan, a secure lab is rearing male mosquitoes containing a strain of naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria that will make them unable to successfully reproduce with wild female mosquitoes in Hawai‘i.
    “We're working urgently with our partners in Hawai'i to prevent the tragedy of future Hawaiian bird extinctions,” said Parr. "I still have hope that we can prevent the extinction of the Kiwikiu and other Hawaiian birds. If we act now, and decisively, we can ensure a different outcome.”

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The Red Cross shown here in a war zone will give a public talk on Thursday, Nov. 2 at Volcano Rotary on the Geneva
Convention and Rules of War. Photo from Rotary Club of Volcano
RED CROSS & ROTARY WILL TALK RULES OF WAR during a community event hosted by Rotary Club of Volcano on Thursday, Nov 2 at 8:30 a.m. at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus, 19-4074 Old Volcano Rd.
    Rotary released a statement asking "Ever try to make sense of military or humanitarian topics in today's headlines? Stories about POWs? Refugee camps? Cluster munitions? War crimes? The Rotary Club of Volcano is pleased to sponsor a timely community event that can shed some light on these and other aspects of International Humanitarian Law."
    Even War has Rules is a talk prepared and presented by the American Red Cross. This one-hour overview introduces fundamental principles of IHL that can clarify the rules governing conflicts around the world.
   The presenter, Marc Bender, is an international development specialist who has served in the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and non-governmental organizations. His three decades in war zones and post-conflict environments—including Cambodia, Laos, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan—give him firsthand insights on many of these issues.
     For more information contact marc.bender@redcross.org; walk-ins are welcome.