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Sunday, January 28, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 28, 2024

ʻAlalā, endangered Hawaiian crows, raised in captivity in Volcano and on Maui, will be
released into the wild, this time on Maui, following an earlier release on this island when
they were attacked, some killed by another native bird, the Hawaiian hawk. Photo from DLNR
 SOME OF THE ENDANGERED HAWAIIAN CROWS, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY IN VOLCANO, will be flown to Maui for release by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service onto forest reserve lands. The ʻAlalā - native Hawaiian crows - are extinct in the wild. An earlier species re-introduction project on Hawai‘i Island was halted, largely because the native Hawaiian hawk (‘io), their natural predator, was preying on the birds.          While ʻalalā were last known to exist on Hawai‘i Island there is subfossil evidence of a Corvid (crow family) species on both Maui and Moloka‘i.

    For Maui releases, the state Department of Land & Natural Resources and U.S. Forest & Wildlife Service identified the project area through a collaborative process that evaluated eight sites on Maui and Moloka‘i. Since Maui Nui does not have a breeding population of ‘Io, researchers are hopeful releasing ʻalalā on Maui will be successful.
ʻAlalā chick being fed by a look-alike, substitute ʻAlalā mom in a captive breeding facility. Photo from San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
    The agencies prepared a joint Environmental Assessment to address any impacts of pilot releases of ʻalalā. The assessment focused on the two highest-ranking sites, Kīpahulu Forest Reserve and Ko‘olau Forest Reserve. Project areas include a radius of 2.4 miles surrounding release sites, which is the maximum distance ʻalalā are expected to travel based on the previous Hawai‘i Island releases.
    In its submittal to the Board of Land & Natural Resources, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife indicated the preferred alternative is to release ʻalalā in the Kīpahulu Forest Reserve for the first release effort to minimize potential impacts to rare snails and other native species. The environmental analysis also addressed potential impacts to other threatened and endangered plants and animals, to cultural, recreational and wilderness resources, and to public health and safety, air quality, climate change, and environmental justice.
    The interdisciplinary team consulted with scientific experts and environmental partners from DLNR, USFWS, the National Park Service, and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Released birds will come from the captive population of 120 birds. The birds are housed at two conservation breeding facilities managed by SDZWA on Maui and Hawaiʻi Islands.
    DOFAW representatives told board members that after reviewing the final EA, they agree that a “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)” justifies the pilot release of ʻalalā in east Maui.
    BLNR voted unanimously to approve the plan. No date for releases has been set.

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ADDING A $25 FEE TO TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAXES already charged by the state and county would raise money for state Department of Land & Natural Resources to deal with climate change, according to a proposed bill from Gov. Josh Green before the Hawai'i Legislature. 
    Green said the money would be used to protect beaches, parks and natural treasures from extreme weather, without hiking taxes and fees on Hawai'i residents. He said the fee could bring in $68 million a year to the state.
    Other proposals from legislatures would also add taxes to visitor accommodations, including raising the TAT by a percentage point.

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COFFEE EDUCATION AT NOON ON TUESDAYS will be offered via zoom with live questions by University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources' Agricultural Extension Service. Here is the schedule:
  • Jan. 30 - Using Priaxor for CLR Management: Chemistry Review and Best Usage Guidelines w/ Mike Ravalin of BASF
    Feb. 6 - NO Presentation w/ Q&A scheduled
    Feb. 13 - Coffee leaf rust research updates and pesticides registered in coffee w/ Julie Coughlin and
    Kaʻū and Kona coffee education series is at noon on Tuesdays.
    Photo by Luis Aristizabal
    Zhang Cheng of CTAHR
    Feb. 20 - Progress on coffee breeding for CLR-resistance w/ Ming-Li Wang of HARC
    Feb. 27 - Micropropagation of coffee using somatic embryogenesis w/ Steve Starnes of UH Hilo
    Mar. 5 - Optimizing location-specific pesticide applications for Coffee Berry Borer on Hawai'i Island w/ Melissa Johnson of USDA ARS DKI PBARC
    Mar. 12 - Coffee Leaf Rust in Puerto Rico: Patterns and Pathogens w/ Paul Bayman of Univ. of Puerto Rico
    Mar. 19 - Black twig borer w/ Rob Curtiss of Washington State University and Bob Smith of Smith Farms
    Mar. 26 - Management Tools for Kona Coffee Root-knot Nematode w/ Roxana Myers of USDA ARS DKI PBARC
    Apr. 2 - Field trials controlling the coffee leaf rust infection by using fungicides in commercial coffee farms in Hawai'i w/ Luis Aristizabal of SHAC
    Apr. 23 - Field pesticide and fertilizer trials and leaf disc assays w/ Lisa Keith of USDA PBARC
    Apr. 30 - Coffee germplasm and update on the cupping of rust resistant varieties w/ Tracie Matsumoto of USDA PBARC,
       The pre-recorded presentations will be hosted at the Kona Extension YouTube account and will be played at 12:00 pm on Zoom during the Tuesday webinars. A live online Q&A with the presenter(s) will take place after the presentation. Topics, presenters, and presentation titles are subject to change and will be updated at https://www.hawaiicoffeeed.com/coffeewebinars.html.
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fewer on Sunday. The quakes continue to indicate repressurization of the summit magma reservoir, according to reports from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, The increase in pressure began when the latest eruption ended last September.
    The heightened seismicity remains in the south caldera area. The tiltmeter near Sand Hill indicated Sunday morning an ongoing inflationary deformation. A tiltmeter near Uēkahuna bluff also responded to Saturday’s events, but to a lesser degree, as this instrument is not as sensitive to south caldera changes, reports USGS.

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