Crew for Second HI-SEAS Mission Announced – Next Extended Simulation of Mars Exploration Begins March 28

The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has announced the crew for the second mission of the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program. The next extended simulation of Mars exploration here on Earth begins March 28.

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

HI-Seas photo by Angelo Vermeulen

“The upcoming mission is focused on the social, interpersonal, and cognitive factors that affect team performance over time,” said Kim Binsted, associate professor at UH Mānoa and principal investigator for the next three HI-SEAS missions planned for 2014 and 2015.  “Hawai‘i provides a unique setting to simulate the challenging conditions for human exploration to Mars. We have selected a strong crew for our next four-month study.”

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

The site is set up at an undisclosed location on Mauna Kea.

HI-SEAS crew members were required have “astronaut-like characteristics,” including the ability to pass a Class 2 flight physical examination and undergraduate training as a scientist or engineer. The youngest crew member is 26; the oldest is 60 years old.  Like the astronaut mission specialists they represent, each participant is expected to bring a significant research project or other scholarly work of his or her own to complete while inside the space analog habitat.

The six crew members and the reserve (alternate) member are:

  • Ross Lockwood – A PhD candidate in condensed matter physics at the University of Alberta. Ross is from Winfield, British Columbia, Canada.
  • Casey Stedman – An officer in the US Air Force Reserve. Born in Vermont, Casey now considers Washington his home.
  • Ronald Williams – Director of the Neuropsychology Department at Fort Wayne Neurological Center, Indiana. Ron holds a PhD in Neuropsychology and is from Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Tiffany Swarmer – Research assistant studying human factors and performance for long-duration space missions at the University of North Dakota’s Human Spaceflight Laboratory.  Tiffany was born at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland.
  • Lucie Poulet – A PhD candidate at the Institute of Space Systems at the German Aerospace Center.  Lucie designs hybrid lighting systems for greenhouses to enhance plant growth and is from the Lorraine region of France.
  • Anne Caraccio – A NASA researcher developing a method of turning waste from space missions into useable gases for fuel/propulsion, environmental control, and life support systems. Anne is from Bellmore, New York.
  • (Reserve crew member) James Sakai, a mechanical engineer and Captain in the US Army Reserve, is from Rupert, Idaho.

During the upcoming study, researchers from outside of the HI-SEAS habitat will monitor the six crew members isolated inside the solar-powered dome at a remote site at 8,000 feet elevation on the slopes of Mauna Loa.  The researchers will evaluate the crew’s communications strategies, crew workload and job-sharing, and conflict resolution/conflict management approaches to determine the most important factors for the success of a long-duration space mission.

Food inventory by Sian

Food inventory by Sian

This mission follows on the heels of a successful 2013 Mars food study, which simulated the experience of astronauts on a real planetary mission and compared two types of food systems:  crew-cooked vs. pre-prepared.

More information, photos, and full biographies for the 2014 crew members are available on the HI-SEAS website at http://hi-seas.org/.  Members of the media can download high-resolution photos from the previous HI-SEAS mission at:  http://go.hawaii.edu/GQ

For more information, visit: http://hi-seas.org/

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Public Invited to the Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival

The public is invited to the 7th annual University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival on Sunday, March 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hilo’s Bayfront Beach Park.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This free, event is hosted by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s Pacific Island Programs for Exploring Science (PIPES) in partnership with the County of Hawaiʻi, EPSCoR Hawaiʻi IMUA III, UH Hilo Student Activities Council, UH Hilo Student Association, Board of Media Broadcasting, Board of Student Publications, and the University of Hawai’i Sea Grant.

Since its debut as Ocean Day in 2007, the festival has become a popular community event, drawing crowds in excess of 2,000 participants. Volunteer Coordinator Amelie Sterling says the event also serves as an important learning resource for students.

“Ocean Day is a great volunteer opportunity for students to gain a service learning experience as well as enhance their resumes and build skills for the future,” Sterling said. “Some faculty members even offer it as an opportunity for students to gain extra credit or fulfill a community service requirement within their course.”

The Ocean Day Mālama Kanaloa Festival is focused on increasing awareness of ocean and coastal issues such as conservation, sustainable use of resources and ocean safety through interactive displays, activities and booths. Activities include fishing games, marine critter touch tanks, craft making, makahiki games, face painting, poi-pounding, seed planting, marine debris displays, and more. The event also showcases ongoing research while providing opportunities to interact with people interested in working together to care for island and ocean communities.

For more information, email: UHpipes@hawaii.edu or call Amelie Sterling at 933-0707.

Hawaii Joins National Invasive Species Awareness Week

The State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 3 at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Gov. Abercrombie has made invasive species an administration priority by supporting his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC and endorsing 2014 legislative initiatives proposing up to $5 million to meet operating costs of Invasive Species Programs.

“Protecting our islands from the threat of invasive species remains a top priority,” Gov. Abercrombie said in this year’s State of the State address. “We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops. Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask for the public’s engagement in addressing this menace.”

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board created by the Legislature to provide cabinet-level direction on invasive species issues, is coordinating a series of events and activities, open to the public, in recognition of Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week in partnership with the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 3, 9 a.m. – noon, Capitol Auditorium

  • Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC Co-Chairs, Scott Enright (Hawaii Department of Agriculture) and William J. Aila, Jr. (Department of Land and Natural Resources) will also offer opening remarks.
  • HISC Awards Ceremony: The HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Hottest Hotline Report, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2013. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/
  • Participation and Information Booths: presented by Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture, Malama Maunaloa, Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, University of Hawaii, and more.
  • Be a Beetle Buster & Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees: March 3 kick-off

People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining this special “mission” to survey all coconut trees in Hawaii for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. The public is invited to take photos of the crowns of coconut trees and post them to the “Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees” mission on the Project Noah website or via mobile app. The photos will be reviewed by the Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management class to assess the presence or absence of this pest across the state. Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving distinctive v-shaped cuts in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state, if they aren’t detected and eradicated. The Beetle Buster Team will flag photos that show suspected beetle damage for follow up surveys. The project will go live on Monday, March 3. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

Volunteer Events: Occurring statewide from March 3 to 9
Visit the Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/ for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:

  • Helping clear invasive weeds along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokee (March 5)
  • Learning about invasive species issues in Hawaii at the Paintballs and Digital Mapping Talk Story, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge (March 7)
  • Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds on the offshore islet of Mokuauia (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds in the Koolau Mountains (March 9)
  • Helping to restore Mauna Kea (throughout March)

To learn more about NISAW, visit http://www.nisaw.org. To learn more about the local-level HISAW, visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health, Transportation, and Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. http://www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

Volunteers Needed to Malama Maunakea

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is seeking community volunteers to participate in its monthly “Malama Maunakea” campaign to protect the mountain’s fragile resources.  Community members are encouraged to sign up for open volunteer days – Saturday, April 19; Saturday, June 7 or Saturday, July 26.

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

“Our overarching goal at the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to malama Maunakea. Taking care of 12,000 acres is a daunting task, but with collaborative community partnerships we can accomplish much,” stated OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “We are so thankful to the school groups, service organizations, Chambers, individual and families of volunteers who give of their weekend to take care of Maunakea.”

The invasive species weed pulls throughout 2013 proved to be quite successful with 236 participants volunteering 1,747 hours, pulling 363 garbage bags of invasive weeds on eight separate occasions and also planting 200 Maunakea silversword.

The Saturday weed pulls concentrate on eradicating the invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) along the Mauna Kea Access Road and around Halepohaku at approximately 9,200’ elevation.  The fireweed pulls help keep this invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea and reduce habitat for invasive insects.

The Malama Maunakea volunteer day begins at 8 am.  For Hilo-based volunteers, transportation to and from Hilo is provided. For West Hawaii volunteers, OMKM will help coordinate ride sharing. Upon arrival at Halepohaku, the volunteers are given a project orientation and allowed time to acclimate to the high elevation. Invasive weed pulls focus on the area along the Mauna Kea Access Road near Halepohaku. A brief tour of Maunakea resources completes this fulfilling day on the mountain.

Who can help? Everyone, including families and kids under parent supervision, student groups 16 years of age and older, community members, visitors, are all welcome.  Space is limited. To volunteer or for more information contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email: OMKMvolunteers-grp@hawaii.edu.

Hawaii Residents Can Spot the International Space Station Tonight

Hawaii residents can spot the International Space Station tonight if there isn’t a cloud cover.

International Space Station

It will be visible at 7:21 PM, for about 4 minutes:  Max Height: 42 degrees, Appears: NNW, Disappears: E

Governor Abercrombie Calls for Public Input on Climate Change

Having recently met with President Obama and other state governors on a variety of issues including climate change, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is asking for ideas from Hawaii residents on how the federal government can better support state and other local efforts in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience.

Climate Change and Abercrombie

In November 2013, Gov. Abercrombie was one of 26 members appointed to the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Members have been asked to develop recommendations in the areas of:

  • Disaster Management
  • Built Systems (water, transportation, energy, facilities and coastal infrastructure)
  • Natural Resources and Agriculture
  • Community Development and Health

The public is invited to provide input through an online form at http://governor.hawaii.gov/climate-change-task-force-survey/. Since the Task Force is on an expedited timeline, the first round of input must be received by Monday, March 10.  The form is also accessible from the Governor’s homepage, http://governor.hawaii.gov, by clicking on “Your Input on Climate Change” under “Useful Links.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity to share Hawaii’s unique needs, challenges and innovative solutions, while advising federal officials on what kind of support is needed and what would be most effective here in the islands,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Members of the President’s task force from every part of the country agree this is the challenge of our time and we must work together to prepare for and mitigate impacts.”

“Gov. Abercrombie’s appointment to the President’s task force puts our state in a valuable position to share what matters most for Hawaii in building a resilient future,” said State Sustainability Coordinator Jacqueline Kozak Thiel. “The recommendations submitted will be considered by the task force for the final presentation to President Obama. Although the focus of the task force is how the federal government can better support our climate change efforts in Hawaii, this is also a chance for us to identify next steps for action that we can take together as a state.”

Resilient Hawaii Forum
Another opportunity to share recommendations and discuss next steps for addressing climate change in Hawaii will be the Governor’s second Resilient Hawaii Forum, a free and open session being held during the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO) conference on March 12, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center. As mentioned in his 2014 State of the State Address, the Governor is convening the forums this year to engage stakeholders – Native Hawaiian organizations, natural resource managers, the military, tourism officials, agricultural representatives, researchers and government at all levels – to create a climate change roadmap for Hawaii. For more information on the PRiMO conference, visit http://collaborate.csc.noaa.gov/PRiMO/Pages/index.aspx.

Navigating Change
Read Navigating Change, Hawaii’s Approach to Adaptation, a report presented by Gov. Abercrombie at the first meeting of the President’s Task Force for Climate Preparedness and Resilience in December 2013: http://governor.hawaii.gov/blog/navigating-climate-change/.

Hawaii Senate Committee Advances Bills Protecting the Environment

The Hawaii State Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means (WAM) today advanced legislation to protect and preserve the state’s natural resources. The committee passed bills that, if made law, would have immediate and far-reaching effects on beach shorelines, invasive species control, conservation, sustainability, climate change and disaster planning efforts.

Some members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at Pohoiki on the Big Island.

Some members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at Pohoiki on the Big Island.

“We must continually work together to maintain our unique island home for the health and pleasure of our families and, also, the stability of our economy through the visitor industry,” said Sen. David Ige, WAM Committee chairman. “These bills passed today touch on many facets of the environment both with immediate actions and long-term planning, and will require more meetings and consensus for success.”

The environment protection measures passed today include:

SB2742 – Establishes the Pacific-Asia Institute for Resilience and Sustainability to provide the structure and opportunity for a new generation of leaders to emerge who possess the ability to address Hawaii and the Pacific-Asia region’s risks from natural and man-made hazards and to develop solutions for sustainable economic growth within the region’s unique physical and cultural diversity.

SB3035 – Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds for planning for and construction for the realignment of Kamehameha Highway mauka of Laniakea beach on the North Shore of Oahu.

SB3036 – Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to create a North Shore beach management plan for the North Shore of Oahu stretching from Sunset beach to Waimea Bay.

The Senate WAM Committee last week advanced two joint majority package bills that support efforts to address invasive species and climate change. The measures are:

SB2343 – Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council for invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research, and planning.

SB2344 – Addresses climate change adaptation by establishing the interagency sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation committee under the Department of Land and Natural Resources to create a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report that addresses sea level rise impacts statewide to 2050. Tasks the Office of Planning with establishing and implementing strategic climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations using the sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report as a framework for addressing other statewide climate impacts identified under Act 286, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012. Appropriates funds for staffing and resources.

Bill to Make Hawaiian Bobtail Squid Hawaii’s Official State Microbe to be Heard Tomorrow

The Hawaiian Bobtail Squid – a two inch, glow in the dark creature – will have its moment in the spotlight tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, February 25. The Senate’s Committee on Technology and the Arts (TEC) will hear a bill designating vibrio fischeri as Hawaii’s official microbe.

image credit: guardian.co.uk

Image credit: guardian.co.uk

Vibrio fischeri is a bacteria which lives in a symbiotic relationship with the Hawaiian bobtail squid, giving the animal the power to produce bioluminescence, or light from a living organism. The squid is endemic to Hawaii and hunts at night on reef flats. However, moonlight casts a shadow onto the sea floor, which alerts predators to the squid’s presence. To counter this effect, the Hawaiian bobtail squid cultures vibrio fischeri in a special light-emitting organ, which allows it to become stealthy by projecting light that minimizes the dark shadow of its body.

Image credit: kahikai.org

Image credit: kahikai.org

The study of this chemical reaction has numerous medical and practical applications, such as testing for toxic compounds in water.

“We anticipate having a State Microbe will ignite interest in science for our kids. What could be more appropriate than a bacteria that creates a glowing blue squid that thrives just off our shores,” says Sen. Glenn Wakai, Chairman of the TEC Committee, “With 70% of our planet covered in water, it makes perfect sense to have Hawaii’s microbe tied to the ocean.”

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

Image credit: news.wisc.edu

What:   Hearing on SB 3124, designating a State Microbe

When: 1:15 p.m., Tuesday, February 25

Where: Capitol, room 414

More information on the bill can be found by going to this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=3124&year=2014.

Oregon became the first state to have an official microbe.  Lawmakers there designated saccharomyces cerevisiae, also known as “brewer’s yeast” as its state microbe due to its importance to Oregon’s beer and winemaking industries. Wisconsin has attempted to turn lactococcus lactis into its official microbe, in recognition of its role in creating cheese.

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Department of Health Cites Philips Services Hawaii, LTD for Used-Oil Permit Violations

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has filed a notice of violation with a penalty fine totaling $19,500 against Philip Services Hawaii, LTD (PSH). DOH discovered two alleged violations of the state’s used-oil rules during a routine inspection on Aug. 19 and 20, 2013. PSH operates at two sites located at 91-410 and 91-416 Komohana St. in Kapolei on Oahu. The company has been at these sites since July 2001 and its operations include used-oil transport, processing and recycling.

Department of Health

PSH faces one count of significantly altering operating procedures without notifying DOH. These procedures are considered to be a part of the permit and any changes to the plans must be approved by DOH. The standard operating procedures that were in use at the time of the inspection were not consistent with the approved version. The altered procedures resulted in substantial changes in the used-oil processing steps that had not been approved by DOH. The altered procedures changed the system from a recycling system into a disposal system.

Instead of recovering used oil and waste fuels from the oily water for reuse, the altered system would absorb those components for disposal. Potentially, hazardous wastes could have been sent for recycling and been disposed of instead. The second count resulted from PSH failing to update their emergency coordinator list. PSH may request a hearing within 20 days to contest the violation notice and penalty.

To protect Hawaii from pollutants that endanger people and the environment, the DOH regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes.

The department’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch promotes pollution prevention and waste minimization, develops partnerships with waste generators and the regulated community, guides the rehabilitation of contaminated lands, and aggressively enforces environmental laws.waii

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

View of the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, looking west. The flow front has focused into a new lobe that is slowly migrating through thick forest, triggering scattered forest fires. The smoke from these fires seems to be “seeding” the cloud above it. The active flow front was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Mauna Loa can be seen in the distance.

Top: Looking northeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, the smoke coming from forest fires at the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow can be seen in the distance. In the foreground, thick fume is coming from the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava tube, which is supplying lava to the flow front. Bottom: View of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. This small cone is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. The cone has recently hosted a small lava pond, but today this seemed to be crusted over. See the time-lapse sequences below to see recent activity at this cone.

Thermal image of the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Yellow and white areas depict active breakouts, while red areas are cooler, inactive portions of the flow. Over the past week a new lobe has pushed east, between lobes that were active in November and January. The tip of this new lobe was 7.4 km (4.6 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Compare this view to the February 20 map (see link above).

Spattering and gas pistoning in the northeast cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This selection of images shows activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō over the past two weeks. The lava pond was undergoing gas pistoning, a gradual buildup and release of gas in the lava pond that is often associated with spattering and lava level changes. For scale, the lava pond is about 10 m (30 feet) across.

More images of the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō, taken with a time-lapse camera.

This Quicktime movie shows a time-lapse sequence of activity at the northeast spatter cone in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater on February 9-10. Rapid fluctuations in the height of the lava pond are caused by gas pistoning, which is the gradual buildup and release of gas in the pond. Mauna Kea is visible in the upper right portion of the frame. The sequence was captured by an inexpensive time-lapse camera, whose plastic housing was warped by the extreme heat.

Senator Malama Solomon on the Hawaii Business News “Geothermal Article”

Senator Malama Solomon responded to the following Hawaii Business News article:

Click to read article

Click to read article

Your report on geothermal energy (HB November 2013, “Geothermal is a Red-Hot Topic”) failed to make some very important points about why geothermal would improve the quality of life for all of us in Hawaii.

• Geothermal is used worldwide and can be applied to Hawaii. According to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, there are several regions worldwide with geothermal and geologic conditions very similar to Hawaii, such as Iceland and New Zealand. Both nations benefit from electrical rates of up to 12 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Hawaii’s average of 32 cents/kwh. DLNR also points out that these two countries, plus Japan and Indonesia, have seen decades of safe and economical use of geothermal energy.

• Safeguards are already in place. “The State of Hawaii has developed a thorough series of procedures to review, regulate and oversee the development of geothermal resources,” says DLNR Chair William Aila. “This includes the drilling of all geothermal wells, the protection of underground sources of drinking water, safe well construction techniques, and seismic monitoring.”

Also, geothermal development projects are required by Chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to develop an Environmental Impact Statement, which includes public disclosure of potential impacts and proposed mitigations measures that are subject to public hearings and a public comment period before any project can proceed forward. “These processes are already in place ensure the protection of the environment, natural and cultural resources, and the public’s health and safety,” Alia says.

• Geothermal has Hawaiian support. “Hawaiians have supported and continue to support geothermal development on Hawaii Island,” says Mililani Trask of the Innovations Development Group. She points out geothermal development has received support by the largest Hawaiian organization, the Hawaiian Civic Clubs, Hawaiian energy producers and land owners, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who has also invested in a Hawaiian company seeking to develop the resource on Hawaii Island.

We have a great opportunity to responsibly develop geothermal to provide clean, renewable and firm power to our homes and businesses at a lower cost.

Sen. Malama Solomon

Senate District 4 (Hilo, Hāmākua, Waimea, Kohala, Waikoloa and Kona)

China and Hawai’i Linked by Sister Park Agreement

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and Wudalianchi National Park in China have announced a sister park agreement to strengthen their shared volcanic heritage by promoting international cooperation and support for the mutual benefit of both parks.

Courtesy photo of the five barrier lakes of Wudalianchi/Mr. Guo Bailin provided by Wudalianchi National Park in China

Courtesy photo of the five barrier lakes of Wudalianchi/Mr. Guo Bailin provided by Wudalianchi National Park in China

Both Hawai‘i Volcanoes and Wudalianchi national parks feature active volcanoes and are celebrated throughout the world for their geological, biological, and cultural attributes. In Hawai‘i, Kīlauea volcano, which is currently erupting from two locations, and Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984, draw more than 1.5 million visitors a year to the park. Wudalianchi has 14 volcanoes, two of which are active but not erupting. The last significant eruptive period from Laoheishan and Huoshaoshan volcanoes occurred between 1719 and 1721, resulting in large quantities of lava that formed a plateau in the center of the park, and blocked the north-south flowing Shilong River in several places – forming a string of five lakes, which translates to “Wudalianchi.” The Chinese park is also known for its mineral springs, giant boulders, and lava  tubes. Approximately a million people a year visit Wudalianchi National Park, which is located in northeast China in the Heilongjiang province, near the Russian border.

The sister park relationship enables both parks to enrich their personnel through projects of international cooperation, accomplished primarily through the exchange of managerial, technical and professional knowledge, information, and data technology.

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Volcano, framed by ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree. NPS photo/Jay Robinson

“As an International Biosphere Reserve and the first World Heritage Site in Hawai‘i, our responsibilities transcend national boundaries,” said Hawai‘i Volcanoes Superintendent, Cindy Orlando. “Working with colleagues from around the world, through sister park agreements, we are able to share best practices and programs that encourage biodiversity recovery and ecosystem protection.”

While not “twins,” the two parks share enough in common to be “sisters,” according to the sister park agreement, which is posted on the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website. The heart of the mission of both parks is to protect the geological and biological resources that not just belong to the parks, but to the entire world.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park also has a sister park agreement with Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes in South Korea. Like Hawai‘i Volcanoes, Jeju is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

UH Hilo Students to be Featured at 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting

Thirteen students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Science Department and Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) Graduate Program will attend this year’s Ocean Science Meeting February 23-28 at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center in Honolulu.

Ocean Science Meeting

The meeting is the largest gathering of ocean scientists in the world and is expected to attract more than 5,000 people.

The students will be among presenters sharing the results of their research via posters and oral presentations. They will also showcase Hawaiʻi’s cultural heritage by performing a series of traditional Hawaiian chants, including a chant about voyaging that follows the introduction of the opening speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Kapu`uwailani Lindsey, who will be recognized and honored for her role as a way-finder.

The trip is sponsored by various scientific endeavors. Seven students have received travel grants from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) Multicultural Program. The other six are supported with funds from the Hawaiʻi EPSCoR grant.

NELHA, County of Hawaii, and Hawaii Electric Light Jump into Energy Storage Race

The state, County of Hawaii, and Hawaii Electric Light Company announced a strategic partnership to share resources and attract companies interested in testing and evaluating pre-commercial energy storage units at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park in Kailua-Kona, managed by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

NEHLA Aerial

“This strategic partnership highlights NELHA’s value to our state as a test-bed for new technologies and driver of innovation and economic development,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who last month released more than $13 million for capital improvements at NELHA facilities.

“With the significant cost reduction in clean energy generation over the years, some consider lower cost energy storage to be the ’missing link’ and one of the most challenging elements in the design and function of a clean energy microgrid,” said NELHA Executive Director Gregory Barbour.

Energy storage is a rapidly evolving market and offers significant potential for future growth as microgrids require higher degrees of reliability and power quality, sophisticated generation-load balancing.

According to some reports, the worldwide market for energy storage systems for wind and solar will grow from less than $150 million annually in 2013 to $10.3 billion by 2023 and an installed capacity of projected to total 21.8 GW.

“The good news is that we have already developed the necessary infrastructure to allow for the ‘real-world’ grid connected standardized testing and validation of energy storage devices at HOST Park,” Barbour said. “NELHA plans to offer low-cost outdoor and indoor sites for testing, up to 30kW of power, power sensors, and real-time monitoring data of energy storage devices at no additional cost.”

“Hawaii Island offers an ideal opportunity to develop technologies that will allow more cost-effective, sustainable energy solutions to benefit our residents,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi.

“Our mission is to provide secure, clean energy for Hawaii,” said Hawaii Electric Light President Jay Ignacio. “There are great opportunities in energy storage to increase clean energy, support reliability and ultimately lower costs for customers. This partnership will help our efforts to identify economic and reliable energy storage options that support our mission.”

Added Barbour, “Efforts like these are providing a backbone that NELHA can build out further in the coming years and greatly assist in making the critical seawater system more cost efficient for businesses at HOST Park.”

3.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes Lower Part of Volcano Area

A 3.0 magnitude earthquake was registered today at 10:01 this morning in East Hawaii:

3.0 Kalapana

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park “After Dark in the Park” Events for March

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors in March. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Programs are co-sponsored by the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, and your $2 donation helps support park programs.  Mark the calendar for these upcoming events:

Lava flows erupted from the Northeeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa on March 25, 1984. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo

Lava flows erupted from the Northeeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa on March 25, 1984. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory photo

From Ka‘ū to Kona: Stories of Lava Flows and Volcanic Landscapes. While driving between Ka‘ū and Kona, have you ever wondered about the prominent lava flows you see along Queen Ka‘ahumanu and Māmalahoa Highways?  If so, you are invited to join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists Jim Kauahikaua and Janet Babb on a virtual road trip, during which they will talk about the origin and history of lava flows along Highways 11 and 190, and recount the stories of people impacted by the eruptions that created the volcanic landscape we see today. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 4 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

‘Ohe Kapala Demonstration. ‘Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps, were utilized to present many unique designs for traditional Hawaiian kapa.  Today, these exceptional designs are being used as patterns on all types of fabric. Join Keiko Mercado as she demonstrates how ‘ohe (bamboo) are carved into beautiful designs and how they are used. There will be samples and a hands-on opportunity to learn about this distinctive art form. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., March 12 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Ben Ka‘ili in Concert.
Hawaiian musician Ben Ka‘ili has dedicated his life to playing and promoting Hawaiian music. He has shared Hawaiian music at festivals, including the park’s 33rd annual cultural festival last July, and through concerts and performances for more than 20 years. Born on the Island of Hawai‘i, Ka‘ili started playing Hawaiian music at eight years old with his ‘ohana, including his uncle, George Lanakilakeikiahiali‘i Na‘ope. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.
When: Wed., March 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Mauna Loa: Eruptive History and Current Status of Earth’s Largest Active Volcano. March 25, 2014, marks the 30th anniversary of the most recent eruption of Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth. Mauna Loa comprises more than half of the surface area of Hawai‘i Island, and 95 percent of this volcano is covered with lava flows less than 10,000 years old.  Since 1843, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times – and when it erupts, fast-moving and voluminous lava flows can reach the ocean in a matter of hours, severing roads and utilities, repaving the flanks of the volcano, and building new land.  Join USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Frank Trusdell as he talks about the eruptive history and current status of Mauna Loa, an active volcano that will undoubtedly erupt again—perhaps in your lifetime.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.
When: Tues., March 25 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Uhana Lauhala. Learn to weave a star from leaves of the pandanus tree. Join members of ‘Aha Pūhala o Puna as they share the art of lauhala weaving to perpetuate this Hawaiian art. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.
When: Wed., March 26 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

37 Facilities in Hawaii Reported 2.7 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Being Released in 2012

Nationally, total releases of toxic chemicals decreased 12 percent from 2011-2012, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report and Pacific Southwest state fact sheets published today.

In Hawaii, a total of 37 facilities reported a total of 2.7 million pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2012. Hawaii’s total reported on-site and off-site releases increased when compared to 2011 data.

Highlights of data from 2012 in Hawaii show that since 2011:

  • Air: Air releases increased 2 percent
  • Water: Water releases increased 6 percent
  • On-Site Land: On-site land releases increased 46 percent.
  • Underground Injection: Underground Injection releases increased 21 percent
  • Off-Site Transfers: Total off-site transfers have decreased 9 percent

For detailed Hawaii information and the state’s Top 5 releasing facilities please see the state fact sheet at http://www.epa.gov/region9/tri/report/12/tri-2012-hawaii-report.pdf

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

“Our yearly analysis of chemicals being used by industry helps residents understand which chemicals are used in their neighborhoods,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This year we have enhanced our fact sheet system to aid in getting TRI information about specific locations.”

New for this year is an updated fact sheet system that allows users to explore customized data. Scroll down at the link www.epa.gov/tri to enter your zip code, city, or county, and the new tool will create a fact sheet to show you toxic releases near you.

The annual TRI report provides citizens with critical information about their communities. The TRI Program collects data on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water, and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country.

The TRI data reports are submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Many of the releases from facilities that are subject to TRI reporting are regulated under other EPA program requirements designed to limit harm to human health and the environment.

Release data alone are not sufficient to determine exposure or to calculate potential risks to human health and the environment. TRI data, in conjunction with other information, such as the toxicity of the chemical, the release medium (e.g., air), and site-specific conditions, may be used to evaluate exposures from releases of toxic chemicals.

DLNR and NOAA Fisheries Ask Public’s Help to Protect Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) are advising people to be “dolphin smart.”To avoid potential harassment of spinner dolphins, ocean and beach goers should keep the recommended distance of 150 feet (50 yards) when observing dolphins in the wild. Hawaiian spinner dolphins move near shore into bays and coves during the day to rest, care for their young, and avoid predators. During this time it is important not to disturb them as these activities are critical to their survival. At night they move offshore to feed.

Dolphin Smart

“It is tempting to approach and interact with these animals; however, research has shown that these interactions can interfere with their natural behavior and could have population-wide effects,”said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator Michael Tosatto added: “Close interactions with the dolphins are not only potentially harmful to them, but can lead to harassment, which is illegal. By following the responsible viewing guidelines, we can limit the impacts our activities may have on the animals.”

Spinner dolphins are named for their unique behavior of leaping out of the water and spinning in the air. These social animals travel in groups of 10, 100 or more and are believed to live over 20 years.

They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which prohibits the “take”of marine mammals. “Take”means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.

DLNR and NOAA Fisheries encourage all ocean users to follow Dolphin SMART guidelines, which are:

  • Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins
  • Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance
  • Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near
  • Refrain from feeding, touching, or swimming with wild dolphins
  • Teach others to be Dolphin SMART

The Dolphin SMART program recognizes commercial tour operators that voluntarily adhere to responsible guidelines. For more information and a list of approved businesses, visit www.dolphinsmart.org.

Report any violations of the MMPA to NOAA Fisheries’Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

Hawai‘i Bidding for Major Conservation Gathering Event Would Be a First for the U.S

As a four-person delegation representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visits Hawaii this week, the state is showcasing its position as the anchor of the Pacific in a bid to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. The congress is the world’s leading summit on the environment.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A Hawai‘i-hosted congress would be the first time it has been held in the United States since the founding of IUCN in 1948, and the event would provide a unique opportunity to share with the world, the state and nation’s values and dedication to conserving nature on both national and international levels. As many as 8,000 delegates are expected to attend the 2016 meeting.

“Based on our success hosting the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference, I believe we have a compelling case as to why the United States and Hawaii provide the ideal venue to host this gathering,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The Aloha State is the anchor of the Pacific, and our bid is financially competitive and highlights the unique benefits of our location and host culture. We’re encouraging the IUCN evaluating team to review all that Hawai‘i has to offer for this preeminent conference.”

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

“IUCN has been fortunate to always receive strong invitations to host our World Conservation Congresses and the 2016 Congress is no exception. There are two excellent candidates in the running to host the event: Honolulu, Hawai‘i, United States of America and Istanbul, Turkey.

We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Hawai‘i and thank the team for their warm welcome throughout the site visit. The IUCN Council will make a decision regarding the venue and hosts of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in May 2014,”said Dr. Enrique Lahmann, Global Director, Union Development Group; Congress Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

The delegation is receiving broad exposure to a wide-range of the natural and cultural attributes of the Hawaiian Islands through site visits on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, as well as meetings and receptions with government, hospitality industry, conservation and Native Hawaiian leaders. A cross-discipline, multi-agency organizing team, led by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), is showing the delegation convention facilities, transportation, lodging and security infrastructure, attractions and meeting/marketing expertise. Members of the IUCN evaluating team also received a 107 page-long Hawai‘i Nature + Aloha, Imagine 2016 proposal, which documents broad support for the conference and includes in-depth detail about the Aloha State’s bid for the event.

DLNR Chairperson William Aila said, “With environmental and conservation issues very much at the forefront of worldwide attention, Hawai‘i is in a unique position to demonstrate what we are doing to advance conservation issues like climate change, watershed management, coral reef protection, and traditional knowledge. Having Hawai‘i host the 2016 Congress will show the world how our core values of Aloha Aina connect to nature and our diversity.”

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome the IUCN Site Visit Team to Hawai‘i,”said Chipper Wichman, director of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and CEO and co-chair of the Hawai‘i IUCN 2016 Steering Committee. This is a diverse group of individuals and organizations who have been working for the past five years to bring the IUCN World Conservation Congress to Hawai‘i. “Our state is a world leader in biocultural conservation, and Gov. Abercrombie has put together a dynamic group led by William Aila and Esther Kia‘āina from the DLNR to host the IUCN team and show them the facilities and organizations that make Hawai‘i the best location for the world to convene and discuss global conservation issues. It has been an amazing week so far –we are leaving the IUCN delegation with a strong and lasting impression of Hawai‘i.”

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Hosts for the IUCN delegation are demonstrating that Hawai‘i is a destination where “hospitality is not a sideline.”The IUCN World Congress bid has the full support of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC). During this week the delegation is having meetings with HCC staff and management and many of Hawai‘i’s leading HTA-member hospitality providers. Both HTA and HCC have been working for the past five years to support the bid process.