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    October 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « May    

Lava Flow Crosses Highway, Enters Ocean

This is a Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Message for Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 11 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor active flows. Flow front #1 has crossed Highway 137 at the 13-mile marker and has entered the ocean. Flow front #2 is approximately 400 Meters from Highway 137. Highway 137 is closed between Kamali‘i Road and Pohoiki Road.  Kamali‘i Road is closed between Highway 130 and Highway 137. Residents in the area have been evacuated. All persons are asked to stay out of the area.

The lava has entered the ocean. Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Saturday, May 19. The two primary lava flows originate from the Fissure 20-22 area, and crossed Pohoiki Road over the past day. The flow front position based on a 6:40 p.m. update is shown by the red circle. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe. (USGS Map)

  • Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.
  • Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation.
  • Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.

USGS: Threat of Even Larger Steam-Driven Violent Explosion

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announces that with ash eruptions occurring from Kīlauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles. USGS and NOAA’s National Weather Service are working together to observe, model and warn the public of hazardous conditions. Here is where you can find the information you need to stay safe.

This photo was taken on Wednesday, May 15, 2018, At 11:05 a.m. Photograph from the Jaggar Museum, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, captures an ash plume rising from the Overlook crater. Ash falling from the plume can be seen just to the right side (and below) the plume. (USGS Photo)

Observations and Status of Kīlauea

While the ​USGS Hawai‘i Volcanoes Observatory​ is positioning staff to observe the volcano and best communicate its status and evolution, they rely heavily on the weather forecasts from NOAA. Wind forecasts, ​along with dispersion models such as HYSPLIT,​ are critical in understanding where sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) will disperse from fissures and vents to ensure safety of USGS observers, emergency managers and the public.

Ashfall Advisories, Warnings and Current Weather Forecast from Honolulu

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 the National Weather Service issued the first ever ashfall advisory for Hawai‘i. Forecasters will issue ashfall advisories and warnings when ashfall is a hazard. NOAA predicts where an ash plume will go and how much ash will accumulate using USGS’s ​Ash3d Volcanic Ash Dispersion Model​.

Volcanic Ash Advisories​ and ​Aviation Warnings

Volcanic ash clouds can threaten air traffic by sandblasting windscreens, clogging pitot tubes, and in severe cases, causing jet engines to shut down. NOAA issues volcanic ash warnings to alert pilots to potential ash in the atmosphere and will include volcanic ash in forecasts for airports.

Tips to Stay Safe

During explosive eruptions, volcanic ash can disrupt downwind populations by causing breathing problems, impacting water quality, clogging air filters, shorting out power systems and making transportation difficult.​ If your community is threatened by ash, you are advised to do the following:

  • Seal windows and doors.
  • Protect electronics and cover air intakes and open water sources.
  • Avoid driving as visibility will be reduced and roads may become slippery.
  • Remain indoors to avoid inhaling ash particles unless it’s absolutely necessary to go outside. If you have a respiratory illness, do not go outside.
  • If you must go outside, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth.

No-Entry Zone Established for Hawai‘i Electric Light Crews in Leilani Estates

Hawai‘i Electric Light announces that all of Lanipuna Gardens and a portion of Leilani Estates has been designated as a no-entry zone for its crews.

Hawaiian Electric Facebook Photo.

These areas are hazardous to enter due to continued ground swelling and cracking, sudden fissure activity, and unsafe levels of SO2. Crews were working in the subdivision in the last few days and have narrowly escaped situations that could have resulted in severe injury. Hawai‘i Electric Light’s priority continues to be safety and can no longer allow its employees to enter hazardous areas.

Poles and wires continue to fall due to changes in the ground formation and seismic activity. Hawai‘i Electric Light continues to warn residents to assume that all downed lines and equipment are energized and dangerous. Stay at least three cars lengths away from downed lines and use caution around all poles and overhead lines.

The following areas are in the no-entry zone. This area may be extended.

  • Leilani Avenue from Pomaikai Street to Pohoiki Road
  • Malama Street, east from Pomaikai Street
  • Kahukai Street from Nohea Street to Leilani Avenue
  • Pomaikai, Moku, and Kupono Streets south of Leilani Avenue
  • All streets east beginning with Nohea Street
  • All of Lanipuna Gardens including Hinalo, Lauone, and Honuaula Streets, and all connector roads into Lanipuna Gardens

Check Hawai‘i Electric Light’s website (www.hawaiielectriclight.com), Twitter (@HIElectricLight), and Facebook (HawaiianElectric) accounts for updates.

BREAKING: New Crack Found on West Side of Pu‘u O‘o

The United States Geological Survey reported that starting at about 2 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, marked increases in seismicity and ground deformation indicated that a change was underway at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone.

Visibility was nearly obscured due to poor weather conditions, but a brief clearing allowed Hawaiian Volocano Observatory’s webcam (POcam) to capture this image of the crater within Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō shortly before the crater floor began collapsing.

Unfortunately, due to ongoing poor weather, a clear view of the collapsed crater floor has not yet been possible. The Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor continued to collapse for several hours yesterday; smaller drops in the crater floor have likely continued through today (May 1) based on thermal images. PC: USGS.

A new crack about .6 miles long was found on the west (uprift) side of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō during HVO’s overflight today. The cracking appeared to be nearly continuous en echelon structures that were heavily steaming.

A small amount of lava was apparently erupted from the crack, based on the presence of nearby tiny pads of lava and spatter, but it was no longer active when HVO geologists saw it during the overflight. This photo looks east, with Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō obscured by low clouds in the upper left corner. PC: USGS.

Telephoto view of a small lava flow (lighter in color) and spatter (blue-gray) that were erupted from a section of the crack on the west flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. PC: USGS.

Within hours of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor collapse, HVO’s monitoring instruments recorded increased seismicity and ground deformation along Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone (ERZ) that continued through the night.

These signals indicated an intrusion of magma from the Middle ERZ toward the Lower ERZ, extending from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō to at least Highway 130. This illustration shows the approximate area of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, which, in reality, is not defined by distinct lines. MC: USGS.

As of Tuesday, May 1, the eruption at the summit of Kīlauea has apparently not been affected by the collapse at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō or intrusion of magma along the volcano’s Lower East Rift Zone.

Following multiple overflows of the summit lava lake on April 21 and 27, which spilled lava onto the floor of Halema‘uma‘u, the lava lake level dropped over the weekend (April 28 and 29). But on the morning of April 30, the lava lake level began to rise in concert with summit inflation. This image of the summit lava lake was taken during HVO’s overflight just before 8 a.m. today, May 1, 2018. PC: USGS.

Volcano Activity Update 6: Civil Defense Message to Puna District

VIDEO UPDATE 6: May 1, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

HAWAI’I ISLAND: Hawai’i County Civil Defense talking to Big Island Now about the current lava activity. More information here: http://bigislandnow.com/2018/05/01/volcano-activity-update-puu-oo-crater-floor-collapses/#BigIslandNow

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno spoke to Big Island Now about the island’s recent seismic and lava activity.

Seismicity and ground deformation started increasing at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, May, 1, 2018, between Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō and Highway 130, and has now migrated beyond 130, he said.

The East Rift runs underground from Kīlauea Summit at Halemaumau all the way down to the ocean at Cape Kumakahi.

Magno asks Puna District residents to stay informed and encourages residents to sign up for civil defense messages and alert via text, email and RSS feed.

He advises Puna residents to prepare themselves—not just for this event—but for any natural disaster, with at least 14 days worth of supplies.

Magno warns visitors to stay off the Kalapana flow field, as a rift could open up any time above that area.

UPDATE 5, May 1, 2018, 11:05 a.m.

Area residents felt the effects of the recent seismic and lava activity.

“I got a Red Cross message this morning informing me of the deflation and saying [the quake was] 3 miles from Highway 130 and EOC (Emergency Operations Center) was activated at 5 a.m.,” said Keoni Delacruz Veloria, a Hilo resident.

“I felt a couple [tremors] around this morning and figured that is what was happening,” said Pāhoa resident Holly Povlsen Johnson. Looks like the biggest one [earthquake] is by the road that we take down toward Kalapana. Will be interesting if it keeps going to the east toward the red road along the ocean.”

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of March 14, 2018, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of April 13 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tubes. The Kamokuna ocean entry is inactive. The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the Earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m DEM.

UPDATE 4, May 1, from a report published by USGS HVO at 8:49 a.m.

Just after 2 p.m. HST today, April 30, 2018, a marked increase in seismicity and ground deformation (change in ground surface shape) began at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. A few minutes later, a thermal webcam (PTcam) located on the rim of the Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō crater showed the first of two episodes of crater floor collapse; the second collapse began at 3:20 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

Webcam views into the crater and surrounding area were frequently obscured by poor weather conditions. However, shortly after 4 p.m., the PTcam recorded images that were likely the signature of small explosions from the western side of the crater as the floor collapsed.

Uplited Puʻu ʻŌʻō floor, April 23, 2018. PC: USGS

At the time of this update 6 p.m., April 30, there was no evidence of new lava within the crater, seismicity remained elevated in the vicinity of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō, and ground deformation at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō had significantly slowed.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the afternoon’s activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit. A helicopter overflight of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō and the 61g flow field is scheduled for early Tuesday, weather permitting.

HVO webcam images are posted online.

Electronic Tilt at Kīlauea Summit and East Rift Zone, April 25 to May 1, 2018. The blue line shows the radial tilt at Uwēkahuna (UWE), on the northwest rim of Kīlauea’s caldera. The green line is radial tilt at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (POC), on the north flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone. These are recorded by continuously operating electronic tiltmeters. Positive changes often indicate inflation of the magma storage areas beneath the caldera or Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, but may also result from heavy rainfall or, occasionally, instrumental malfunctions. USGS graphic

Activity Summary: An intrusion of magma occurred overnight in the lower East Rift Zone extending from the general area of Puʻu ʻŌʻō eastward at least as far as Highway 130. As of 8:30 this morning, the level of activity has decreased significantly, but it is too soon to know if this is merely a pause. The intrusion began yesterday afternoon (April 30) associated with collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor. The summit lava lake is unchanged and has risen overnight to just below the rim of the Overlook crater vent. Early this morning (May 1), HVO issued a Volcano Activity Notice calling attention to this intrusion and raising the possibility of a new outbreak along the rift zone if activity intensifies.

Residents of lower Puna should remain on alert and monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages.

Number of earthquakes per day during the past week, April 25–May 1, 2018, indicated by (blue bars. The red line is the cumulative moment (energy) release. USGS graphic.

Summit Observations: The summit lava lake remains at a high level. Overall, the summit lava lake has shown no response to activity in the middle and lower East Rift Zone. Summit tiltmeters recorded very little change overnight. Tremor amplitude is fluctuating with lava lake spattering. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist.

Depth of earthquakes during the past week (April 25–May 1, 2018) in the area shown on the map above. USGS graphic.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: HVO tiltmeters recorded sudden and dramatic changes accompanying the onset of crater floor collapse at Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday (April 30) between about 2 and 4 pm. Weather obscured web camera views of the crater, however thermal camera images showed the collapse in progress followed by emission of high temperature gases continuing into this morning. HVO field crews attempting to reach Puʻu ʻŌʻō this morning (May 1) were turned back by ash in the air above Puʻu ʻŌʻō, likely due to continuing collapse within the crater and vigorous gas emissions. Reddish ash was also noted in abundance on the ground around Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Seismicity remains elevated at Puʻu ʻŌʻō but tiltmeters near the cone show no significant deformation at this time.

Lava Flow Observations: There is no lava flow activity from the 61g lava flow on the coastal plain or pali and no lava is flowing into the ocean. Lava flow activity continues on the upper flow field, above the pali and closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and does not pose a threat to nearby communities at this time. Areas of the upper flow field with active lava flows are located within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed to the public by DLNR since 2007 due to volcanic hazards.

Webcam views of the flow field are available here.

Maps of the lava flow field can be found here.

For more information about the Kahaualeʻa NAR closure, go online.

Lava Flow Field and Ocean Entry Hazards: Hazards of active or recent lava flows include, but are not limited to: hot lava surfaces that can cause serious burns upon contact with unprotected or exposed skin; rough, uneven, and sharp terrain that can lead to falls, abrasions, lacerations and other injuries; high air temperature and humidity that can lead to dehydration or heat exhaustion; and steamy ground-fog produced by heavy rain falling (sometimes with little warning) on active or recent lava flows; this steam can severely limit visibility, can be acidic and should be avoided.

UPDATE 3, May 1, 10:30 a.m.

The collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has
triggered increases in earthquake activity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, according to Christina Neal, scientist-in- charge at Hawai’i Volcanoes Observatory (HVO).

Neal said that seismicity was occurring as far east as Highway 130, and warned residents of lower Puna to remain alert and watch for further information about the status of the volcano at www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alert.

“An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome,” Neal said. “At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”

Meanwhile, Hawai‘i County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area amid the possibility of an eruption, and security has been posted to ensure than no unauthorized persons enter the area.

“We don’t want people hiking in that area, which is downslope from the rift,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Maurice Messina said.

Messina said that vendors at the viewing area were told to vacate the area. He noted that the lava viewing area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore of Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurred at 2:39 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018—the largest of a sequence of tremors along the rift zone.

There is no risk of tsunami at that magnitude.

Deformation is the term used to describe change in the surface of a volcano, such as swelling, sinking or cracking, which can be caused by movements in the Earth’s crust due to motion along faults, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

UPDATE 2: May 1, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

This is a Civil Defense message for Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018 at 9:30.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, the following are issued:

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has shut down the lava viewing area in Kalapana due to the proximity to the increased hazardous activity.

Lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to the radio and Civil Defense text alerts and social media sites; this webpage will also be updated.

ORIGINAL POST, May 1, 7:54 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur.

While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed. Monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages here.

Just before 10 a.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, a break in the weather allowed HVO’s webcam to capture this image of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea. Following multiple overflows of the lava lake last week, the lake level dropped over the weekend in concert with the switch to summit deflation. Early on Monday morning, the lava lake level was estimated to be about 49 feet below the vent rim, but shortly thereafter, the summit switched to inflation, with the possibility of the lake level rising in the hours/days. Instead, HVO reported the collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, 2018. PC: USGS

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 4:54 a.m. HVO reported that a collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has prompted increases in seismicity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, with seismicity currently occurring as far east as Highway 130.

A outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.

Recent Observations

Between about 2 and 4:30 p.m. on April 30, following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone, the crater floor at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone collapsed.

Poor weather prevented HVO from flying over the activity or seeing details of the activity in our web cameras on site.

Following the collapse, HVO seismometers and tiltmeters recorded an increase in seismic activity and deformation from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit to an area about 6 to 10 miles downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Overnight, this activity localized downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and continued to propagate eastward along the rift zone.

The largest earthquake of this sequence so far was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore south of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō at 2:39 a.m. this mornin.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the change at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō.

Hazard Analysis

The migration of seismicity and deformation downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone following Monday’s collapse indicates that a large area along the East Rift Zone is potentially at risk for a new outbreak.

The location of any future outbreak will determine what areas are in the path of new lava flows.

The situation is rapidly evolving and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatories and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation. More updates will be posted at BigIslandNow.com as information becomes available.

For more information, email [email protected]

UPDATE: Mayor Kim Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim in Stable Condition, Weighing Options

Mayor Harry Kim. Courtesy photo.

UPDATE: April 26, 2018, 4:10 p.m.


Hawai’i County Mayor Harry Kim is in stable condition at The Queens Medical Center in
Honolulu, as he weighs options regarding a procedure after being medevaced after
experiencing chest pains early today.

As of late afternoon on Thursday, April 26, there was no diagnosis, said Wil Okabe, the county’s managing director, who is serving as acting mayor while the mayor is on sick leave.

“Harry’s in stable condition and they’re looking at a procedure,” Okabe said. “They’ll give him some options later on today or tomorrow.”

The mayor has been undergoing tests, and was not accepting visits for the time being.

“We want to respect his privacy and let him rest as we wait for the doctor’s determination on what the next steps are,” Okabe said.

The 78-year- old mayor drove himself to Hilo Medical Center around 4:30 a.m. and proceeded to call Okabe and other staff to notify them of the situation. He was medevaced to O‘ahu around 6:45 a.m.

The mayor has had three previous heart attacks, and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008.

“We’ve had an outpouring of people calling, emailing and on social media telling us how much Harry means to them,” Okabe said. “Harry is very grateful for all of the good wishes and prayers, and so are we.”

“Mayor Kim has a fighting spirit and I know he’ll want to be back at work serving the people of Hawai‘i County as quickly as possible,” said Gov. David Ige. “I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.”

ORIGINAL POST: April 26, 10:18 a.m.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim has been medevaced to The Queens Medical Center in Honolulu as a precautionary measure after experiencing chest pains early Thursday morning, April 26, 2018, according to a press release from his office.

The 78-year-old mayor drove himself to Hilo Medical Center around 4:30 a.m. and called Managing Director Wil Okabe and other staff to notify them of the situation.

He was medevaced to O‘ahu around 6:45 a.m.

The mayor has had three previous heart attacks, and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2008.

“He knows the symptoms, and he knows what to do,” Director Okabe said. “We’re offering prayers for Harry, knowing that he’ll be back very shortly.”

Okabe will serve as acting mayor while the Mayor Kim is on sick leave.

An emergency meeting of the county department heads and executive staff was held to inform everyone of the situation.

“We’re going to continue to do the work; everyone assured me that they’re committed to carrying out the mission we always have—of making this a better place to live,” Okabe said. “Harry has confidence in everybody that they’ll continue the mission.”

Committee Passes Hilo Economic Revitalization Bill

Sen. Kahele

On Thursday, April 26, 2018, a Hawai‘i State House and Senate conference committee approved S.B. 3058 S.D. 2 H.D. 2 C.D. 1 (S.B. 3058), which establishes the Hilo Community Economic District and authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) to extend or modify the terms of certain public leases, within the economic district, upon BLNR approval.

“This bill is a homerun for Hilo,” said Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele, introducer of the bill. “It’s no secret that Banyan Drive and the Kanoelehua Industrial Area are in severe disrepair and in need of major infrastructure improvements. S.B. 3058 provides the certainty needed for the economic heart of Hilo to incentivize major infrastructure investments. This initiative is just the first step that will combine the strengths of the public sector, private enterprise, and the community to unlock the economic potential of East Hawaiʻi.”

Sen. Kahele concluded by saying, “I would like to thank my House counterpart, Rep. Chris Todd, and the House and Senate Leadership for their support in passing this bill.”

Sen. Kahele represents the 1st Senatorial District, which encompasses the greater Hilo area on the Island of Hawai‘i.

VIDEO: Monk Seal with Knife in Mouth

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Resources reported that had it been something other than a sharp fishing knife, the video below may have been endearing.

Screen shot from DOCARE video of Hawaiian monk seal pup Manu‘iwa with knife.

A Hawaiian monk seal pup named Manu‘iwa had recently weaned from its mother on a Hawai‘i Island beach. Staff from Ke Kai Ola, a hospital operated by The Marine Mammal Center at Kailua-Kona, and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) have been monitoring the pup’s health and growth.

On Sunday, April 15, 2018, the seal was spotted playing with a bright orange object in its mouth. As they watched the seal dive beneath near-shore rocks and come back up, they realized Manu‘iwa was holding a knife in its mouth by its handle.

The DOCARE officer who captured the incident on video tape commented, “There was real concern that the seal pup might swallow the knife. It’s a reminder to all of us to properly dispose of our trash and not to leave it on Hawai‘i’s beaches or in the ocean.”

At one point, the seal dropped the knife under the rocks and it was later retrieved.

Animal experts say that it’s critical for young seals not to have human interactions so they can learn to be wild animals, especially after they’ve weaned from their mothers and are on their own.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Fisheries asks people to report all monk seal sightings to your island’s Marine Mammal Response Coordinator:

Hawai‘i Island – East: (808) 756-5961
Hawai‘i Island – West: (808) 987-0765

O‘ahu: (808) 220-7802
Kaua‘i: (808) 651-7668
Moloka‘i: (808) 553-5555
Maui / Lāna‘i: (808) 292-2372

Summit Deflation Leads to Slight Drop in Lava Lake Level

The U.S. Geological Survey reports summit deflation began the morning of Wednesday, April 18, 2018, and the lake level has dropped slightly.

In this photo, an HVO geologist checks on a time-lapse camera on the rim of Halema‘uma‘u Crater. A large spatter site is active along the east margin of the lake. Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

On Wednesday morning, April 18, the lake was about 14 meters (46 feet) below the overlook of the crater rim, having dropped roughly 4 meters (13 feet) since yesterday morning.

VIDEO, PHOTO UPDATE, PM: APRIL 1: Merrie Monarch Festival Hoʻolauleʻa

HAWAI'I ISLAND: 2018 Merrie Monarch Ho'olaule'a.More information here: http://bigislandnow.com/category/merrie-monarch/#BigIslandNow #MerrieMonarch

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Sunday, April 1, 2018

HAWAI'I ISLAND: 2018 Merrie Monarch Ho'olaule'a.KSBE's Halau.More information here: http://bigislandnow.com/category/merrie-monarch/#BigIslandNow #MerrieMonarch

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sunday, April 1, p.m.
Hoʻolauleʻa (celebration)
Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium
Free admission to watch performances by local hālau.


TOMORROW, Monday, April 2

Merrie Monarch Free Mid-day Entertainment
Monday through Friday, April 2–6
Entertainment at the Grand Naniloa Hotel, noon
Entertainment at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, 1 p.m.


Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

2018 Merrie Monarch Festival Event Lineup
Merrie Monarch Festival 2018 Announces Judges
2018 Merrie Monarch Festival Participating Hālau
2018 Merrie Monarch Festival Announces Miss Aloha Hula Participants

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.

Merrie Monarch Ho‘olaulea, April 1, 2018.


Mayor Kim Responds to Hilo Farmers Market Closure

Tarps removed from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim released the following statement on Thursday, March 29, 2018, regarding the county’s order removing the tarps and tents from the Hilo Farmers Market:

“The information out there regarding the closure of the Farmer’s Market in Hilo is so wrong and misleading that it prompts this open response,” said Mayor Kim. “The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the county, state and federal laws to keep the market in operation. A commitment was made and kept by the county to help keep it open and develop a place to be proud of. The choices made that caused this closure and hardships imposed on the tenants were not made by your government.

“I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.”

Hawai‘i County:

Farmers Market Background

The Hilo Farmers Market is an important part of downtown Hilo. It has been successful due to the diversity and freshness of the offerings of its vendors. The county has tried to work with the owner for years to bring the properties into compliance with building, fire, and zoning codes. The conditions were allowed to persist for all these years in deference to constantly changing plans proposed by the owner. Continuous efforts over the past year by the county to guide the owner into compliance were unsuccessful due to delay or no action on the owner’s part.

The only way to finally achieve results was to enforce the notice of violation that the owner received in June of 2017 which clearly stated the consequences if the proper permits were not acquired in a timely fashion. This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow county, state, and federal requirements.

Violations of County Code and Regulations

  • No building permits. The Farmers Market has been operating for over 20 years without any building permits.  Temporary structures, such as large tents greater than 120 s.f., used for commercial purposes are required to have a temporary building permit which is good for 180 days only.
  • Non-flammable tent material. Tents larger than 750 square feet are required to have non-flammable or non-combustible tent material.  The Fire Department reviewed and approved proposed tent material.  The owner just had to place the order.
  • Non-permitted electrical wiring. Electrical wiring was energized, used, and operated without required electrical inspections and approval of electrical work performed.
  • Extended hours of operation. Farmers Market operations exceeded two days a week as limited by Special Management Area Minor Permit No. 54.
  • Non-permitted sign. A large sign was installed without acquiring the required permits.
  • No setbacks between tents and property boundary. Temporary structures are required to have a 10 foot setback from the property boundaries and 10 foot spacing between tents.

Failure to Construct Permanent Structure as Required

The owner had 10 years to construct a permanent structure as required by SMA approval. The deadline of March 2018 has not been met. The farmers market owner initially received Planning Department approval for a permanent structure in 2008. A condition for approval required completion of construction within five years. In 2013, the owner requested an extension for another five years. The extension was granted with a new deadline of March 18, 2018.

County Assistance Provided

  • Meeting with the Mayor. On Jan.31, 2017, and Feb. 17, 2017, the mayor met with the owner to determine the status of plans to meet the March 2018 deadline and offered assistance to facilitate development.  The mayor assigned an executive assistant to work with the owner.
  • Issues Identified. The executive assistant coordinated with various departments to identify the types, sequence and estimated processing time of permits. Since the farmers market is located in the special flood hazard zone exposed to tsunami and high waves, one major issue was how to comply with these strict standards. Working with the Department of Public Works, a feasible solution was determined that allowed for a simplified structure.
  • Schedule and Budget. The executive assistant helped the owner to assess how much the owner could finance to design and construct a permanent structure based on the substantial total annual rent income the owner receives from the vendors. Additional help also identified steps to start construction of a permanent structure including development of a schedule to meet the March 2018 deadline. The schedule required prompt action by the owner.

Critical and Timely Actions Needed by Owner to Meet Schedule

  • Hire an architect to design a permanent structure and prepare the building permit application.
  • Secure financing for design and construction.
  • Apply for amendment to SMA permits for preferred hours of operation and revised design of structure.
  • Secure Plan Approval for commercial operations.

No Action by Owner

On May 24, 2017, the mayor and several departments met with the owner to assess his progress. Despite assurances from the owner to carry out critical tasks identified in the last meeting, it became evident that the owner made no progress. Consequently, the county issued notice of violations in June 2017 requiring the owner to obtain temporary structure permits or submit plans for a permanent structure. The assessed fines for violations and failure to meet deadlines were clearly outlined in the violation notice.

Time Extensions Granted

Three time extensions were granted over a 6-month period through Dec. 31, 2017, to provide time for the owner to comply. At the end of December 2017, the owner submitted applications for temporary structures. These permits were approved but the owner has not picked up the approved permits.

Order Issued

To motivate action, the only recourse was to issue an order imposing fines as declared in the June 2017 violation notice.

The County of Hawaiʻi has worked closely with the owner and made numerous efforts to help preserve the Hilo Farmers Market and bring it into compliance. It is incumbent upon the owner to continue to work with the county in a timely manner to secure the necessary permits to operate his business.

The county is committed to assisting the owner in developing a permanent farmers market that can be a fixture of the Hilo landscape, provide a safe environment for the community to shop and help make Hilo a beautiful and nice place to live.

Long-Awaited ‘KULEANA’ Opens Today

“KULEANA” is here. PC: BIN

The award-winning film KULEANA began its statewide theatrical release today, Friday, March 30, 2018, at Regal and Consolidated Theaters throughout Hawai‘i.

The film opened the Regal Keauhou Stadium 7 at the Keauhou Shopping Center in Kailua-Kona and the Regal Prince Kuhio 9 in Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo.

Big Island Now attended the noon showing at the Regal Prince Kuhio, where 90 of the 100 seats in theater were filled.

Moviegoers enjoyed the film, sharing their comments with Big Island Now—”great,” terrific,” “brilliant,” “it was wonderful,” “loved it,” “it gave me chicken skin.”

Produced entirely in Hawai‘i, KULEANA has received the Audience Choice Award in the Santa Cruz Film Festival, the Maui Film Festival and the San Antonio Film Festival, as well as “Best of Fest” in the Guam International Film Festival.

Boasting high production values in picture, performances and music, KULEANA has earned the faith of mainland theater giants Reading International (Consolidated) and Regal, which will also open the movie in Guam.

“Kuleana” is the Hawaiian word for spiritual responsibility. In KULEANA, set in Hawai‘i in 1971, a disabled Vietnam vet rediscovers the Hawaiian warrior within to protect his family, defend their land, and clear his father’s name.

Kristina Anapau (True Blood, Black Swan), one of the film’s stars and executive producers, is a Hilo-native, now living and working in Hollywood.

The film also stars Moronai Kanekoa, Stefan Schaefer, Sonya Balmores (Marvel’s INHUMANS), Vene Chun, Augie T, Marlene Sai, Branscombe Richmond (CHICAGO MED) and Mel Cabang.

KULEANA was written and directed by Brian Kohne and produced by Stefan Schaefer.

Willie K provides an original score; the soundtrack boasts hit songs by Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, and Tony Orlando and Dawn, with Hawaiian classics of the era by Genoa Keawe, Lena Machado, Sunday Manoa, Sons of Hawaii, Marlene Sai and more.


MAUI TIME, Barry Wurst II: “Brian Kohne’s eagerly awaited KULEANA is a film island audiences deserve but might not be expecting… Ambitious and more absorbing than most 2017 films, [Director Brian] Kohne infuses magical realism, social commentary and Hawaiian history into a dense, busy, but coherent narrative… An original blend of Hawai‘’s history, spirituality and culture. Kuleana introduces a unique new film genre: Hawaiian Noir. While the setting may be tropical paradise, it’s set against a shocking and densely plotted mystery that twists and turns like a Raymond Chandler thriller.

THE MAUI NEWS, Rick Chatanever: “This is heady, heartfelt stuff, a vision of Hawai‘i very different from the Hollywood version. While the plot is sometimes convoluted, and the film’s subtleties, including extensive use of Hawaiian language, might not be as resonant elsewhere… KULEANA’s message is universal. It’s a work of powerful emotions, rich imagination, uncommon cultural sensitivity, and performances and production values belying its tiny budget.

The film received an MPAA PG-13 rating, and also holds a spot on popular movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

Keauhou Shopping Center is located at 78-6831 Ali‘i Drive, H-24. Prince Kuhio Plaza is located at 111 E Puainako St., #400.

Mainland residents can sign up to host/attend a screening in their city at www.hawaiicinema.com via Gathr.

For more information, go online.

Pacific Media Group, Big Island Now’s parent company, is a shareholder in the film KULEANA.

UPDATE 3: Shark Attack on Hawai‘i Island’s Kona Coast

UPDATE 3 : March 31, 1:20 p.m.

25-year-old male was stand-up paddle boarding approximately 100 to 150 yards off shore when he sustained injuries from a suspected shark attack.

Upon EMS arrival at 9:45 a.m., the victim was being treated by bystanders with multiple tourniquets to his right side extremities due to extensive injuries from a suspected shark attack.

The victim was then transported by Aeromedical Helicopter to a local hospital in critical condition where he is currently being treated.

UPDATE 2: March 31, 12:35 p.m.

At about 9:30 this morning, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources was notified by the Hawai‘i County Fire Department of a shark incident near Kikaua Point fronting Kukio Resort.

A 25-year-old man was taken by HFD helicopter to North Hawai‘i hospital with multiple injuries to his hand and leg.

Standard procedure is for beach closure signs to warn ocean goers for one mile on either side of the incident until noon the next day.

A decision will be made to reopen beaches based on observations tomorrow morning.

UPDATE 1: March 31, 12:12 p.m.

According to an unofficial report, a father and son were paddle boarding together when a shark bumped the son off his board, bit him, and proceeded to go after the father.

Updates will be provided as they become available.

ORIGINAL POST: March 31, 2018, 11:31 a.m.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reported a shark attack on Saturday, March 31, 2018, at 11 a.m.. The attack occurred at Kukio Beach on the Kona Coast near Hualalai.

Public beach access in this area is closed and will remain closed today.

More information will be published as it becomes available.

VIDEO: Hilo Farmers Market New Look

Despite county orders to the owners of the Hilo Farmers Market to take down their tarps and tents or face a $4,000 fine per day for being in operation, Big Island vendors are continuing to support the market location. Many have already begun to sell their goods again in their own private pop-up tents.

New look to Hilo Farmers Market.

Many residents on the Big Island were shocked to learn that the Hilo Farmers Market was forced to take down their tarps and tents that have been a Hilo mainstay for over 30 years.

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim said that he had tried to work with the market over the years, but finally, the county had to shut the location down and on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Poles and tarps were removed.

Vendors were upset with the short notice given to them; however, many have gotten over the shock of the idea of not having a permanent tent and have already gotten use to using their own 10-by-10-foot pop-up tents.

Hilo Farmers Market.

While the vendors can set up any day of the week, the market has traditionally enjoyed its largest crowds on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Big Island Now walked through a part of the market on Tuesday, March 27, 2018:

HAWAI'I ISLAND: Hilo Farmers Market has a new look. More information on #BigIslandNow

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Petco Announces Opening Date

Another major mainland chain store will open in Prince Kūhiō Plaza soon, following the TJ Maxx opening last month.

Petco Hilo.

Petco announced that it is planning a soft opening and blessing on Monday, April 9, 2018, at 9 a.m.

Customers will be able to browse and purchase items from the store beginning on that day.

Store Leader John Fernandez said that approximately 30 people will be employed at the store, which will offer everything from pet grooming, adoptions, dog training and washes, aquatic fish and general pet supplies.

Hilo services offered online.

Fernandez emphasized that everyone who is being hired by the store is a local resident and that even the grooming company that the Petco will use is a Big Island company called Shear Magic.

A grand opening is planned for Saturday, May 5, 2018. The normal store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

County Orders Hilo Farmers Market to Take Down Tents

The County of Hawai‘i has ordered Hilo Farmers Market to remove the tarps and the tents that have been its primary structures for over 33 years or face $4,000 in fines for each day they remain in place.

Hilo Farmers Market.

According to Keith Del La Cruz, owner and manager of the market, Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim ordered the removal.  When Del La Cruz was asked why the order was given, he said, “That is a good question.”

When asked if the tents would be replaced or what would happen with the vendors, Del La Cruz stated:

“We have been processing with the county for the last seven months for notices and violations. Since June of 2017, we have had our permits and are working with them [the county] in good faith to try and resolve the notices and violations…  and to submit drawings for a new farmers market roof. So just in the last several days, we have received a county order to take down the tarps or get fined each day $4,000 per day.”

Workers removed Hilo Farmers Market tarps on Sunday, March 25, 2018

The market plans to remain open; however, vendors will need to provide their own pop-up tents.

Hilo Farmers Market.

The market owner would still like to process its permits for tenants and a permanent roof. Those application processes are ongoing.

Del La Cruz remains hopeful the county will expedite the permitting process so that there is not a long-term effect on the market “being in a new mode.”

Hilo Farmers Market.

Del La Cruz has been trying to secure financing for a permanent roof; however, the economy has made it very difficult and the order to take down the tents does not include any assistance in securing funding.

Hilo Farmers Market: the end of an era.

Del La Cruz doesn’t know if any notices have been given to any other farmers markets on the island.

What Happens To Scrap Tires on the Big Island

Hawai‘i County Mayor’s Office announced that over one million motor vehicle tires are imported into Hawai‘i each year, according to a fact sheet on the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health’s website entitled “How to Manage Your Scrap Tires.” Consequently, a large number of scrap tires are generated when new tires are installed.

Hawai‘i law (Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, Chapter 342I, Part II) requires a tire retailer to charge a disposal fee for each new tire purchased, even if the customer chooses to keep the old tire. The intent of the law is to decrease the health risks from tires by reducing the number of scrap tires in the community. Scrap tires may collect water which can contribute to mosquito borne diseases, or they can catch fire and create toxic smoke. The Hawaiʻi County Code also prohibits disposal of tires in landfills or transfer stations.

It is estimated that more than 50% of scrap tires from the island of Hawai‘i are used to generate electricity in waste-to-energy plants or heat for industrial uses. Most scrap tires are utilized to generate energy on O‘ahu, the U.S. mainland and in foreign countries.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 publication, entitled, “Scrap Tires: Handbook on Recycling Applications and Management for the U.S. and Mexico” states that 54% of scrap tires generated in 2007 were used as fuel, and only about 17% were processed into ground rubber and utilized to make many creative products.

Scrap tires are also recycled to make a wide range of products that include recreational court surfaces, rubber mats, mulch, fill material, rubberized asphalt, traffic cones and even furniture. The County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Environmental Management used scrap tire crumbs as ground cover at some of the county’s recycling and transfer stations. The county is unaware of any current on-island producers of used tire content products.

For information about recycling scrap tires on the Island of Hawai‘i, go online. For inquiries at the county level, email [email protected].

Free Cat Clinic – Hundreds ‘Fixed’

The Big Island of Hawai‘i has a huge feral cat problem and it will only get worse if nothing is done about it.

Hundreds of pets and “community cats” have been spayed and/or neutered during the first few days of the “Big Island Fix” that began on Wednesday, March 25, 2018, at a temporary clinic set-up by an organization from the mainland called Animal Balance.

Big Island Now was on hand to see just how things operated.

Animal Balance likes to use the term “community cats” when discussing cats that are not somebody’s personal pet, or more commonly known here locally as feral cats.

Elsa Kohlbus, Communications Coordinator for Animal Balance said that residents have been dropping off cats between 8 and 9 a.m. each of the clinic days and that the cats can be picked up at the end of the day between 4 and 5 p.m.

Sunday, March 25, 2018, will be the last day of the free spay and neuter clinic that the County of Hawai‘i helped sponsor along with Alley Cat Allies.

If residents want to drop off their cats this Sunday, they will need to be in a secured container.  There is no limit of the amount of cats that can be spayed or neutered and there is no fee, however, there can only be one cat in each cage that is brought in.

Volunteer Carey Yost and Mr. Balls.

Kohlbus stated that they collected enough supplies for 700 cats and that this is the third time that Animal Balance has provided this service to Hilo residents.  In July of 2017, there were 683 total cats that were spayed and neutered.

Animal Balance provides services in Hawai‘i (Hilo, Maui, Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i) as well as the Galapagos Islands, The Dominican Republic, American Samoa, Aruba, Cuba, The Bahamas, Capo Verde and Saipan.

Animal Balance was formed in 2004 to create sustainable, humane animal population strategies for island environments and communities. The work to end the practice of killing of one species to protect another.

The temporary clinic is located at 1177 Kīlauea Ave. in Hilo, located behind WikiFresh.

For more information about Animal Balance, contact Kohlbus via [email protected] or call (508) 245-1238.

Catching Up With ‘KULEANA’ Star Kristina Anapau

The Big Island’s own local actress, Kristina Anapau, returned home to present an acting and producing workshop at the Hilo Palace Theater on Saturday, March 3, 2018.

Kristina Anapau at the Hilo Palace Theater. PC: BIN

Anapau has starred in many films. Her most recent, KULEANA, is set to be released statewide here in Hawai‘i on Friday, March 30, 2018, on the Big Island at the Regal Keauhou Stadium 7 in Kailua-Kona and the Regal Prince Kuhio 9 in in Hilo.

Big Island Now (BIN) had the opportunity to talk with Anapau about some of her latest projects, as well as do a photo shoot with the actress.

Anapau on stage at the Hilo Palace Theater. PC: BIN

BIN: How many folks attended the workshop?

About 40 people. It was the perfect amount to be able to really speak with everyone, do some cold reading and answer everyone’s questions. We were also so lucky to have special guest Writer-Director-Producer Brian Kohne Skype in from Maui on the big screen and talk about the process of making KULEANA! KULEANA is a Hawaiian-made film that I starred in and exec produced—it opens in theaters March 30.

BIN: Anything that you wanted folks to take away from the workshop in particular… without giving away the workshop?

So much! I really tried to condense all the information as much as possible. Eight hours seems like a lot of time up there talking about acting and producing, but there are so many topics to cover, so many details… enough for eight days!

BIN: Who created your dress and haku?

I wore a silk dress by Badgley Mischka and my haku was made by Hilo’s own Haku O Hawai‘i! Matt and Mandy are awesome—we worked together to create a perfect haku for the dress—they did an absolutely beautiful job!

BIN: What are you up to these days? Most recent movie and/or current projects you are working on?

I’ve spent the past year co-creating and producing a kids show with award-winning host John Kerwin. It’s essentially, The Tonight Show for kids—we have all the young stars from Disney, Nickelodeon and more—kids in the audience—it’s a lot of fun! The John Kerwin Kids’ Show currently airs nationwide and is being acquired by several major online streaming platforms in the coming months—follow us at @johnkerwinkidsshow on Instagram to find out all the latest news!

BIN: Any future projects in the works that you can discuss?

There is a lot more in the works for The John Kerwin Kids’ Show this year, which will keep me very busy. I also have both a feature film and TV series in development.

Backstage with Kristina Anapau. PC: BIN

BIN: Any plans to return to the Big Island for good?

Too much going on on the mainland right now, but it’s always nice to come home for a rest!

BIN: Are you married yet… dating… single? You know, all the tabloid stuff!

Haha… I like to keep all of that off the internet. But it’s the stuff of novels, Damon, the stuff of novels—I’m very happy.

BIN: Any plans on coming back to the Big Island in the next year for any particular projects.

Not anything as of now, but you never know!

KULEANA Trailer #1 from Hawai’i Cinema on Vimeo.

*Pacific Media Group, Big Island Now’s parent company, is a shareholder in the film KULEANA.

Group Loads Over 11 Tons of Marine Debris in Single Day

On the morning of Sunday, March 4, 2018, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund (HWF) and volunteers don gloves and began hauling derelict fishing nets and ropes and other plastic marine debris collected from the shores of Ka‘ū. With a volunteer heavy equipment operator (JD Services LLC), the team loaded the 11.6 tons of marine debris into a 40-foot Matson shipping container, making this effort the single largest container load. Recently, HWF has had to increase efforts to keep up with the barrage of marine debris washing up along the Ka‘ū shoreline as this year has already seen record amounts.

Photos Courtesy Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund

“We have our work cut out for us as these large derelict fishing net bundles continue to wash up along our shores,” said HWF Program Director Megan Lamson. “Net and rope bundles present special entanglement hazards for our native wildlife, including protected species like the endangered Hawaiian monk seal and humpack whale. HWF and volunteers removed 66,235 lbs. of marine debris from Hawai‘i Island in 2017 (plus another 10,060 lbs. on Maui), of which 43% by weight were derelict fishing nets.”

Since 2005, HWF and volunteers have loaded over 106,000 lbs. of plastic marine debris into containers bound for O‘ahu in the Hawai‘i Nets-To-Energy program. Once on O‘ahu, the nets will be transported to Schnitzer Steel Industries, where they will be chopped into pieces suitable for combustion at the City and County of Honolulu’s H-Power energy waste facility run by Covanta Energy (transport and other services are donated free of charge). The combustion process drives steam-powered turbines to produce electricity. The Nets-To-Energy Program, organized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is a multi-organizational marine debris partnership between local nonprofit community groups and private businesses.

HWF is a small nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1996 to conserve native wildlife. During its 22-year existence, HWF and volunteers have removed a total of 260 tons of marine debris from the shores of Hawai‘i Island (86% by weight), Maui, Midway and the French Frigate Shoals. In 2017 alone, HWF and volunteers have removed 60,838 lbs. of marine debris from Hawai‘i Island & Maui. The majority of HWF’s marine debris removal work is conducted by volunteer labor, with financial support from the federal government (grants from the NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and Kona Brewers Festival), local businesses (Matson Navigation’s Ka Ipu ‘Āina, Kona Surf Film Festival), and private donations from around the world.

If you would like more information on the project or how to get involved with HWF, please contact them at [email protected] or call (808) 769-7629 or check the HWF website.