|DAVID Y. IGE
SUZANNE D. CASE
For Immediate News Release: August 23, 2019
DLNR & NOAA ASK FOR HELP DEALING WITH UPCOMING CORAL BLEACHING EVENT
Possible Severe & Widespread Bleaching Across the Islands
To view this video please click on photo or view at this link: https://vimeo.com/355618916
(Honolulu) – Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coral Reef Watch program, indicates Hawai‘i’s coral reefs are entering a major bleaching event within the next two months, if not sooner.
Rising sea temperatures are likely to cause corals in Hawaiian waters to bleach and even die. According to NOAA scientist Jamison Gove, “Ocean temperatures are extremely warm right now across Hawaii. They’re about 3°F warmer than what we typically experience in mid-August. If the ocean continues to warm even further as predicted, we are likely to witness a repeat of unprecedented bleaching events in 2014 and 2015.”
“We’re already observing bleaching of corals in West Hawai‘i, along with some paling of other species at some of our long-term monitoring sites,” said Nikki Sanderlin, acting Aquatic Biologist for the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) West Hawai‘i district office.
Coral bleaching is a change from normal coloration of browns, yellows and greens to a nearly white color. This change occurs when corals are stressed by environmental changes, especially temperature increases. Although corals can recover from moderate levels of heat, if it is prolonged, they will die. But scientists say that reducing secondary stress on corals during these bleaching events can improve the chances of coral survival.
DAR Administrator Brian Neilson explained, “We know this bleaching event is coming and it’s probably going to be worse than the ones we experienced four and five years ago. West Hawai‘i experienced a 50% mortality rate and Maui experience 20-30% mortality rates on fixed DAR monitoring sites. We’re asking for everyone’s help in trying to be proactive and to minimize any additional stress we put on our corals.”
DLNR and NOAA are asking you to help:
- Avoid touching corals or coral reefs while diving, snorkeling or swimming
- Do not stand or rest on corals
- Use reef-safe sunscreens
- Boaters should use mooring buoys or anchor only in sand areas
- Keep anchor chains off the reef
- Fishermen should reduce or stop their take of herbivores, such as parrotfish (uhu), surgeonfish & sea urchins. Herbivores clear reefs of algae, which over-grow and kill corals during bleaching events.
- Take extra precaution to prevent other potential contaminants from getting to the ocean:
Neilson added, “These are actually things we should be doing all the time, but it’s especially important now. We’d also like swimmers, snorkelers, and divers to report when and where they see both bleaching and healthy corals. Those healthy corals may provide valuable information about how some corals are better able to survive these types of events.”
In October, DLNR will introduce an initiative aimed at tour operators to inform their guests about good reef practices. Numerous operators, like FairWind Big Island Ocean Guides on Hawai‘i Island are already educating people on their boats, asking them not to stand on, sit on, or touch the reef and to use reef-safe sunscreen products. On a recent tour to Kalakekua Bay, Captain Dante Leuenberger told snorkelers, “The bottom is alive. Coral is a very delicate animal. For your own safety and the health of the reef we ask you to stay off the bottom. Don’t touch anything, don’t stand up anywhere.”
DLNR and NOAA are using new technology to better understand the real-time extent of predicted bleaching events. Arizona State University, which created and is maintaining the Hawai‘i coral website noted below, is providing weekly satellite imagery which helps identify bleaching areas. This information is publicly available on the website.
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To report bleaching:
Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
ALL MEDIA INQUIRIES SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Multiple agency effort involving canines to help keep Hawaii’s official state bird protected from aircraft
To view video please click on photo or view at this link: https://vimeo.com/352387831
A one-year pilot project using canine teams to non-lethally haze Nn away from the L+hu`e Airport and HMkkala Timbers Resort area was introduced at a news conference in Lihue on Tuesday. The new canine teams are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service’s Hawai’i program and a collaboration partnership with the resort, Department of Land and Natural Resources as well as the Department of Transportation’s Airports Division.
The purpose of the program is to protect aircraft, pilots as well as their passengers while also ensuring the protection of Hawaii’s state bird, the Nn.
Nesting Nn at the HMkkala Timbers Resort, which is close in proximity to the L+hu`e Airport has been a problem for quite some time and the flight patterns of these birds can interrupt with the flight patterns of pilots flying in the area. This project involves continuous nonlethal hazing of the birds by two border collies accompanied by their professional handlers. Program employees will also utilize golf carts, walking, running or using handheld flags and flashlights to deter the nesting of the Nn.
In 2014, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife developed a 5-year plan to translocate the entire Nn population from the rest. Within a two-year period, a total of 652 Nn were translocated from the resort to the islands of Maui and Hawai’i. Since translocation of Nn ended in 2016, subsequent Nn have resumed loafing and nesting activities at the resort. This project’s intention is to prevent additional pairs from nesting during the mating season (August to March).
Airplane and wildlife encounters are costly and dangerous to all involved. Over $700 million is lost due to wildlife strikes with civil aircraft in the United States each year. These wildlife strikes have caused death and injuries as well as incidents such as geese striking a US Airways Flight causing it to land in the Hudson River in New York City in 2009.
U.S. Wildlife Service employees will work with resort staff daily to ensure information exchange regarding location of birds, current guest activities that may affect hazing operations, possible resort events that may affect hazing operations, and coordinate work schedules.
Sheri S. Mann, Kauai Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry (DOFAW) commented, “We are in complete support of this pilot project and it appears to be accomplishing its goals very quickly. DOFAW, in collaboration with several other DLNR divisions, is currently establishing two new Nene sanctuaries, east and south of the airport. It is our hope that Nene leaving the airport area will make these new sanctuaries their home.”
|DAVID Y. IGE
SUZANNE D. CASE
For Immediate News Release: August 19, 2019
INFORMATIONAL MEETING FOR AN UPDATE ON THE NORTH KOHALA AGRICULTURAL WATER STUDY
(Waimea)-An upcoming informational meeting on the North Kohala Agricultural Water Study will be jointly hosted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Hawai’i Island Senator Lorraine Inouye. The meeting will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. on Friday, August 30, 2019 at the Kohala Village Hub, located at 55-514 Hawi Road, in Hw+, North Kohala, Hawaii.
Representatives from the DLNR Engineering Division and its consultants, Waimea Water Services, LLC and Akinaka & Associates Ltd. are conducting the study to identify the current and future water demands and evaluate existing and potential new water sources to develop a plan to meet the agricultural needs of the region.
Funds for this study were appropriated by the Legislature with the support of Senator Inouye.
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Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
808-587-0396 (Communications Office)