Hakalau Forest gets 15-year management plan

May 10, 2011 2:55 pm 0 comments

Endangered 'I'iwi at Hakalau | Photo by John KormendyThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the availability of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) that will guide management of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge for the next 15 years.

The CCP outlines refuge goals and strategies, staffing and funding needs, and management and research priorities. It positions the Refuge to tackle challenges posed by climate change, which will exacerbate existing threats to endangered forest birds, such as avian malaria and habitat loss, said Jim Kraus, Project Leader of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes Hakalau Forest NWR.

“The Refuge’s success, which is due in large part to long-standing partnerships and exemplary volunteer efforts over the last 25 years, has made Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge the primary place on Hawai‘i island where reversing the declining trend of endangered forest birds is being realized,” Kraus said. “It is very exciting to see the return of these rare birds to our restored forests and know that we have a role to play in recovering these species for future generations to enjoy.”

One of the primary goals identified in the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) is the restoration and protection of native forests. The Refuge’s original Hakalau Forest Unit was established in 1985 specifically to assure the continuation of native forest habitats. Key strategies related to this include increased ungulate control and the fencing of additional units, as well as management of invasive weeds. The review validated the management focus on fencing, ungulate control and reforestation as means to enhance recovery of many of the Big Island’s rare species, Kraus said.

However, such strategies require a sustained commitment to staffing and funding for many years to come – a need clearly outlined in the CCP and tied to its successful implementation. Over the last few years, the Refuge has lost funding and personnel, which has impacted on-the-ground protection efforts. Additionally, tree-falls frequently damage protective forest fencing along the existing 47 miles of fence line and significant portions of this fencing will need replacement in the coming years – funding for which has been backlogged with other maintenance needs. Recent acts of trespass into closed areas of the refuge and vandalism, such as cutting perimeter fences or locks and leaving gates open, only magnify the challenges faced by a refuge that is understaffed. The refuge currently has a field staff of 5, including short-term positions, to patrol vast remote areas and conduct weed and predator control activities over the 38,033 acres spanning units on both the Kona and Hakalau sides of the island.

“Refuge staff and volunteers are rightfully concerned that our efforts to re-establish our rare native plant heritage and maintain healthy populations of birds are at risk from pigs that have slowly regained entry to the refuge,” Kraus said. “I hope this plan will help us overcome the challenges we face, but we will need continued public and partner support to get the job done.”

The completion of the CCP fulfills the mandate of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, which directs all refuges to be managed under a Comprehensive Conservation Plan. This multi-year planning process began for the Hakalau Forest NWR in 2007 and involved interested individuals, local conservation and interest groups, research organizations, Native Hawaiian organizations, local, state, and federal government agencies and elected officials. Public outreach included meetings, presentations, public open houses, distribution of planning updates, workshops and other engagement opportunities that helped the refuge to develop a sound management plan.

“The planning process provided a good opportunity for us to review what’s been accomplished on the refuge over its first 25 years and what we can do in the coming years,” Kraus said. “We had substantial public input, which has given us a good sense of what’s been working to date and what the challenges are for the future. We are thankful to our many partners who contributed to this planning effort.”

The final Hakalau Forest NWR CCP, as well as a planning update that summarizes management actions and details how comments were incorporated, can be downloaded at the refuge Website. The documents also are available in hard copy or CD format from the refuge office (808-443-2300).

The refuge benefits greatly from its citizen support group the Friends of Hakalau Forest NWR. Established in 2006 to support the refuge mission, the Friends assist in volunteer programs, public education, special projects, and fundraising efforts.

Leave a Reply

Other News

  • Featured Media Publicity Hawaii Herald launches online edition

    Hawaii Herald launches online edition

    The Hawai‘i Herald today took a major step forward in its more than thirty­ year ­history with the launch of its online edition. The debut issue is focused on the Primary Election, with a story on the “David vs. Goliath” gubernatorial race between incumbent Governor Neil Abercrombie and veteran State Senator David Ige, as well as a Q&A forum on the issues with responding candidates for the major offices.

    “This is an historic moment for The Hawai‘i Herald, the only Hawaii­-based newspaper dedicated to covering the local Japanese American community,” says Keiichi Tagata, president of parent company Hawaii Hochi, Ltd. “After 34 years of sharing stories in print with loyal readers, mostly in Hawaii, we look forward to sharing the Herald with a wider audience of readers around the world.”

    Read more →
  • Featured Technology Honolulu happy hour app taps new beacon tech

    Honolulu happy hour app taps new beacon tech

    Happy Hour Pal, a Honolulu-based startup, is the first business to deploy beacon technology into restaurants and bars throughout the state.

    Happy Hour Pal is a searchable website and free GPS-based mobile app that allows people to save money while dining out, by locating happy hour specials in their area. Integrating beacon technology will make Happy Hour Pal even easier for users to identify nearby happy hour specials, and provide local businesses an effortless opportunity to engage directly with customers and increase awareness and sales during the most powerful internal promotion – happy hour.

    Happy Hour Pal’s website and mobile app users can search for happy hour specials by food, drink, time, and location, and easily access happy hour menus and daily specials for each business. Users can share information via text message and email, and invite friends to join them for happy hour. Users can also earn points for rewards when they check in to a business on the app.

    Read more →
  • Featured Publicity Science Third historic volcano found off O‘ahu

    Third historic volcano found off O‘ahu

    University of Hawaii researchers, working with colleagues in California and France, have discovered evidence of a third major shield volcano making up the island of O‘ahu.

    Previously, geologists believed the island’s current profile is the remnants of two volcanoes, Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau. But extending almost 100 km WNW from Ka‘ena Point, the western tip of the island of O‘ahu, is a large region of shallow bathymetry, called the submarine Ka‘ena Ridge. It is that region that has now been recognized to represent a precursor volcano to the island of O‘ahu, and on whose flanks the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau Volcanoes later formed.

    The team included scientists from the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de L’Environment in France, and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

    Read more →
  • Education Featured Publicity Science Technology Leaf Doctor: UH plant expert launches third app

    Leaf Doctor: UH plant expert launches third app

    Fresh from his success with two widely utilized smartphone apps, plant pathologist Scot Nelson has created a new and more technical app, the Leaf Doctor, for a more specialized audience.

    Nelson, who works at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii, doesn’t anticipate that the Leaf Doctor will have the same broad, popular appeal as his Plant Doctor app. For many of those who will use the Leaf Doctor, though, it is likely to be a professional game-changer.

    The Leaf Doctor focuses on the finer points of diagnosing plant diseases.

    Read more →
  • Featured Health Publicity Study: Shorter men may live longer

    Study: Shorter men may live longer

    Short height and long life have a direct connection in Japanese men, according to new research based on the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program (HHP) and the Kuakini Honolulu-Asia Aging Study (HAAS).

    “We split people into two groups – those who were 5-foot-2 and shorter, and 5-4 and taller,” said Dr. Bradley Willcox, one of the investigators for the study and a UH Mānoa Professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine’s (JABSOM’s) Department of Geriatric Medicine. “The folks that were 5-2 and shorter lived the longest. The range was seen all the way across from being 5-foot tall to 6-foot tall. The taller you got, the shorter you lived.”

    Researchers at the Kuakini Medical Center, JABSOM and U.S. Veterans Affairs worked on the study, which was recently published in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

    The researchers showed that shorter men were more likely to have a protective form of the longevity gene, FOXO3, leading to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan. Shorter men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less cancer.

    Read more →
  • Featured Science Deep origins to the behavior of our volcanoes

    Deep origins to the behavior of our volcanoes

    Kīlauea volcano, on the Big Island of Hawaii, typically has effusive eruptions, where magma flows to create ropy pāhoehoe lava. But Kīlauea sometimes erupts more violently, showering scoria and blocks over much of the surface of the island. To explain the variability in Kīlauea’s eruption styles, a research team analyzed 25 eruptions that have taken place over the past 600 years.

    Their research shows that the ultimate fate of a magma at Kīlauea — that is if the eruption will be effusive or explosive — is strongly influenced by the variability in composition of the deep magma. In short, more gas-rich magmas produces more explosive eruptions.

    “Gas-rich magmas are ‘predisposed’ to rise quickly through the Earth’s mantle and crust and erupt powerfully,” Houghton explained.

    Read more →
  • Education Environment Featured Transportation Bike Commuting Celebrated on Thursday

    Bike Commuting Celebrated on Thursday

    This year’s “BikeUHM,” the annual appreciation and promotional event for those who cycle and who are thinking of cycling to UH Mānoa, coincides with the University’s Earth Day Festival on Thursday, April 24. “BikeUHM 2014: Earth Cycles” will be held along Legacy Path (near Dole Street) from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

    To further enhance the cycling experience at UH Mānoa, the University has implemented Sharrow lanes (shared by both motorists and bicyclists) and free bike parking in any of the more than 150 racks positioned around campus. Coming soon is the installation of a secure, enclosed bike shelter in the Lower Campus Parking Structure and bike-share stations on campus, as recommended in a recent feasibility study for bike-sharing in Honolulu.

    Read more →
  • Education Publicity Winners named in school attendance video contest

    Winners named in school attendance video contest

    Winners of a video contest to discourage school truancy were announced yesterday. The “Be Pono – Be in School” video contest was organized by schools on the Windward side of Oahu. Judges awarded prizes valued at $10,000. More than 1,500 students – some in kindergarten – created and produced a total of 60 video entries. Described as the state’s first district-wide attendance-campaign video contest, it launched last month and drew participation by one-third of all Windward District schools. Entrants submitted 30-second spots […]

    Read more →