Hands On Projects
Keau’ohana Forest Restoration
With MOP funding and a State Grant-in-Aid, and under the dedicated leadership of Cindy Jaya Dupuis, we have continued to remove invasive species (including little fire ants), open and maintain trails, and outplant appropriate native plants to fill in openings in the canopy.
Ann Kobsa has spearheaded the ongoing maintenance of our native tree plantings on the parking lot grounds.
Partnering with Mainstreet Pahoa Assn. and Teen Challenge, we have applied to State Dept. of Transportation to allow us to landscape and maintain the roundabout. We will start as soon as HDOT approves our contract and will be soliciting plants for the project.
MOP Native Plant Nursery
We renewed our DLNR permit allowing us to collect and propagate seeds of endangered native plants, grow them out in our nursery, and outplant them for ecosystem restoration projects. We have also provided young plants to interested Puna gardeners.
Miconia is making a comeback in the Pahoa area, so we applied for County funding to help us address the problem. At this writing (end December) we are expecting the check very soon and hope to start before New Years. We will focus on the trees that are mature and getting ready to flower at the ginger patch property at the corner of Post Office Rd. and the Bypass, and also along Ka‘ohe Homestead Rd. just below the intersection with Apa‘a St. Volunteers can leverage their work hours to support their favorite charities.
Halepua‘a Forest Reserve
MOP has just awarded a $3,000 grant to continue restoration work in this Puna forest.
Ann Kobsa continues to follow up our control efforts at Paki Bay, Alula Bay, Pohoiki and elsewhere.
Films for Change
This is a new program we started in 2018. Every month, on the 2nd Thursday at 6 pm we provide a program of environmental topic films, free of charge to all who attend. Free popcorn is also included. The film showing is followed by group discussion. Topics have included climate change, endangered wildlife, sea level rise, etc.
Educational Exhibits at Events
We have had booths at the ‘Ohia Love Festival at Imiloa, Tropical Living Festival at Hawaii Academy of Arts & Sciences, and at Keonepoko Elementary & Hawaiian Beaches Park.
Co-sponsored classes in Native Hawaiian Cultural & Sustainability skills
Partnered with Hui Aloha O Puna Makai to put on events geared to youth, such as Haupia making, Lauhala basketry, Coconut leaf weaving, etc.
Rat Lungworm Disease—Results of New Research
Dr. Susan Jarvi of the UH-Hilo School of Pharmacy, gave a power point talk at our annual general membership meeting (which was open free to the public).
Environmental Library & Reading Room
This service is provided to the general public at our Environmental Resource Center (ERC) in Pahoa during our normal hours of operation. We acquired 7 new books in 2018.
This being an election year, MOP once again hosted 2 nonpartisan impartial forums for the voting public, focusing on environmental issues facing Puna.
Advocacy & Watchdogging
Arborist Advisory Committee
For ten years Hawaii County has not had an Arborist Advisory Committee, although it is mandated by State law under the Exceptional Tree Act. We have become a thorn in the side of the administration, as we continue to (politely) remind them of their responsibility. We have also suggested some agenda items for when they finally convene.
Hawaii Charter Commission
The Commission is considering changes to the 2% Land Fund and the Public Access, Natural Resources & Open Space Commission (PONC) that would virtually gut the program. The program is designed so that the County can acquire special parcels to protect in perpetuity, based on strict criteria supporting historical and archaeological sites, endangered species habitat, important view planes, etc. MOP president René has submitted a letter in opposition, enumerating why their proposals are based on specious arguments and are counter to public wishes.
Geothermal Air Permit Contested Case Hearing
Prior to the May 3rd eruption, we were parties to a contested case with the Dept. of Health. MOP’s argument is that the Department has not followed its own rules in establishing permitted H2S release levels to protect native endangered wildlife in the PGV area. With Governor Ige’s Emergency Proclamation the hearing was put on temporary hold. Since then the eruption and Hurricane Lane have destroyed much habitat of our native bats and birds, and once the hearing is reopened we will move to demand a species survey as well (last one was in 2008, before Hurricane Iselle and the June 27th eruption); our position will be that you can’t make decisions without solid scientific data.
Partnering for Puna’s Benefit
Rat Lungworm Disease
Not only did we work with USDA-APHIS and the UH-Hilo School of Pharmacy to channel a County grant for research, but we are also umbrella-ing an upcoming International Rat Lungworm Conference in Hilo scheduled for January, 2019.
We received some donations earmarked to assist in Puna lava recovery, including caring for self-evacuated animals from Leilani Estates. We have been feeding 7 non-feral cats and an old female goat. Attempts to identify pet owners have so far not been successful.
Providing Meeting Space for Other Community Groups
Mainstreet Pahoa Assn., Puna Community Medical Center Foundation, Pahoa Regional Town Center Steering Committee, Rotary of Pahoa Sunset, Circle of Sovereignty, American Rhododendron Society Hawaii Chapter, and others. With the Akebono Theater and Luquin’s Restaurant lost to fire, and the Pahoa community center unavailable for so long due to the lava inundation, we have stepped forward to fill the gap for needed meeting space so that these groups can continue their work to support our community in its time of crisis.
Fern Acres Bus Shelters
We helped the Fern Acres Community Assn. access County grant funds so they could build 3 bus shelters within the subdivision.
Wa‘aWa‘a/Ko‘ae Community Assn.
We worked with them to submit and support their nomination for the Wai‘ele coastal parcel for PONC preservation. The nomination made the PONC priority list and the acquisition process is in the works.
Going Off Grid
Since we acquired our Environmental Resource Center (ERC) 2 years ago we have wanted to divest from HELCO and, in doing so, support the Paris Climate Accords. An earlier attempt to arrange solar installation did not work out, in part due to the lava disruption. However our board just approved an estimate from Build It Green at its December meeting, so we are hoping to start the new year with a roof we can be proud of.
LIKE WHAT YOU’VE READ? HAVE YOU SEEN ANY PROJECTS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED WITH? DO YOURSELF AND THE ‘AINA A FAVOR AND JOIN US. GIVING & VOLUNTEERING FEELS GOOD AND IS GOOD FOR YOU.
2018 Fiscal Report & 2019 Budget: will be completed in January & be available for review upon request.