Imagine higher agricultural yields, fewer invasive species, and a new economic product that’s as versatile as it is plentiful: venison. That was the vision of the founders of the Maui Axis Deer Harvesting Cooperative (MADHC), a new initiative organized by the County of Maui. Its goal is to help farmers, ranchers and landowners control invasive axis deer on their property while addressing food security with zero waste. MADHC members are a group of certified, trained, hunters who can provide harvesting services to those receiving damage from axis deer. The meat will be shared between hunters and landowners, and in some cases, local slaughterhouses will process meat for resale.
While the cooperative is already active on Maui, some Molokai residents are looking at the possibilities for the Friendly Isle — turning venison into a trademark specialty while helping out farmers with deer problems. Phyllis Robinson, one of MADHC’s founders and pilot coordinator, said it’s still early in the process, but her goal is to be able to incorporate Molokai and Lanai into the program.
“We’d like to plant the seed of awareness,” she said. “It could be helpful to have a coordinated effort county-wide but unique efforts on each island.”
Robinson said she has been in communication with Molokai axis deer rancher and hunter Desmond Manaba to explore the possibility of establishing an auxiliary board on Molokai to organize similar services on the island and be part of the cooperative umbrella.
Manaba, who has been deer ranching on Molokai for 18 years, said he sees tremendous potential economic benefit axis deer.
Residents testify against the PLDC at public hearing
“It is dangerous to put public lands in private hands,” said Molokai resident Kauhane Adams. Yet it seems that this is exactly what legislature created the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) to do when they passed senate bill Act 55 in 2011 that established the corporation.
The PLDC’s intent to “generate additional revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by developing under-utilized or unused public land,” according to a written statement circulated by the PLDC.
Homesteader Adolph Helm claimed that the PLDC would allow “fast-track boondoggle projects that benefit the private developer and the pockets of the well-connected [while] stripping Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of trust lands.”
Sentiments against the advancement of the PLDC have echoed throughout the state at similar meetings hosted by the PLDC last month on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai. These public hearing meetings were meant to gather community feedback on its proposed new administrative rules, but have largely resulted in Hawaiians calling for the repeal of Act 55 and the disbanding of the PLDC.
Who determines what is best for the land?
PLDC’s Executive Director Lloyd Haraguchi opened the Molokai meeting, held last week at Mitchell Pauole Center, with an example of an “unused public land” — an abandoned school building that, in addition to being a safety hazard, is not being used to the best of its ability. The space could instead be developed to generate additional revenue to benefit the Department of Education, said Haraguchi.
Hunters hired to control invasive species on Hawaii island have killed their first axis deer.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday the deer was captured in the southern part of the island.
Big Island Invasive Species Committee Manager Jan Schipper declined to say specifically where the deer was killed to prevent interference with the committee’s two hunters.
The animal native to India and Sri Lanka was first introduced to Molokai and Oahu in 1868, Lanai in 1920, and Maui in 1959, but they hadn’t been found on the Big Island until last year.
Non-native mammals such as like pigs and goats already damage the island’s environment. But axis deer are a new type of menace in part because they’re so large they can jump over fences that are meant to protect native forests.
USDA Farm Service Agency News Release
The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, is offering technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to develop, install and implement authorized conservation practices. To receive assistance, the farmer or rancher must be in control of the land where practices will be applied, have an agricultural income of at least $1,000 per year and be willing to implement conservation practices of the duration of the contract and maintain such practices.
The following programs assist operators in implementing conservation practices:
• EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program)
• WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program)
• AMA (Agricultural Management Assistance)
• WRP (Wetlands Reserve Program)
• GRP (Grassland Reserve Program)
• CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program)
For a full description of program eligibility, visit pia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs, or contact the Ho`olehua Field Office at 4101 Maunaloa Hwy or 567-6868 ext. 105.
Young Brothers Seeking Rate Increase
The cost of living on the islands continues to rise as Young Brothers, Ltd. (YB) seeks to increase their shipping rates. During a visit to Molokai last week, YB’s Vice President of Strategic Planning and Government Affairs Roy Catalani explained that dropping volumes of cargo are forcing the company to apply to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a rate increase of about 24 percent. Their last rate increase was in August 2009.
Along with lower cargo volume, a second shipping company, Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines, has entered the Hawaii market. They are “cherry-picking” service to larger harbors but not serving smaller ports like Molokai, according to Catalani. Pasha began service in February; their presence could also affect YB’s rising costs of operations.
“Young Brothers has lost about 30 percent of its over-all cargo volumes since 2008,” said Catalani. It came down, he said, to whether the company would increase its rates or decrease its services.
Matthew Humphrey, YB general manager, said Young Brothers has already decreased frequency of sailing to larger ports, while maintaining a minimum of twice-weekly trips to smaller harbors like Molokai.
Wind energy is cited among the green alternatives to fossil fuel, but environmental and community groups are irritated about the handling of a massive project to transmit energy to Oahu from windmills on Lanai and Molokai. They should be provided more access to preliminary work on the plan by state agencies and Hawaiian Electric Co., and hold project members to promises of full access and participation at future venues.
HECO is seeking a “power purchase agreement” from the Public Utilities Commission to recover $4 million from ratepayers in costs for studies associated with the Big Wind, or Interisland Wind, project. The PUC has endorsed the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, which mandates that 40 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030, so the studies are consistent with the state’s goals. The path to getting there, though, has the potential to keep lay people in the dark until it emerges as a fait accompli.
Even Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is complaining that “no one can tell us where the cable will run, its overall cost or how it would interconnect with the grids on the islands of Maui, Molokai and Lanai.… We need a clear, complete, accurate, detailed analysis for the cable system before we agree to finance it on the backs of the ratepayers.”
The acronym IAM represents “I Aloha Molokai,” a newly formed working group comprised of Molokai residents opposed to the proposal to develop a 200 megawatt industrial scale wind power plant to serve the energy needs of Oahu. IAM’s mission is to share information, as well as educate the general public to the potential impacts of the project. This is a grassroots effort to raise awareness and provide balance as the developer and proponents of the project move forward in their attempt to persuade the island community to support the project.
IAM is fortunate and pleased to announce that on June 2 at 6 p.m. at the Kulana `Oiwi Halau, Robin Kaye from Friends of Lanai (FOL) will be sharing the “Lanai Wind Fall Out” video and their experience with the Big Wind and undersea cable project. IAM invites the public to join us to talk story and learn how others are proactively engaged in mitigating efforts to challenge the Big Wind and Undersea Cable project.
Numerous testimonies, letters printed in the local paper and a recent voting survey reveal major concerns and opposition to the proposed project. IAM stands firm on the position that the cultural, social, economic and environmental impacts far outweigh the benefits and opportunities of the project. “NO DEAL” is worth sacrificing our integrity and island for.
HONOLULU – The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is now accepting application forms for the 2011 Lanai Mouflon Sheep Hunting Season.
There will be three types of hunts, archery, muzzleloading and general rifle, which will be held during different periods beginning July 30 through Oct. 23.
Applications and instruction sheets are available at all Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices statewide.
Applicants may also see: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.
Applications for all hunts may be submitted in person or mailed to the Maui Division of Forestry and Wildlife Office, 54 South High St., Room 101, Wailuku, 96793.
Lanai residents only are to mail or deliver their applications to the Lanai Division of Forestry and Wildlife office at 917 Fraser Ave., P.O. Box 630661, Lanai City, 96763.
The deadline is 4 p.m., May 27.
For more information on Maui, call 984-8100; on Molokai, call 553-1745; and on Lanai, call 565-7916.
First Wind Hawaii, the principal partner of Maui’s Kaheawa Wind Farm, has apparently been frozen out of the no-bid project called “Big Wind” that is a centerpiece of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.
First Wind officials said they were not able to find a site to locate a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm on Molokai, because the island’s major landowner, Molokai Ranch, refused to negotiate with them. Last month, the Public Utilities Commission rejected First Wind’s request for more time to identify a location for the project, ruling that First Wind was not a party to the 2008 agreement that evaded the usual competitive bidding process.
“We’re disappointed, but it was not unexpected,” said John Lamontagne, director of corporate com-munications for First Wind. “We appreciate the PUC’s consideration.”
First Wind Chief Executive Officer Paul Gaynor warned the PUC in a letter in March that if plans for a Molokai wind farm falter, “the state would have put itself in a situation where there is a single point of failure – the Lanai wind farm.”
The no-bid project stems from an earlier request by Hawaiian Electric Co. for companies to submit proposals for the development of 100 megawatts of renewable energy on Oahu.