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Haleakalā Mauka to Makai (Veg. Maps)

October 20, 2014
beautiful rare flower with people looking at it

The field crew takes in the exquisite beauty of Trematolobelia macrostachys.

Field work for the Accuracy Assessment stage of Haleakalā National Park’s vegetation mapping project commenced in January 2014. The purpose of Accuracy Assessment is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the draft vegetation map (see below). This is done by on-the-ground assessment of the vegetation and referencing an established vegetation classification. The field data is then compared to the draft map to determine if the satellite imagery of the park’s vegetation has been properly assigned into vegetation classification types. This process involves field crews navigating to randomly selected points throughout Haleakalā NP and assessing the site’s vegetation within a 40 meter radius circle or designated polygon, and assigning a vegetation type that has been previously described at the park. The project included over 600 target points with over 50 possible vegetation types. These vegetation types occur at designated elevational and climatic zones and are classified by the dominant plant species present. At Haleakalā NP, these types range from the semi-natural lowland dry forest, dominated by the non-native kiawe tree (Prosopis pallida), to the montane wet forest dominated by the native ōhia (Metrosideros polymorpha) and ōlapa trees (Cheirodendron trigynum). This project provided the opportunity for field crews to explore the amazingly diverse and unique landscapes of Haleakalā from mauka to makai, a Hawaiian phrase simply translated as ‘from the mountain to the ocean’.

man in wet forest giving shaka

Crew members had to be ready to endure many physical challenges, but were often blessed with the spectacular scenery of Maui and the rare beauty of its flora and fauna.

It is no small feat to map the vegetation of the 34,000+ acres that comprises Haleakalā NP. The process started over three years ago with the initial field classification plots and observations, and will be completed this spring when the final map and report are published. Once complete this comprehensive vegetation map will serve as a dynamic tool for park managers and research scientists. Accuracy Assessment is the final stage of the field work for the project and took no less than 15 Park staff, contractors, and volunteers to accomplish over a seven month period. Haleakalā has some of the most diverse and unique environments in the world. Habitats include the mosaic Subalpine Shrubland, the sparse cindery Crater, the Greensword Bogs of the Northeast Rift, the ephemeral grasslands of Nuʻu, and the Wet Forests of Kīpahulu Valley and ʻOʻheo Gulch.

Six hundred and one points were observed with many requiring camping in remote backcountry areas of the park. Reaching points often involved traversing through dense vegetation, across varied terrain, and in inclement weather.

map of veg at haleManawainui is an area on the south side of Haleakalā positioned between Kaupō Gap on the west and Kīpahulu Valley on the east. It sits at 5,000 feet elevation above a spectacular valley that often displays numerous ribbons of waterfalls streaming down its cliffs, inspiring the name Manawainui which translates as ‘powerful spirit water’. At the end of June, NPS Inventory and Monitoring crewmembers Meagan Selvig (University of Hawaii cooperator), Joey Latsha (volunteer), and I had the opportunity to stay at ʻŌhiʻa Camp, a backcountry shelter in Manawainui, to assess the vegetation types and explore this unique area. Misty clouds gusted by us as we navigated to target points through mossy gulches, narrow ridges, and dense thickets of the vining fern uluhe (Dicranopteris linearis). We would call out to each other as we passed by a rarely seen plant or caught a glimpse of a native bird fluttering by. In one gulch we were delighted to see a population of over 20 Lobelia gloria-montis, a rare plant that is truly the glory of the mountain. Later as we proceeded to cross another gulch and head up a steep slope of uluhe, we happened upon a fully blooming Trematolobelia macrostachys with its branching inflorescence of magenta flowers. A rare and wonderful sight we were fortunate to behold as one of the great highlights of our field season at Haleakalā National Park.

–Elizabeth Urbanski, NPS Biological technician

–Meagan Selvig, UH-Hilo Vegetation mapping coordinator

Tropical Storm Ana churns its way towards Hawaiian Islands

October 16, 2014

Tropical Storm Ana is moving closer to the Hawaiian Islands.

It’s centered at 11 a.m. HST / 5 p.m. EDT, about 465 miles southeast of Hilo and 665 miles southeast of Honolulu, moving toward the west. A turn toward the west-northwest is expected today, followed by a turn toward the northwest on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Ana will pass near the Big Island Friday night and Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph, with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 36 hours, and Ana is forecast to become a hurricane on Friday.

A Tropical Storm Watch continues for Hawaii County, including the city of Hilo. Tropical storm conditions are possible there within 36 hours. Interests elsewhere in the main Hawaiian Islands should monitor the progress of Ana, as watches may be required later today or tonight for additional islands.

Tropical storm conditions are possible on the Big Island of Hawaii starting late Friday.

Large swells produced by Ana are expected to build over the eastern end of the main Hawaiian island chain tonight and Friday morning. These large swells will continue to spread up the island chain through the weekend. Surf produced by these swells could potentially be damaging along exposed shorelines beginning late Friday and Saturday, and persisting through the weekend in some areas.

Heavy rainfall associated with Ana may reach the Big Island of Hawaii Friday afternoon. These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

Get the latest information, including graphics, at NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center website at: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tcpages/?storm=ANA

1016-11am-NWS-5day-750x600

Big Island on Alert for Hurricane Ana

October 15, 2014

The Hawaiian Islands remain on alert for a potential Hurricane this weekend. Surf is expected to begin impacting Big Island shores Thursday night. By Friday evening, the island will start to experience strong winds, heavy rain fall and high surf.

The storm is currently located about 640 miles southeast of Hilo and moving toward the west around 9 mph. The storm as of 2 p.m. was packing 70 mph winds. Tropical storm force winds currently extend outward up to 60 miles.

- See more at: http://westhawaiitoday.com/hurricane-season-2014/ana-likely-hit-big-island-hurricane-friday#sthash.i6vacHHZ.dpuf

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Will Close Friday

October 15, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will be closed Friday, October 17 in anticipation of Tropical Storm Ana.

Satellite image of T.S. Ana at 11 a.m. Wednesday | Courtesy NOAA

According to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu, Tropical Storm Ana was located about 625 miles southeast of Hilo as of 2 p.m. Wednesday. At that time, the storm had maximum sustained winds at 70 mph, was moving west at nine miles per hour. It is expected to become a hurricane later today and will bring heavy rain, high wind speeds, and dangerous surf conditions.

No backcountry permits will be issued after 6 p.m. Thursday. The park’s Kahuku Unit will close the entire weekend, and International Archeology Day, previously scheduled for Saturday, is canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

If it is safe to do so, the park and its visitor centers will reopen at noon on Saturday, October 18.

“Our first priority is to keep our visitors, staff, and volunteers safe,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We will reassess Saturday, and will reopen by noon as long as it is safe,” she said.

Volcano House and Kīlauea Military Camp will remain open to registered guests.

For updates on Tropical Storm Ana, go to http://www.prh.noaa.gov/hnl/cphc/.

For Civil Defense updates for the County of Hawai‘i, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/.

Satellite image of T.S. Ana at 11 a.m. Wednesday | Courtesy NOAA

Satellite image of T.S. Ana at 11 a.m. Wednesday | Courtesy NOAA

Mountain Shrimp

October 15, 2014

A.K.A. :  ‘Ōpae kala’ole, spineless shrimp, mountain ‘ōpae, or Atyoida bisulcata

opae kalaole

Mountain Shrimp

Description:  These endemic Hawaiian freshwater shrimp can grow to a length of about 2 inches. They do not have claws like the invasive Tahitian prawn (Macrobrachium lar) but rather have pincers with bristle-like hairs, which can be extended to form a fan used to catch and filter food particles from the water column.

Habitat & diet: ‘Ōpae kalaole are superb climbers and can be found in the highest stream reaches in Hawaii. They prefer to be in and around rocks in the fastest flowing part of the stream. Here is the really cool part. They have two distinct feeding patterns. The first is used in strong currents. They position themselves in the direction of the current, then they spread out the bristle-like hairs on their front legs to form tiny baskets. These baskets allow them to catch particles coming toward them with the current. They then put the food particles directly into their mouths. The second feeding method is used in slow moving waters. This behavior is common among other crustaceans. It involves simply using their pincers to extract food items from the stream floor.

Reproduction: Breeding occurs all year round in Hawaiian streams. More often than not, when you come across a female of the species, she will be carrying eggs. She carries about 3,000 eggs attached to her swimmerets on the underside of her tail. The eggs hatch after about 2 months. As with other native Hawaiian stream animals ōpae kalaole are amphidromous. The newly hatched larvae wash down the stream and into the ocean where they develop for several months before returning back to a stream where they will spend the rest of their lives.

Tidbit: These ōpae are known as some of the best climbers in the whole Hawaiian stream community. They have been found upstream of 100 foot waterfalls. These resourceful little critters have also been found in storm drains, agricultural ditches, and taro fields. mountain shrimp up close

Threats: Habitat loss and degradation is one of the biggest threats to ōpae kalaole and other stream animals. An increasing human population on the Hawaiian islands is leading to changes in the way streams naturally flow. Streams have been diverted, channelized, and dammed to accommodate city infrastructure and agriculture. This results in reduced water flow, higher temperatures, and an abundance of harmful introduced species.

‘Ōpae kala‘ole in Pacific island national parks: The Inventory & Monitoring Program monitors stream animal populations annually as well as stream water quality parameters every quarter. These special shrimp are found in abundance in the upper reaches of Waikolu Stream in Kalaupapa NHP and Palikea Stream in Haleakalā NP. The upper reaches have the fast, cool, and clear waters that the ōpae prefer. They also have significantly fewer invasive species like the Tahitian prawn. Click here to see a simple video of this ōpae in a stream.

–Anne Farahi, NPS  Biological technician

Check out this U.S. Forest Service video about these cool little shrimp

Haleakalā National Park Proposes Revision of Entrance Fee Structure

October 15, 2014

Haleakalā National Park will hold two public meetings to outline proposed fee increases
scheduled to begin in 2015. Meetings are scheduled on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 from
5pm to 6:30pm at the Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani and on Wednesday,
November 12, 2014 from 5pm to 6:30pm at the Helene Social Hall in Hana. The public can also
fill out comment cards at any park visitor center during business hours, bring written comments
to any park visitor center, mail comments to the park superintendent, or submit comments to the
online Planning, Environment, and Public Comment System (PEPC) at
http://parkplanning.nps.gov/halefeescomments. Feedback from the public will inform how, or if,
a fee increase would be implemented. To be considered, comments must be received on or
before December 15, 2014.

New Kīpahulu facilities

New Kīpahulu facilities

As proposed, Haleakalā National Park daily fees would be raised incrementally each year
between 2015 and 2017. The per-person fee would change from the current rate of $5 to $12 in
two-dollar increments per year. The motorcycle fee would go from $5 to $20, in $5 annual
increases. The per-vehicle pass would be raised in $5 increments from the current price of $10 to
$25 in 2017. In an effort to reduce the immediate impact of increased fees to local residents who
visit the park frequently, the cost of annual tri-park pass would remain at the current rate of $25
in 2015 and 2016, and then increase to nationwide standard of $50 in 2017. The annual tri-park
pass permits unlimited entry into Haleakalā National Park, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park,
and Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park for one year. Hawai`i Volcanoes National
Park is proposing the same fee changes and implementation schedule as Haleakalā National
Park.

“We are committed to keeping the park affordable but we also want to provide visitors and
residents with the best possible experience,” said park superintendent Natalie Gates. “The
revenue from entrance fees is used to improve visitor facilities, including visitor centers and
restrooms; restore recreational trails; sustain our native wildlife species and landscapes; and
provide important visitor services such as brochures, exhibits, web-based museum exhibits and
cultural demonstrations. The entrance fee program also funds school programs, community
outreach, and the park’s internship program.”

Native landscape restoration

Native landscape restoration

Some past examples of work which was fully funded with entrance fees include: building new
restrooms, providing potable water to visitors, and building a parking lot in the park’s Kīpahulu
District ($2.75 million, in 2000); restoring trails throughout the park ($500,000 annually); and
completing archeological surveys ($499,500 in 2010). Entrance fees also supported the control
of invasive species ($299,000 in entrance fees, in 2013); stabilization of silversword populations
($60,000 annually, 2012-13); and restoration of native landscapes ($113,000 in 2013). Increased
fee revenues will provide more funds for these and other types of projects.

Road work

Road work

The current National Park Service fee program began in 1997 and allowed parks to retain 80% of
monies collected. The remaining 20% has gone into a fund to support park units where fees are
not charged. Prior to 1997 all national park fee monies went back into the General Treasury.
Since 1997, fee revenues have funded $36.6 million in Haleakalā National Park projects.

Currently-priced entrance fee revenues are estimated to total $14 million between now and 2020.
If the proposed fee increases are implemented, the estimated revenue from 2015 through 2020
could double to $28.4 million. In 2013, 785,300 visitors to Haleakalā National Park in 2013
spent over $47 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 536 jobs in the
local area.

Saving endangered ʻUaʻu or Hawaiian petrel

Saving endangered ʻUaʻu or Hawaiian petrel

Written comments may be mailed to: HALE Proposed Fee Increase, c/o Superintendent,
Haleakalā National Park, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768. Comments will not be accepted
by FAX, e-mail, or in any manner other than the methods specified. Bulk comments in any
format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted. Before
including a personal address, phone number, e- mail address, or other personal identifying
information in written comments, anyone providing written comment should be aware their
entire comment – including their personal identifying information – may be made publicly
available at any time. While anyone wishing to comment may ask the National Park Service
in their comment to withhold their personal identifying information from public review, the
National Park Service cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park proposes fee increases for 2015

October 14, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is seeking public feedback on possible entrance fee increases starting in 2015. Entrance fees for recreational use have not increased since 1997.

“While we are committed to keeping the park affordable for everyone, we are also dedicated to providing the safest and most enjoyable experience for our visitors and community. Entrance fees are vital to support the numerous services and amenities that make the visitor experience possible,” said Superintendent Cindy Orlando.

For instance, a project underway now to replace the wooden boardwalk at the Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs is paid for by entrance fees. Ongoing trail maintenance, cabin repairs, hike pamphlets, restrooms, and picnic tables are all funded with fee money. The transformation of the 1932 Administration Building (‘Ōhi‘a Wing) into a cultural museum that visitors will soon enjoy is also a fees-funded project.

Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs boardwalk

The boardwalk at Pu‘u Loa Petroglyphs is currently being replaced for visitor safety and enjoyment, a fees-funded project. NPS Photo/David Boyle

Eighty percent of all entrance fees stay within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Orlando said. The money also protects the Hawaiian ecosystem by funding fencing projects that prevent non-native pests like pigs and goats from devouring rare native plants.  Since 2006, fee revenues have funded $24,072,928 in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park projects.

Entrance fees are not charged to persons under 16 years old, or holders of the Tri-Park, America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Senior, Access, or Military passes. These passes may be obtained at the park, or online.

Under the proposed schedule, entrance fees would rise incrementally each year between 2015 and 2017. Fees for vehicles entering Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park would increase 50 percent in 2015 (from $10 in 2014 to $15), and in 2016, fees would be $20 per vehicle. In 2017, entrance fees would rise to $25 per vehicle and remain at $25 through 2021.

The costs for the annual Tri-Park Pass would stay the same until 2017, when it would increase from $25 to $50. The annual Tri-Park Pass allows unlimited entry to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Haleakalā National Park, and Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park for one year. Haleakalā National Park is proposing the same fee increase schedule.

Table of Proposed Recreational Fee Increases (in dollars) for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park:

Annual Pass Per-Vehicle Fee

(good for 7 days)

 Per-Person Fee

(walk-ins & bicycles)

Motorcycle Rate
Current 2014 25 10 5 5
2015 25 15 8 10
2016 25 20 10 15
2017 50 25 12 20
2018 50 25 12 20
2019 50 25 12 20
2020 50 25 12 20
2021 50 25 12 20

Under the proposed fee schedule, entrance fees would also increase for commercial tour companies. Currently, road-based tour vans carrying one to six passengers pay a $25 base fee and $5 per person to enter the park. The per-person entrance rates will increase to $8 in 2015; $10 in 2016; and $12 in 2017, through 2021. The base fee will not change. Non-road-based tour companies, i.e. hiking tour companies that are on trails more than they are touring the park by vehicle, don’t pay a base rate but their per-person fees would increase under the proposed schedule.

In addition, the park will soon charge $10 per permit for all overnight backcountry and front-country camping, with a maximum of three consecutive nights at one spot. Currently, camping is free, except at Nāmakanipaio Campground, which is managed by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC. The new camping permit fees are similar to other public camping fees statewide.

The public is invited to submit comments online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo. Select the Proposed Entrance Fee Increases for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park link. Then click on the link to the left “Open for Comment,” and click on the document name. You can then download the document. You can also comment from the same screen using the link near the top, “Comment on Document.” The comment link is only valid during the comment period.

The public can also submit comments in writing, addressed to Superintendent, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii National Park, HI 96718. The deadline for comments is Dec. 15, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Comment cards will also be provided at the Kīlauea Visitor Center seven days a week, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information with your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

If the fee increases go into effect, visitors in 2015 will still enjoy a great value while visiting Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For $15 per vehicle (an increase of 50 percent from 2014), the seven-day pass averages $2.14/day for a family of four.  By comparison, catching the latest blockbuster in a movie theatre typically runs a family of four about $45.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is a significant driver to the island’s economy. A 2013 National Park Service report shows that 1,583,209 park visitors spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,476 local jobs.

Devastation Trail

Maintenance of the park’s 150-plus miles of hiking trails, including Devastation Trail (pictured), is funded by entrance fees. NPS Photo/David Boyle.

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