POSTED: Monday, December 07, 2009

$420K to improve volcano studies

A $420,000 grant has been awarded to improve volcano monitoring in Hawaii, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono has announced.

She said the U.S. Department of Interior grant will be used to upgrade equipment and analyze data from recent eruptions so more reliable information can be provided to emergency responders.

The funding represents the University of Hawaii's share of $7 million being awarded in Recovery Act funding to 15 universities and state agencies.

Hirono said the funds will be used to:

» Continue studies of deposits and the mechanism of the summit eruption of Kilauea volcano, which began in March, last year.

» Create scientific models for research on the dispersion of volcanic gas to determine why some areas are harder hit by vog than others.

» Develop more accurate ways of measuring sulfur dioxide gas emissions.



Public's view is sought on utility's plan

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking public testimony on a utility company's draft conservation plan, which will be used to issue a license for incidental take of endangered or threatened seabirds on Kauai.

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has submitted a draft short-term Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan that outlines measures to minimize the take (killing) of three threatened or endangered bird species.

The three species are the uau, or Hawaiian petrel; akeake, or band-rumped storm petrel; and ao, or Newell's shearwater.

A public hearing for comments on the plan will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Lihue by the department's Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Draft copies of the plan are available online at www.hsblinks.com/1gd or at the Hawaii State Library and Lihue Public Library. Written testimony must be received by Dec. 23 at DLNR, Habitat Conservation Planning Associate, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813.