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    Geologists debate volcano origins

    Where did Hawaii’s volcanoes come from? Scientists have long believed that “hotspot” volcanoes that are located away from the edges of the earth’s plates — like Hawai`i — are caused by plumes of molten lava rising from deep within the Earth. But a recent article in the journal Science has cast some doubt on that theory.

    Landowners awarded $1.1M in grants

    Hawai`i landowners will receive over $1.1 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for conservation projects helping endangered, threatened and at-risk species, from forests on Lana`i to bats on the Big Island. According to officials with the Private Stewardship Program, Hawai`i will receive the most grant money out of 43 participating states.

    Hanalei preservation gets $700,000 boost

    [ Hanalei River Valley | Photo by Kauai Beach Villa ]The Halalei Heritage River Program, a watershed protection program on Kauai, will receive $700,000 of federal grant money that will help it achieve its goal of improving water quality, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Hanalei was one of 20 watersheds nationwide to receive a share of a $15 million EPA assistance package.

    Alien seaweed threatens reefs

    [ Algae Clean-Up | Photo by Jennifer E. Smith ]Infestations of an alien species of limu, or seaweed, threaten Hawaii’s coral reefs, said UH botanist Dr. Cindy Hunter. Gracilaria salicornia was intentionally introduced to the islands in an attempt at aquaculture, she said, but has now become a menace to native reefs.

    Biotech firm fined for Hawai`i crop

    Experimental, genetically-engineered corn growing on Kaua`i may have contaminated nearby crops, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA fined biotech firm Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont, $72,000. The Iowa-based company found 12 corn plants on Kaua`i had traces of a crop that had been genetically designed to resist the pest rootworm.

    Hawaii gets own Fisheries Service office

    In a move that may bring more local control over the governing of island marine resources, the National Marine Fisheries Service yesterday established a new Pacific Islands regional office and science center in Honolulu. Previously, Hawaii was under the jurisdiction of the agency’s Southwest Regional Office.

    Audubon Society to operate Waimea Falls Park

    Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris today announced the selection of the National Audubon Society to operate Waimea Falls Park under a 30-year lease agreement with the city. The city bought the 1,800-acre North Shore park for only $5 million from its bankrupt owner, and has been seeking a new caretaker ever since. The Audubon Society proposal, unveiled late last year, had earned the support of dozens of local and state-wide nonprofit groups, as well as several North Shore businesses and hundreds of residents.

    Ancient, modern ways with water explored

    Traditional Hawaiian values need to be reflected in water resource management, a UH faculty member told the crowd at the Waikiki Aquarium Thursday night. UH Hui Konohiki faculty member Ka’eo Duarte contrasted the traditional Hawaiian view of water resources with that of a western hydrologist, differences that he said he personally exemplified in some ways.

    Kauai’s blind cave creatures get sanctuary

    [ Kauai Wolf Spider ]The only known habitat for two of Kauai’s strangest endangered animals recently received critical habitat designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The eyeless wolf spider and one of its prey, a shrimp-like eyeless amphipod, both live deep inside the dark, damp caves of Kauai’s Koloa District, and nowhere else in the world. Yet the size of the area covered by the designation was reduced by 94 percent after private landowners told the agency that the original proposal could have cost them millions of dollars.

    Broader view of ecology urged

    Science could benefit from seeing the Earth from the traditional Hawaiian point of view, said Dr. Carlos Andrade, assistant professor of Hawaiian Studies at UH-Manoa. Speaking last night to a standing-room-only audience at the Waikiki Aquarium, Dr. Andrade said, “Resources don’t need management, people need management.”

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