New & Noteworthy: Kona Remediation, Reef Fish Census

posted in: March 2017 | 0

Lead Removal in Kona: The Hawai`i County Department of Environmental Management has been granted a Conservation District Use Permit to remediate an abandoned metal salvage site in Kealakehe, in the North Kona district of the Big Island. At a recent meeting of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands administrator Sam Lemmo noted the irony of the project: While the 30-plus acres involved lie within the Conservation District, they’re located in the Kona industrial park and are surrounded by the old Kailua landfill and a current solid waste transfer station, a police station, and recycling operations.

“I don’t know why it’s in the Conservation District. I suspect this whole area was zoned Conservation and gradually lands were lifted out,” Lemmo said.

The county plans to remove lead-impacted soil from eight acres, transport it to the West Hawai`i sanitary landfill, conduct post-excavation monitoring, then backfill and landscape the site.

“The presence of lead in stockpile soils, at concentrations above Hawai’i environmental action levels (EALs), was identified during preliminary environmental sampling performed in 2010 and 2011. Lead-contaminated soil is also present within working surfaces throughout the subject property,” an OCCL staff report states.

“We have no problem with what they’d like to do. There is a suggestion they might want to think about eventually lifting these lands out of Conservation. … It’s not something we should be regulating,” Lemmo said.

Land Board member Chris Yuen, a former county Planning Director, noted that to amend the site’s boundary to a more appropriate land use classification would probably require an environmental assessment and approval by the state Land Use Commission. “It’s a big job,” he said.

Fish Facts: In its 2016 stock assessment of coral reef fishes in Hawai`i, released last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that of 27 fish stocks, 11 were subject to overfishing and are in an overfished state. They include those for the bullethead, stareye and redlip parrotfish; the paletail, sleek, orangespine, and bluespine unicornfish; the blue and whitesaddle goatfish; the ringtail surgeonfish; and and the giant trevally.

NOAA based its determinations on data collected between 2003 and 2016. The conclusions regarding parrotfish are in line with conclusions made in 2015 by Hawai`i Pacific University graduate student Cassandra Pardee, who estimated that there was an 89 percent chance that commercial fishers in the Main Hawaiian Islands were catching parrotfish, also known as uhu, at an unsustainable rate.

To protect the recreationally and commercially popular food fish, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2014 adopted rules regulating the take of parrotfish from waters around Maui. According to the DLNR, “A total bag limit of two parrotfish was put into place, and the take of terminal phase male red lip and spectacled uhu was banned.  Take of the females in those two species continues to be allowed with the minimum size raised to 14″ from the current statewide minimum size of 12″.  All the other species of uhu, which are smaller bodied fish, had the minimum size reduced to 10″ from the statewide limit of 12″.  The total bag limit of 2 fish applies to a total take of any of the species of uhu.”

(This item has been corrected to reflect the fact that the Land Board’s rules apply only to uhu around Maui. The article incorrectly stated that they applied to those around Lana`i, as well. The rule specifics were also replaced with a clearer explanation provided by the DLNR.)


Maui Energy Conference: From March 22-24, the annual Maui Energy Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. This year’s event, sponsored by a mix of more than a dozen public agencies, private companies or non-profits, and utilities, is titled, “All Things Energy: Pursuing New Opportunities for Electricity and Beyond.”

The program includes a conversation with Public Utilites Commission chair Randall Iwase and a keynote address by Guillermo (Gil) Penalosa, an expert advisor on how to “create vibrant cities and healthy communities,” according to the website for 8 80 Cities, a non-profit he heads and founded. Panel sessions topics range from energy storage to food security to emerging trends in energy policy.

For more information or to register, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *