In this update:
- Scientists Track Sharp Inflation At Kilauea Summit
- Draft EIS Published For Puna Geothermal Venture Repower Project
- Hawaiʻi Plans Koa Canoe Management Forest In Kaʻū
This is Big Island Video News for Tuesday, May 9th, 2023.
Scientists are tracking sharp inflation at the Kilauea Summit. In a May 9th update, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that they were tracking a sharp increase in tilt at the Kīlauea summit region that began at 6 a.m and continued at the time of the Tuesday morning report.
Kīlauea volcano is not erupting and remains at an ADVISORY alert level. Active lava was last observed at the summit on March 7, 2023.
The Observatory says the increased inflation rate contrasts with a relatively flat pattern seen over the past three days. They added that overall inflation at the summit is higher than conditions preceding the January 5th, 2023 summit eruption, and it continues to increase. Summit earthquake rates remain elevated and additional earthquake flurries are possible.
The scientists say no unusual activity has been noted along the rift zones. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says it will continue to closely monitor Kīlauea and provide daily updates
A draft environmental impact statement for the Puna Geothermal Venture Repower Project has been published and public comments are now being accepted.
Puna Geothermal plans to increase power production from 38 to 46 megawatts in the first phase of the project, and then up to 60 megawatts in phase 2. PGV must complete the environmental review process as a condition to the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission approval of an Amended and Restated Power Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Electric. The Hawaiʻi County Planning Department is the approving agency for the final EIS.
The documents state that there will be no additional impacts to seismic and volcanic activity due to the increased power generation activities at the project area, which has been an ongoing concern among some members of the public ever since the 2018 eruption of Kilauea on the Lower East Rift Zone.
The draft environmental impact statement is available online and a public meeting is scheduled for June 1st.
Plans are in the works for a koa canoe management area in Kapāpala. The 1,257-acre area holds special significance as the only State land currently designated for the purposes of cultivating and providing koa wood for traditional Hawaiian canoe construction.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources launch a dedicated website to engage stakeholders online. The site includes virtual exploration tools and links to a draft management plan, as well as the draft environmental assessment. According to the documents, the project objectives include protection of the watershed and bird habitat, and restoration of the koa forest.
The state says that under the plan, groups will be able to apply for a permit to harvest a canoe logs, which will be reviewed by a panel who will advise the Forestry Division on permit allocation. The groups would then harvest and extract the canoe Logs with State guidance.
The State says the panel will consist of cultural practitioners, voyaging and racing canoe club members, canoe builders, foresters, conservationists, and community members.
We will have more on this plan in a later update, which will feature video from the Kapāpala Forest, and an interview with one of the people working to keep the art of koa canoe building alive.