Kauaʻi Conservation Alliance Meeting Minutes Thursday, June 20, 2013 Hawai`i Department of Agriculture Lihue, HI 1 pm 3 pm

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1 Kauaʻi Conservation Alliance Meeting Minutes Thursday, June 20, 2013 Hawai`i Department of Agriculture Lihue, HI 1 pm 3 pm [Attendees: Jamie Thomton, Keren Gundersen, Joe Kona, Tom Savre, Mimi Olry, Sophia Senter, Lucas Behnke, Sheila Berry, Adam Williams, Margaret Clark, Mike DeMotta] 1) Member Updates Lucas Behnke - TNC We have an exciting update. The State Legislature essentially funded part of our plan for the Rain Follows the Forest, so the State set aside a fair amount of money, about $1M, to construct a fence around about 1,300 acres of the Alaka`i Plateau. It s a really cool spot that I happen to have a soft spot for, called Halepakai-Halehaha. It s actually the two stream drainages that it will go around and be protecting. There are pretty high densities of endemic Kaua`i forest birds the akikiki, akeke e and puaiohi, which are all endangered. They have pretty healthy populations right in those drainages. I used to work with the Kaua`i Forest Bird Recovery Project, and spent a lot of time there. So, with The Nature Conservancy, we ve helped start developing the Request for Bid for contractors to build that fence. And then we ll also be chipping in with the contract management for that fence, and we ve already completed the biological survey [contract with NTBG] and the proposed fenceline flagging. We ve actually spent the last couple of months getting all of our ducks in a row for that project, and also a few other proposed fence projects that are building off of our existing infrastructure/fence network in the eastern Alaka`i. We actually just completed a successful ungulate control trip in the East Alaka`i, so we re actually down to a relatively low number of individual animals, probably around five pigs and five goats in the entire 2,000 acre unit. So we are actually getting really close and we are actually closing in on and capturing a lot of images of animals that we still haven t gotten. We will probably be back in the East Alaka i pretty soon. We re moving to management in the Wainiha Valley unit as well later this summer. So we re actually doing a lot of different stuff but the most exciting thing was finding some support for our new fence plans, our collaborative Kaua`i Watershed Alliance fence plans. [Jamie asks: Will the fence take a couple of years to build?] I m not 100% sure, but most of the funding is for FY14, so it should be started in calendar year 2014 and hopefully going just into calendar year 2015, but I m not 100% on what the timeline will be. I guess two years from now to finish. [Keren asks: are you ever seeing any deer up there?] Nicolai had a few pictures of deer. We haven t seen a lot more deer, but we did have a couple of pictures of deer - one just outside of the East Alaka`i fence and then one well inside. So that s in the bid proposal that we wrote up for the State it includes deer mesh as part of the contract. And that s true of all of our fence projects going forward deer mesh on top of hog wire or hog panel. We are basically planning for there to be deer in all of our units.

2 Mimi Olry - NOAA Marine Mammal Response Network [Sofia Senter was introduced as a volunteer for the NOAA Marine Mammal Response Network. Sofia has worked a lot for the monk seal center for the last five years as a volunteer and also as the coordinator for a pup event that was at Maha`ulepu in 2009.] We had another pup born, so we are still in need of more volunteers, if anybody wants to help. The new pup is over in Larson s Beach area, and our other pup will be weaning next week. That continues to keep us busy. You have probably seen that we ve been in the Garden Island with seal information and seal letters to the editor, so we ve been popular. But it all creates information gathering and more knowledge about the seals, which is good. And discussion. We did lose a large male seal last week and the Robinsons actually found the carcass and it appeared to be natural causes. It was a pretty decomposed carcass and had a lot of teeth missing and worn, so it could very well be old age. Anything else, Jamie? Jamie Thomton NOAA Marine Mammal Response Network I know that we ve talked about this before, but there s a lot of misinformation in these letters that go back and forth, the letters to the editor. This group is very well informed, but I just want to go over a few of the things that keep coming back. The two-stage translocation project is not going to happen. It is being deferred for 3 to 5 years in order to give NOAA/DLNR more time to develop a Marine Mammal Response Network in order better manage the seals currently in the MHI. This project was where we were going to bring some young females from the NW Hawaiian Islands down here as a nursery grow-up site for two years because they are not making it through the first two years. The idea was to bring some females down here, get them through the critical first two years, then catch them and return them to NW Hawaiian Islands. So that was not very popular and has been very controversial, so that s been taken off the table. But it keeps coming back up in all of these letters that we re bringing more animals in so, that s not true. The SPZ, the Seal Protection Zones with the ropes and signs, there s still a lot of resentment about that. That s acknowledged by NOAA fisheries and the State, so we are getting smaller and smaller and smaller all of the time and trying to do away with rope. That s our goal just to have signs, although Poipu Beach Park will always have to have signs and ropes because the visitors will go right on top of the animals. But we are trying to, on the rest of the island, just go to signs, and very rarely rope. How much a seal eats per day we are still seeing people say they eat their body weight per day 400lbs, 300lbs. The facts are the seals eat 5% body weight per day (3-8%), so that s 10-20lbs per animal per day, and we only have about 40 animals around Kaua`i. The final one is that they are not Hawaiian, and that they were brought in from various places. We know that s just not true, there s scientific fact to support that. But there s a deeper issue there. Mimi continued They did pass through the land board for the permitting to take out some of the sharks that are eating the pups up in the NW Hawaiian Islands, and this will include using, as bait, seal meat from seals that have died up in the NW Hawaiian Islands, to hopefully select those animals that are preying on the seals. [Keren asks: Mimi, what kinds of sharks are these?] These are Galapagos sharks, and they have seen over the years that these animals have basically learned to come up into just a few inches of water and bite pups and usually they lose a fin or part of the body or the whole pup is lost. And so it s taking enough of a toll on the viable pup population of females that they really think this is necessary to remove these sharks. And also so that other sharks don t learn the behavior of coming into these shallow

3 areas to feed. [Keren asks: Are these Galapagos sharks seasonal?] No, they are there all of the time and in much bigger numbers than we have here in the main HI islands. [Tom asks: Jamie, clarification, you said that they are not going to bring seals down from the NW Hawaiian Islands. Were there ever any seals brought down from the NW Hawaiian Islands?] There were they brought those 21 males down in 1994 because the male/female ratio was pretty lopsided, too many males, and the males were mobbing the young females. All of those males have died since then of mostly natural causes. Since that took place that sticks in peoples memory - that NOAA fisheries brought animals to the main HI islands. But no females without females you re not going to have breeding. [Tom states that if people ask him he can t state it s never been done just wanting to be clear.] [Mike asks: Has anything ever been done to address the cultural issue of people s misperception that they are not a native species? Has anyone approached any cultural leaders in the community, the Hawaiian leaders in the community, to clarify this, to hold public meetings or to do informational commercials, because it can t keep going on this way? Unless you engage community leaders and Hawaiian assets you are never going to convince the fishermen. It needs to be a concerted effort or we are never going to see the end of seals being killed on the beach. ] [Discussion continued on this point ] NOAA has contracted, over the last year, Honua Consulting and Dr. Trisha Kēhaulani Watson, who has worked with Walter Ritte and was an activist with him. So she, and a group of practitioners, had produced a PSA and that was available. But it needs to be spread-out more, and they have just recently, on their website, also put up another PSA of I am Hawaiian and it gives background information. And they did hire John Kittenger, who did an archival study to pull out everything. Then he spoke to different communities and Kupuna around the islands and so that is available, but it just needs to be spread-out more. Discussion continued. Jamie stated: Marine Conservation Institute, MCI, that s who Kehau Watson works for now, and her husband Matt Sproat, and then they hired somebody on island, Fern Rosenstiel, and she s talking quite a bit about GMO. Their focus is to talk to fishermen on the island and talk about the cultural connection to monk seals to Hawai`i. So they are focusing just on fishermen, and more one on one. Discussion continued about how conservation is part of the Hawaiian culture. Mike DeMotta NTBG No update at this time. Margaret Clark NTBG Mike s been busy in the nursery and the garden lots going on all of the time. In terms of conservation, the project at Limahuli got a couple of years more funding through KIUC for predator control. We are working with the Hau oli Mau Loa Foundation on a statewide ex situ seed project. There s going to be a meeting of all of the seed bank personnel, which isn t actually very many of us in HI, in July for a couple of days maybe to start sharing information between us. The long-term vision is to go about increasing the collections of species, particularly species that have not been adequately collected. The idea would be that we could be more focused on we do. When I say we I mean all of the organizations in HI that are doing rare plant work as well as restoration work. It wouldn t necessarily be all rare plants. We might include some commons in seed banking for fire restoration. So, it s in process. They had a meeting of the higher-level people from all of the agencies to talk about how they could work together. There will be another meeting like that in February, maybe. It s a big undertaking 750 species, half the flora - they are talking about. If you look at the preliminary studies that they did where they looked at all of the species and what has already been collected, a fairly large percentage has been collected at least once. But a lot of those collections, it turns out, are very old, like some of the ones at NTBG, or they have only one or two founders are represented. It really is a huge job to get the whole flora well collected. [Keren asks: Margaret, will all of those seeds be housed at NTBG?] Oh no, this is a statewide effort. Lyon Arboretum

4 Micropropagation and Seed labs, ours, the Oahu Army s and Jill Wagner, who has the Hawaii Island Seed Bank in Kona, and hopefully there will be a partner in Maui as well. Mike adds: One of the important things to note is, because a lot of people are focusing on the super rare stuff, but the intention of this program is to get the next tier down, the next , and try to capture the genetic representation while it is still available, before the populations collapse. Margaret It s not that we are going to stop collecting or banking PEP species, and all of those have not been collected, and PEP could use a lot more resources, but, hopefully we are going to not stop there. Our ex situ includes seed banking and micro-propagation, but also includes maintaining plants in a botanical garden if that s the only place you can keep them. Until there s a lot more fences, which are secured from weeds and from predators, that s going to be necessary. Frankly, personally, I think restorations should be thought of as gardens; you can t walk away from them. That is what we are working on right now. NTBG is interviewing for John Chapman s replacement that should be announced pretty soon. Adam Williams DOFAW Kaua`i Just started as botanist for the Kaua`i Branch of DOFAW and looking forward to working on botanical issues that involve the State. Not much to report on at this time. Keren Gundersen - KISC Craig Kaneshige, with the Department of Ag, and our crew are, at the moment, on the north shore at Kalihiwai working on a little fire ant project. The little fire ant was introduced to Kaua`i in 1999, and we were lucky to contain it to the property that it was introduced to. The ants came in on plants and spread on the property and Department of Ag went and treated it and got it down to undetectable levels and they thought they had eradicated them. They were rediscovered in about They ve actually spread over three adjacent properties, but we managed to keep them contained there. Verses the Big Island where they were discovered in about 1999, probably introduced earlier, and now they are pretty much throughout the Big Island because they went to nurseries and then were spread intra-island. Now they are on the Kona side. They pretty much move every other invertebrate out of their way and out of the areas that they invade. They are stinging ants, are very tiny, and a nuisance for agriculture as well. And, they are also arboreal; they can be on the ground but they can also live in trees, so they have proven really, really hard to eradicate. Last year the Department of Ag hired a specialist and he came up with a way to treat the ants in the arboreal aspect as well as the ground. So we started this treatment regime last year, assisting Department of Ag, and today s is the last treatment of the regime. We ve done it every six weeks or so. The arboreal treatment basically a sticky bait, is either a growth inhibitor or something similar. There is also a granular ground treatment. But throughout the treatment we are also surveying the areas and it is proving to be very effective; without any ants found in the treatment area, which is really fantastic. However, there is a whole cliffside portion and we don t have a way to treat it yet. So, whatever we are doing we will always have to maintain this line of defense until we figure out a way to treat the cliffside. But that s pretty exciting. Meanwhile we do surveys all over the island: high risk areas, like nurseries, ports, green-waste areas. We respond to biting, stinging ant reports all the time and we have not found little fire ant anywhere else on the island. This is a very bad pest. Our top vertebrate pest is mongoose. So we re still trapping and responding to mongoose reports. As of today, we have had 24 credible sightings since the beginning of the year. Two weeks ago tomorrow we had a report of mongoose scat on the Kuilau trail. And it was about ½ mile in, which was exactly where a mongoose report had been three weeks before that. So we collected it and it was shipped off. Thomas Kaiakapu, DOFAW, is paying for the DNA test it s $450. As far as the history of mongoose on the island - Mongoose are on all of the islands and

5 were never intentionally introduced to Kaua`i. The first sighting on Kauai was in 1968, and the first road kill was in 1976 and there have been repeated sightings over the years. No scat has ever been collected, and no mongoose was ever captured until last year. So we are still trying to figure out what to do if they actually are here. [Margaret asks: What trail is this?] Keren responds: Kuilau trail up by the Arboretum, up Kuamoo. [Margaret that would be a ways from where you found them before, right?] Keren Well, yes, but we ve had reports all of the way up to the new fence that TNC put in, and all the way to Koke`e several times. We ve also had reports from Polihale and way up to Wainiha - the reports are pretty widespread. Often, there s no great place to put traps where they can be secured. That s why we put signs in instead to solicit more sightings. The main obstacle we have with the mongoose is that people don t know who to report sightings to, so they just don t report it. So we are trying to increase awareness. Our top plant species is miconia and we are still working on that. We are surveying, from the air, as well as treating from the air with James Leary, CTAHR weed specialist. We do still feel like it is eradicable. It s only in the Wailua area. With seed longevity the way it is, we are looking a long way out before eradication is achieved. Tom Savre - PMRF Next week we are going to do shoreline surveys. We have a researcher coming from TX A&M University, and we are going to do a population survey for marine species in the tidal zone. We will be going up and down the coast of the Base, running transects out in the water and counting all of the invertebrates there. We will also have a bunch of school volunteers from Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha. 2) New Business/ Announcements a. Continuation of KCC planning Have not had a Kaua`i Conservation Conference since Keren made a motion that until we find a chairperson to head up a committee to plan another KCC we should not continue to discuss the conference at the KCA meetings. We need a committee to consider the event planning and make a presentation to the group. Tom concurred. We should go right away to finding out if there are members interested in meeting on a regular basis to work on another KCC. We will seek volunteers for the committee via . Margaret, Tom and Tiffani may be interested in participating on planning committee. b. Request for new co-chair candidates We are seeking a vice chair. The actual duties of each position are not defined depends on the talents each person is bringing. We need someone to assist with organization of speakers as well as to help lead meetings. Margaret volunteered to assist in finding speakers for KCA meetings. We will send around an to determine interest in the vice chair position.

6 3) Guest Speaker: Jeanne Wetzel Chinn, MS, Director, Being With Wolves A California Wolf Education Project under Felidae Conservation Fund Jeanne delivered a presentation on wolves, connectivity linkages, invasive species in California, and The Marine Mammal Center. Handouts are attached to these minutes. 4) Next Regular Meeting: a. Topic: TBD b. Date: July 11, 2013 c. Time: 1:00pm-3:00pm d. Place: TBD Pau

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