Category Archives: environment

North Shore Neighborhood Board considering tour limits

The following information just came in from North Shore activist Blake McElheney:

North Shore Residents Seek Commercial Tour Bus Ban at Special Meeting Tonight

North Shore residents have have watched with interest the success of Windward Oahu residents in protecting their quality of life and important public resources such as public parks.

For example, since February of this year, commercial tour bus activity has been prohibited at the most popular beach parks from Makapuu to Kailua.

The North Shore Neighborhood Board is hosting a special community meeting at Waimea Valley tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm for the Board and residents to discuss the following Board Resolutions:

1. Requesting City Council member Martin and the City Council pursue measures to protect the community from the increasing utilization of public parks by commercial tour bus operators; and

Calling for the protection of rural Oahu in the General Plan.

Council members Ernie Martin and Ikaika Anderson (author of the Kailua and Waimanalo bans) will be in attendance to share their insights on how the community can approach these issues.

Proponents of the commercial tour bus ban are encouraging North Shore residents to contact the City Council to request that the City Council pass ordinances like those passed for Waimanalo and Kailua protecting public beaches from commercial tour buses.

The meeting is tonight, April 25, at 6:30 pm in the Pikake Pavilion at Waimea Valley.

Plover preparing for the flight back north

The plover arrived in Kahala pretty early in 2016. We started seeing them around the first of August. There’s one that visits our back yard, several at Waialae Beach Park, and many spread out across the Waialae Country Club’s golf course.

Now the boys are all fattened up, their beautiful plumage in place, and ready to roll on the flight back to Alaska, it seems. We’ll probably wake up one morning and find most of them have gone.

I took this picture this morning to show the beautiful “tuxedo” feathers, signaling their time in Hawaii is nearing an end.

We’ll see them again when the summer is pau!

Ready to head north

New wave damage at Kualoa Park

A letter in the Star-Advertiser this morning points to graphic evidence of the effects of sea level rise.

The letter by Paul Brandon includes a link to his YouTube video of Kualoa Regional Park on Sunday, following high surf and high tides. The drone video clearly shows areas between the shoreline and the parking area where waves surged during recent weeks and covered large parts of the lawn.

As former residents of nearby Kaaawa for nearly 30 years, this hits home.

Brandon writes:

As a regular walker in the park for the past 32 years, I have watched the coastline get chopped away bit by bit and watched the sand cover more and more of the lawn. This year, for the first time, the ocean overflowed the large lawn of the park during high surf a few weeks ago. There is every reason to expect that this phenomenon will occur regularly during high east surf.

Brandon fears we’re not doing enough to respond to climate change and sea level rise. I’m afraid he’s right.

Hetch Hetchy Valley c. 1909 (Photos)

With national news reporting on the potential for catastrophic failure of the Oroville Dam in northern California, other water projects in California are also getting increased attention.

One of those is the O’Shaughnessy Dam, at the center of the Hetch Hetchy Water Project.

The dam, built in the 1920s, transformed a beautiful valley into a reservoir that has delivered drinking water to San Francisco for nearly a century.

There was an extended political battle over the planned dam, but the need for water eventually won out. Protests continue today, with some advocating the removal of the dam and restoration of the valley.

My sister, who died in October 2016, worked as a training officer at Hetch Hetchy for nearly three decades.

I found a DVD among her papers and possessions containing five photographs of Hetch Hetchy Valley in about 1909, before it was flooded. They were copied from versions held by the Yosemite National Park Research Library.

Click on either photo to see a larger version.

Before the reservoir

Before the reservoir

And here’s what the same area looks like now.

Before the reservoirMay 2002 Photo by Daniel Mayer