To follow up on yesterday's post, representatives from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, state Division of Parks and Commission on Water Resource Management came to Kauai and met with the kayak operators about the “missing waterfall.”
They toured the area above the falls, checked out all the ditches, and guess what? They determined Uluwehi Falls dried up because of the drought, just as the state had been saying all along. Nobody is “stealing the water” or doing anything sinister to mess with a tourist attraction that the kayak companies relentlessly promote as "Secret Falls."
Meanwhile, three inches of rain fell in the area and the falls were partially restored yesterday— by nature. Folks might also have noticed that the same rain turned Opaekaa into a respectable waterfall again.
As a friend noted, “So .can we label people who don't believe that a drought can turn off a waterfall 'climate change deniers?'"
Hopefully, some of the kayak operators will use this opportunity to learn more about Kauai watersheds and stream flow patterns so they don't make ignorant comments like, “Makaleha had falls so Uluwehi should be running.” Makaleha feeds Kapaa Stream, which is quite a ways from the Wailua River.
In following up on Council Chair Mel Rapozo's quest to audit the Kauai Humane Society, I learned the nonprofit agency already provides the county with full detailed financials on a quarterly basis, as well as statistical program information. It also submits a yearly outside audit.
So what, exactly, is Mel looking for, if he doesn't want to get into how many cats are being euthanized? Or was he just responding to pressure from the folks who want to save all the feral cats and turn KHS into a no-kill shelter?
The Hawaii County Council, meanwhile, rejected a proposal from Councilwoman Margaret Wille — the same politician who pushed through the GMO ban that was overturned by the court — to stop using glyphosate and a number of other herbicides in county facilities.
As West Hawaii Today reports, the bill was facing certain death when Wille yanked it from discussion. The public works department had estimated a glyphosate ban would add $2 million to $5 million to its annual budget for keeping roadsides and ditches free of weeds.
In other news, the Kauai Planning Commission last week removed a condition that would have prohibited Shredco, a composting company in Kekaha, from processing green waste from the seed companies.
Chair Angela Anderson had pushed the condition requiring Shredco to keep seed company green waste separate and ensure the public received none of the mulched material. But Shredco's attorney, Lorna Nishimitsu, asked for a reconsideration, saying there wasn't room on the 12-acre site to segregate materials and the owner has no way of knowing whether materials brought in by others might also contain genetically modified organisms.
Nishimitsu also noted that “restricting materials from seed companies is beyond the scope and jurisdiction of this commission” because there is “no federal or state prohibition on growing GMO organisms” and the company's pesticide use is similarly in compliance with the law.
Angela defended the condition, saying it's “our duty to protect the public trust, protect our ground water” and “make sure the public is aware of possible pesticides and contamination in the [compost] they receive. The public has a right to know what's going on. If these materials are co-mingled, there would be no way to trace where this particular toxin came from.”
Well, if you're using that logic, then you'd need to also separate green waste brought in by golf courses, resorts, the county, landscapers and others who use pesticides. And you'd have to impose similar conditions on other compost operations.
Councilman Gary Hooser predictably supported the condition, claiming that compost produced from the green waste could “contribute to inadvertent and unwanted contamination of other crops.” He also thought the material should be tested, and include public disclosure. Gary once again submitted testimony that reflected the position of his nonprofit group, HAPA, but was typed up by county staff on county letterhead.
Gary also thought the topic should be reposted because language on the planning commission agenda “does not provide the general public sufficient notice as to what action is actually being considered.” In other words, it slipped by the anti-GMO folks, who didn't have time to get all fired up.
The commission, with the exception of Angela, voted to remove the condition from the permit.
And finally, Lisa Arin, who recently left her job at the Office of Prosecuting Attorney, plans to challenge Prosecutor Justin Kollar in the 2016 election. Lisa faces an uphill battle, since she's a political neophyte and Justin has gotten amazingly well-connected. And unlike his predecessor, Shaylene Iseri, Justin has no scandals to exploit.
Still, it's always good to give people a choice of candidates. Oh, and note to former deputy prosecutor Melinda Mendes – you might want to nix that Facebook picture of you wearing one of Shay's lei if you plan on stumping for Lisa.