Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Musings: Black Out

Someone who got tired of waiting at the one-lane Hanalei Bridge apparently decided to take matters into his/her own hands recently. Signs that stated local courtesy allows 5-7 cars to cross before the other side gets a turn were blacked out at both ends of the span.
As I reported previously, there is a movement under way by some impatient motorists to eliminate this “local courtesy,” which was endorsed by the community in a 2008 survey. 
Photo from Ivy's Place website.
While state and county officials and community leaders discussed options, someone went rogue and vandalized the signs.

State DOT workers will try to repair the signs today. Has anyone crossed the bridge since the signs were blacked out? And if so, did you notice any difference in the traffic flow or motorists' moods?

Meanwhile, as the Kauai Feral Cat Task Force attempts to hammer out a cat control ordinance, a new scientific study shows toxoplasmosis spread by feral cats is a significant cause of mortality in endangered nene and alala (crows). However, emaciation and trauma (typically vehicle collisions and dog predation) were the primary causes of nene deaths.

In the first systemic investigation into the causes of death in nene, federal researchers studied 300 nene carcasses collected from Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai between 1992 and 2013. Their findings, newly published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, show:

The most common cause of death was emaciation, followed by trauma (vehicular strikes and predation), and infectious/inflammatory diseases of which toxoplasmosis (infection with Toxoplasma gondii) predominated.

Causes of death varied among islands, with trauma dominating on Molokai, emaciation and inflammation on Kauai, emaciation on Hawaii, and inflammation and trauma on Maui.

The leading cause of inflammatory conditions was toxoplasmosis followed by omphalitis.

It concluded:

Specifically, although it might be difficult to reduce impacts of emaciation, the relative impact of human-induced trauma and toxoplasmosis could be decreased with management. Doing so might enhance recovery of Nene in their native range.

The draft State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) report also speaks to the deleterious effect that “non-native predators” such as cats, rats and mongooses are having on rare native forest, wetland and seabird populations. To help forest and wetland birds recover, it advises:

Critical conservation actions include protection of remaining native forest habitats from further degradation by ungulates and non-native plant species, control and eradication of introduced predators (primarily rodents and cats)...

For seabirds, it recommends:

Needed conservation actions are protection of existing habitat, eradication of introduced predators (cats, rodents, and mongooses) from additional offshore islands and known breeding colonies.

The report goes on to state:

Hawai‘i’s terrestrial animals evolved in the complete absence of mammalian predators and are extremely vulnerable to depredation by rats, feral cats and the small Indian mongoose. All of these species prey on eggs, nestlings, and adult birds.

Presently, high densities of feral cats, rodents, and mongooses are a major cause of mortality among native birds and may place similar pressures on native terrestrial invertebrates.

Feral cats are extremely skilled predators and are responsible for the extinction of birds on islands worldwide. In Hawai‘i, cats are widely distributed on all of the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) from sea level to high elevations. While a single cat can have a devastating effect on a breeding seabird colony, “cat colonies” pose an even greater threat to bird populations because of their concentrated numbers.

So why in the world would anyone who values native wildlife advocate for a trap-neuter-return program that actually supports and establishes feral cat colonies around the island? 


Anonymous said...

Trap the cats.

Anonymous said...

Blacking out the 5-7 car courtesy sign= No Pono

Could lead to accidents and injury. Shame on you, whoever did this.

Chuck Lasker said...

Some people don't think in terms of choices. They are just against things. The adult choice is this - if you want to protect the feral cats, you are damning native bird species to extinction. If you want to save the birds, you have to rid the island of feral cats. There is no having both.

Anonymous said...

You asked:
"So why in the world would anyone who values native wildlife advocate for a trap-neuter-return program that actually supports and establishes feral cat colonies around the island?"

Because besides the fact that most people don't want to be responsible for making a decision to kill cats, we're also simplistic and superficial thinkers and find it impossible to deal with difficult, complex issues that have no easy solutions.

Anonymous said...

Molokai! Isn’t that the island with all those eco-cultural wizards who are supposed to be leading efforts to malama the land and our natural resources? But I guess they just have to let their dogs out to run wild and kill the very things they’re trying to protect. Not so bright in my opinion. Good job, Walter Ritte. Maybe you should stay home more and fix your own backyard before messing up ours with your failed activism.

Anonymous said...

Another one bites the dust. The last few years have netted huge busts that hasn't been seen here in all the years KPD has existed.

California man faces life in prison following drug bust on Kauai
Sep 1, 2015 01:17 PM
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A California man is now facing up to life in prison after he was arrested by Kauai police for drug trafficking in March.

Roman Gabriel Contreras, 44, of Ontario, was arrested on March 24 after he flew from Los Angeles to Lihue with a large amount of crystal methamphetamine. Officers from KPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested Contreras when he landed at the Lihue Airport and located almost three pounds of meth hidden in his baggage.

On July 6, a federal jury found Contreras guilty of attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine.

Contreras, who has a prior conviction for promoting methamphetamine, faces up to life in prison, with a mandatory 20-year federal prison sentence. He will appear before District Judge Derrick K. Watson October 21.

The arrest was the result of a nearly two-month investigation by KPD’s Vice Section, with assistance from the DEA. Prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Muehleck.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The sign from Princeville into Hanalei was replaced today with a new one. However, the sign from Hanalei to Princeville is still painted black! I agree, no pono

Anonymous said...

A government sponsored program to return predators to the habitat of species protected by another government sponsored program?

Anonymous said...

6:49 Well said. But the reality is that We the voters re-elect Predators to office every year. The officials feast on the public.
Example, listening to the Council discuss a Resolution to raise the Minimum Wage to 15 bucks per hour...If the Council wants to put more money into Kauai residents pocket, why not 1- Lower Car registration fees 2- Lower property taxes 3- Raise the rental rate allowed for lower taxes 4- Allow Wallmart to expand and allow groceries (JoAnn stopped this by herself), Wallmart expansion would save shoppers 3000 to 4000 per year, 5- Tell the Cops to stop giving BS citations for many small infractions and give "warnings"...the Wailua Hilton is filled with young people who can NOT afford the merry-go-round of high traffic violation fees 6- Cut all County Departments five percent until they get in line with the modern way of doing business, the County has 3 times as many people doing comparable jobs as private sector. The list goes on.
And Hanalei Bridge has always worked well without signs...the vandal was probably just piss*ed off that the State/County pollutes our minds with so many signs and rules that the State is themselves a polluter of our minds. Get real Kauai works pretty well without all the BS Nanny State interventions.
Or you could just get a couple of the blalahs from the NS to patrol the Bridge...a couple of "talks" will assure respectful bridge crossings.
And kill the feral cats. Unless the crybaby fierce feline fondlers put up a "sanctuary" and pay for it themselves. These ferals are nasty little stinkers.

Anonymous said...

It's so simple to come up with solutions to how government should be run. Amazing that normal folk can figure it out but our government can't - right?

There is a reason why government process takes longer, and why bureaucracy is perceived as less "efficient" than the private sector: It's because government is accountable to it's citizens/taxpayers. So the "modern way of doing business" -which is decided quicker, etc. would not work for govt. The is a process, more red tape and hurdles for govt. to go through (it doesn't necessarily mean govt. workers are lazy.)

Anonymous said...

The traffic was better. Seriously. For the last week it's better. Get rid of the numbers for sure.

"If there's a long line of cars behind you keep going. Use common Sense. Be considerate and stop when there's no line behind you"

Remember the "Burma Shave" signs along the highways? YOU HAVE TO TRAIN THE TOURISTS BEFORE THEY GET TO THE BRIDGE. More than once. No signs work better than whats there now.

Anonymous said...

The urge to save the world is almost always a front for the urge to rule.

Dawson said...

10:04 AM wrote:
Remember the "Burma Shave" signs along the highways?

Boy howdy, do I ever! For those too young to remember, they were rows of five small signs placed along the highways of America from the 1920s to the early 60s, that used pun-laden poems to encourage motorists to drive safely. Doggerel like:

On Hanalei Bridge

You must drive slaowly

The bump you run over

Might be a haowle

Burma Shave

Odie Dill said...

I remember, I believe that at one of our Kauai North Shore Lions Club meetings that someone gave a brief presentation about covering the signs to take a look at what works better. The signs that are there now or no signs, or other signs that says more cars.
They were going to do a survey to see what works best.
Sorry, I cannot remember who it was or if they had the blessing of the state. It is just something I remember. I am not sure if that is what happened and nobody got told or what. I am not 100% sure it was at our meeting or not. It was just something I remember.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Burma Shave second stanza to 2:59 :

If the haowle gets up

Don't panic, don't fret

The next person over

Will see he gets wet.

Burma Shave

Anonymous said...

6:23PM IQ = 30.

Anonymous said...

IRT September 2, 2015 at 9:58 AM - That's the primary reason for keeping gov services minimal and leaving more to the private sector. That is unless you're a Bernie Sanders devotee in which case private enterprise is the enemy and should be outlawed and government should do everything and be the only employer. Sure worked well for the Hawaii Healthcare Connector to name only one of many expensive failures.

Anonymous said...

Traffic was so clear I didn't even have time to enjoy the view!

Anonymous said...

9:28 the State hired a private company, Mansha, to run the Health Connector, apparently without much oversight. Can't even privatize without screwing up.

Anonymous said...

No on-the-job Netflix binging for Hawaii state workers
By - Associated Press - Saturday, August 15, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii has started blocking video streaming sites on state computers after discovering that employees spent between 100 and 300 hours watching Netfilx on a recent week.

State employees watched about 274-gigabytes of Netflix programs during the week from July 28 to Aug. 4, according to the Office of Information Management and Technology, reported Hawaii News Now (http://bit.ly/1LcuqGb).

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many hours Kauai state workers and county workers spend doing the same thing?