Saturday, July 26, 2014

Musings: Cows and Whales

In response to Kauai community complaints, Hawaii Dairy Farms plans to reduce the size of its initial herd and has improved its effluent storage pond system.

The dairy will start with 650-699 cows, rather than 880 as first planned. That's about 1.5 cows per acre, which is similar to other existing cattle operations in the Mahaulepu Valley, according to a company news release.

HDF went on to state:

We've expanded the capacity of our effluent ponds to hold more than 100 days of storage in phase one. That’s well beyond the regulatory requirement. We have also added a secondary containment berm with an additional 30 days of storage. There has been no storm event since rainfall has been recorded in Mahaulepu valley that would exceed the phase one capacity of the effluent ponds.

Nutrients will not leave the farm or flow into the streams and groundwater.

The company also promised to “monitor water quality on a regular basis to assess and maintain the effectiveness of our irrigation, nutrient management and conservation practices,” and will plant a windbreak and regularly aerate the ponds to help control odors.

“We know some members of the community are concerned about the cow manure and there have been many issues raised based on fears,” [Ulupono Initiative general partner Kyle] Datta said. “In fact, in pastoral systems, cow manure from dairies and ranches is broken down by biological organisms and turns into nutrients that feed the grass and create rich organic soil. In phase one, the amount of manure produced will only fulfill about 20 percent of the required nutrients for pasture growth. As a result, we will need additional fertilizer to sustain pasture development and regeneration.”

I noticed that Surfrider, a strong opponent of the dairy, has taken to calling manure “feces” in an attempt to make it seem more repugnant. I think “feces” more accurately describes the stuff that's being pumped into the ocean from Hanalei to Haena by all the vacation rentals. Curiously, this is an actually occurring problem, as opposed to a fear, that Surfrider has consistently ignored.

Will the dairy's changes be enough to satisfy entrenched critics? Probably not. Will it be enough to derail the Hyatt's lawsuit? Unlikely. Datta had this to say about the resort's legal challenge:

[T]he misguided legal concept that the owners of reclassified agricultural land can sue to have their agricultural neighbors declared a nuisance would impact every single farmer in the state, large or small, and is a direct assault on the rights of farmers under the laws of the State of Hawaii.

Another salvo fired in the battle between agriculture and gentrification/tourism.

News that a pilot whale had washed up in Hanalei Bay while the Navy is engaged in its RIMPAC war games reminded me of the new book, “War of the Whales,” by Joshua Horowitz. It's the true story of a marine researcher and environmental lawyer who team up to prove that Navy sonar is harming whales. Horowitz was interviewed on NPR earlier this month.

Surely we don't have to sacrifice these intelligent creatures, who have occupied the planet far longer than we, to the war machine.

Or as Marc Kaufmann astutely noted in his Washington Post review:

By telling the sonar-and-the-whales story in such detail and breadth, the author may provoke a more substantial debate about what human advances and priorities are doing to the rest of the planet. 

And that's the bigger debate we need to be having now, locally and globally. Because when you look at it from that perspective you quickly see the true battle being waged is us — homo sapiens — against them: every other living organism.

Are we so deluded as to imagine that is a fight we can win, without also destroying our own species?


Anonymous said...

"According to the EPA , the waste produced by one dairy cow is equal to that of 20 - 40 people." Splitting the difference (30 cows = 1 person), 2000 cows would equal the waste of 60,000 people. Oh dear, maybe that number might trigger an EA. Can not have that now can we. After all, who knows what else they could turn up. If we say, we will start small and then work up latter, maybe we can get under that trip wire. Ok 699 sounds like a nice small number. That would only equal the waste of 20,970 people. Much better, but still larger than any Kauai town.

Anonymous said...

I'd take 699 cows over 20,970 people any day. The island would be much better off.

Anonymous said...

Every time one of these magnificent playful sea animals washes up to shore and dies from wounds inflicted by the callous, pompous and lower evolved species called ʻmanʻ; it takes a piece of me. Itʻs always that same heavy hopelessness that I feel.
Cause I canʻt do anything to stop them.

Anonymous said...

This dairy must be stopped. There is too much Ag activity on Ag lands. First you get these gosh darn Corn growers and now you got these Cow milkers.
All agricultural activity that is close to houses must be stopped.
Please Council members Hooser and Bynum stand up and fight for the Poipu people. The National media may not be interested in a few Cows, but you could still milk some headlines out of it. And now folks, from Kauai (Cow-eye)- Poipu Politicians Protest Cow Poo.
There is an angry mob of Poipu Condo owners that will chant at the County Building. And these Poipu Polo Shirt guys are real taxpayers.

Allan parachini said...

It is very important to remember that the cause of this animal's death is, at the moment, not known. It could be a number of very different things, which is why a necropsy was conducted shortly after the body was removed from the beach. The question at hand is what killed THIS whale? at the moment, the. pronouncements of Terry Lillievaside, we do not know.

Anonymous said...

If I could live at Mahaulepu, I would rather live next to the 699 cows than Poipu and The Grand Hyatt anyday. Oh dear, and that’s no bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Only a fool would point to Navy sonar as the cause of this specific whales death when no necropsy has yet been performed & released. Remember, even human youth can die from natural causes like cancer, etc.

Anonymous said...

Can any of you shoot from the hip cowboys or cowgirls explain why this dairy should not be required to make an environmental review? Mauna-Kea-Moo was required to makeover an environmental assessment because they plan to have a waste management system and lined lagoons for anaerobic digestion. Their EA is on-line for everyone to read. Seems they have nothing to hide. They plan on having 200 milking cows, 100 dry cows, 300 heifers and baby cows, for a total of 600 cattle. I don't recall the kauai dairy explaining anything about the number Of heifers and baby calves. What is the factual total number planned?

Anonymous said...

"Can any of you shoot from the hip cowboys or cowgirls explain why this dairy should not be required to make an environmental review?"

Yes! Because the law does not require it! DUH!

Anonymous said...

Good article, Joan.
Especially like: "I noticed that Surfrider, a strong opponent of the dairy, has taken to calling manure “feces” in an attempt to make it seem more repugnant. I think “feces” more accurately describes the stuff that's being pumped into the ocean from Hanalei to Haena by all the vacation rentals. Curiously, this is an actually occurring problem, as opposed to a fear, that Surfrider has consistently ignored."

Anonymous said...

Joan can you do your magic to find out, how many Surfrider Members own vacation rentals or property in Hanalei?

Anonymous said...

3:33 exactly!

Anonymous said...

5:35 PM, I agree with you. So sad.

And every time there is a RMPAC there is a dead whale, and then the comments about how no proof the Navy did it. 20 years same pattern.

The Navy and Seed Co's should share a PR firm. They can share the message, "You can't prove our killing technology has hurt anything."

Anonymous said...

3:33 Thanks for your shoot from the hip answer. Please, your answer is based on what law? Seem like your a cowboy toy gun has no ammo. The Hawaii Environmental Policy Act ("HEPA"), which is codified in Hawaii Revised Statues ("HRS") Chapter 343. HEPA establishes what triggers a EA. This includes ANY waste water treatment unit, unless serving less fewer than 50 single family dwellings or equivalent. We know from the EPA that the waste from this dairy is the equivalent of 20,000 to 60,000 people depend ending on the what the true number of cattle that the Kauai dairy is proposing. So per HRS 343-5(a)-(b) an EA is required. So cowboy what about the the true number of cattle proposed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:06PM
Cancer is not a natural cause of death, nor is any disease a natural cause of death. Health is the normal natural way of life and living.

Anonymous said...

You complain about artificial fertilizers, then bitch more when natural fertilizer is brought in. Fuck you idiot people. I'm talking to you Surfrider and every moron that supports you

Anonymous said...

Because environmental assessments were made to measure the impact of HUMAN ACTIVITY on the environment. You know, things with engines, that burn fossil fuels...things that explode, things that kill.

What you are retards are asking for is an environmental assessment on how the environment will affect the environment. Cows?

These are all important issues to Kauai: cows. chickens. cats.

Meanwhile, the same people complaining about the cows, chickens, and cats are smoking meth, beating their women and children, stealing, and fighting.

Anonymous said...

Holding and drying ponds is not a waste water treatment plant. If we build schools and single family units for the cows your analysis might work.

Anonymous said...

6:39 Go check out any waste water treatment plant and you will see holding ponds. The concrete floors and walk ways of most dairies are washed of with water which then becomes waste water that needs treatment before it can be recycled or pumped out to the pastures as fertilized irrigation. Maybe, take a little of your time and read the EA that Mana Kea Moo, the Big Island dairy has posted on line. They will be constructing a waste water treatment unit to treat and recycle their cows waste. It is not like the owners of the proposed Kauai dairy need to cut cost to startup. The question is what are they trying to hide or gain from this shell game they seem to be playing. It looks like and smells like a shakedown.

Anonymous said...

Shakedown who for what?

Mana Kea Moo is a totally different operation. Stop comparing them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 27, 2014 at 10:31 PM said "Cancer is not a natural cause of death, nor is any disease a natural cause of death. Health is the normal natural way of life and living."

Cancer is a natural mutation. Mutations exist naturally in nature. Unless you think evolution unnatural.

Anonymous said...

12:09 How in any relevant way is Mana Kea Moo different? They are both new state of Hawaii dairies. They both will need waste water treatment by law,for their cow's waste, from their milking barns. Mana Kea Moo states they will 600 cattle total. Kauai dairy keeps moving their total. What is it today? Mana Kea Moo brings up an important point about the need for shade for the cows health and good production. Their dairy will be located at 1600 feet elevation which should be a cooler more heathy environment for their cows. How does Kauai dairy plan to keep cows cool?
How could this be a shakedown, you ask. Us your imagination, if you have one. There are lot of way to shakedown the neighbors. Like pay us to go away and we will. We have 17 million invested so we can settle for that. Funny Mana Kea Moo states they will only need 3 Million to build their dairy. Way such a big difference? Shakedown! As I recall the owner of this dairy and Grove Farm are looking for some building permits for some resorts. Are you awake Mr. Mayor?
Or if that does not work just be sure the cows waste sinks so bad that neighbors selling out cheap. Buy cheap and close dairy. This is how the rich get richer, white collar crime. It no wonder they are resisting doing an EA, no want any evidence.

Anonymous said...

Well according to Surfrider's water quality analyses, Poipu is already at Peak Poo. Might be downright dangerous for the poor little cows to move into a neighborhood so near the Koloa Landing test site with such high levels of enterococci. Do the folks down there have outhouses or what?

Anonymous said...

"VIENNA (AP) — Police say a herd of cows attacked and killed a German woman hiking through their fenced-in pasture after apparently being riled by the sight of her leashed dog.

They said Tuesday the 45-year old victim was rushed by about 20 cows and their calves. "

Anonymous said...

Re 12:09 pm, totally agree with you. A waste water treatment plant for cow manure is a totally different operation from a human feces waste water treatment plant.

3:15 your half assed research and analogy carries no merit.