Saturday, December 14, 2019
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, November 19, 2019
US Supreme Court Decision Takes 90% of Mauna Kea from DLNR
By Tom Lodge @ 12:52 AM :: 3369 Views :: Hawaii County , Environment, Second Amendment

Image result for public hunting areas on mauna kea"

Mauna Kea Wildfire Risk

by Tom Lodge, Hawaii Hunters Association

Mauna Kea a once majestic structure, the tallest mountain in the world, measured from its base at the bottom of the ocean, is now covered in weeds, vines, and a decided lack of life, and is a setting for a likely wildfire event.

But a recent 8-0 US Supreme Court ruling guts the legal authority underlying 90% of DLNR's Mauna Kea game control zone and points the way to save the mountain from conflagration.

Sheep have been on Mauna Kea since the 1790’s. Their numbers have risen to dramatic proportion on occasion, and in the late 1930’s the Territorial Foresters constructed a fence around Mauna Kea and then proceeded in “removing nearly 50,000 ‘feral’ sheep, goats and cattle from Mauna Kea during the 1930s and 1940s”.

After World War II, the combination of increased leisure time and expanded access allowed for more hunting opportunity for local hunters statewide. By 1950, the Territorial Government shifted management emphasis from eradication to management for sustained yield.

Territorial Forest managers closed Mauna Kea from 1950 to 1955 in order to increase population numbers. In 1957, Mouflon sheep were introduced to Hawaii Island and state biologists started a cross breeding program between our introduced “feral” sheep and the mouflon. Most if not all sheep on Mauna Kea today are believed to be of hybrid variety.

Game was "managed" as a natural resource until environmentalists, in the 1978 Constitutional Convention, removed those protections.  The State was obligated to shift to a game "control" policy.

The Sierra Club, in 1979, sued on behalf of the Mauna Kea population of Palila birds.  The finchlike Palila competes with sheep for the Mamane tree and some of the insects that frequent the Mamane. 

A federal judge ordered the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources to stop maintaining and permanently remove any populations of feral sheep, goats and hybrid-mouflon sheep within Palila ‘critical’ habitat on Mauna Kea. Subsequent suits in 1987 and 1998 followed with the same purpose of removing sheep from Mauna Kea.

Well as we all know, the sheep lost and the Palila won!

Or did it?

These numbers may vary somewhat depending upon where you get your information from, but the bottom line is that we’ve averaged 3,000 birds from 1980 till approximately 2005, where the averages are now closer to 1,500 birds—in spite of massive DLNR eradication efforts.

The bird is in serious decline, but to emphasize eradication of sheep as the means to save Palila imperils the entire ecosystem.

It is interesting to note the correlation between sheep numbers and Palila densities: As the sheep went, so too did the Palila. As the sheep disappeared, the grasses, vines, and human-tall weeds were encouraged to overcome the mountain. The result: The fuel load increased.  Without the sheep, human, dog, and wildlife have difficulty surviving in this deliberately degraded habitat. Fire is a death sentence to native forests that take years to recover. Sheep are the natural protectors of this environment and coexist with Palila.

  *   *   *   *   *

The Hawaii Hunting Association has always promoted a cooperative game management approach to managing our wildlife and public lands. A start to this were the efforts of Tony Sylvestor, Terri Napeahi, Nani Pogline, Patrick Pacheco, along with other representatives of recreational users of our resources to create the County of Hawaii Game Management Advisory Commission, and their subsequent efforts in creating a State of Hawaii Game Management Advisory Commission.

This is a difference between conservationists and environmentalist interest. Conservation means wise use of our resources.  Environmentalism focuses on the singular result: get rid of the sheep.

There is a vast difference between Palila ‘core’ habitat, and what is assigned as Palila ‘critical’ habitat.  ‘Core’ habitat is based upon biology—the actual presence of Palila birds.  ‘Critical’ habitat is based upon ideology--lines drawn on a map with neither input nor credible purpose other than to expand their influence.

For example, during the Saddle Road realignment, the State was required to set aside roughly 10,000 acres for Mamane/Naio forest enhancement in exchange for allowing the Saddle Road to traverse several hundred acres of ‘critical’ habitat that hadn’t seen a Palila for 50 years--as noted, in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement developed for Saddle Road Realignment

The unanimous US Supreme Court, November 27, 2018 (Weyerhauser v US Fish and Wildlife Service), has finally defined rules for Critical Habitat.  For habitat to be ‘critical’, the species in question now has to actually reside in that habitat.  This ruling denies the current rationale for game control on 90% of Mauna Kea. 

  *   *   *   *   *

Game Control is action taken within a Game Management Ares (GMA) to limit a specified animal population, designated by law or by rule for hunting (HRS §183D), to a desired level—which can include ‘zero’.

Game Management is a program that promotes sustainable animal populations supportable by the carrying capacity of available habitat. 

With the exception of game bird management, DLNR practices game control in Hawaii.  There is no plan for long term sustainability of our game animals in spite of the 2016 legislature unanimously passing HCR22, imploring DLNR to practice appropriate management strategies towards utilizing our game animals as a “Sustainability Resource.”

DLNR engages in crisis management--just about everything that they do is in response, not in preparation.  Game Management requires preparation.

Now we have a wildfire crisis and a Supreme Court ruling.  Will DLNR finally hear  the message from the 2016 Legislature?

---30--- 

UPDATE -- Responses provided by the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife to Questions from Hawai’i Free Press:

Q: How is DLNR changing its management off "critical' habitat areas (as opposed to 'core' habitat areas) statewide in light of the US Supreme Court ruling in Weyerhauser v US FWS?  (See link below)

A: We have not looked at the Weyerhouser ruling. As such, we have not modified our management in response.

Q: More specifically, how does this court ruling affect DLNR management of Palila habitat (core and critical) on Mauna Kea?  

A: This ruling has not tricked down to us.

Q: Does the Department believe ungulate eradication programs can still be justified in 'critical' habitat areas where Palila have not been found?

A: We are under court order to eradicate sheep on Mauna Kea, and are working toward that goal.  

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940

ABCDEFG Blog

ACA Signups Hawaii

ACCE

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii

AMVETS-Hawaii

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

HIEC.Coop 

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube

HPACC

Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Salvage The Rail

Save the Plastic Bag

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT