In brief | Big Island & State | 2-5-14


West Hawaii to receive targeted NOAA conservation efforts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified West Hawaii as a place where it can maximize habitat conservation investments to benefit marine resources and coastal communities.

NOAA selected West Hawaii for its Habitat Blueprint, a strategy to integrate habitat conservation throughout the federal agency, focus efforts in priority areas, and leverage internal and external collaborations to achieve measurable benefits within key habitats, such as rivers, coral reefs and wetlands. Under Habitat Blueprint, NOAA chooses areas to prioritize long-term habitat science and conservation efforts. The goals include sustainable and abundant fish populations; recovered, threatened and endangered species; protected coastal and marine areas and habitats at risk; resilient coastal communities; and increased coastal or marine tourism, access and recreation.

West Hawaii is known for beaches and coral reefs that make it a popular snorkeling, diving and fishing destination. These beaches and reefs are also home to endangered or threatened animals, including Hawaiian monk seals, humpback whales and green sea turtles. However, these and other natural resources are threatened by drought, fire, invasive species and development, NOAA said.

Through its Coral Reef Conservation Program, NOAA is already partnering with communities to conduct regular marine debris cleanups, invasive species removal efforts and various coastal community habitat conservation projects. In the future, NOAA will also help with various projects that align with the area’s Conservation Action and Watershed Management Plans.

NOAA will develop implementation plans for West Hawaii as a Habitat Focus Area. To learn more, visit habitat.noaa.gov/habitatblueprint/index.html.

US Marshals: Alaska fugitive arrested in Hilo

The U.S. Marshals Service said a 58-year-old Alaska fugitive has been arrested in Hilo.

Officials said Thomas Dye of Ketchikan, Alaska, was arrested Tuesday as he attempted to board a fishing boat in Hilo.

Officials said Dye was arrested in 2010 and accused of defrauding the U.S. government of $257,000 with a false claim of a combat service-connected disability. Officials said that at the time of his arrest, Dye was a convicted felon from a 1996 Oregon case and was in possession of firearms.

Dye was sentenced to two years in prison and three years of supervised release after conviction in the fraud and firearms possession case.

A felony warrant was issued last year in Alaska after Dye was accused of violating his release.

Report: 210,000 gallons of wastewater spilled in 2013 on Maui

WAILUKU, Maui — A new report said more than 210,500 gallons of wastewater spilled in Maui County in 2013.

The Maui News said the required report was done by the county Department of Environmental Management Wastewater Reclamation Division.

According to the report, there were a total of 18 spills last year. Nine of them were in Wailuku, eight were in Kihei and one was in Lahaina.

The largest spill involved more than 142,000 gallons of raw sewage at Kihei pump station No. 6 that occurred Nov. 18. The spill, which was attributed to a mechanical failure, reached storm drains but not the ocean.

The report stemmed from a 1999 consent decree related to the Clean Water Act. The decree also requires the submission of quarterly reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

By local and wire sources