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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, August 13, 2001

Neighbor Island briefs

Advertiser Staff and News Services


Beach area closed to protect seals

PO'IPU, Kaua'i — The county has closed the keiki pond area of Po'ipu Beach Park to protect a female Hawaiian monk seal and her 3-week-old pup.

The closing is expected to last through the end of the month or early September, when the pup is weaned. Po'ipu Beach Park, Brennecke's Beach to the east of the park and Waiohai Beach to the west will remain open.

Government agencies reviewed beach access issues after a Texas tourist was bitten by the mother seal while swimming. As the pup matures, the seals are more active and regularly switch locations on the crescent of sand.

"We need to remember that these seals are wild animals and their behavior may be unpredictable," said Margaret Dupree, Protected Species Program coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific region.

Volunteers and at least one federal biologist will remain at the beach park to oversee the seals' progress. This is the second year the mother seal has selected the beach park as a site to give birth. Last year's pup weaned successfully and continues to swim in Kaua'i waters.

Kaua'i bypass road to open Thursday

KOLOA, Kaua'i — The county expects to open the second half of its Po'ipu-Koloa bypass road Thursday.

The long-delayed roadway connects the existing bypass from Weliweli Road to Maluhia Road.

Construction on the bypass, which will be known as Ala Kinoiki Way, initially was held up when wildlife officials found that it passed over lava tubes that contained endangered cave insects. The route was moved slightly to avoid the tubes.

A second delay occurred when the county found that the first contractor had placed too thin a layer of asphalt on the road, requiring repaving.

A blessing for Ala Kinoiki Way is scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday at the road's intersection with Maluhia Road. Refreshments will be served at Annie Knudsen Park. Ala Kinoiki will be opened for traffic afterward.

County wants part in dam project plan

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — Kaua'i County has asked to intervene in the application of a company that wants to dam the Wailua River for a hydroelectric plant.

Symbiotics LLC has filed for a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It is proposing a concrete-faced, earth-filled diversion dam 28 feet high and 650 feet long on the south fork of the Wailua River.

The county supports development of renewable energy projects, but is concerned about the potential effects, said county attorney Hartwell Blake.

"We filed this motion to stay fully informed with regard to this application . . . As for the project itself, the county has no position at this time," he said.

Previous proposals for hydroelectric development on Wailua River have run into opposition from those concerned about the effect on native streamlife, and on the effect of a diminished flow on the appearance of scenic Wailua Falls.

Kaua'i canoe clinic slated for weekend

LIHU'E, Kaua'i — The Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association will hold a free clinic on rigging and sailing Hawaiian outrigger canoes Aug. 18-19 at Kalapaki Beach.

Skippers and crews of the seven sailing canoes that participated in the recent O'ahu-to-Kaua'i race will provide rigging and handling tips and canoe rides from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 19.

Depending on ocean conditions, races may also be held. Refreshments will be provided. The clinic is sponsored by Aston Hotels & Resorts and the Hawai'i Tourism Authority.