University of Hawaiʻi System News /news News from the University of Hawaii Sun, 14 Jul 2024 21:32:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 /news/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/cropped-鶹News512-1-32x32.jpg University of Hawaiʻi System News /news 32 32 28449828 New zero-interest loan program for 鶹 engineering students /news/2024/07/14/engineering-renewable-learning-fund/ Sun, 14 Jul 2024 18:00:58 +0000 /news/?p=200491 The loans are mainly intended to cover the remaining costs of a student’s education not covered by grants and scholarships.

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large building and sculpture
Holmes Hall is the home of the ԴDz College of Engineering.

A new, zero interest, no fee loan program will be available to low income students enrolled in the (COE) at the University of Hawaiʻi at ԴDz beginning in fall 2024. The initiative to help students with proven need while also meeting the state’s workforce demand for engineers is a pilot of the launched by . The national nonprofit and registered investment advisor plans to eventually expand to other degree and certificate programs with a record of strong employment outcomes, local employer relationships and experience serving diverse students.

people smiling next to a drone
Members of the Drone Technologies team

“Many talented students in Hawaiʻi face barriers to degree completion, including limited affordable student financing options and high costs of living,” said Hydie Kim Hudson, Vice President, Impact Investments at Social Finance. “The Hawaiʻi Renewable Learning Fund aims to address these barriers while also helping local employers hire talent for in-demand roles. We’re excited to leverage our experience designing recycling funds across the country to meet the needs of Hawaiʻi’s students and employers.”

COE has partnered with Social Finance along with the and other local philanthropic organizations that have contributed $2 million to start the fund. The loans are mainly intended to cover the remaining costs of a student’s education not covered by grants and scholarships.

“Many of our students have to work part time jobs to make ends meet, so they take one less class each semester, which delays graduation and the start of a career,” said COE Dean Brennon Morioka. “The longer they take, the more expensive it is and the less likely it is that they will earn a degree, and meanwhile, our college is graduating about 300 engineers a year when the state needs around 500 new engineers a year.”

Loan payments go back into the fund

After graduation and securing a job, if a student who participated in the program earns more than $50,000 a year, they will repay their zero interest loans back, or the firm that hired them may offer to pay it back as part of the job offer. Local engineering firms like Bowers + Kubota, Hawaiian Dredging and SSFM International are the first to formally partner with the fund by committing to offer a student loan repayment assistance benefit for program participants they hire and retain. All loan repayments, whether from individuals or employers, go back into the fund to support future students. If a graduate is hired for less than $50,000 a year, they are eligible for an income-based deferment during which their monthly payment amount would be $0.

“This should increase the number of engineering students that we graduate each year while also providing local engineering firms with additional incentives to attract our graduates,” said Morioka. “This will be a game changer for so many of our students with demonstrated need and it will have a positive ripple effect across our industry and ultimately the state.”

Morioka credited the Castle Foundation for championing the effort for the last two years and for making a generous contribution to start the fund. The Castle Foundation exists to invest in the future of Hawaiʻi, according to Alex Harris, the Castle Foundation vice president of programs.

people standing behind a large vehicle

“With this fund, we hope to give young people the help they need to complete a degree and secure a good job,” said Harris. “We also hope to offer local engineering firms a new tool to recruit and retain the College of Engineering’s talented graduates. By recycling every dollar repaid back into the fund, we’re able to continuously support more students than we could using traditional loan or scholarship models.”

Harris and Morioka both noted that the fund would not have been possible without the support of the local engineering firms, like SSFM International.

“This forward-thinking project not only aligns with our ongoing commitment to nurture local talent and foster sustainable economic growth in Hawaiʻi but also marks a significant step toward creating a resilient and skilled workforce for Hawaiʻi’s future,” said Michael P. Matsumoto, President/CEO of SSFM International, Inc. “We are proud to be part of this transformative endeavor that lowers barriers to education and empowers our future engineers. This isn’t merely an investment in individual students—it’s a strategic investment in Hawaiʻi‘s sustainable future.”

Social Finance was selected to design and manage the Renewable Learning Fund because of its experience creating similar outcomes-based workforce partnerships that focus on student success. COE was selected for the pilot phase because of its record of working closely with local industry employers to offer students internships, career exploration days, targeted networking workshops, and mentorship programs to ensure students have the best chances at securing jobs upon graduation.

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Wahine 2024 volleyball schedule features defending champs /news/2024/07/12/wahine-2024-volleyball-schedule/ Sat, 13 Jul 2024 01:55:14 +0000 /news/?p=200537 The University of Hawaiʻi women's volleyball team released its 2024 schedule.

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U H Womens 2024 volleyball schedule, with university logos

The University of Hawaiʻi released its 2024 schedule that includes 16 home matches to be played at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center and 12 away matches. The Wahine come off their 12th Big West title and a second round loss in the NCAA tournament.

once again has a power-packed pre-season schedule which features five matches against four NCAA tournament teams—highlighted by a road match at defending NCAA Champions, Texas.

The action begins on August 30 with the three-team Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic against last year’s American Athletic Conference champions SMU, who is now a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the University of San Diego from the West Coast Conference. will also host Oregon State and Texas State during the OUTRIGGER Invitational September 12–14.

Tickets go on sale July 15.

During a preseason trip, will travel to the Lone Star State for the third time in the last four seasons. Hawaiʻi will first play defending NCAA champions Texas in Austin on Friday, September 20 followed by Baylor on Saturday, September 21 in Waco. The regular season begins with a home stand against UC Irvine on September 27 and the following day against Cal State Fullerton.

Senior Night will be against UC San Diego on November 16.

The 2024 Rainbow Wahine are led by senior setter Kate Lang, senior libero Tayli Ikenaga and junior outside hitter Caylen Alexander.

Get a closer look at the squad and the schedule at .

2024 schedule

Preseason

  • August 30, 7 p.m.—SMU, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 1, 5 p.m.—San Diego, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 6, 7 p.m.—Pepperdine, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 7, 7 p.m.—Pepperdine, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 10, 7 p.m.—Texas State, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 13, 7 p.m.—Oregon State, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 14, 7 p.m.— Texas State, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 17, 3:30 p.m.—UNLV, at Las Vegas, Nevada
  • September 20, 2 p.m.—Texas, at Austin, Texas
  • September 21, 2 p.m.—Baylor, at Waco, Texas

Regular Season

  • September 27, 7 p.m.—UC Irvine, at SimpliFi Arena
  • September 28, 7 p.m.—Cal State Fullerton, at SimpliFi Arena
  • October 4, 4 p.m.—UC San Diego, at La Jolla, California
  • October 5, 4 p.m.—Long Beach State, at Long Beach, California
  • October 11, 7 p.m.—UC Davis, at SimpliFi Arena
  • October 13, 5 p.m.—UC Riverside, at SimpliFi Arena
  • October 18, 4 p.m.—Cal Poly, at San Luis Obispo, California
  • October 18, 4 p.m.—UC Santa Barbara, at Santa Barbara, California
  • October 22, 3 p.m.—Cal State Bakersfield, at Bakersfield, California
  • October 27, 5 p.m.—Cal State University Northridge, at SimpliFi Arena
  • November 1, 7 p.m.—UC Santa Barbara, at SimpliFi Arena
  • November 2, 7 p.m.—Cal Poly, at SimpliFi Arena
  • November 7, 5 p.m.—UC Riverside, at Riverside, California
  • November 9, 5 p.m.—UC Davis, at Davis, California
  • November 15, 7 p.m.—Long Beach State, at SimpliFi Arena
  • November 16, 7 p.m.—UC San Diego, at SimpliFi Arena
  • November 22, 4 p.m.—Cal State Fullerton, at Fullerton, California
  • November 23, 2 p.m.—UC Irvine, at Irvine, California
  • November 27–30—Big West Championship, at Irvine, California
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Germinating 鶹 agriculture tech innovation /news/2024/07/12/germinating-agtech-innovations/ Sat, 13 Jul 2024 00:50:42 +0000 /news/?p=200525 PACE encourages the community to take action on their ideas by applying for funding through its Kalo Grants program.

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people smiling with a certificate and large check
Team Koko Hina with Briena Du and Darin Olson

A new partnership will help kickstart University of Hawaiʻi student ideas in the field of agriculture technology.

Also known as agtech, agriculture technology is the application of modern technologies and innovations to improve efficiency, productivity, sustainability and profitability in the agricultural sector. Some examples of agtech include: smart irrigation systems, drones and satellite imaging, biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and more.

ԴDz’s (PACE) in the recently partnered with to identify unique, tech-driven agrifood and aquaculture solutions. Germinate by HIplan is a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the commercialization of innovations in these industries.

Germinate by HIplan sponsored a $300 monetary prize that was awarded during PACE’s April 2024 event. The prize went to master beekeeper Darin Olson and ԴDz botany student Briena Du, who presented their idea for Koko Hina, a chocolate product made with a native Hawaiian plant that soothes menstrual discomfort.

Hawaiʻi needs innovative solutions that increase the profitability of food production in our islands,” Germinate by HIplan Executive Director Jason Ueki said. “If we can support the people and companies that are innovating in the food and agriculture tech industry, we will grow revenue generating companies that pay higher wages, keep local talent and strengthen Hawaiʻi‘s food security.”

Three other -affiliated projects were each awarded $100 prizes from Germinate by HIplan for their innovative solutions:

  • Kurt Metrose, a mechanical engineering student, established AgiPower, a company that builds custom hardware and software solutions utilizing machine learning to analyze water quality for commercial farmers.
  • Ame Arakaki, a mechanical engineering graduate, proposed EcoponicX, an indoor vertical fodder production system using innovative eco-friendly media for production.
  • Quong Loc Lam, a graduate student in information technology management and economics, built SmartViet, a mobile app solution that uses AI and Chatbot technology to identify the presence of disease in shrimp.

“We understand students have differing passions and interests. By partnering with groups outside that focus on and have expertise in specific industries, we can funnel and encourage members in the community to take advantage of the resources that are tailored for them,” PACE Executive Director Sandra Fujiyama said. “We are pleased to have partnered with Germinate by HIplan to tackle issues in the agriculture sector, and aim to forge similar collaborations with other organizations.”

As part of the collaboration, PACE and Germinate by HIplan co-hosted a Hawaiʻi agrifood innovation webinar, which featured Dave Moloney, head of hardware for Google’s geo-spatial division. During the webinar, Moloney made connections between food, agriculture, aquaculture, technology and potential uses of AI in this sector.

PACE is encouraging the community to take action on their ideas by applying for funding through its program and by applying for additional resources from Germinate by HIplan. PACE welcomes future collaborations with organizations that want to partner with to support solutions for Hawaiʻi‘s biggest challenges.

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Hawaiʻi Sea Grant awarded $1M for beach, dune management on North Shore /news/2024/07/12/1-million-beach-dune-management/ Sat, 13 Jul 2024 00:14:14 +0000 /news/?p=200497 The $1 million will focus on the area between Sunset Beach and Sharks Cove.

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Aerial view of beach erosion and at-risk homes on Oʻahu’s North Shore. (Photo credit: Hawaiʻi Sea Grant)

Nearly $1 million was appropriated to the (Hawaiʻi Sea Grant) for the development of a beach and dune management plan for the North Shore of Oʻahu, specifically focusing on the area between Sunset Beach and Sharks Cove.

governor with people

An important component of the project is community engagement and outreach so that the outcomes and pilot demonstration projects are aligned with community values, concerns and needs. In addition to developing the beach and dune management plan, pilot projects focusing on public infrastructure such as beach access stairs and decks will be discussed.

“This effort serves as a significant coastal management action plan reflecting the values and priorities of the North Shore community,” said Dolan Eversole, Hawaiʻi Sea Grant’s coastal management specialist and project lead. “In addition to the development of recommendations for site-specific beach and dune management practices, the plan will establish the scientific, environmental, and economic foundation for future evaluation of appropriate adaptation strategies for this critically important resource.”

coastal erosion
Coastal erosion on Oʻahu’s North Shore. (Photo credit: Hawaiʻi Sea Grant)

Gov. Josh Green signed , which provided the funding in a ceremony held at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on July 8. The ceremony included 16 bills that expand the state’s efforts to preserve Ჹɲʻ’s natural resources and foster sustainable tourism. While HB2248 focuses on ʻ’s North Shore, the bill serves as an important coastal management, adaptation planning, and community engagement model for coastal communities within and outside of Hawaiʻi struggling with sea-level rise and other coastal hazards.

“These bills represent significant steps forward in safeguarding Ჹɲʻ’s environment and promoting responsible tourism,” said Green.

Hawaiʻi Sea Grant will have 1.5 years to develop the recommendations for increased conservation of the beach and dune area. It will draw on similar community-based beach and dune management plans that it developed for Maui County, Kailua Beach Park on Oʻahu, Windward Oahu Tourism Assessment and the Hawaiʻi Dune Restoration Manual.

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—By Cindy Knapman

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Hardisty earns Big West Service and Leadership Award /news/2024/07/12/hardisty-earns-big-west-award/ Fri, 12 Jul 2024 23:58:12 +0000 /news/?p=200507 Mānoa beach volleyball player Sabrina Hardisty has held numerous leadership positions throughout her time at the university.

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Sabrina Hardisty holding state flag behind her

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa player Sabrina Hardisty received a 2023–24 Big West Service and Leadership Award. The award winners are recognized for engaging consistently in activities that have an impact on the campus, community or regional levels.

Hardisty has held numerous leadership positions throughout her time at . She was a member of Big West Undivided, a group charged with promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in their athletic departments and was also involved in the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. On the court, Hardisty was named the team’s Most Inspirational Player in her final season as a BeachBow in 2024.

Outside of athletics Hardisty was the cello section leader for the Symphony Orchestra and was heavily involved with the Immunology Laboratory and Cell and Molecular Biology. She also served as a tutor on campus for the ‘s Academic Services and Learning Emporium. In the community, she gave her time coaching keiki at numerous clinics for and Spike and Serve.

Since first arriving on campus in 2019, Hardisty has earned two degrees—her undergraduate degree in molecular bioscience and biotechnology (3.91 GPA) and a master’s degree in public health (3.74 GPA). She was named to the Big West Commissioner’s Honor Roll (with highest honors) four times, was named a Exemplary Scholar-Athlete and was the beach volleyball team’s top Scholar Athlete.

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Q&A: Shark expert addresses misconceptions, recommends safety tips /news/2024/07/12/shark-expert-carl-meyer/ Fri, 12 Jul 2024 23:03:24 +0000 /news/?p=200480 shark expert Carl Meyer discussed the importance of sharks to ocean ecosystems, common misconceptions and safety tips for being in the ocean.

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shark
Tiger shark

Sharks, a species often misunderstood and feared, play crucial roles in ocean ecosystems as top predators. In honor of Shark Awareness Day on July 14, News interviewed shark expert Carl Meyer, researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa , on the importance of sharks to ocean health, common misconceptions and safety tips for being in the ocean.

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Carl Meyer

What types of sharks do you study?

Our research focuses on coastal species such as tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks and scalloped hammerhead shark; bathyal or deep sea species such as bluntnose sixgill sharks, prickly sharks and Pacific Sleeper sharks; and enigmatic pelagic species such as oceanic whitetip sharks and cookiecutter sharks. We use technology to reveal the hidden lives of sharks. For example, we attach sophisticated biologging devices to sharks that track their movements and swimming behavior and give us a shark’s eye view of their lives. These devices help us to understand where sharks roam and how they use their natural habitats.

Why are sharks important to ocean ecosystems?

sharks
Tiger sharks swimming

Sharks are very important for the health of ocean ecosystems. They are top predators that regulate the populations of other animals in the ocean and ensure that no one species becomes dominant and disrupts the marine ecosystem. Sharks are indicators of ocean health. If you have abundant sharks, then your ecosystem is healthy. If you see a decline in sharks, it indicates that there may be a problem with the marine environment.

What are common misconceptions people have about sharks?

whale shark
(Photo credit: Mark Royer)

The single biggest misconception that people have about sharks is that they’re all dangerous. And this is simply not the case. Most shark species represent little or no threat to humans simply because they consume very small prey, and even the species that we might consider to be dangerous such as tiger sharks, white sharks and bull sharks, actually bite people very infrequently. So these are rare events. Although we might consider them to be dangerous, in fact, we are a lot more dangerous to sharks than sharks are to us. We need to address these misconceptions about sharks in order to have effective conservation measures that allow us to coexist successfully with these really ecologically important predators.

Are sharks mistaking people for prey?

So when sharks bite humans, it’s likely because people in the water have size and movement characteristics that make sharks view them as potential prey.

The mistaken identity hypothesis is a popular misconception that stems from viewing shark behavior through a human lens. Sharks are not mistaking humans for another type of prey. They are opportunistic predators that routinely explore objects with certain size and movement characteristics to see whether they are potential prey. So for example, when we put small video cameras on tiger sharks, we see them routinely investigating inanimate objects like floating coconuts, leaves, plastic bags, those are clearly not things that they’re going to eat, but they go and they investigate them to see if they are potential prey. So when sharks bite humans, it’s likely because people in the water have size and movement characteristics that make sharks view them as potential prey.

What are some safety tips you recommend?

Although the risk of being bitten by a shark is very low, there are some things that we can do to reduce the probability of being bitten and also to improve the outcome in the event that we encounter a shark that tries to bite us. The single biggest thing that we can do is to always do our ocean recreational activities with other people. There is more safety in numbers. It reduces the probability of you being bitten. And if you are extremely unlucky and you get bitten, then there are other people around to help you. So a lot of the time when there’s a shark bite incident, the severity of the outcome is determined by whether there’s somebody close at hand to help the person that’s injured.

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Couch, Wo join 鶹 Foundation Board of Trustees /news/2024/07/12/couch-wo-uh-foundation-board-of-trustees/ Fri, 12 Jul 2024 20:17:38 +0000 /news/?p=200474 John C. Couch and C. Scott Wo returned to the Foundation Board of Trustees on July 1.

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Two new U H Foundation trustees
John C. Couch and C. Scott Wo

The former Chairman, President and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. John C. Couch and an owner and executive of C. S. Wo & Sons, C. Scott Wo, have joined the Board of Trustees. Their three-year terms started on July 1, to coincide with the start of the 2025 fiscal year.

John C. Couch

Couch spent 22 years working in Hawaiʻi, most recently as the former chairman, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (A&B), and prior to that was president of Matson Navigation Co.

After retiring from A&B in late 1999, Couch joined C.M. Capital Corp.in Palo Alto, California, in 2000 and served as its president and CEO. He is currently C.M. Capital’s vice chairman.

Couch previously served on the Foundation board from 1992 to 1998. He recently gave $3.76 million to establish the first-ever at the ԴDz to train physicians to treat liver diseases, including cancer, in the islands.

He has also served on a number of other nonprofit boards in Hawaiʻi, including Aloha United Way, Hawaii Business Roundtable, Aloha Boy Scouts Council, Bishop Museum, Kauai Economic Development Board and the Maui Economic Development Board.

Couch currently serves as a board director of C.M. Capital Foundation; treasurer on the board of Avenidas in Palo Alto; as an advisor to the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering; and as a trustee at Webb Institute.

Additionally, he has served on a variety of public and private company boards, including Matson, A&B, Pacific Resources, First Hawaiian Bank, California & Hawaiian Sugar Co., Big Island Abalone Co., Foss Marine Holdings and Focus Management Inc.

Couch holds a bachelor of science degree in naval architecture and marine engineering and a master’s in engineering from the University of Michigan, and received a master of business administration from Stanford University.

C. Scott Wo

Wo is an owner and executive of his family’s home furnishings business, C. S. Wo & Sons, which was established in 1909. He is also a partner in Kunia Country Farms, a commercial aquaponic farm, and an adjunct professor of finance at Columbia Business School.

Wo started his career working for Shearson Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse First Boston in New York.

Wo returns to the board after a one-year hiatus. He previously served on the Foundation board from 2004 to 2023 in various capacities, as board chair, vice chair, secretary and chair of the investment committee.

He is currently president of the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, a member of the board of directors of First Hawaiian Bank and serves on the board of advisors for the American Red Cross – Hawaii State Chapter, where he previously served as board chair and treasurer.

He also previously served on the boards of The Queen’s Health System and Aloha United Way and is a past president and finance committee chair at Waialae Country Club.

Wo earned his bachelor’s in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, his MBA from Columbia Business School, and his PhD in finance from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

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Susan Kazama recommended to be next Hawaiʻi CC chancellor /news/2024/07/11/susan-kazama-recommended-hawaii-cc-chancellor/ Fri, 12 Jul 2024 01:00:13 +0000 /news/?p=200458 Susan Kazama has been serving as interim chancellor at Hawaiʻi CC since 2023.

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Susan Kazama and the Hawaii C C campus

Susan Kazama has been recommended to be the next chancellor by University of Hawaiʻi Vice President for Community Colleges Erika Lacro to President David Lassner. Her effective date of appointment is July 19, 2024.

“Susan Kazama is a home-grown chancellor who is dedicated to serving the diverse communities of the Hawaiʻi Island,” said Lacro. “She brings her broad experience and commitment to the University of Hawaiʻi to the position, and she will continue the work of this past year of reaching out to the local employers to ensure Hawaiʻi Community College is training students for the local workforce needs.”

Kazama has been serving as the interim chancellor at Hawaiʻi CC since July 1, 2023. She began her work in the system in 1987, starting as a librarian at Maui College and Honolulu CC. She spent 12 years at ԴDz’s Hamilton Library before accepting the library director position at Kapiʻolani CC in 2001. She served as interim vice chancellor for academic affairs at Kapiʻolani CC and Honolulu CC until 2021, when she became a program coordinator for continuing education at Kapiʻolani CC. She also served on the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges for seven years, including three years as the chair, past chair and vice chair.

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity to return home and serve the kauhale (group of houses comprising a Hawaiian home) and the community that I grew up in,” Kazama said. “Hawaiʻi Community College offers not only access to higher education, but also workforce training for our community members who want to reskill and upskill for a higher paying job. I look forward to working with the dedicated faculty, staff, administrators and our community, to continue supporting our students and ensuring everyone who wants to pursue higher education has the opportunity to do so.”

Kazama is a product of public education in Hawaiʻi. Born and raised in Hilo, she graduated from Waiākea High School and earned a masters in library science and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from ԴDz.

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Drone technology aids restoration, resilience of Native Hawaiian fishponds /news/2024/07/11/drone-tech-fishponds/ Thu, 11 Jul 2024 19:00:49 +0000 /news/?p=200440 Scientists and kiaʻi loko (fishpond practitioners) are using drone technology to aid their efforts to restore and ensure the resilience of Native Hawaiian fishponds.

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Briana Ninomoto reviews fieldwork plan with PIPES interns and staff. (Photo credit: Kainalu Steward)

Scientists and kiaʻi loko (fishpond practitioners) have a new tool to aid their efforts to restore and ensure the resilience of Native Hawaiian fishponds. Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi and fishpond stewards in Hilo, are using uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, to support integrated coastal zone management, including at cultural heritage sites. The study was published in the .

“We discovered that drones are effective and cost-efficient tools for mapping loko iʻa at the community level, providing kiaʻi loko iʻa with better insights into the timing and locations of flooding and future sea level rise impacts on their fishponds,” said Kainalu Steward, lead author of the study and doctoral student in the Mānoa (SOEST).

fishpond
Aerial view of Honokea loko iʻa in Keaukaha, Hilo during low tide. (Photo credit: Kainalu Steward)

Loko iʻa, traditional Hawaiian fishponds located along the coastline, have historically provided sustainable seafood sources. These culturally important sites are undergoing revitalization through community-driven restoration efforts. However, as sea-level rise poses a significant climate-induced threat to coastal areas, loko iʻa managers are seeking adaptive strategies to address related concerns such as flooding, water quality, and the viability of native fish species.

King Tides as estimate of future sea level

The researchers’ surveys determined that by 2060, the average sea level along the Keaukaha coastline in Hilo will be similar to the extreme tidal events, known as King Tides, during summer 2023. Steward and Brianna Ninomoto, a master’s student in at , devised a plan to investigate how future sea-level rise will affect loko iʻa by assessing the impacts of the summer 2023 King Tides.

Throughout the summer, including during the extreme high tide events, researchers collected drone imagery in real time and monitored water levels using sensors submerged at each loko iʻa. They compared flooding predicted from drone-derived topography models and more commonly used Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)-derived models to the observed flooding documented by drone imagery.

fishpond practitoners
Project Hokulani internship students tend to Kaumaui loko iʻa. (Photo credit: Kainalu Steward)

The team found that digital elevation models derived from drone surveys accurately estimated observed flooding during extreme high tide events, whereas LiDAR flood models, which are nearly 20 years old for the Hilo region, significantly overestimated observed flooding by 2–5 times. Loko iʻa practitioners, however, reported that occasionally during severe weather and large swell events, these particular areas modeled from LiDAR data do flood. This suggests that data collected by LiDAR offers a more conservative and cautious understanding of coastal flooding, emphasizing that data collected by drone and LiDAR are important components when forecasting and managing the areas.

Supporting Native Hawaiian scientists, community

Funding for this research was awarded through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) for the project, “,” led by co-author and SOEST Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Haunani Kane. The program engages underrepresented populations through a wide variety of initiatives. Multiyear grants are awarded to assist Minority Institution faculty and students in research related to pertinent missions.

“One of the goals of this project is to increase the capacity of Native Hawaiian students in assessing and evaluating impacts of sea level rise upon cultural resource sites,” said Kane. “This project supports five undergraduate students and three local Native Hawaiian students as they work towards obtaining their master’s and doctorate degrees in science at the University of Hawaiʻi.

“This research is important for enhancing coastal community adaptation, resilience, and food security in the face of climate change,” said Ninomoto. “This work was ultimately done to support loko iʻa practitioners along Keaukaha and the future management of their ʻāina as the impacts of flooding become more severe.”

Another component of the NASA-funded project is storytelling and outreach to the community. John Burns, study co-author and Hilo associate professor in and , and the have a community lab space at Mokupāpapa Discovery Center in Downtown Hilo where the research team uses virtual reality and short films to share stories and engage the community in discussions of how climate change is impacting coastal resources in Hawaiʻi.

researchers plan to continue working with the kiaʻi loko iʻa in Keaukaha, to provide up-to-date aerial imagery of their fishpond to support restoration efforts.

“Loko iʻa are examples of how our kūpuna have adapted to changes in climate for generations, and we want to contribute towards their resilience and perpetuation by integrating modern technology,” said Steward.

–By Marcie Grabowski

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Image of the Week: Ipe tree /news/2024/07/10/image-of-the-week-ipe-tree/ Wed, 10 Jul 2024 18:00:35 +0000 /news/?p=200391 This week's image is from ԴDz's Richard Criley.

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Ipe tree in bloom

This week’s News Image of the Week is from the ԴDz’s Richard Criley, emeritus horticulturalist in the in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Criley shared, “Ipe tree in full bloom at St. John Plant Science building on Maile Way. This is a daughter tree of the one at Krauss Hall which was also in full bloom.”

Previous Images
In flight
Albizia architect
Sculptor at work
FestPAC Welcome
Night tree
All Images of the Week

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