News Briefs

Rapid ohia death spreads on Kauai

LIHUE, Kauai — A fungal pathogen that kills trees native to Hawaii has been discovered in two more areas on Kauai.

Three more trees have tested positive for rapid ohia death after it was found for the first time on the island in 14 trees in the Moloaa Forest Reserve in early May, The Garden Island reported The new trees are located on privately-owned land in Halelea Moku and near the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have identified two different species of rapid ohia death, Ceratocystis lukuohia and Ceratocystis huliohia. Only the less aggressive form, Ceratocystis huliohia, has been found on Kauai.

“At this point, only one of the two fungal pathogens has been confirmed on Kauai,” said Melissa Fisher, Kauai forest program director. “Now we need everyone to be extra vigilant to prevent further spread of the existing disease and help to keep the other ROD-causing pathogen off our island as well.”

Following the initial discovery of the disease, researchers have conducted aerial surveys of the island, finding 22 areas with ohia trees showing symptoms consistent with the disease.

They have collected 76 samples this year and have submitted those for lab testing, said Tiffani Keanini, project manager of Kauai Invasive Species Committee. A collection of local, state and federal agencies as well as private organizations are conducting the work.

“After recent detection we have been working together with this amazing slew of partners to identify what areas need to be sampled because they have highly suspect trees,” Keanini said.

Rapid ohia death has affected more than 210 square miles (546 square kilometers) of forest since it was discovered on the Big Island more than four years ago.

The disease cuts off trees’ water flow as it progresses.

“It’s clear that both fungal species enter trees through wounds, as do many other tree diseases, so it’s important not to wound them by taking clippings, trimming, or stepping on roots,” Keanini said.

Remains identified as Iowa sailor killed at Pearl Harbor

CORWITH, Iowa — The remains of a northern Iowa sailor killed at Pearl Harbor were identified.

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency says the remains of 48-year-old Navy Reserve Musician 1st Class Henri Mason were accounted for March 26. He was from the Hancock County community of Corwith.

Mason was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was struck by several Japanese torpedoes during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. He was among 429 crewmen killed.

Mason’s remains were interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu until being exhumed and identified.

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