KIF football schedule to balance lights and endangered birds

Two regular season night games are on the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation football schedule which was released by the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation Wednesday.

Additionally, three pre-season football games on Kaua‘i will enjoy the coolness of night and the brightness of lights.

An agreement between the County of Kaua‘i and the U.S. Department of Justice states four evening games are allowed during the fledging season, Sept. 15 through Dec. 15, as long as due consideration is given to the endangered seabirds, according to a county release.

The two regular KIF football games under the lights are the Sept. 3 game between Waimea and Kaua‘i high schools at Hanapepe Stadium with the Junior Varsity game kicking off at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity matchup starting at 7 p.m.

The Sept. 10 game moves to Vidinha Stadium when Kapa‘a hosts Waimea with the JV game kicking off at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity contest at 7 p.m.

Since the pre-season games and the first two games of the regular season are not scheduled during the fledging season, those games will be played at night as they traditionally have been, the release states.

Aug. 19 will have a double-header when Waimea hosts Honoka‘a High School at Hanapepe Stadium starting at 7 p.m.

At the same time, Kapa‘a High School will be hosting Kamehameha Schools-Maui at Vidinha Stadium starting at 7 p.m.

The final pre-season game takes place Aug. 20 when Kaua‘i hosts Kekaulike High School at Vidinha Stadium starting at 7 p.m.

“We want to thank the KIF for working with us to ensure that the terms of agreement between the county and the U.S. Department of Justice with respect to endangered seabirds are met,” said Lenny Rapozo, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation, in the release.

“The schedule for the 2011 fall football season recognizes the cultural and ecological importance of Hawai‘i’s native birds as well as the significance of nighttime football games in our island community.”

The selection of dates and times of this year’s football evening games was based on the generally accepted peak period for the fledglings’ first flight, along with the phases of the moon and its rising and setting times.

The date selection criteria allowed for later start times for the Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 games.

Kaua‘i and Kapa‘a high schools will meet at Vidinha Stadium on Sept. 17 with the JV game kicking off at 2 p.m. followed by the varsity game starting at 4 p.m.

Sept. 24 is an early afternoon game when Kaua‘i hosts Waimea at Vidinha Stadium, the JV game starting at 12:30 p.m. followed by the varsity match at 3 p.m.

Games on Oct. 1 and Oct. 8 return to the JV games starting at 2 p.m. and the varsity matches kicking off at 4 p.m. Waimea hosts Kapa‘a at Hanapepe Stadium on Oct. 1 and Kapa‘a meets Kaua‘i at Vidinha Stadium on Oct. 8.

“We appreciate the County of Kaua‘i’s efforts and acknowledge the hard work together with the KIF Executive Board in developing the 2011 KIF Football schedule which maximizes the number of evening games allowable under the current terms of the U.S. Department of Justice agreement,” said William Arakaki, the Kaua‘i Area Complex superintendent.

The remainder of the KIF football season, Oct. 15, Oct. 22, and Oct. 29, the homecoming round, will have the JV games starting at 12:30 p.m. followed by the varsity games starting at 3 p.m.

The County of Kaua‘i started implementing mitigative measures to protect the Newell’s Shearwater, Hawaiian Petrel and the Band-rumped Petrel with no takes, or downed birds, being reported at any county facility since the measures were undertaken.

Some of the measures include the installation of shielded lights at Vidinha and Hanapepe stadiums, Isenberg Park, Peter Rayno Sr. Park in Hanama‘ulu, and the Lihu‘e tennis courts. Training on bird-friendly practices for parks employees and a monitoring program with respect to endangered seabirds have also been started.

The county submitted an updated application to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan earlier this year.

In the revised application, the county provides a substantially more detailed plan on preventive and mitigative measures it will take to protect Hawai‘i’s endangered seabirds at all its facilities.

This application was done after the county submitted a draft application last year, refining its plans following feedback from both the DLNR and the USFWS.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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