Ka’u Forest Reserve DEA is Up for Public Comment
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by Big Island Now Staff
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife announced Wednesday that they are asking for the public’s input on a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for a new management plan for the Ka’u Forest Reserve.
The DLNR believes that the management plan that has been introduced will address several pressing needs in the area. “This management plan is part of the DLNR’s goal to increase protection of Hawai‘i’s forested watersheds, as well as to fulfill our mandate to restore native Hawaiian species such as the ‘Alalā (Hawaiian crow) and provide access and recreational opportunities to the people of Hawai‘i,” said chairperson William Aila Jr. in a department release.
The re-introduction of the ‘Alalā is one of the key points in the plan, and achieving that goal will involve the restoration of a vital watershed which resides in the areas of Wood Valley, Pahala, Wai’ohinu, and Na’alehu. Also important in fulfilling the goal is the perpetuation of natural resources and the protection of endangered plants and animals.
There are cosmetic enhancements planned in the proposal, including public access improvements and fence removal in certain areas. “We consulted and interviewed over 80 community members and actually had site visits with them up into the remote parts of the Ka‘u Forest Reserve where we are planning some of our projects,” explained Nohea Ka’awa, outreach and education specialist for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife in a department release. “There is a lot of support for this project from the community. The Ka‘u hunters we met with were very interested in the project and some even volunteered themselves to help with the fencing and management work.”
Public comment will be taken until June 22, and a review of the DEA is available on the web at http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/doafw