DLNR to Conduct Independent Evaluation of Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan

May 16, 2020, 3:48 PM HST (Updated May 16, 2020, 3:48 PM)
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Maunakea with snow. Wikimedia Commons Image.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is launching an independent evaluation of the University of Hawai‘i’s compliance with the Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP).

According to a departmental press release, the decision was made in order to provide the DLNR and the Board of Land and Natural Resources relevant information, including community input, into whether Mauna Kea is being effectively managed.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said this evaluation will parallel the mandatory five-year review of the Comprehensive Management Plan currently underway by UH. The review will evaluate the efficiency of UH management and specifically its Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM). The DLNR review will also include an assessment of the governance structure in managing the cultural and natural resources within areas on the mountain for which UH/OMKM are responsible.

“This process will ensure a thorough review that includes multiple points of view and provides an independent evaluation for the Land Board,” Case said.

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UH leases approximately 11,000 acres of State lands on Mauna Kea, of which 525 acres is in the Astronomy Precinct and 10,700 acres are designated as Natural/Cultural Preservation Area. The Comprehensive Management Plan covers all of the UH leased lands.

DLNR has contracted with Ku‘iwalu Consulting for the review. It will include a culturally sensitive and robust community engagement process to gather as much input as possible on UH’s implementation of the Comprehensive Management Plan, the release said. This input will be incorporated into the report.

UH is seeking renewal of its 65-year-long lease. Its current Comprehensive Management Plan was approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in 2009. The DLNR review is expected to be completed by the end of this calendar year. Chair Case noted that the independent evaluation is not a report on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

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