Public Input Sought on Draft Management Plan for Pahole Natural Area Reserve

A draft management plan to help in the restoration and recovery of many rare plants and animals in the Pahole Natural Area Reserve (NAR) of O‘ahu’s Waianae mountain range is now available for public review and comment.  The plan, prepared by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), outlines the planned management activities in the reserve over the next 15 years. It is part of a series of site-specific plans to be prepared by DOFAW for natural area reserves throughout the state.

paholePahole Natural Area Reserve is situated on the northeastern face of the Wai‘anae Mountain Range in the district of Waialua on the island of O‘ahu. The 658 acre reserve was created to protect lowland native dry to moist forests, including rare and endangered plants and animals. These forests are noted for their species diversity and richness, and are becoming increasingly uncommon. The overall goal of the management plan is to protect, maintain, and enhance the reserve’s unique natural, cultural, and geological resources.

“Drier Hawaiian forest types are particularly susceptible to disturbance. Despite being an actively managed natural area reserve for 35 years, species have declined and habitat has been lost due to threats including invasive species. This plan will focus our efforts to effectively preserve the native resources that remain for future generations,” said Marigold Zoll, DOFAW O‘ahu branch manager.

Management of Pahole NAR, as proposed in the draft plan, will help the restoration and recovery of many rare plants and animals. One of the rarest endemic plant species found in the Reserve, Cyanea superba subsp. superba, had not been seen in the Waianae Mountains for decades before being found in Pahole in 1971. By 1978, there were only 36 plants remaining and by 2002, the plant was extinct in the wild.  Fortunately, this rare plant was successfully propagated off-site and over 1,400 plants have since been restored to the wild at protected and managed sites in Pahole NAR and elsewhere in the Wai‘anae Mountains.

The Natural Area Reserves System was created in 1971 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature to preserve in perpetuity specific land and water areas which support communities, as relatively unmodified as possible, of the natural flora and fauna, as well as geological sites, of Hawai‘i. The system presently consists of 21 reserves on five islands, encompassing more than 123,000 acres of the State’s most unique ecosystems. These diverse areas range from marine and coastal environments to alpine desert and from fresh lava flows to ancient wet forests. These reserves often serve as habitat for rare native plants and animals, many of which are on the verge of extinction.

The management plan approval process includes review by DOFAW branch and administrative staff, partner agency and public consultation, approval by the administrator of DOFAW, and finally approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

The draft management plan is available on the DOFAW website at the following link:

Please submit written comments via email or letter by November 18, 2016 to:

Tanya Rubenstein, Natural Area Reserves Project Coordinator
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813

Groundbreaking Held for Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial – Affordable Senior Housing

Yesterday afternoon, Mayor-Elect Harry Kim and Big Island Veterans broke ground on the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial.
harry-kim-at-hivmThe project has been in the works for quite some time and it’s good to see that it is finally going to happen.The location is located off Kawili Street below the University of Hawaii Hilo Campus and across the street from Waiakea High School.

hivm-site-planEarlier this year, after HIVM received the first increment of our $425,000 state grant to help us start the project, we had an engineer prepare a plan for a box culvert common-use entrance into our lots along Kawili Street. Isemoto Construction was selected from our list of bidders to construct the common-use driveway entrance and perform related construction tasks and they have begun the installation of the box culvert and new entryway. We are in the final stages of an agreement with a large and respected non-profit housing development corporation, EAH Housing, Inc., to develop and operate 75 units of affordable senior-living units on our upper 5+ acre lot.

Artist rendition

Preference for these units will be given to veterans and their spouses. Other income-qualified senior Hawaii residents will also be able to rent these units in the event there is an insufficient number of qualified vets, their spouses or vets’ widows on the wait list at the time of vacancy. This senior independent living community will also include a centrally located community center for socializing, educational, recreational, and leisure activities.

 The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

The lot is outlined with a thin white line and is bordered on the left by Kapiolani Street across from the lower end of the UHH campus. The lot is bordered at the bottom by West Kawili Street.

History: Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial, Inc. (HIVM) is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) all-volunteer non-profit corporation privately organized in 1997 to serve as a development entity for the island’s many veterans and veterans groups. Our mission was to develop a one-stop combined veterans center (CVC) together with a senior independent living community complete with a multi-purpose activity center and dining facility for our islands’ 20,000+ active, reserve, retired, veterans, and other eligible seniors. A site was identified on an overgrown 7 acre parcel of unplanned public lands in Hilo along Kawili St. just below the University of Hawai’i at Hilo and was obtained for this purpose in 2004 by a Governor’s executive order.

After acquiring a start up lease in 2005, funds were raised privately to complete an approved final environmental assessment (FEA) including a master plan with all preliminary engineering. This was developed with all stakeholders, including the University of Hawai’i at Hilo (UHH), neighbors and neighboring institutions, AARP, all the veterans organization on Hawai’i and the county of Hawai’i. The FEA was completed in 2006 and was accepted and approved by the County.

Re-zoning and subdivision into 3 separate lots for each project component were completed by mid-2007 when the lots were graded, partially grubbed and a sewer tap installed on the lower lot planned for the one-stop CVC as Phase 1. With an agreement in hand with the USDVA (VA) to build and lease to them a 5000 sq ft facility estimated at $2.1m. $1m in state and county matching funds were then sought, approved, and appropriated for FY 2008 to enable HIVM to privately finance the balance and begin the project. However the national financial meltdown reached Hawaii in the summer of 2008 and stopped all planned construction because of no available private or public financing. With development actions at a stop for the next 4 years, HIVM subleased the site to a private contractor to use as a base yard in exchange for periodic mowing and essential maintenance.

We resumed progress in 2012 with an improved economic outlook, a new lease, new opportunities, and a rejuvenated board of directors to move us forward to our current status.