Trust for Public Land transfers Honouliuli Preserve to the state
The recent transfer of a large West Oahu nature preserve to the state should help ensure the safety of the island’s drinking water in years to come.
Helped by private and public partners, the Trust for Public Land bought the 3,592-acre Honouliuli Preserve in September of last year from James Campbell Co. The preserve, located above Makakilo, is in lowland forest lands on the southeastern slope of the Waianae mountains and is part of the watershed that feeds into the Pearl Harbor aquifer — the largest drinking water resource on Oahu.
The transfer to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources was completed in March, adding to the state forest reserve for watershed and habitat protection.
“We welcome public ownership of the preserve, which has benefited through the years from volunteer restoration and education programs,” said Pauline Sato, cofounder of the Malama Learning Center at Kapolei High School and vice president of Friends of Honouliuli. “We are excited by the opportunity to join all of the stakeholders in safeguarding this important environmental and cultural landscape for generations to come.”
The preserve also is home to dozens of threatened or endangered species and has a number of significant cultural sites, such as Pohakea Pass. Among the groups that volunteer to restore native plants at the preserve is the Kapolei Hawaiian Civic Club, which also testified in support of the acquisition.
Lea Hong, TPL’s Hawaiian Islands program director, said the nonprofit group raised $4.3 million to buy the land, with help from the Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Hawaii Legacy Land Conservation Fund.