Trust for Pub­lic Land trans­fers Honouli­uli Pre­serve to the state

MidWeek Islander (West Oahu) - - Front Page - By CAROL CHANG

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.

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