Hawai'i DLNR Meeting Regarding New Natural Area Reserve

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The Department of Land and Natural Resources will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, to receive public testimony on a proposed addition to the state Natural Area Reserve System.

The meeting will take place at the Kalanimoku state office building at 1151 Punchbowl St. in Honolulu, in the Land Board conference room 132.

DLNR is proposing to create the Poamoho Natural Area Reserve (NAR) within state-owned land that is currently part of the uppermost portion of the 'Ewa Forest Reserve (TMK 7-2-01). It is located above the 1,800 foot elevation between the Poamoho and Schofield-Waikane trails and bounded by the summit of the Ko'olau Mountains.

"The area proposed for the Poamoho Natural Area Reserve contains more than 25 rare and endangered plants and 17 rare or endangered animals," said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.

"Many of the are only found in the Ko'olau range and are perilously close to extinction from the impacts of invasive plants and animals. Because the biological wealth of Hawai'i is being depleted so rapidly, the Natural Area Reserve System seeks to protect the best remaining samples of our unique ecosystems, " the Thielen.

To the south of the proposed reserve is the O'ahu Forest National Wildlife Refuge, while to the north is the army-managed Kawailoa Training Area, which is owned by Kamehameha Schools.

Designation of a Poamoho Natural Area Reserve would add to a complex of protected areas managed primarily for the benefit of native communities that encompass a large percentage of northern Ko'olau Mountains.

The State of Hawai'i created the Natural Area Reserves System, or NARS, to preserve and protect representative samples of Hawaiian biological ecosystems and geological formations.

The proposed area contains hihg-quality native ecosystems that would be unique to the state Natrue Area Reserves System, and would be the only NAR in the Ko'olau range.

There are no immediate plans to change the current public/hunting access in the 'Ewa Forest Reserve and the proposed area if designated as a Natural Area Reserve.

Designation of a Poamoho Natural Area Reserve would recognize the extraordinary natural resources of Poamoho, and direct management of hte area to primarily protect the native ecosystems through activities such as surverying and preserving the rare plants and animals, as well as controlling weeds.

Additionally, the designated area will be managed to reduce game animal numbers in order to restore native habitats.

Copies of the draft nomination and a map of the area are available for inspection at the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife office at the Kalanimoku Building, Room 325, 1151 Punchbowl St. Honolulu, Hawai'i 96813.

Any person may testify or present information at the public hearing. Persons who plan to attend the meeting who require auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter) should request assistance 10 working days prior to the hearing by writing Emma Yuen, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Room 325, 1151 Punchbowl St. Honolulu, Hawai'i 96813; or calling (808) 587-4170.