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Increased Protection of Papohaku Dunes

DLNR News Release
The Papohaku Dune System in west Molokai has been identified as an important natural and cultural resource of the State of Hawaii. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) will hold a public hearing on Molokai on May 10 regarding a proposed subzone amendment to increase the level of protection for the dune system.

The public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10 at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center.

OCCL is proposing to change the state land use conservation district subzone of tax map key (TMK): (2) 5-1-006:156 at Papohaku Beach, Kaluakoi, from the general subzone to the protective subzone.
Hawaii’s dune systems harbor important native plant and animal species and serve as storm buffers from normal seasonal high waves and episodic high tide events. The proposed subzone amendment was a recommendation that formed out of the Papohaku Dunes Cultural and Natural Resource Preservation Plan, which suggests that the current subzone designation is insufficient to provide for the effective preservation of the dune system and its culturally significant shrines, burial sites, fragile ecosystem and unique geomorphology.

The protective subzone designation is recommended as it provides the highest preservation potential for sensitive natural ecosystems that contain valuable historic, archeological and natural resource features such as the Papohaku Dunes. This designation of the Papohaku Dune area is consistent with the objective of the Conservation District Protective Subzone, which is “to protect valuable natural and cultural resources in designated areas such as restricted watersheds, marine, plant, and wildlife sanctuaries, significant historic, archeological, geological, and volcanological features and sites, and other designated uses.”

The proposed amendment to Hawaii Administrative Rule Chapter 13-5 may be found online at the OCCL’s website at hawaii.gov/dlnr/occl.  Persons unable to attend the hearing may send written testimony no later than May 31 to Alex.J.Roy@hawaii.gov  or by mail to Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at P.O. Box 621 Honolulu, HI 96809. For more information, call (808) 587-0316.