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DLNR: Preservation planning begins for Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point

By Staff | Jan 31, 2019

The state is developing a management plan for Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point that will help guide the preservation of the area’s environmental, cultural and recreational resources. PHOTO BY DLNR.

WEST MAUI – In a recent press release, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced it “is in the process of developing a management plan for Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point on Maui’s west coast.”

Since the acquisition by the state in October 2014 of the 244-plus-acre parcel of land extending from Honolua Bay at its western boundary east to Honokohau Bay, between mile markers 32.5 and 36.5 on the makai side of Honoapiilani Highway, the focus has been about stewardship.

Tamara Paltin, now West Maui County Council member and perpetual Save Honolua Coalition advocate, then-summarized, “This is only the beginning for Maui. Our community will need to step up and work with the state on creating a sustainable, community-based management plan that respects Native Hawaiian practices and values and is inclusive of all stakeholders.

“We have come so far in the last eight years,” Paltin continued, “and I hope people will continue to work together in the best interests of Honolua and embrace the concept of stewardship over self-interest.”

John Summers of Planning Consultants Hawaii was engaged by the state to assist with the planning process and in the preparation of a management plan.

“The public meeting process is well underway,” he said.

“During the scoping report phase of the project, public input was collected by conducting in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, organizing and conducting stakeholder focus group meetings with key user groups, participating in a huakai with the area’s lineal descendants, hosting a community open house and conducting several agency meetings.”

According to the Honolua Bay/Lipoa Point Erosion and Sedimentation Stormwater Management Report (www.dropbox.com/sh/fecsvdjpnb5h8ev/AABG0lP2zaIyz3HLJt_T0g9Xa?dl=0), some of those meetings were held in July 2017.

The 37-page analysis is detailed and inspiring to all manner of persons spirited by the rugged northwest shoreline; it’s a compelling, almost quick read, encompassing the beauty with sweeping descriptions.

“Honolua Bay marks the western boundary of the project parcel. This bay is part of the Honolua-Mokuleia Bay Marine Life Conservation District. This bay is protected from the open ocean and the prevailing trade winds by steep cliffs to the east associated with Lipoa Point and by the rocky outcropping of Kalaepiha Point at the northeast terminus of Mokuleia Bay. It is flanked on either side by coral reefs playing host to abundant fish and other marine organisms. Honolua Stream, which is perennial, flows into the bay.”

“Moving east from Honolua Bay,” the report continues with the spectacular view: “sea cliffs rise to the large rock outcropping known as Lipoa Point. The relatively flat or gently sloping plateau south of Lipoa Point is known as Kulaokaea

“Pohakupule Gulch flanks the eastern portion of Kulaokaea. Pohakupule Stream has an ephemeral flow regime discharging on the western side of ‘Windmills Beach’ (also known as Keonehelele Beach or Keonehelele Beach). The beach has formed where the stream outfalls into the ocean and the sea cliffs associated with Lipoa Point and Kulaokaea recede away from the coastline briefly and become less steep.

“Aggregate reef, including scattered coral and rock line the coast beginning at the stream outfall and continuing east towards Keonehelele, where the sea cliffs resume their steep drop to the ocean.”

The Maui Environmental Consulting management study isn’t just about pretty; it delves into the minutiae, like land use classifications, sediment sources, field observations, water quality data, proposed management strategies, stakeholder proposed improvements, streams, and watersheds – a document well-placed in a Save Honolua Coalition advocate reference library.

A management plan, DLNR noted in the release, “will help guide the preservation of environment, cultural and recreational resources by balancing current and future uses of the area, along with practices to develop appropriate policies and actions.”

Currently; the project is in the research and information gathering stage.

“The second phase of the process (reviewing draft recommendations),” Summers advised, “will begin this spring and will include a series of working group meetings comprised of community stakeholders to vet the management plan’s draft recommendations. This will be followed by an additional community open house.”

Summers encourages engagement.

“We would like to thank those who have shared their time, support and input during the planning process. We invite the community to continue to participate in the crafting of the management plan over the next several months,” he said.

“Should the community have comments and suggestions, please send them to jsummers@planningconsultantshawaii.com.”