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UPDATES ON MAUI CONSERVATION ISSUES- July -September 2011
Ma’alaea Harbor Expansion: Work has begin on much needed repairs to the harbor’s docks, roads, electric system and public facilities. A burial was recently disturbed during the excavations, but work appears to be resumed.
North Shore Heritage Park & Hookipa Expansion: Summer waves have severely impacted both Baldwin Beach Park, where the comfort station is now removed due to undercutting. More trees are at risk of loss along the shore. A&B has reportedly sold off over 1000 acres from Maliko Gulch east to Haiku, will the Baldwin Beach park lands be a bargaining chip for a future Upcountry development project? County Council review of the Maui Island Plan is slow. Important decisions re: maps may not be made until November, 2011.
East Maui Streams: Huelo residents who were promised partial restoration of three streams are calling on the water commission to move forward to implement that decision on Hanehoi and Puolua stream. Citizens continue to call for better management of the watersheds below 3000’ elevation where much of 65 billion gallons a year of surface water is collected and diverted to Central Maui. These watershed are being slowly consumed by invasive species.
Maui’s Future Water: A new “grassroots” organization, “Hui o Na Wai” apparently connected with A&B and the visitor industry, is calling for water for Maui’s future, citing an available figure of over 420 mgd of groundwater available. The organization’s brochure does not mention that 2/3’s of that water capacity has no verification at all and is located in remote East Maui and that the County Water Use Plan rated East Maui water sources the most expensive alternative to develop.
Na Wai Eha Stream Restoration:
Final briefs for what promises to be an historic Hawaii Supreme Court case were filed in early September by Earthjustice on behalf of Hui o Na Wai Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation. The groups are agreeing with dissenting water commissioner Larry miike and appealing the Commission’s 2010 decision to restore only 14 mgd of water to two Na Wai Eha streams. Left out were Iao and Waikapu streams. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case a few months ago.
Water Use and Development Plan (WUDP): Maui County water department put on a presentation for Council Water Resources Committee members recently. The County is working on 18 -20 viable sources of new water, but warns that rated for both new meters and service will need to be raised if customers expect the department to maintain and improve the system. A final proposal will go to the County in November for budget consideration.
Hamakuapoko Wells: Council Water Resources chair Victorino introduced a bill to override the Council’s previous decision banning human use of the 2 wells. The Arakawa administration in the past, has expressed a desire to swap the well output for more EMI stream water. The wells pump from an aquifer and is considered limited in fresh water output, besides having ag chemicals DBCP, EDB, TCP, Atrazine and others at levels exceeding state standards. Decisions are being made as we go to press. Updates: maui-tomorrow.org.
Sustainable Ag: School and community garden programs are expanding on Maui. UH-Maui College is launching a large garden by early 2012. Hana has a 10 acre garden/farm up and running and more communities are getting involved every day.
Maui Group was pleased to see the footprint of the proposed Auwahi windfarm on Ulupalakua ranch lands: reduced by half, while output remained virtually the same. This spares impacts on many cultural sites and native plant habitat areas. MG offered comments on the windfarm’s Habitat Conservation Plan for endangered species on the site, that were generally very positive.
MG did comment on the need to protect an important boundary wall in the Makena Resort area, where the windfarm transport road travels. MG also suggested that where ever possible, following construction, the temporary affected area will be restored and planted with native vegetation and asked that water from any onsite well in the windfarm site be made available to the HHL community in Kahikinui, if they agreed.
Maui County has issued contracts to private sector partners to provide renewable energy installations at numerous county facilities. Negotiations with the local utility (MECO) are ongoing to boost the amount of clean power that can be accepted in the grid from these installations.
HECO has pledged to have alternative energy make up 40 percent of its electricity production by 2030, however, it continues to see palm oil as part of the mix. HECO, has imported 1.6 million gallons of palm oil to conduct a 'test phase' – in two O’ahu generators. Palm oil plantations have been linked to deforestation and land-grabbing in Southeast Asia and West Africa, and more climate change. For updates: http://www.rainforest- rescue.org
Ma’alaea Mauka Development: Judge Loo upheld a challenge by Ma’alaea Community Association and Maui Tomorrow to the EIS for the proposed 1000 unit development across from the Maui aquarium. The project developers had asked the Judge to reverse the earlier decision. Developers have told community members that they now intend to use the land for large ag lots, rather than issue a Supplemental EIS addressing the project’s fresh water source and sewage treatment.
Haleakala Solar Telescope (ATST): The Board of Land and Natural Resources held an August hearing on Kilakila o Haleakala’ appeal of BLNR acceptance of project’s Conservation Use Permit. The 14 story high projects promises good high tech jobs, but has not found a way to address concerns of many noted hawaiian cultural practitioners who feel more industrial scale installations on a sacred site is disrespectful. For updates <http://kilakila.org
Regulation of Aquarium Fish: Efforts continue to pass statewide regulations to stop the senseless plunder of our native fish. For updates: savehawaiianreefs.org
Wastewater Injection Wells: Maui Group, Hawaii Wildlife Fund, Surfrider foundation and West maui preservation Association represented by Earth Justice, sent the EPA a notice of intent to file suit regarding Clean Water Act violations at the Lahaina Wastewater Treatment Plant. EPA, County and the plaintiffs are in discussions over the County’s efforts to obtain a federal discharge permit (NPDES) for the facility that will set levels to reduce discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus and help keep reefs healthy.
REdirect) coalition to support funding for county upgrades for sewage treatment and delivery systems to stop wasting treated water. Council Member Cochran recently was able to keep funds in the County budget for upgrades in Lahaina and Kahaului facilities that will allow more reuse. Cochran has also introduced bills to the Council’s Infrastructure committee, which she chairs, to support a transition to greater re-use of this valuable resource.
A&B’s Waiale Development: MG offered extensive comments on the Waiale DEIS, which was missing essential information on a reliable water source; sewage treatment; monitoring for hazardous waste areas on, and surrounding the site; and presence of traditional burials in sand dune areas slated for future high density development. The 2500-3000 units on 545 acres that includes an ancient burial grounds and historic battleground, needs another site plan. The Draft Maui Island Plan proposes a large open space to protect dunes, burials and cultural sites. The A&B plan protects nearly 100 already disturbed burials on site, but leaves other likely burial areas at high risk of destruction in the proposed urban development area. MG supports the MIP plan version.
Honolua Bay Development: Efforts continue to place a protective easement on, or purchase Lipoa Point, Honolua shoreline and surrounding watershed areas. Cleanups, plantings, reef monitoring and educational events are ongoing at this popular Bay. For updates, go to: http:// www.savehonolua.org/ or contact Les Potts: email@example.com
Wailea 670: Now more than ever, we need protection for the nearly 2,500 native wiliwili trees and the rare and beautiful awikiwiki plant (recently named a candidate for endangered species listing) found on these rugged lava lands above Wailea golf course. Awikiwiki on nearby public lands have been decimated by feral goats. USFWS and State wildlife biologists support a minimum 130 acre preserve at wailea 670. Currently, the Honua’ula developer is proposing 40 acres on site and other areas offsite. What does this unique section of Maui’s most endangered native ecosystem deserve? For updates and photos and petition: go to SaveMakena.org
Makena Resort Rezoning: New Makena investors have been quiet. Another stakeholders meeting was expected by this summer, but, a date has not been announced. Will new owners ask the county council to modify unilateral conditions of rezoning citing expense of requirements to provide infrastructure, marine monitoring and park planning? MG will continue to monitor plans for this environmentally and culturally important area surrounding our state park at Makena.