UH Board of Regents approves updated Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan
The Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) 2022 Supplement for University of Hawaiʻi managed lands on Maunakea was approved by the UH Board of Regents (BOR) at its May 19 monthly meeting at Honolulu Community College. The CMP supplement will now be submitted to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) for final approval.
The CMP is used to manage multiple uses and activities on the 11,288 acres of state conservation land on Maunakea leased to UH in order to protect and conserve the mauna’s natural and cultural resources. The CMP supplement approved by the BOR amends and updates two of seven sections (Management Environment and Management Component Plans sections) of the CMP approved by the BOR and BLNR in 2009.
[The Comprehensive Management Plan 2022 Supplement can be viewed here, click on BOR agenda item VII. E]
Before the plan was presented, UH President David Lassner explained why the university was proceeding even though the legislature recently passed a bill, HB2024, that, if enacted, would end UH stewardship of the mauna and create a new management authority.
“The University of Hawaiʻi would still be responsible to care for Maunakea under that bill until 2028,” said Lassner, noting that the measure could still be vetoed. “This update to the Comprehensive Management Plan supports continuing improvement in our stewardship. We need to care for the mauna and people on the mauna to the very best of our abilities for as long as it is our responsibility.”
The CMP is required by BLNR to satisfy the requirement for a “comprehensive management plan” as required by Chapter 13-5, Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules, which regulates land uses in the conservation district. The updated CMP was finalized after substantial public input from the community as well as several Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) divisions including the State Historic Preservation Division, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.
“The Comprehensive Management Plan is the heart of UH’s stewardship,” said Greg Chun, the Executive Director of the UH Hilo Center for Maunakea Stewardship (CMS) when he presented the item. “Our people live, breathe and act on it every single day. And as a result, the mauna and all those who practice and work there, whether cultural practitioners or astronomers, are protected. None of it could be done without the incredible people that we have on our team.”
Chun said that many of CMS’s programs were a result of the CMP including the Maunakea Rangers, invasive species management, native species monitoring, native plant restoration, habitat monitoring and research, community outreach and educational signage.
Before the regents voted on the plan, Vice Chair Alapaki Nahale-a, who is a Hawaiʻi County regent, said Maunakea has been a challenging issue for him personally. “When I started as a Regent, I could not say that I was proud of the way UH managed Maunakea because, a) I did not know of the things we did so I couldn’t honestly say I was proud and b) there were things I had questions and concerns with,” said Nahale-a. “But I can sit here today and say I am very proud of the way the university stewards Maunakea. I think we have done a lot of things to really embrace that responsibility and that we are a better steward today than we were two, three years ago, without question.”
The Regents approved the motion to approve the CMP supplement and send it to BLNR with nine votes in favor and two members excused.