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June 28, 2016

OFFICE OF MAUNAKEA MANAGEMENT HONORED WITH ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD
 
OMKM is this year's recipient of the Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Pualu Award for Environmental Awareness. This award recognizes organizations that exhibit sensitivity and concern for the environment through innovative environmental practices.
 
"Pualu means to work together. The Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce bestowed the environmental award on the Office of Maunakea Management for its longstanding and ongoing stewardship commitment on Maunakea. We were not only impressed with OMKM's environmental initiatives and actions, but also with its collaboration with the community on volunteer programs and innovative efforts to make substantive changes in behavior by starting to educate young people in elementary schools across the island," said Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kirstin Kahaloa.

Chamber Chair Dale Suezaki, OMKM's Fritz Klasner and Stephanie Nagata and Kona Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kirstin Kahaloa
Governor David Ige and Fritz Klasner
The Office of Maunakea Management was established to provide dedicated Hawaii Island community based management of the natural, cultural and scientific resources on 12,000 acres of managed lands on Maunakea. Its mission is to "achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural, and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy."
 
Achieving harmony, balance and trust is challenging given wide-ranging environmental, cultural, research and community interests coupled with the turbulence witnessed over the past year. Through it all, OMKM continued to initiate and execute management programs to protect and preserve the unique biological and geographical resources under the University of Hawaii's care.
 
One example of why the Office of Maunakea Management was selected for the Pualu Award for Environmental Awareness is illustrated by its sensitivity and concern for the wekiu bug.

Prior to OMKM's establishment in 2000, little information existed on the wekiu bug, a species found only in the summit region of Maunakea. In 1999, the bug was listed as a candidate for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. OMKM launched a full scale effort, including annual surveys and ongoing research to learn more about the bug. The result of these efforts combined with OMKM's Comprehensive Management Plan and Natural Resources Management Plan resulted in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removing the bug as a candidate species. USFWS citing ongoing monitoring, expanded knowledge of the bug's habitat range and management plans "has precluded the need to list this species."

OMKM launched its volunteer program in 2012 by inviting the community to participate in the stewardship of Maunakea by spending a Saturday pulling weeds. Volunteers pull weeds, are given a short natural history tour, followed by lunch and a lecture about Maunakea.
 
Nearly 1,000 individuals have volunteered during 37 weed pulls culminating in over 7,000 volunteer hours and 1,523 bags of invasive weeds pulled. Community volunteers have also helped with replanting the endangered ahinahina (silversword) in the adjacent Mauna Kea Forest Reserve.
 
"Ensuring that the rare and often fragile natural resources found within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve are protected will have a profound and positive effect on the community today and for generations to come," said OMKM's Director Stephanie Nagata.
 
OMKM continues to demonstrate its commitment through documented actions in the implementation of programs and management actions to preserve and protect the unique resources under its care.

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ABOUT     

The Office of Maunakea Management is charged with day-to-day management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Maunakea.

 

Meetings and public hearings spanning a period of nearly two years went into the formulation of the Master Plan, which established management guidelines for the next 20 years. The Master Plan reflected the community's deeply rooted concerns over the use of Maunakea, including respect for Hawaiian cultural beliefs, protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, recreational use of the mountain, and astronomy research.   

  

It places the focus of responsibility with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). The UH-Hilo Chancellor established the Office of Maunakea Management and the Board of Regents established the Maunakea Management Board in the fall of 2000. The Maunakea Management Board in turn formed Kahu Ku Mauna, a council comprised of Hawaiian cultural resource persons to serve as advisors.
OMKM Mission

To achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.

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