A final Environmental Assessment (EA) found no significant impacts for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead Settlement in Waimea, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) reports.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission accepted the final EA at its July 2020 meeting and the EA has been published with the Office of Environmental Quality Control. The review showed no significant adverse effects on the natural or human environment.
The Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan focuses on the development of a Kuleana Homestead on the mauka Waimea lands. Planning for Pu‘u ‘Ōpae began with the 2011 DHHL West Kauaʻi Regional Plan, which identified the development of an agricultural and water plan for the restoration and use of the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae area as a Priority Project.
The land was selected as an ideal location for Kuleana Homesteading as a result of constraints due to the physical characteristics of the land, including topography, drainage, accessibility, proximity to water, wildfire risk, proximity to natural and cultural resources, and beneficiary preferences for lot size and configuration.
The project area consists of approximately 1,421 acres, 231 acres of which are under DHHL License No. 816 by the Kekaha Hawaiian Homestead Association (KHHA).
In 2012, KHHA was granted a Right of Entry to begin land management and maintenance activities at Pu‘u ‘Ōpae. They also began preparing a master plan for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Farm and Irrigation Project to begin implementing the West Kauai Regional Plan priority project goals. KHHA’s 231 acres currently under license within the Puʻu ʻŌpae are planned for community agriculture, food production, and educational programs.
The Kuleana Homestead Program is intended to rehabilitate native Hawaiians by providing opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-determination, as such, raw land will be offered to beneficiaries to live on, grow food to sustain their family, and utilize for economic purposes.
Beneficiaries receiving an offer for Kuleana Homestead lots will agree to accept unimproved land in “as-is” condition. Infrastructure such as water, sewage, and electricity will not be provided. It is also beneficiary responsibility to maintain and upkeep the homestead tract’s rights-of-way, management of wildfire risks, and the preservation of significant historical and biological resources. Participation in the Kuleana Homestead Association will also be expected to develop rules and agreements that will formalize individual and community management responsibilities.
More information about the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan can be found online on the Department’s website at dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/kauai.