Hilo Forest Reserve is growing! … and with a 5 mile/$300,000 fence crossing Pu’u O’o trail.

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From the Office of Environmental Quality Control “The Environmental Notice” published 5/8/11. Hilo Forest Reserve Fencing Project (FEA)

The Environmental Notice 5/8/11

Status: Finding of No Significant Impact. There is no comment period

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife has identified the need to construct a cattle fence and access road within a proposed State Forest Reserve. This project would prevent cattle encroachment into the proposed Forest Reserve and would reduce consequent adverse impacts. The fence and access roadway corridor bounds a parcel that has been subdivided from its parent parcel and is currently being processed for addition to the Hilo Forest Reserve by DLNR. The access road would allow for fence construction and maintenance, DLNR resource management efforts, and future public access for hunting and other activities.
An archaeological survey and a cultural assessment have determined that no significant historic sites or cultural resources are present; if archaeological resources are encountered during land-altering activities associated with construction, work in the immediate area of the discovery will be halted and the State Historic Preservation Division will be contacted. Potential water quality impacts due to erosion and sedimentation would be minimized through implementation of a soil conservation plan. No federally listed plant or animal species have been identified within the fence and access road corridor. Other impacts are expected to be negligible or beneficial to the environment.

Draft Environmental Assessment: 2011-02-23-HA-DEA-Hilo-Forest-Reserve-Fencing

Final Environmental Assessment: 2011-05-08-HA-FEA-Hilo-Forest-Reserve-Fencing

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was prepared for the Saddle Road (US DOT 1997) that details archaeological, historic, and traditional cultural resources for the area. A total of 16 archaeological sites were identified during survey efforts comprised of 13 newly identified sites and 3 previously known sites. Two of these resources, the Pu’u O’o – Volcano and the Hilo – Pu’u O’o Trails may intersect the fence corridor. These trails were both  constructed in the 20th century for transporting sheep and cattle and are eligible for inclusion to the National Register of Historic Places….

While the FEA mentions historic trails it does not say how the integrity of the Pu’u O’o and other trails will be maintained or enhanced. The $300,000 project is being funded with ARRA Federal Grant money (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) and State funds. We didn’t know about this, but I hope the Na Ala Hele Advisory Council is on top of it.

Maps and pictures of the site:

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