Proposed Waikolu-Puʻu Aliʻi Fence Project on Molokaʻi Surfaces for Discussion
By Maui Now Staff
An informational meeting is planned on Monday, June 29, 2015, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Kalanianaʻole Hall in Kaunakakai to discuss a proposed fencing and management project in the Waikolu Valley and Puʻu Aliʻi Natural Area Reserve areas.
The fence project is proposed to protect the natural resources of the Pu‘u Ali‘i Natural Area Reserve, while improving hunting opportunities within the Moloka‘i Forest Reserve hunting units
State officials say the fence will help to prevent entry of pigs, goats and deer into the NAR and help to prevent erosion into nearshore waters, protect fisheries and water supplies, and conserve native Hawaiian plants and wildlife.
The meeting will be hosted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
Scott Fretz, DOFAW Maui District Manager issued a statement saying, “By placing the fence along the steep ridge of Waikolu Valley we are hoping to reduce the movement of game mammals into the valley and beyond, where they impact natural resources and are less accessible to hunters. So in addition to protecting the sensitive resources of the NAR, we are expecting this fence to improve hunting in the Forest Reserve.”
He continued saying, “We have excellent hunter check station data from those hunting units so we will continue to collect that data and monitor future trends in hunter success.”
James Espaniola, a DOFAW field technician on Molokaʻi, will lead the project and is scouting potential fence locations and discussing the proposal with individuals and community groups. In a department announcement he said, “We’ve had several small informational discussions with local groups such as the Aha Kiole and the response has been generally positive, so we would like to hold a larger meeting for anyone who’s interested to learn about this and to share their thoughts with us.”
Puʻu Aliʻi lies between Pelekunu and Waikolu Valleys. Established in 1985, the Pu‘u Ali‘i NAR is a representative portion of the Molokaʻi summit. Its wet plateau supports a diversity of native plants and animals and is an important part of Moloka‘i’s watershed. The fence will run approximately six miles, along the rim of Waikolu and protect just over 2,100 acres.