National Park officials seek to restore native flora
Years of ranch use have caused the loss of native plants and habitat on the land that is now Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit.
Park officials are developing a restoration plan for the former ranch the park acquired in 2003. About 7,400 acres were used for cattle pastures, where grazing, mechanical clearing and thick pasture grass have supplanted native plants.
“Intensive efforts are needed to reintroduce native plants and could take decades to accomplish,” officials said in a public scoping notice, issued Tuesday, for the plan and an upcoming environmental assessment. “The park has already tested small-scale techniques to restore native species, including a koa seed germination project that shows potential to suppress the growth of pasture grass. Additional experiments are needed to determine the most effective techniques for this large landscape.”
Park resource managers found that stimulating koa germination “has the potential to suppress grass and facilitate restoration,” according to a plan website.
Anyone interested in commenting on the development of the restoration plan and environmental assessment can submit comments online at parkplanning.nps.gov/havo, or mail them to the park, Attn: Superintendent, P.O. Box 52, Hawaii NP, HI 96718-0052. Comments must be received by Sept. 10.