|OMKM's Successful Management of Maunakea's Cultural and Natural Resources
The Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) has been mission driven since our formation in 2000 to protect, preserve and enhance Maunakea's cultural and natural resources. The successful management of such an immense, diverse and remote acreage on Maunakea is the result of purposeful research, resource monitoring programs, and development of and implementation of resource protection plans through a process involving both native Hawaiian consultation and the Hawaii Island community.
The Maunakea Comprehensive Management Plan, together with the natural resources and cultural resources management, public access and decommissioning plans, guides our organization in the development and implementation of management initiatives to protect these resources.
Compendiums to these plans include a State Historic Preservation Division approved Burial Treatment Plan and an award-winning Long-term Monitoring Plan. These plans call for annual assessment of archeological sites on UH's managed lands on Maunakea and provide guidance for the protection of burials.
One of OMKM's priorities early on was to identify the resources on Maunakea, establishing baseline data from which to assess the status of the natural and cultural resources over time. OMKM has established baseline data for archaeological sites, botanical resources, arthropods including the wēkiu bug, climate, and erosion processes on the mountain.
Management and Stewardship Practices
OMKM has arguably Hawaii's most stringent invasive species prevention program and actively executes practices to prevent the introduction of unwanted and destructive species.
Numerous studies of the much discussed wekiu bug have been conducted and funded by OMKM including: a study of the bug's life history; characterization and mapping of its habitat; habitat restoration; and how weather and terrain influence the distribution of the wēkiu's food. OMKM's funded research revealed the wekiu bug's habitat was much larger than originally thought and the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved UH management plans providing measures to protect the bug helped persuade the US Fish & Wildlife Service to delist it as a candidate for Federal protection.
A 50-year horizon climate model was developed to help OMKM evaluate potential impacts on the summit ecosystem and provide a basis for future management actions. OMKM is participating in the development of a sea-level to summit weather monitoring network that will help to monitor climate change.
A major part of OMKM's management is the ranger program. Rangers interact with visitors providing them with information about the significance of Maunakea and how to visit the mountain safely, responsibly and respectfully. They are the first to respond to the aid of visitors and as
sist in the coordination of emergency responses.
OMKM could not have advanced its mission without the Hawai
i Island community volunteers who serve on the Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Ku Mauna Council. We can't thank them enough for giving of their time and providing input and wise counsel. Local community oversight and guidance are critical to OMKM's successful stewardship of Maunakea.
Management and stewardship practices on Maunakea have progressed significantly. The bygone days of nonchalant supervision of one of Hawai
Island's most valuable resources were put to rest when OMKM, Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Ku Mauna took over management. It's time to quiet the outdated voices of times past and celebrate the vision, commitment and successes of nearly 20 years of dedicated management of Maunakea.
In 2016 OMKM was honored with a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce (KKCC) Environmental Awareness Pualu Award for its outstanding work in protecting and preserving Maunakea's unique natural resources through innovative environmental practices. This year OMKM was bestowed with KKCC's Culture & Heritage Pualu Award for preservation initiatives and a Historic Hawaii Foundation Preservation Commendation for our Long-term Historic Property Monitoring Plan.
With a recognized track record, it is indeed gratifying that OMKM is being recognized for great cultural and environmental management. Managing 12,000 acres in a rugged mountain environment is challenging, but OMKM has proven time and again it is up to the task.