What this means in layman’s terms is that a couple landowners near Oneloa “Big” Beach in the MĀkena State Park were asking to be able to build more houses than current land use designation permits.
We support keeping the zoning surrounding MĀkena State Park in low-density designation such as agriculture. Oneloa Beach across the street from this property in question is an excellent nesting beach and critically important habitat for our native species of turtle—the hawksbill. This turtle, which has special meaning to the native culture, is called honu‘ea in Hawaiian. It is endemic to our state, meaning that we’re not going to get any outside recruits from anywhere else, so we have to mĀlama the ones we have here in Hawai‘i nei.
One thing to note about these turtles is that they return to nest in the area near their natal beach, where they were born on 15 to 40 years before. These beaches were not so built up back then! That is the reason Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund exists—to give Hawai‘i’s marine animals a leg up in life, since their habitat has been so dramatically changed over the years. We are in support of keeping the land surrounding the park as unchanged as possible.
Also, nearby ‘Āhihi-Kīna‘u Natural Area Reserve is one of the few places in Hawai‘i that has a relatively healthy coral reef ecosystem, which is becoming more and more rare these days. One theory is the lack of development surrounding the reserve because of the amount of dry lava around this area, which makes it hard to build, and the low-density land designations protecting the area. This is a great place for visitors and locals alike to snorkel and see a proliferation of green sea turtles.