From: Lee Altenberg 
Date: March 17, 2004 11:50:49 PM HST
To: JoAnne Johnson 
Subject: Re: Makena forest resources

Dear JoAnne,

Thanks much for your query.  Here is the condition that I recommend.  
Without these conditions, a rezoning will be effectively a death 
warrant for any remnant forest in the Makena Resort property.  And 
there are remnants, but no one knows their extent at this point.  
There may be endangered species there, but it is unknown.  The County 
Council can't properly decide to allow development without knowing 
what biological resources may be destroyed.

Conditions on any rezoning of Makena Resort Corp. property:

1)  A thorough flora and fauna survey should be conducted during the 
months of January through April, by recognized independent experts on 
Hawaiian biota, listing all endemic and indigenous species and their 
distribution on the property.

2) All areas with remnant native forest, including any groves of 
wiliwili trees, should be protected by the most appropriate means:
  --- Removed from the rezoning request;
  --- Rezoned as Conservation District;
  --- Protected by conservation easements;
  --- Set aside as park, taking priority over land that would be 
artificial, lawn-centered park;
  --- Donated to an appropriate entity for preservation, as was done 
with One Palauea Bay and the University of Hawaii.

3) Makena Resort Corp. should work with one or more organizations 
involved with conserving native species to develop a biologically 
sound plan for preserving its forest resources:
  --- The Maui Nui Botanical Garden,
  --- The Native Hawaiian Plant Society,
  --- The US Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division.


From a biologist's perspective, nothing could be more perverse than 
destroying remnants of the real Hawaii---a critically endangered 
ecosystem---and replacing them with a fake Hawaiian landscape made up 
of alien species that you see in the real estate magazines.

These remnant native forests should be cherished, restored, and made 
accessible to the public.  Furthermore, developers need to learn how 
to market these unique and irreplaceable assets instead of bulldozing 
them.  They need to design their building plans to integrate the 
forest remnants, including paths and walks through them.

Maui suffers from an inaccessibility of its native forests to the 
population.  Because the vast majority of Maui residents have never 
been in a native forest, they do not make their preservation a 

The wonderful thing about the remnant native forests in Makena is that 
they are within a population center, a situation almost unique for 
Maui.  Therefore, they deserve the highest priority for preservation, 
restoration, and public access.

I sincerely hope that the County Council will act on these 
recommendations, and not allow these irreplaceable natural resources 
to be thoughtlessly destroyed.

Best regards,
	Dr. Lee Altenberg

   Lee Altenberg, Ph.D.
   Associate Professor, Information and Computer Sciences
   University of Hawai`i at Manoa
   Phone:   (808) 875-0745,  Fax: call to arrange