by Department of Land and Natural Resources
HONOLULU – The Department of Land and Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Division (DLNR-SHPD) has launched a pilot project that will help to ensure historic and cultural sites on Hawaii Island are being preserved for future generations.
The project focuses on archaeological or non-burial cultural sites that were formally designated for preservation during the development process. Once preservation plans are approved during the Chapter 6E review process, SHPD is responsible for ensuring that they are implemented correctly. Inspection of designated preservation areas is mandated in Hawai‘i Administrative Rules governing archaeological site preservation (13§13-277-6).
According to SHPD Archaeology Branch Chief Theresa Donham, “After hearing testimony on the state plan, it was clear that the public expects state monitoring of preserved sites. We agree and are shifting priorities to make sure this happens,” said Donham.
William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson said, ““This is a pilot project that will be duplicated on the other islands, once it is set up and tested on Hawaii Island. This shows renewed commitment to strengthening the functions of SHPD and that significant progress has been made to meet goals set by the National Parks Service for program accreditation.”
The time-consuming work of compiling a database of all accepted preservation plans and preserved non-burial sites for Hawaii Island was recently completed by University of Hawai‘i Hilo student Josephine Buck, who is doing a four-month internship at SHPD in exchange for college credits, under the oversight of UHH archaeology professor Dr. Peter Mills. “Without Josey’s assistance, we would not have been able to get this program off the ground,” said Donham.
SHPD will be sending letters to property owners with (non-burial) preservation sites, requesting approval to visit the sites listed in the preservation plans. The date and time of visits will be arranged with property owners or their representatives. “We hope that persons with preservation sites take advantage of this program to consult with us on issues or questions they have regarding their preservation plans,” said Donham. Property owners who have sites on their property protected under preservation plans, easements or covenants are welcome to call SHPD to arrange a site visit prior to receiving a request letter.
Please contact SHPD archaeologist Sean Naleimaile at (808) 933-7651 or email Sean.P.Naleimaile@Hawaii.gov to arrange a site visit. If you have questions about this program, contact Theresa Donham at Theresa.K.Donham@Hawaii.gov or (808) 933-7653. Property owners may also stop by the SHPD office in person; the Hilo branch office is located at 40 Pookela Street in Hilo.