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Conservation & Community

Pacific Missile Range Facility and Kōkeʻe Park Geophysical Observatory Real Estate Environmental Impact Statement

The Navy at PMRF takes great pride in its role as caretakers of the cultural and natural resources entrusted to it.

The Navy believes it is the responsibility of all personnel, all commands, and all contractors to help protect Hawaiʻi’s environment. The Navy strives to comply with environmental requirements and protect and preserve natural and cultural resources with which it is entrusted.

Over its 65-year history at PMRF, the Navy has established many successful stewardship programs. Conservation management of natural and cultural resources is a priority for both stewardship and mission readiness. This includes activities such as protecting the endangered Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), protected birds to include the Nene Hawaiian goose, wetlands, precontact archaeological sites, iwi kūpuna (ancestral remains), and historic buildings and structures. The Navy also protects natural and cultural resources, including native Hawaiian sacred resources.

PMRF’s awareness of the importance of Native Hawaiian cultural values is embodied in PMRF’s slogan: E Pane Mai Ka Nonoi O Nohili – Answering the Requests of Nohili.

The table below (Table 1) lists Navy funded and managed natural and cultural programs on State lands.  

Table 1       Navy Programs on State Lands  

Program Description 
Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Projects 

Mitigation for the effects of sea level rise on agricultural land on the Mānā Plain by: 

  • creating an open floodable space to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff discharged from agricultural drainage ditches into the nearshore environment at PMRF; 
  • reducing the threat that erosion poses to PMRF infrastructure; and 
  • promoting the regeneration of historic wetland habitat for endemic and endangered Hawaiian waterbirds.
PMRF Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP)  General natural resource management that includes erosion management, invasive plant management, native plant management, federally listed plant species management (at Mākaha Ridge), wildland fire management, general nuisance and invasive animal management, special-status species management, terrestrial invertebrate and pollinator management, data collection, database and records management, outdoor recreation, and natural resources awareness, education, and training. 
PMRF Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan (ICRMP) 

Cultural resource management, including implementation of the cultural resources management program and oversight of all cultural resource operations and activities at the range. 

Nohili Dunes, at the Main Base, is a spiritual place for Native Hawaiians where their ancestors were buried as an ascending point to lani, or heaven. The Navy, in collaboration with Na ʻOhana Papa O Mana, respectfully re-inters exposed remains in the Lua Kupapau O Nohili (crypt) located on base. See this link for more details: Lua Kupapaʻu O Nohili Crypt Preserves, Protects & Honors Iwi Kūpuna on Kauaʻi – Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation
Agricultural Preservation Initiative  Ensures agricultural land areas surrounding the installation remain in agricultural use, which is compatible with PMRF operations. 

Legend: ICRMP = Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plan; INRMP = Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan;
              PMRF = Pacific Missile Range Facility; REPI = Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration 

Examples of Navy environmental stewardship activities that occur on leased and easement lands at PMRF and KPGO include: 

  • Responding to requests from individuals and organizations for public access and for cultural access. 
  • Maintaining ungulate exclusion fencing for erosion control at Mākaha Ridge. 
  • Out-planting and managing native plants in areas identified as having erosion and soil compaction issues. 
  • Improving and protecting habitat for the federally endangered Niʻihau panicgrass (Panicum niihauense) and Hawaiian picture-wing fly (Drosophila musaphilia and sharpi). 
  • Continuing predator control to protect Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)-listed species including Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis). 
  • Working with the PMRF Archery Club to control ungulate populations at the Kamokalā Ridge site. 
  • Conducting observations to identify feral cat use at Kamokalā Ridge (with possibility of expanding cat trapping if necessary). 
  • Removing deadfall in high-risk fire areas including near the Main Base missile launch site and the Kamokalā Ridge Magazines and replanting with native, low fire risk species. 
  • Coordinating with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), PMRF Air Operations, and PMRF Public Works to update and implement nēnē (Branta sandvicensis) management procedures.

In 2023, the Department of Defense Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program awarded $5.29 million to natural resource conservation projects on Kaua‘i. Approximately $26.7 million was awarded for all of Hawai‘i.