Process for NARS Designation

Eligible Lands

Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §195-4 (1) outlines how the Department of Land and Natural Resources has the power to and duty to:

(1) Designate and bring under its control and management, as part of the reserves system, any areas as follows:

(A) State owned land under the jurisdiction of the department may be set aside as a natural area reserve by resolution of the department, subject to the approval of the governor by executive order setting the land aside for that purpose;

(B) New natural area reserves may be established:

(i) By gift, devise, grant, reimbursement to cooperators, exchange, or purchase of land or any interest therein, including, but not limited to, conservation easements;

(ii) By eminent domain pursuant to chapter 101; or

(iii) By the setting aside of state owned land for that purpose by the governor, as provided in section 171-11;

Process for NARS Designation

Based on Hawai‘i Revised Statues §195, and the Management Policies of the Natural Area Reserves System, below is the Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) Nomination/Modification Process:

  1. Anyone (public or private) may submit a nomination to the Natural Area Reserves System Commission for consideration at any time. The Commission itself may prepare site nominations.
  2. These nominations are presented at regular (public) meetings of the Commission. These meetings are open to the public, where comments may be received in regards to these nominations.
  3. The NARS Commission forwards the proposals to the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) Administrator for staff review and comments.
  4. DOFAW will respond to the NARS Commission with a recommendation or comments within 90 days. If no recommendation is received within the allotted time period, the Commission will proceed with the review process.
  5. After receiving recommendations from DOFAW, if any, the Commission makes a decision as to whether to recommend to the governor and the department the proposal for inclusion of suitable areas within the reserves system. The Commission may decide to hold a public meeting on the island of the proposal to solicit public comment prior to making its recommendation.
  6. Upon recommendation by the Commission, staff prepares the nomination for public hearing. Staff publishes required legal notices in newspapers and circulates the nomination to interested parties. This phase may include an onsite visit to the proposed area by staff.
  7. A public hearing is held, preferably on the particular island where the proposed expansion area is located.
  8. Following the public hearing, comments are compiled and the nomination is prepared for submission to the Board.
  9. The nomination then goes before the Board of Land and Natural Resources for a resolution to designate the proposed area into the reserves system.
  10. Upon resolution by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, the proposed new Natural Area goes to the Governor for set aside by Executive Order into the Natural Area Reserves System.

Any changes to a Reserve, such as revocation or modification of the executive order that set aside lands for the reserves system also require a public hearing process before any action is taken.