Resource land acquisition plans and priorities in the State of Hawai‘i

State plans, county plans, and other projects that indicate priorities or policies for the acquisition of lands for the purpose of resource protection are listed below.

  1. County Plans & Priorities (listed by county)
  2. State Plans & Priorities (listed by State agency)
  3. Other Plans & Priorities (listed by organization or agency)

                                                                                                                                                                  Please note that this page is a work in progress, and may not contain a comprehensive listing of all relevant plans. Comments and suggested additions are welcome via email.


1. County Plans & Priorities


County of Hawai‘i

Hawai‘i County General Plan: Provides the legal basis for all subdivision, zoning and related ordinances for the County of Hawai‘i. It contains Historic, Natural Beauty, Natural Resources, Recreation, Land Use sections and several relevant maps and tables.

Community Development Plans (CDP): In conformance with the General Plan requirements, Steering Committees are formed to provide guidance and input throughout the CDP process.

Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission: This Commission develops two prioritized lists of lands for potential acquisition funding from the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund. It ranks potential county acquisitions and possible partnerships with the State or nonprofit organizations.

Hawai’i Land Use Regulatory System: A summary of how land use in Hawai’i is regulated, including both state and county land uses.

County of Maui

Maui County General Plan: The principal tool for the county in evaluating public and private projects and their impacts on land use, the economy, environment, infrastructure, and cultural resources. It contains Population, Land use, the Environment and Cultural Resources sections.

Community Plans: Nine community plans have been adopted by the Maui County Council. These plans establish the goals, objectives, policies, and implementing actions for each district, and include revised land use designations.

Open Space, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, and Scenic Views Preservation Fund: No associated planning or prioritizing. Grants from this fund are considered by the Budget and Finance Committee and awarded by the County Council.

Shoreline Access Points Study: Lists specific parcels that have value as shoreline access points in a spreadsheet format.

Pali to Puamana Parkway ProjectAims to realign the Honoapiilani Highway mauka-ward to reduce shoreline erosion and preserve park and open space areas along the corresponding section of the West Maui shoreline. The final plan will include intended acquisitions of parks and open space.

County of Kaua‘i

Kaua‘i General Plan: A document that contains policies to guide the future physical development of the county and guides land regulation amendments and the review of specific zoning amendment and development applications. Includes Park Site needs, Land use maps, and Heritage maps.

Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Commission: This Commission develops an annual list of recommended priorities of lands or property entitlements to be acquired or for the funding of projects directly related to the act, and to incorporate a countywide community input process into development of this annual list.

City and County of Honolulu

O‘ahu General Plan: Guides long-term development in the City and County of Honolulu. Contains Culture and Recreation, Natural Environment sections.

Sustainable Communities Plans: The eight Sustainable Communities Plans provide conceptual, long-range visions and policies to guide the land use and infrastructure decisions for each region. Several of these community plans are scheduled for revision in late 2006.

Special Area and Neighborhood Master Plans: These plans allow for the identification of the function, organization, and character of specific neighborhoods within a region’s Development or Sustainable Communities plan.

Clean Water and Natural Lands Commission: This commission has developed criteria for prioritizing annual project applications for land acquisition grants from the Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund.

Watershed Management Plans: The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is developing Watershed Management Plans for each of the eight areas on Oahu, with the goal of providing short-, mid-, and long-range guidance for the sustainable management and use of  surface and ground water resources.


2. State Plans & Priorities (organized by agency)


Department of Land and Natural Resources

Coastal Erosion Management Plan (COEMAP), DLNR: COEMAP seeks to improve the current erosion management in Hawai‘i. Land acquisition is listed as one of the tools for accomplishing this goal.

Shoreline Public Access, DLNR: This page provides information on the Hawai’i Coastal Zone Management Program including a five year public access enhancement strategy and information on public access to the shoreline.

Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy: In order to be eligible for federal State Wildlife Grants (SWF), states must prepare a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS). The SWF program provides federal funds for the development and implementation of programs that benefit native wildlife and their habitat. The CWCS includes information on the distribution and abundance of species of greatest conservation need, descriptions of the location and condition of key habitats for the identified species.

Forest Legacy Scoring Criteria, DLNR: Available in hard copy through DLNR, Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Forest Legacy, Amended Assessment of Needs, State of Hawai‘i, DLNR: This document assesses Hawai‘i’s forested areas’ natural resources and land use trends.

Hawai’i Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan: This plan identifies feasible, cost-effective management practices to be implemented by State, Federal, county, nongovernmental, private, and volunteer entities for the environmentally sound prevention and control of aquatic invasive species.

Hawai‘i Forest Bird Recovery Plan, DLNR & USFWS: Revised in 2006, this plan provides individual species accounts and actions needed statewide for the recovery of 21 taxa of forest birds. In some cases the plan identifies specific land parcels where a particular recovery action is needed.

Hawaii Statewide Assessment of Forest Conditions and Resource Strategy, DLNR: This document was developed to comply with new provisions of the Forestry Title of the 2008 Farm Bill (P.L. 110 – 234). It addresses the themes of conservation of working landscapes, protection of forests from harm and the enhancement of public benefits associated with trees and forests.

Forest Land Enhancement Program Hawai‘i State Priority Plan, DLNR: This plan for the Forest Land Enhancement Program contains information on State forest resources and management goals and mechanisms.

(unofficial) Historic Preserves Program Plan, DLNR: In 1993, the Historic Preservation Division completed a detailed plan for a preserves program. Files available at the DLNR, Historic Preservation Division.

Historic Preservation Library, Bibliography Database, DLNR: Records of federal, state, and local development plans, permit applications, and land use approvals. Where historic properties were thought to be probable, inventory surveys were conducted. Available through the bibliography database at the Historic Preservation Library.

State Historic Preservation Plan, DLNR: This plan is updated through 2017 and was created to provide a vision for historic preservation within the State. It serves as a guide for effective decision making, for coordinating historic preservation activities within Hawai‘i, and for communicating statewide historic preservation goals, policies and objectives.

State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, DLNR: Updated in 2008, the Hawai‘i SCORP provides the technical basis and planning assumptions for making decisions on State and County programs, County plans, and land use amendments. An update is required every five years for the state to qualify to receive federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant funds to expand outdoor recreation opportunities statewide.

Strategic Plan for Hawaii’s Natural Area Reserves System, DLNR: This strategic plan aims to clarify the goals for the Natural Area Reserves System from 2008 – 2018.

Water Resource Protection Plan, DLNR, Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM): The objective of the WRPP is to protect and sustain ground- and surface-water resources, watersheds, and natural stream environments statewide. The plan is a comprehensive study of occurrence, sustainability, conservation, augmentation, and other resource management measures.

Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawai‘i (ALISH), HDOA: Maps available on the State of Hawai‘i Office of Planning GIS website.

Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan, HDOA: The first two phases of the AWUDP were completed in 2003 and 2004, respectively, and focus on the rehabilitation needs of 10 state and private irrigation systems, estimated existing water demands, and identified projected diversified agricultural water needs through 2024. The AWUDP Phase 3 update is currently underway, and will focus on refining estimates of current and future water demands, including assessment of prime agricultural lands and GIS mapping of major agricultural water systems.

Incentives for Important Agricultural Lands, HDOA: Act 183, SLH 2005, provides for lands to be classified as important agricultural lands either through declaratory ruling or through a county mapping process. This report provides some information about the designation process and the incentives being proposed by HDOA to encourage the protection of agricultural lands.

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

Hawai’i Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Plan (Final), DBEDT: This federal initiative enables states to permanently protect coastal and estuarine lands by providing matching funds for community-based projects to acquire property from willing sellers. This plan provides a framework for identifying coastal and estuarine land conservation priorities and defines the process for acquiring such lands.

Maps Depicting Patterns of Human Settlement and Agricultural Lands, DBEDT: Maps showing patterns of major land uses across the state including urban, agricultural, rural and conservation.

Office of Planning

Hawai‘i State Plan, Office of Planning: Chapter 226, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, establishes a statewide planning system that provides a framework for the implementation of State Plan policies, including State functional plans and guidance on county general plans. The State Plan sets out broad policies and priority guidelines in the areas of the economy, physical resources & environment, and sociocultural development. Twelve State Functional Plans further define the State plan in twelve policy areas. Many of these policy areas relate to land acquisition: agriculture, conservation lands, historic preservation, recreation, water resources. The State Functional Plans were last updated in 1989 and 1991.

Hawai’i Ocean Resources Management Plan (ORMP), Coastal Zone Management Program: It represents a significant change in the way we approach natural and cultural resources management in response to public concerns that the existing functional management system is not working effectively.

Global Climate Change Initiatives, Coastal Zone Management Program: This draft document includes a list of agencies and organizations in Hawai’i that are involved in researching and / or responding to the impacts of climate change.  

Office of the Auditor

Hawai’i 2050 Sustainability Plan, Office of the Auditor: Through Act 8, SLH 2005, the Legislature created the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Task Force to review the existing State Plan and address the planning needs of Hawai‘i with a view to year 2050. According to the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Task Force Report, “the Hawai‘i State Plan, the State’s Quality Growth Policy, and the State Functional Plans have now been generally recognized as no longer meeting the 21st century needs of State, county, and private agencies facing multiple issues of sustainability.” The aim of this plan is to aid in the future long-term development of the state in a sustainable direction.

The University of Hawai‘i

Climate Change Impacts in Hawai’i, University of Hawai’i at Manoa Sea Grant College Program: A summary of current scientific knowledge about climate change and its impacts to Hawai’i’s ecosystems and communities, including marine, coastal, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems, built systems, and human health.

Coastal Imagery, University of Hawai‘i Coastal Geology Group: Shoreline imagery and information is available for each of the main Hawaiian Islands.

Soils of Hawai‘i, University of Hawai‘i CTAHR: Report with descriptions of the soil orders found in the Hawaiian Islands with maps of the soil order locations on each island.

Forage Environment / Vegetative Zones of Hawai‘i, University of Hawai‘i CTAHR: Maps based on a 1942 description of the various plant zones on the major Hawaiian Islands; these maps are deemed relevant as a basic indicator of foraging zones.


3. Other Plans & Priorities (within Hawai‘i, but not state or county)



National Climate Assessment: Hawai’i and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands: Summary document detailing the impacts of climate change in Hawai’i and other U.S. affiliated Pacific Islands.

A Framework for Climate Change Adaptation in Hawaii: A collaborative report by the Ocean Resources Management Plan Working Group with assistance from the University of Hawaii’s Center for Island Climate Change Adaptation and Policy. It focuses on strategies for adaptation.

Strategic Plan for Wetland Conservation in Hawai‘i, Pacific Coast Joint Venture (PCJV): A plan for waterbirds and wetlands, designed to protect, restore, increase, and enhance all types of wetlands, riparian habitats, and associated uplands throughout the Pacific Coast region to benefit birds, fish, and other wildlife. Protection through acquisition is one of the six major strategies to accomplish this goal.

Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion Plan, The Nature Conservancy (TNC): Web-based biodiversity conservation planning document by the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i and other partner organizations.

Trust for Public Land: TPL is a nation-wide organization with a regional office in Hawai‘i and has five Conservation Initiatives which work to create parks and other places where people can access nature. This site has an interactive map showing the locations of TPL projects and land acquisitions across the state,

A Greenprint for Hawai’i – O’ahu, Trust for Public Land: TPL are undertaking a planning process which takes both the community’s opinion and land’s special values into account, known as a Greenprint. This is occurring on O’ahu and will be expanded to the entire state.

Digital Coast, Office for Coastal Management, NOAA: Datasets, tools and training for application to coastal issues. This information is useful for coastal managers, planners, decision-makers and technical users and includes current and historical data.

National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Historical Shoreline Change in the Hawaiian Islands, USGS: This report summarizes historical shoreline changes on Kauai, Oahu and Maui because of the potential impacts on natural resources, the economy and society. Geographic Information System (GIS) data used in the analyses is also available for download.

Islands on the Edge: Housing Development and Other Threats to America’s Pacific and Caribbean Island Forests, USDA: The report provides an overview of expected housing density changes and impacts to private forests, including the vulnerability of island forests to development, invasive species and wildfires.