Molokai Ranch applies for ag protection of 5,000 acres
New statewide organization to control Molokai conservation easements
With the new year comes new efforts to protect Molokai land for permanent conservation.
Uncle Jimmy Duvauchelle, longtime operator of Pohakuloa Ranch on land leased from Molokai Ranch, should soon have 5,000 more acres to manage his cattle ranch business, according to a report in the Star-Advertiser newspaper.
By dedicating the land for agricultural use, Molokai Ranch will receive incentives of $7.5 million in annual tax credits for investments in agriculture facilities, a $2.5 million loan guarantee program, expedited ag processing facility permits and allowance of employee housing on prime ag land.
Molokai Properties Ltd., the business name of Molokai Ranch, applied for the land preservation on Nov. 30. Cheryl Corbiel of the Molokai Land Trust said the details still need to be worked out but ultimately this will be a good thing and will protect ag land.
Under the expansion plan, Pohakuloa Ranch would lease more MPL land and take over another ranch, Diamond B Ranch, which Duvauchelle manages for a Maui owner. Diamond B operates on about 1,000 acres leased from Molokai Properties.
Molokai Properties in its application said it will grant Duvauchelle a 20-year lease for roughly 5,000 acres and grant a 99-year easement to Molokai Land Trust to ensure the land is restricted for agricultural use.
Within the state conservation legislation is a controversial clause that allows for the equivalent of 15 percent of the conservation land to be used for urbanization. This land can be used for housing, although MPL waived its right to claim this benefit in its application.
“The protection and preservation of Molokai’s cattle ranching heritage and tradition is a vital goal of this petition,” the company said in the application.
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust comes into existence
Another conservation effort comes from the establishment of a new statewide organization, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.
Beginning Jan. 1, the HILT combined the Maui Coastal Land Trust — under which Molokai conservation easements are managed — with the Kaui Public Land Trust, the Oahu Land Trust and the Hawaii Island Land Trust. On Molokai, 3,057 acres will be held by the HILT. Overall, the HILT controls 15,229 acres of conservation land, according to a press release from the Maui Coastal Land Trust.
“The merger creates an organization with the sustainability and resources to safeguard existing protected lands and dramatically grow conservation lands in Hawaii,” states the release.
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is a nationally accredited nonprofit organization with the mission of acquiring, preserving and protecting conservation lands across Hawaii for the benefit of the natural environment and current and future generations. For more details on the organization and its protected lands, call (808) 244-5263 or visit www.hilt.org.