General Area: An Island near Maui, HI, HI

Site Type/Program: DoD Other

Location: Kaho`olawe Island, located 151.3 km (94 miles) southeast of Oahu and 9.7 km (6 miles) southwest of Maui, contains approximately 11,655 hectares (28,800 acres), is 17.7 km (11 miles) long, 11.3 km (7 miles) wide, and has a peak elevation of 450 m (1,477 feet).

Brief History:

Kaho'olawe is a Naval Bombing target that was used for training purposes for over years dating back to 1941 when ship-to-shore bombardment of commenced. From 1942-43, the U.S. Navy ran ship-to-shore fire control training operations at Kaho`olawe while submarine commanders tested torpedoes by firing them at the shoreline cliffs at Kanapou. Additional torpedoes were test fired from 1943 to the 1960’s.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an Executive Order (Number 10436),reserving the island for Naval purposes. During the Korean War era, weapons usage shifted from naval projectiles to air-dropped, general purpose (GP) bombs. Targets and mock airfields were built on-island for practice air attacks and strafing runs. By 1967, Kaho`olawe was a testing and training range for the air war over Vietnam. The need for protection from North Vietnamese surface-to-air missiles led to the construction of surface-to-air targets and target airfields on the island. The entire island was used as a weapons range with no restrictions on target locations.

In 1976, the members of the Protect Kaho`olawe `Ohana (PKO) filed suit in Federal District Court, Aluli et al. V. Brown (civil suit no. 76-0380), seeking to enjoin the Navy’s bombing activities on Kaho`olawe. In 1977, the Federal District Court ordered a partial summary judgment in favor of the Aluli et al., and the Navy was required to conduct an environmental impact statement and supply an inventory of, and protect, the historic sites on the island. In 1980, a settlement Consent Decree and Order was reached in the Aluli et al. v. Brown civil suit. Under the Consent Decree and Order, the Navy agreed to survey and protect historic and cultural sites on the island, clear surface ordnance from 10,000 acres, continue soil conservation and revegetation programs, limit ordnance impact training to the central third of the island, and allow monthly PKO accesses to the island.

Range / Site Description:

This entry in the UXOInfo.com UXO site inventory is for the land area of Kaho'olawe Island. The waters surrounding the island are included as a separate database entry mainly because the Navy conducted a limited clearance action on the land portion of the former range but did not perform a clearance in the waters surrounding the island except for a limited area for the docking of barges.

On March 18, 1981, the entire island was listed on the National Register for Historical Places and designated the Kaho`olawe Archaeological District. In 1990, President George Bush issued a Memorandum to DoD, which directed them to discontinue use of Kaho`olawe as a weapons range effective immediately. Section 8118 of Public Law 101-511, enacted by Congress in 1990, established the Kaho`olawe Island Conveyance Commission to recommend terms and conditions for the conveyance of Kaho`olawe from federal jurisdiction to the State of Hawaii. In 1993, Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii sponsored Title X of the Fiscal Year 1994 Department of Defense Appropriation Act (PL 103-139, 107 Stat. 1418. 1479-1484). Title X authorized conveyance of Kaho`olawe and its surrounding waters to the State of Hawaii. It also provided for the "clearance or removal of unexploded ordnance" and environmental restoration of the island, to provide "meaningful safe use of the island for appropriate cultural, historical, archaeological, and educational purposes, as determined by the State of Hawaii."

A result of Title X, the Navy conducted a UXO clearance of the island starting in the mid 1990s. The clearance at the time was the largest UXO contract (worth an estimated $275M) which latest several years. The clearance focused primarily on surface clearance efforts with some limited subsurface clearance in areas planned for future use (e.g., base camp, roads, and some historic areas). The clearance was completed in the early 2000's with thousands of tons of munitions debris and hundreds of UXO destroyed. The island is visited for religious and cultural purposes several times per year.

Associated Munitions: Almost every type of ship deployed and air dropped ordnance from the 1940's to the late 1980's - bombs, rockets, naval gun and even submunitions.

Activities Completed: A wide-scale clearance was conducted over approximately 65% of the island. The clearance consisted of a surface clearance and a focused sub-surface clearance in certain areas of the island based upon the planned end land use.

Issues: Mix of complex political, cultural and historic preservation issues. The Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission is overseeing the Navy as they clean up the island.

Other Information: Baseline clearance is complete. UXO finds are reported to the Navy and an EOD team is dispatched as needed to clear residual UXO remaining after the large scale clearance. There are no plans to conduct additional clearance actions on the island.

Reports Documents Relevant to KAHO'OLAWE ISLAND, HI Available on UXOInfo.com:
Click on the title to view the document from UXOInfo.com's UXO Library
Document TitleDocument Date
Kaho'olawe Island Clearance Plan01-Jun-98
Kaho’olawe Close Out Issues Brief01-Feb-04
DDESB ESS Approval Kaho'olawe Island24-Jun-05
Explosive Safety Submission Amendment 1 (Kaho'olawe)23-Jun-05
UXO Site Maps no map available
Kaho'olawe Island (including surrounding waters)- Click Map for Larger View
If you have or know of any chanegs to the information posted about or want to donate additional images or reports on KAHO'OLAWE ISLAND, HI, please email UXOInfo.com at information@uxoinfo.com

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