By Wendy Osher
The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced more than $1.5 million in grants to conservation projects in Hawai‘i to protect some of the nation’s rarest species.
The allocation includes: $578,250 for the acquisition of 635 acres of forested land on O‘ahu; $445,331 for planning of the Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat Conservation Program; and $508,348 for the Kaua‘i Nēnē Island-wide Habitat Conservation Plan.
The O‘ahu project funds are for land located in the Ko‘olau Mountain range and includes the ‘Aiea Ridge Trail. The funding is aimed at providing protection for the endangered ‘elepaio, an endemic Hawaiian songbird, and nearly a dozen plant species in the area.
Officials from the US Fish and Wildlife Service say the purchase will, “ensure continued public use, which in turn will result in a greater public appreciation for native forest.”
The grants are from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, and are part of a larger, nearly $32 million funding release to 20 states for rare species protection efforts.
Officials say the funding program was also established to help advance partnerships for the recovery of imperiled species.