CENTENNIAL PROGRAM GENERATES $1.2 MILLION FOR HALEAKALA’S FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS

January 15, 2009, 9:30 AM HST · Updated January 15, 9:36 AM
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Haleakala National Park on Maui is $1.2 million richer today because of a partnership between the National Park Service and the Maui Invasive species Committee.  Under the National Park Service Centennial Challenge, contributions from park partners are matched with federal funds.  The money will be used to prepare the park for the next century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment.  In making the announcement, congress woman Mazie Hirono said the grant will also help to boost Maui’s economy as most of the goods and services needed for protection and restoration will be provided by island businesses.

This past year, the MISC raised $600,000 in local funding, the majority coming from Maui County with additional funds provided by the state government.

“I commend the Maui Invasive Species Committee for rising to the National Park Service’s annual challenge by raising such a significant amount of money to protect one of Hawai`i’s most important ecological treasures,” said Hirono. “Invasive species are the single greatest threat to our unique endemic plant and animal species, and Haleakala is one of the most important habitats for these species. This grant will also provide a boost to Maui’s economy as most of the goods and services needed for this effort to protect and restore endangered ecosystems on Haleakala will be provided by island businesses.”

MISC works to prevent invasive species from becoming established within Maui County (specifically Maui, Moloka`i, and Lana`i), controls invasive species on private and public property, and educates people about invasive species and how to protect Maui County.

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“Haleakala National Park is a true gem, with intact ecosystems from its 10,000 foot summit all the way to the sea. Left unchecked, invasive species, including the forest-destroying miconia and pampas grass, would eventually take over the park’s pristine areas,” said MISC Manager, Teya Penniman.  “With these funds and matching funds from the County of Maui and State of Hawaii, we will be able to put boots on the ground and into remote areas to control these plants. We also will be able to bring a Haleakala-based science curriculum to Maui’s teachers and students. It’s a wonderful opportunity to use our national park as the basis for learning about natural sciences.”

Last year, the organization raised $500,000 in the National Park Centennial Challenge effort.

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Thursday, January 15, 2009)

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