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The West Maui Mountain Watershed Partnership celebrated its 10th anniversary with a signing ceremony reaffirming the commitment to protecting 48,000 acres of forested watersheds on the Valley Isle.  Since its inception in 1998, the partnership has managed the native forests of West Maui that provide billions of gallons of water for residents, businesses and agriculture in West, Central and South Maui. The Maui County Department of Water Supply’s also relies upon West Maui’s native forests for 77 percent of its source water. Partners have worked to build fences for protection from hoofed animals and protect the critical habitat of some 126 rare and endangered species.

WMMWP members include the County of Maui , Department of Land and Natural Resources, Ka`anapali Land Management Corp., Kahoma Land Company L.L.C., Kamehameha Schools, Makila Land Company, L.L.C., Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc.,  The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i, Wailuku Water Company, L.L.C. along with contributing entities, the University of Hawai`i – Research Corporation of the University of Hawai`i and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and Tri Isle Resource Conservation & Development.

Management actions by watershed partnerships statewide are funded through cooperative state, county, federal and private sources.  Due to the downturn in the economy, partnerships face shrinking budgets and considerable challenges just to maintain the existing investments in infrastructure.  Federal funding can be jeopardized by the loss of required state matching funds.

(Posted by Wendy Osher:  Monday, January 19, 2009)

(Image courtesy:  West Maui Mountain Watershed Partnership)

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