Maui Receives $1.3M for Upcountry Endangered Species Conservation
By Sonia Isotov
Of the $53 million in conservation planning and acquisition of vital endangered species habitat grants, announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today, $1.3M will go to benefit the Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel, and acquisition of conservation land in upcountry Maui.
The grants, awarded through the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF), will cover two main projects.
The State of Hawai’i will receive $900,000 to fund baseline surveys to evaluate abundance and distribution of Hawaiian hoary bat and abundance and distribution of active burrows of Hawaiian petrel in Kahikinui, the proposed off-site mitigation area for two Wind Power HCPs. In addition, an assessment will be made of habitat conditions for both Hawaiian hoary bat and Hawaiian petrel at Kahikinui. This information will assist with the development of appropriate mitigation and minimization measures of the Kawailoa Wind Power HCP and the Auwahi Wind Energy LLC HCP.
Second, the State of Hawaii was awarded $391,000 for the acquisition of a permanent conservation easement on over 3,550 acres located upslope of the towns of Makawao and Haiku on Maui. The property is at the center of the 100,000-acre East Maui Watershed Partnership managed by six major landowners. The property provides habitat for 13 rare or endangered birds, including the akohekohe and Maui parrotbill, which are among the rarest birds in the US. It is also critical habitat for Geranium multiflorum and eight other federally listed plants as well as a number of other rare plants and animals.
“Our solid partnership with states is clearly a major key to the Interior Department’s success in conserving and recovering threatened and endangered species throughout this country,” Salazar said. “These grant awards will support numerous state efforts aimed at building and strengthening vital conservation partnerships with local groups and private landowners to benefit threatened and endangered wildlife and plants.”
Overall, Hawai’i was awarded $1,159,881 through the HCP Planning Assistance Grants Program and $391,000 through the Recovery Land Acquisition Grants Program for a total amount of $1,550,881.
In addition to the grant’s funds destined for Maui projects, the State of Hawai’i was awarded $259, 281 for the Coordination and Planning of the Kaua’i Seabird HCP. This funding will be used to expand the scope of the Kaua’i Seabird HCP to include incidental take of Hawaiian hoary bat and complete an Environmental Impact Statement instead of an Environmental Assessment, as originally planned. The HCP will benefit the federally listed Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel, and Newell’s shearwater, as well at the band-rumped storm petrel, a candidate for listing. In addition, approximately 18 listed plants will benefit.