More Than $450K Allotted For Lānaʻi Conservation Projects

March 17, 2020, 2:08 PM HST · Updated March 17, 2:08 PM
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Lānaʻi. PC: file courtesy Office of Council Services.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Pūlama Lānaʻi allocated more than $450,000 in grants for six conservation projects on Lānaʻi.

According to the NFWF, the funds will be used to protect the islandʻs coral reefs, native plants and animals, habitats for endangered petrels, and sensitive cultural sites. The grants will also “help foster connections between Lānaʻiʻs community and the land.”

The grants are the first to be awarded under the Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program (LWCP). In Hawaiian, “kuahiwi a kai” means “from mountain to sea,” according to representatives.

“As the largest ʻridge to reefʻ program in the State of Hawaiʻi, unencumbered by multiple landowners or development, this programʻs unique characteristics allow for evaluation, restoration, and recovery of entire watershed functions on a landscape scale,” a press release from the NFWF read.

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The six projects will unfold on 20,000 acres on northeast Lānaʻi.

Additionally, the grants will leverage more than $450,000 in matching contributions, generating a total of more than $910,000 in conservation funds.

“The first round of grants from the Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program will coordinate a comprehensive effort to protect native ecosystems and provide improved ecosystem services such as clean water, resource gathering and recreation to the people who call Lānaʻi home,” NFWF executive director Jeff Trandahl said in a press release.

The LWCP provides funding to grantees taking a landscape-level approach to conservation. The selected projects address environmental stressors like erosion, flooding, sedimentation, and invasive plants.

Grantees will work to restore native habitats and address reef management issues.

“Pūlama Lāna‘i means ‘to cherish Lāna‘i.’ Our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation allows us to live our values by supporting organizations seeking to protect and preserve our land and natural resources,” said Kurt Matsumoto, chief operating officer for Pūlama Lāna’i. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the grantees on conservation efforts that stretch from mauka to makai — from the highest point of Lāna‘i Hale to the ocean.”

Lāna‘i’s windward Keōmoku coast is home to remarkable natural and cultural resources. Seabird nesting habitats stretch along the ridgelines and support one of the largest remaining colonies of endangered Hawaiian petrels. Lāna‘i’s nearshore coral reefs have been identified as one of the seed stocks for the rest of Maui County.

 

“Partnerships are critical to any landscape-level initiative,” said Katie Ersbak, watershed planner for Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “The partnership between Pūlama Lāna‘i and NFWF is a great example of a private landowner working collaboratively with an agency to leverage resources and address challenges on a watershed scale.”

 

Work supported by the LWCP presents a significant opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of a watershed approach to sustainable land management and community stewardship in Hawai‘i. LWCP grants will help provide baseline and monitoring information, as well as implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects that achieve the goals of the program.

 

Over the course of the next several years, LWCP is expected to expand and further facilitate restoration and conservation efforts on Lāna‘i in order to:

 

·       Restore native vegetative cover to increase watershed health

·       Reduce sedimentation run-off to nearshore reefs

·       Bolster populations of endangered and endemic species like the Hawaiian petrel

·       Increase quality of the landscape for local community and visitors through the preservation of nearshore resources, beaches and cultural sites

 

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