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Want to plant native trees, remove invasive weeds? DLNR has new grant available

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Hanna Mounce of the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project works on Nakula Natural Area Reserve restoration on Maui. Screenshot: DLNR video

Are you an individual or part of an organization that wants to help climate resiliency by planting native trees and removing invasive weeds in Hawai’i? 

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources wants to get you federal money as part of a new grant opportunity, a news release said.

About $4.5 million is available from a federal grant, and the state DLNR is administering the money for projects that support native ecosystem protection and management and enhancing Hawai’i’s forests for climate resilience, according to a news release. 

The funding opportunity prioritizes work in upper-elevation native forests that receive the most rainfall and are critical to recharging freshwater supplies. Also, lands and projects with the highest potential for carbon sequestration (if reforested) are targeted for funding.

In addition, sites that are part of a landscape-scale watershed management strategy will be prioritized. Efforts there will lessen impacts from climate change, reduce flooding and erosion onto coral reefs, and protect biological diversity.

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Suzanne Case, DLNR chair, hailed the federal funding, which will multiply state funds provided by the legislature for watershed protection.

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“We are looking forward to making new community partners who apply for native forest protection and restoration projects,” she said in the release.

Collaborating with the federal program will result in landscape-scale improvements to watershed forests, Case added.

 The grant is from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.  This program focuses on public-private partnerships that help private companies, landowners, local communities and other non-government partners to keep lands resilient and water clean, along with promoting economic growth in a variety of industries. 

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“We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with DLNR,” J. B. Martin, Acting Director for USDA’s NRCS Pacific Islands Area said. “With year-round warm climate and fertile soils, Hawaiʻi is one of the most efficient places to plant trees to sequester carbon. These forests also buffer against the worsening threats of climate change by absorbing cloud moisture and replenishing our freshwater supplies. When invasive species degrade these forests, we also lose our irreplaceable plants and wildlife.”

A deadline to submit written questions is June 24. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Aug. 5. Information on the proposal can be find on the state website by clicking here.

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