Interior bill includes $12.9M in additional funds for acquisition of Kaupō Ranch for NPS
Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) has helped to secure $12.9 million in additional funding for the acquisition of Kaupō Ranch on the southern slope of Haleakalā on Maui for the National Park Service.
Kaupō Ranch is a key access point for the popular Kaupō Gap Trail that traverses the crater of Haleakalā National Park.
According to Rep. Case, this funding will help secure a 3,018 acre portion and expand recreational activities and protect important natural resources, watersheds and endangered species.
This is part of a measure approved by his US House Committee on Appropriations, and among 12 bills to collectively fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2023 (commencing Oct. 1, 2022).
The Interior Appropriations bill funds the Department of the Interior, including the National Parks Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service and various independent agencies including the National Endowments on Arts and the Humanities.
The discretionary funding level is $44.8 billion, an increase of $6.8 billion over the FY 2022 enacted level.
“With the support of my Appropriations Committee, we are poised to conserve critical lands for future generations in Hawai‘i, including a major expansion of Haleakalā National Park and preservation of precious lands in the Kāne‘ohe Pali and Maunawili Valley,” said Case.
The bill also includes the following funding requested and secured by Case:
- $1.3 million to safeguard over nearly 700 acres in Maunawili Valley. The proposed forest reserve would be managed by the Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife in partnership with local nonprofits seeking to steward the land, engage sustainable agriculture and restore cultural sites and lo‘i. Maunawili Forest is not only significant for its historic and cultural resources but is the natural habitat for three threatened or endangered Hawaiian damselfly species, a forest bird (‘elepaio), and four species of endangered Hawaiian wetland birds.
- $1.8 million to assist the State Department of Land and Natural Resources’ acquisition of nearly 1,000 acres of in Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu. The Kāneʻohe Pali lands include freshwater springs, famous waterfalls, at least 11 streams and tributaries, native forest which comprises priority watershed, critical habitat for a wide range of native plant and animal species, the historic Luluku banana patches, mountain peaks and other geological formations.
Case also requested and secured funding to further address the Red Hill crisis which is in addition to the $1.1 billion included in the earlier FY23 defense and military construction appropriations bills. “We need to pursue every federal resource possible from every source to pursue the continued remediation, defueling and closure of Red Hill and assure our safe drinking water,” said Case. “In this bill we supplemented other efforts by restoring native forests in the Ko‘olau Mountains that assist in recharging the Pearl Harbor watershed and increasing funding for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program.”
Specifically the bill includes:
- $1.7 million for the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources to conduct forest protection and aquifer recovery activities for the Pearl Harbor watershed. Protecting and restoring native forests in the Ko‘olau Mountains will help safeguard drinking water supplies and replenish the Pearl Harbor Aquifer.
- $92 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund Program, which includes funding to the Hawai‘i Department of Health to address Red Hill issues.
- $1.1 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and $1.8 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides funding to Hawaii’s regulated water systems for Hawaii’s water infrastructure projects.
Case also worked to continue his effort to preserve Hawaii’s historic sites and institutions. For FY 2023, he secured $250,000 for the historic Bishop Museum to relocate and preserve its world class Ichthyology Collection through the Save America’s Treasures program.
Case explained: “The Bishop Museum houses one of the largest collections of coral reef fishes in the world, including the most comprehensive representation of both specimens and color images of fishes from the vast Indo‐Pacific region, including Hawai‘i and other U.S. territories. With the effects of climate change expected to devastate coral reef ecosystems in the coming decades, the importance of this collection – which emphasizes the discovery and documentation of species new to science – continues to increase.”
“The collection is housed within an aging warehouse building built in the 1970s and designed to last for 10 years, which is suffering severe problems such as a leaking roof and outdated facilities. Moreover, the collection has completely filled all the available shelf space and struggles to absorb newly collected material.”
The Bishop Museum and Pearl Harbor watershed projects were requested by Case as Member-designated Community Funding Projects (CPF), which address key, unmet community needs. U.S. House CPF rules require that each project must have demonstrated community support, must be fully disclosed by the requesting Member, and is subject to audit by the independent Government Accountability Office. Case’s disclosures are here: https://case.house.gov/media/funding-disclosures.htm.
Additional programs and provisions secured by Case in the Interior Appropriations bill include:
- $6.8 million for US Fish and Wildlife Service State of the Birds Activities to respond to the urgent needs of critically endangered birds that, due to climate change, now face extinction. These funds will help save numerous endemic birds which have been devastated by climate change and avian malaria. The measure also includes language directing funding to the NPS to save endangered forest birds with habitats on park lands.
- $46.7 million for the US Geological Survey Biological Threats and Invasive Species Research Program.
- $30.2 million for long-deferred maintenance projects at Hawaii’s National Parks.
- $3.1 billion for the NPS’s basic operations, an increase of $323 million.
- $18.8 million for the National Trails System, which will benefit the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.
- $34 million, a $4 million increase, for the US Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program. This includes funding for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which monitors the active volcanoes in Hawai‘i, assesses their hazards, issues warnings and advances scientific understanding to reduce impacts of volcanic eruptions.
- $85.2 million for the US Geological Survey’s Climate Adaptation Science Centers, which includes the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center based out of UH Mānoa. These centers provide regionally-relevant scientific information, tools, and techniques to resource managers and communities in Hawai’i in response to our changing climate.
- $3.4 million, an increase of $1.3 million, for the NPS American Indian and Native Hawaiian Art and Culture Grants program.
- Language instructing the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations to expand the federal government’s Native Hawaiian community consultation efforts.
- $58.6 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, which will help preserve Hawaii’s treasured historic properties.
- $4.7 million for Japanese Confinement Site Grants and funding for the newly authorized Amache National Historic Site, which was one of ten incarceration sites established by the War Relocation Authority during World War II to detain Japanese Americans who were forcibly removed from their communities on the West Coast. The increase of $1.3 million over FY 2022 enacted levels will fund projects to tell the stories of Japanese Americans during World War II, including those interned at Hono‘uli‘uli in Kunia.
- $207 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, an increase of $27 million, which benefits the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts as well as arts projects statewide.
- $207 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of $27 million, which provides funding to the Hawai‘i Council on the Humanities, a nonprofit which supports public programs in humanities disciplines to help express Hawaii’s unique culture, stories, histories and people.
The bill now moves onto the full House of Representatives for consideration.
A summary of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations funding bill is here.