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1.5 Million for Kainalu

Federal grant approved for proposed east end easement.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department approved a $1.5 million grant last week for the acquisition of a perpetual conservation easement on Molokai’s east end. The Kainalu watershed area covers 614 acres and is home to many threatened, endangered and native species.

The proposed acquisition is still in the early stages of negotiation, according to land owner Kip Dunbar. He said an appraisal has not yet been completed, and no agreements or conditions have even been discussed. Negotiations would primarily take place between Dunbar’s family and the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Dunbar said. He added he is waiting to find out the land’s value from the appraisal before moving forward.

Dunbar applied for the grant several years ago, motivated by a desire to protect the valuable watershed area.

“It makes good sense to preserve our resources,” he said. “Islands are finite items.”

Dunbar added that he would like to see the land used to generate renewable energy in the future.

The Recovery Land Acquisition Grant for Kainalu is one of two grants awarded in the State of Hawaii out of nearly $66.0 million in similar grants nation-wide this year. The other is a $183,000 grant for the completion of two management areas in North Kona.

The competitive grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups, and other agencies to initiate conservation planning and protect the habitat of threatened and endangered species.

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