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Common Ground

Government agencies and homeowners create conservation partnerships. 
By Melissa Kelsey

Rare and endangered species on Molokai are not only located inside designated land preserves –  they may also be right in your backyard. Environmental professionals are becoming aware of the importance of involving private landowners in the conservation process, and both state and federal agencies are reaching out to Molokai residents.

A Landowner Assistance Workshop presented by government officials at the Mitchell Pauole Center last Friday covered a plethora of topics and information, ranging from wetlands conservation to controlling invasive species. Officials from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service, and the Molokai Invasive Species Committee contributed to the workshop.

The event was the first of its kind on Molokai, and was most valuable for its networking opportunities, according to Molokai Nature Conservancy Program Director Ed Misaki. Presenters explained grant programs that can provide financial assistance to residents who want to conserve native resources on their land. Approximately twenty homeowners attended the event.

“It opened up the possibility of all these grant programs that help landowners preserve the land for future generations,” said Molokai homeowner Pearl Hodgins.

For example, the NRCS has a conservation program that offers funding contracts for farmers and ranchers for land management projects. Applicants are selected based on their proposed project’s cost-effectiveness compared to its predicted environmental benefits.

For more information on programs and grants available, contact DLNR Public Information Specialist Deborah Ward at 587-0320.

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