Molokai to Receive $1.5M for Watershed Project
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service News Release
Molokai’s Pua`ahala Watershed Project will be one of two federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) grants to be funded in Hawaii this year. The FWS is awarding $37.2 million in grants to 20 states — including more than $2 million to Hawaii — to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened, endangered and at-risk species.
The Pua`ahala Watershed Project will receive $1,566,875. This project will secure long-term protection of Hawaii’s listed species as part of the State’s comprehensive recovery effort. The subject area contains some of the highest quality native forest habitat on Molokai. The acquisition of this piece of property will also protect a coastal wetland that Paialoa, the island’s largest freshwater pond.
The State of Hawaii will own and manage the 800 acres of acquired property as a combination wetland Wildlife Sanctuary and upland Forest Reserve. This strategic acquisition will work in tandem to protect a much larger area on the south slope of Molokai – a project working with partners and private land owners to control invasive species, prevent and control wildfires, and enhance watershed health. In particular, state ownership of Pua‘ahala will facilitate the strategic fencing of an additional 1,300 acres of high quality upland forest to keep out feral ungulates that threaten native bird populations.
“Private landowners and natural resource managers play a vital role in conserving our nation’s most imperiled wildlife,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “By cultivating partnerships between federal, state and local governments, private organizations and individuals, we can establish creative and effective solutions to some of the greatest conservation challenges of our time. These grants are one of many tools available under the Endangered Species Act, and we look forward to providing continued guidance and support for these programs.”
The Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Program with the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources was the other Hawaii project to receive $559,990.
Authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), these competitive grants enable states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to initiate conservation planning efforts and acquire or protect habitat for the conservation of threatened and endangered species.
The grants are funded in part by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established by Congress in 1964. The fund promotes access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and provides money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. For the past 50 years, the fund has supported more than 40,000 conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide. Without action from Congress, authorization for the program will expire in September. President Obama has proposed to fully and permanently fund the program.
For a complete list of the 2015 grant awards, see fws.gov/endangered/grants/index.html.