The Hawai’i Community Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded $437,000 in grants to nine projects across the islands aimed at the protection and restoration of Hawai’i's coastal areas. Funding for the projects is made possible through a three year partnership between the Hawai’i Community Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Restoration Center and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. The community-based grant program was started with the strong support of Senator Inouye, and actively bridges cultural and environmental stewardship efforts. Since 2009, the partnership has provided more than $1.5 million in funding to community organizations repairing fishponds, removing invasive species, and preventing polluted runoff in coastal waters on all major Hawaiian islands.
“In Hawai’i clean water and healthy lands are fundamental to our quality of life,” said Josh Stanbro, director of Environment and Sustainability at the Hawai’i Community Foundation. “We commend these community groups for taking responsibility in their own backyards, and putting in countless hours to protect our most treasured sites.”
“This public-private initiative is a win-win, and demonstrates how much more we can do when we work together,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye. “Engaging with the community upfront provides the best chance of an enduring and sustained effort. I will continue to advocate for a return of earmarks to be able to support efforts such as this because it is a justified and worthy federal investment.”
The Hawai’i Community Foundation is also proactively seeking funding from private donors and foundations to keep the successful grant program going in 2013 and beyond.
Hawai’i's unique coastal resources are increasingly threatened by invasive species, climate change impacts, and inappropriate development. Wetlands and other coastal habitat help filter sediment and pollutants, replenish fishing stocks, and support traditional cultural practices. During the summer, the voyaging canoe Hōkule’a spent time at several of the restoration projects, lending her crew as volunteers working shoulder to shoulder with local residents because of the strong environmental-cultural ties.
Specific goals for the partnership include restoration of coral reef habitat, coastal wetlands and estuaries, traditional coastal fishponds, riparian zones/stream habitat, and land-based sources of pollution mitigation. Coastal habitats support approximately 25 percent of Hawai’i's reef fish, 32 percent of marine invertebrates, and 90 percent of stream animals that are found nowhere else on the planet.
“We know how hard our ancestors worked to keep things in balance,” said Kanekoa Schultz, whose Kāko’o ‘Ōiwi restoration project was a 2011-2012 grant recipient. “This grant is going to teach a new generation how to work to support the natural systems that in the end take care of us.”
Projects funded this year include:
- “Loko ‘Eā Fishpond Habitat Restoration Project”- Undertaken by Alu Like, Inc., this project will restore the cultural, biological, and socio-economic prosperity of Loko ‘Eā Fishpond. The goal of the project is to conduct habitat and fishpond restoration utilizing community collaboration while integrating traditional Hawaiian knowledge.
- “Bridging Land, Sea and Native Cultural Practices Through Restoration on Kaho’olawe Island”- Undertaken by the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Development Council, Inc., this project proposes a land-based restoration project that will help hold and improve soil health, prevent runoff, and improve water quality in the adjacent near-shore area.
- “Watershed Restoration Program/ Mangrove Eradication Project Phase I”- Undertaken by Kaiola Canoe Club, the project will restore approximately one acre of the Huleia River riverbank which is being severely overgrown by red mangrove, reaching in some areas up to 40 feet in height.
- “The Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps”- Undertaken by KUPU, this project will increase the number of Hawai`i Youth Conservation Corp members available to local conservation organizations, by working with over 40 conservation groups over six islands to help add capacity during both their summer and year-round programs.
- “Invasive Marine Algae Removal at Maunalua Bay, O’ahu”-Undertaken by Mālama Maunalua, this project will train six new volunteer coordinators and four interns to focus on doubling the amount of community workdays that they can do in a year. As a result, one acre of Maunalua Bay will be cleared of invasive algae and several other benefits (maintenance on previously cleared areas, monitoring, recycling of algae as soil amendment, etc) will simultaneously occur.
- “Anapuka Dune Restoration and Revegetation Study”- Undertaken by Moloka’i Land Trust, this project consists of partial assistance for the continued restoration of 45 acres in a coastal dune ecosystem, including habitat modifying invasive species removal, weed control, ungulate control, and restoration/replanting of native species to help offset sediment transport into the adjacent nearshore marine ecosystem.
- “Streambed repairs to reduce silty run off at Nāpili Bay”- Undertaken by the Nāpili Bay and Beach Foundation, Inc. this project will remove woody invasive species from a 600 foot stream area in West Maui, and replant this area with native species. This will shore up the stream bank and help filter sediment before it emerges into Nāpili Bay.
- “Coastal Fishpond Restoration at Kīholo, Hawai’i”- Undertaken by the Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i, this project will clear invasive vegetation from around the side and rear portions of two inland fishponds at Kīholo to increase juvenile fish habitat and pond water quality.
- “Kahului Harbor Ho’aloha Beach Park and Shoreline Restoration”- Undertaken by the Wailuku Community Managed Marine Area and fiscally sponsored by Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc., this project will replant and restore approximately 2,500 feet of coastal shoreline, and begin reintroducing native limu in the nearshore water at Kahului. The project seeks to replant strategic areas and channel foot traffic in marked corridors to reduce coastal erosion and siltation of the nearshore water.
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