The Kuahiwi Watershed Conservation Program at Kai: Lānaʻi received four new grants valued at $ 471,000 and matching contributions of $ 547,000, for a total conservation impact of over $ 1 million .
Kuahiwi a Kai was established in 2019 to strategically preserve and enhance Lāna’i’s unique natural and cultural resources, from mauka to makai (from mountain peak to ocean), while encouraging community engagement and shared stewardship.
Additional information about Kuahiwi a Kai can be found in the new update program page.
Funding and support for these grants is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Pūlama Lāna’i (a land and resource management company), the State of Hawaii and private contributors.
The grants and contributions will fund four projects:
- Install the first ungulate fence segment to manage invasive deer and sheep populations
- Develop and implement a community-based hunting program as stewardship
- Deploy advanced remote sensing technology to achieve high resolution imagery of focal coral reef systems
- Develop video documentaries to capture and share the stories of the Lāna’i people, their historical interactions with the land and the lessons learned to communicate the current conservation needs on the island
“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation on this historic restoration project which will help build a sustainable future for our island and our people,” said Kurt Matsumoto, President of Pūlama Lāna’i . “The recipients of this round of funding find a good balance between technology-based research, implementation on the ground to deal with years of overgrazing and, most importantly, community engagement that will encourage a greater sense of stewardship of Lāna’i lands. “
Over the past 150 years, overgrazing and mismanagement of introduced ungulates (hoofed mammals) has led to unnatural erosion patterns on Lānaʻi Island. Excessive erosion continues to destroy terrestrial habitats essential for native flora and fauna; bury historic cultural sites near the coast; and smother the coral reefs and the island’s white sand beaches with sediment. Overgrazing has also led to an invasion of non-native plants which further degrade native habitats and alter the hydrology of watersheds.
“Partnerships that link the public and private sectors are one of the keys to long-term conservation success,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. “The Kuahiwi a Kai program provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of a landscape-level watershed approach for sustainable land management and community stewardship in Hawai’i. Large-scale, effective conservation efforts are essential to building a better and more resilient future for our nation, both for wildlife and communities such as Lāna’i.
The objectives of the program:
- Reduce sediment runoff to coastal reefs
- Restore native vegetation to improve watershed health
- Protect and improve populations of threatened and endemic species
- Improve habitat and predator management of the Hawaiian petrel (‘ua’u)
- Improve the quality of the landscape for the local community and visitors through the preservation of coastal resources, beaches and cultural sites
- Increase the conservation ethic of the community and its participation in landscape protection efforts
“This partnership with the NFWF is unique to the entire State of Hawaii, as it offers a landscape approach through a single land manager,” said Michelle D. Bogardus, assistant field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, US Fish and Wildlife Service. . “By working together, the landowner, communities, government agencies and nonprofit conservation organizations can implement sustainable conservation projects that generate measurable benefits across entire watersheds. ”
Since the inception of the program, the foundation has awarded nearly $ 1.5 million in grants to 12 projects that support the goals and objectives of the program’s landscape-level conservation approach. These projects span 20,000 contiguous acres of unique critical habitat for native species listed as threatened or endangered. The grants will generate more than $ 1.2 million in matching contributions from recipients for a total conservation impact of $ 2.7 million.