More than 7,500 acres on Hawaii Island will be set aside to preserve and protect the native habitats of threatened and endangered species like the Hawaiian hawksbill and green sea turtles, monk seals, Palila birds, N?n? geese, and 'Io hawks, Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, and U.S. Representative Mazie K. Hirono.
Two grants totaling $2,431,114 and administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be used to acquire 7,597 acres on Hawaii Island.
"The protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species is dependent on critical habitat. Hawaii's endemic species including the Hawaiian hawksbill and green sea turtles, Palila bird and Hawaiian monk seal are natural treasures. Our unique island environment makes us a paradise for our residents and visitors. I would like to thank the administration, the landowners on Hawaii Island, and the community for collaborating on a successful solution designed to care for and preserve our endangered species," said Senator Inouye.
"As a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act, I am pleased that more than 7,500 acres on Hawaii Island will be set aside to preserve and protect critical habitat for Hawaiian hawksbill and green sea turtles, monk seals, Palila birds, N?n? geese, and 'Io hawks. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, which provided the funds for this acquisition, is an excellent example of what is possible when government partners with landowners and local communities to save endangered or threatened species. Human encroachment, loss of food sources, illegal trade, and disease have reduced the population of many of our native species, and setting aside these lands will help them recover," said Senator Akaka.
"Hawaii Island, which has greater geographic and climatic diversity than the eastern half of the United States, is a natural treasure. These investments protect an unspoiled coastline and preserve nesting habitat for our endangered honu'ea (Hawaiian Hawksbill Turtle) and forest habitat for critically endangered Palila and 'Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and other native plants and animals," said Congresswoman Hirono.
Hawaii Kahuku Coastline Protection and Management: Helping Habitat for Hawaiian Hawksbill Turtles (Hawaii County, HI) -- $1,214,000.
This grant funds the acquisition of 3,128 acres of coastal lands, including over a mile of coastline, on the southern coast of the island of Hawaii. These beaches are important habitat for the federally-listed hawksbill turtle and green turtle. The property also includes an anchialine pool complex containing important habitat for native marine invertebrates, fish, and unique native crustaceans, including three candidate species of endemic anchialine pool shrimp. The property is adjacent to the largest natural area reserve in the entire state and will provide landscape-level protection of the area's unique ecosystems and habitats. The property will be added to the County of Hawaii's Open Space lands where it will be protected and managed for species management in perpetuity.
Kukaiau Acquisition and Palila Habitat Restoration (Hawaii County, HI) -- $1,217,114.
This grant funds the acquisition of two adjacent parcels totaling 4,469 acres on the northern flank of Mauan Kea on the island of Hawaii. These properties lie within critical habitat for the federally-listed palila and will be incorporated into a fenced area to restore the mamane forest upon which the palila depends. Acquisition of this property will provide for endangered species recovery and native species habitat restoration in perpetuity. Additional species benefitting from this project include the endangered Hawaiian hawk, Hawaiian goose, and anunu.