East Hawaii News

Hawai’i DLNR Receives Funding as Part of RCPP

January 15, 2015, 9:28 AM HST
* Updated January 15, 10:38 AM
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United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources has received more than $467,000 as part of a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

The new program focuses on public-private partnerships that enable private companies, land owners, local communities, and other non-government partners to keep lands resilient, water clean, and to promote economic growth in a variety of industries.

“Thanks to funding from the Legislature for watershed protection, we have been able to leverage that to obtain additional federal funding, a continuing effort and top priority for the Department. Our forests ensure fresh, clean water because they act like sponges, absorbing mist and rain. Hawai’i’s rainfall and water supplies have been steadily declining, a trend expected to accelerate due to climate change. We must act now to protect forests to ensure water for people today and future generations,” Carty Chang, DLNR Acting Chairperson said.

All 50 states were awarded RCPP projects. According to Craig Derickson, Acting Director for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Pacific Islands Area, “This project, the first funded under RCPP in Hawai’i, is part of a larger effort to protect our forests under DLNR’s Watershed Initiative. The goal is to provide long-lasting conservation benefits by implementing practices to control invasive species, exclude non-native hooved animals, and plant native tree species on forest lands over the next several years through our partnership.”

“Hawai’i forests span both private and public lands. Regardless of their location, they provide benefits for all. In addition to providing water, forests control erosion and flooding, and are habitat for plants and wildlife found nowhere else in the world,” Chang said. “With forests providing so many benefits, many partners have come forward to support their protection. We are grateful to the USDA for joining us in recognizing this as a priority for Hawai’i.”

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