East Hawaii News

West Hawai’i Part of Federal Climate Projects

April 22, 2015, 9:11 AM HST
* Updated April 22, 9:12 AM
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The Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration decided Tuesday to recognize collaborative landscape partnerships that will protect coastal reefs in Hawai’i.

As part of a national effort to showcase climate resilience approach, the efforts will take place in four different locations throughout the country: Hawai’i, Washington, Florida, and the Great Lakes. The projects will be help these regions build resilience to climate change and related challenges.

In Hawai’i, the DOI says that projects will take place in West Hawai’i, West Maui, and He’eia Watershed on Oahu. The goal of these projects aims to improve coastal reef resilience and will focus on addressing shoreline erosion, removing invasive species, restoring streams, wetlands, and fishponds, and preventing wildfire impacts.

Each of these locations has already been designated a priority location by the State of Hawai’i and NOAA.

“It is Earth Day today – a reminder for all of us think about how we can take action to protect our aina, being inspired by our state motto – Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness).  Protecting our environment is not just a policy discussion; it is a way of life, embedded in the fabric of our culture and society. To preserve and protect the aina, we must continue to conserve our precious, limited natural resources and promote sustainable practices,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “I commend the President as well as the EPA, NOAA and Department of Interior on their move to protect and restore the precious coastal reefs in West Hawai’i, West Maui, and He’eia.  These projects will build on work already being done by our community in these and other areas. I look forward to working toward expanding these initiatives to include other affected reefs across the state.”

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Federal agencies plan to work closely with state, tribal, and local partners to prepare for and prevent obstacles threatening these areas and to ensure long-term conservation efforts. The initiative will also focus on conserving coastal wetlands and marine conservation areas, protecting drinking water for urban areas, and providing habitat for wildlife.

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“The well-being of our families and our communities is closely tied to the health our landscapes and seascapes,” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “The lands and waters initiative will help our partners better understand the climate change risks and uncertainties in these geographies, and provide decision-makers with actionable information to make their environment, community and economy more resilient to these changes.”

The Resilient Lands and Waters initiative is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Climate and Natural Resources Priority Agenda.

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