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$1.9M grant to mitigate flood impacts

LIHU‘E — The U.S. Department of Defense awarded a $1.9 million grant by the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program to three organizations on Kaua‘i.

The grant was awarded to the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kekaha Agriculture Association and the state Agribusiness Development Corporation, and will be used to address flood impacts caused by sea-level rise on the Mana Plain.

“I am thrilled to learn of this award which will benefit Kaua‘i, agriculture and PMRF,” said Capt. Brett Stevenson, PMRF commanding officer. “We value the compatibility of our base and our agriculture neighbors, and I look forward to the successful completion of this effort.”

Agricultural land owned by the ADC on the Mana Plain in West Kaua‘i is facing an increased risk of flooding as sea levels continue to rise, according to a press release.

This land is currently drained by a ditch system managed by KAA that runs through PMRF and drains into the Pacific Ocean. Experts predict that the sea level will rise another two feet by 2050. Therefore, there is a threat that this storm run-off will no longer drain naturally into the ocean, causing a multitude of issues, the release said.

Dr. Basil Gomez, KAA’s consultant, said the 2022 REPI Challenge Project involves the design development of 200 acres of open, floodable space near the former Nohili loko pu‘uone.

“By storing and gradually releasing storm runoff derived from the adjacent uplands, the green infrastructure will manage the amount and improve the quality of the floodwater that flows through the agriculture drainage ditch system and out into the nearshore environment at PMRF and increase the resilience of agricultural land on the Mana Plain to sea-level rise,” he said.

According to the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program, the project will:

• Mitigate the effects of sea-level rise;

• Improve the quality of water discharged from the agricultural drainage ditches into nearshore environment at PMRF;

• Enhance PMRF’s efforts to promote conservation and preserve natural resources;

• Make mission capabilities more resilient to severe-weather events.

“I am pleased to hear that the Department of Defense has awarded this grant to address the challenges that rising sea levels pose to our island home,” said state Senate President Ron Kouchi.
Source: The Garden Island

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