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Grants available for planting native trees, removing invasives

HONOLULU — Individuals and organizations interested in planting native trees and removing invasive weeds to help with climate resiliency are encouraged to apply to a new grant opportunity.

A total of approximately $4.5 million is available from a grant from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The program’s focus on public-private partnerships enables private companies, landowners, local communities and other non-government partners to keep lands resilient, water clean, and to promote economic growth in a variety of industries.

The funding opportunity prioritizes work in upper-elevation native forests that receive the most rainfall and are critical to recharging freshwater supplies.

Additionally, lands and projects with the highest potential for carbon sequestration (if reforested) are also targeted with this funding.

The project also seeks to include sites that are part of a landscape-scale watershed-management strategy to lessen the impacts from climate change, reduce flooding and erosion onto coral reefs and protect biological diversity.

“Thanks to state funds provided by the Legislature for watershed protection, we are eligible to receive additional federal funding that multiplies the state’s investment,” said Suzanne Case, chair of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

“We are grateful for the incredible partnership with NRCS that will result in landscape-scale improvements to our watershed forests,” she said. “We are looking forward to making new community partners who apply for native-forest protection and restoration projects.”

“We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with DLNR,” said J.B. Martin, acting director of the USDA NRCS Pacific Islands Area said.

“With year-round warm climate and fertile soils, Hawai‘i is one of the most-efficient places to plant trees to sequester carbon. These forests also buffer against the worsening threats of climate change by absorbing cloud moisture and replenishing our freshwater supplies. When invasive species degrade these forests, we also lose our irreplaceable plants and wildlife,” he said.

Applications are due Aug. 5.

• Info: hands.ehawaii.gov/hands/opportunities/opportunity-details/21622
Source: The Garden Island

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