The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources on Monday announced a land acquisition it says will ensure the the protection of “an entire watershed” and nearly the entire ahupuaa from the Koolau summit to Waimea Bay.

“This native forest provides habitat for native plants and animals, many of them rare and endangered,” according to a press release.

DLNR, its Division of Forestry and Wildlife and The Trust for Public Land purchased 3,716 acres — the upper Waimea watershed — from Dole Food Company.

The upper Waimea watershed was acquired through contributions by federal, state and private partners. DLNR

The protection and management of the Waimea Native Forest, said DNLR, will increase opportunities for public access for hunting, hiking, cultural activities, and environmental education.

“This is an incredible step forward in our ability to protect the whole community of species that rely on safe and healthy watershed habitats,” Katherine Mullett, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, said in the press release.

The Trust for Public Land negotiated the purchase and partnered with DOFAW to raise the $3,716,000 needed for the acquisition, along with contributions by federal, state and private partners:

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Habitat Recovery Land Acquisition ($2,070,875)
  • The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through Walmart’s Acres for America Program ($600,000)
  • State of Hawai‘i Legacy Land Conservation Program ($416,125)
  • Kawailoa Wind, LLC ($354,000)
  • Sidney E. Frank Foundation ($275,000)

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