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Monday, September 01, 2014         

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$12.8M to help protect lands across Hawaii

By Andrew Gomes

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Several nonprofit organizations, a state agency and three local counties have been awarded $3.3 million from a state land preservation fund to protect 753 acres on the Big Island, Kauai, Molokai and Oahu.

The money from the Legacy Land Conservation Program will be matched with about $9.5 million from federal, county and private sources to acquire land or protective easements for public benefit.

Seven projects are being financed, including four land purchases totaling 25 acres and three easements covering 728 acres.

Laura Thielen, chairwoman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, said the fund provides an efficient way to protect land containing important natural, cultural or agricultural value. "By providing these grants as incentive, the state is utilizing mostly private and federal funds to protect these resources," she said in a statement announcing the awards.

This is the fifth year of awards from the program, which was established by the Legislature in 2005 and is funded from a 10 percent cut of property conveyance tax proceeds collected by the state.

This year's awards include:

» $945,000 for Hawaii County and the Trust for Public Land to buy 11 acres on the Big Island to protect cultural sites from development and preserve part of the Kohala coastline.

» $800,000 for Kauai County and Kauai Public Land Trust to buy a 32,000-square-foot site next to Hanalei Pier to enhance Black Pot Beach Park.

» $500,000 for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to purchase a conservation easement over 614 acres on Molokai to protect critical watershed and prevent erosion damage to near-shore coral reef ecosystems and historic Hawaiian fishponds.

» $500,000 for the Trust for Public Land and Oahu Land Trust to purchase a conservation easement over 108 acres in Windward Oahu to preserve agriculture.

» $255,592 for the Kona Historical Society to buy two acres on the Big Island as a scenic buffer for the historic H.N. Greenwell Store.

» $231,788 for Hawaii Island Land Trust and the Malu 'Aina Center for Non-Violent Education and Action to buy 11 acres on the Big Island near Hilo to maintain agricultural production.

» $35,000 for Hawaii Island Land Trust to buy conservation easements over six acres on the Big Island in Puna to preserve an ohia forest canopy.






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