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Federal spending law to protect land, ocean resources important to Hawaii

President Joe Biden this week signed into law a $1.5 trillion spending bill that includes millions to help protect important natural resources both on land and in the ocean in Hawaii.

Biden on Tuesday approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 to fund projects and activities of the federal government through Sept. 30. U.S. Rep. Ed Case said in a news release today the funds will help protect Hawaii’s parks, trails and endangered species, and important resources in the ocean.

“The bill makes substantial further federal investments to help Hawaii conserve our aina for future generations and protect endangered species,” Case said in a statement. “Especially key for Hawaii is $6 million to the National Park Service to expand Haleakala National Park on Maui to create more recreational opportunities and enhance access to the Kaupo Gap Trail.”

According to a statement, key provisions of the bill include $17 million for the National Trails System, which will benefit the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail; $4 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State of the Birds program, which focuses on endangered birds in Hawaii; and $300,000 for the City and County of Honolulu to develop its tree inventory and management plan.

Additionally, $415,000 will go to the Waikiki Marine Life Conservation District Site Restoration project, while $200,000 has been allocated for the Moku o Loe Marine Laboratory Refuge Eco-Friendly Sea Wall Research project.

The bill will provide $61 million for the Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas account, which supports the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument; $148 million for the protection, research, and management of marine mammals, sea turtles, and other species; $34 million for the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund; $33 million for the Coral Reef Conservation Program that supports coral reef ecosystems management and research; and $4 million for the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants.

Further, $52 million will go to the U.S. Geological Survey’s National and Regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers, including the Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center based out of the University of Hawaii. Case’s news release also said that $6 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will go toward maintenance and repairs for its Atmospheric Baseline Observatories, including the Mauna Loa Observatory.

In addition, $75 million has been allocated to the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, which was created by the Department of Defense in response to land development and loss of habitat near or affecting military installations, ranges and airspace that can lead to restrictions or costly and inadequate training and testing alternatives. The defense department works with state and local governments, conservation organizations and private landowners to address these challenges to the military’s goals and the viability of installations and ranges.

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