Hawaii wins $2.5 million in conservation grants

HONOLULU (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is awarding Hawaii nearly $2.5 million in grants to buy thousands of acres on the Big Island to protect endangered species.

Half of the money will pay for the purchase of more than 3,000 acres on the island's southern coast.

The land includes over a mile of coastline. The area is important habitat for the hawksbill turtle and Hawaiian monk seal, both endangered species.

The other half will fund the purchase of nearly 4,500 acres on the northern flank of Mauna Kea volcano. The land lies within critical habitat for the endangered palila bird.

The agency said Tuesday the state will restore mamane tree forest on the land.

Altogether the agency is providing $33 million in competitive grants to support conservation in 21 states.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.