Federal agencies announce initiative to protect natural resource - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Federal agencies announce initiative to protect natural resources in Hawaii from climate change

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Federal agencies announced on Tuesday an initiative to protect natural resources in Hawaii from climate change. The Department of Interior, Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will work together in the Resilient Lands and Waters initiative, aiming to conserve and restore important lands and waters, and make them more resilient to a changing climate.

“Climate change is impacting every corner of the nation – from the Everglades to the Arctic – which has ramifications for our natural and cultural heritage, public health and economic activity,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a statement. “Through increased collaboration, we can pool resources and bring the best available science to bear as we take a landscape-level approach to make these treasured lands and waters more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”

NOAA and the state of Hawaii have already designated project locations: West Hawaii on Hawaii Island, West Maui and Heeia on Oahu.

These areas face a wide range of impacts related to climate change, including sea level rise, drought, wildfire and invasive species. Over the next 18 months, federal agencies will team up with state, tribal and local partners to prepare for and prevent these types of threats, but also to ensure that long-term conservation efforts take climate change into account. Participating entities will develop more explicit strategies and maps in the programs of work.

The primary focus will be on improving coastal reef resilience. Projects will also address shoreline erosion, removing invasive species, preventing wildfire impacts, and restoring streams, wetlands and fishponds. Resilient Lands and Waters will aim to conserve coastal wetlands and marine conservation areas by protecting drinking water for urban areas and providing habitat for wildlife.

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