HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some 800 acres of watershed on Molokai will be protected from mauka to makai.
The area is known as Pua’ahala. The Department of Land and Natural Resources along with the East Moloka’i Watershed Partnership purchased the land for nearly $3.2 million.
State officials say the deal protects a native forest and the island’s largest freshwater pond.
“For many years we tried to get the landowner involved with the partnership, but they had no interest. Then in 2015, the idea came up to ask if they wanted to sell and that’s when this acquisition began to move forward,” said Ed Misaki, Director of the Molokai Program for the Nature Conservancy.
“There are a lot of people on Molokai who are happy that the State has made this purchase because it will help protect and enhance the native, natural resources on which our community depends”
DLNR officials add that the acquisition of the land is key to filling in the gap of protection for watersheds in the area.
"From west to east, a contiguous network of protected areas is being established. Pua’ahala is in the center of this chain. Without this acquisition, there would be a missing link in the protection of the entire region,” DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said.
They’re now considering other public uses for the land such as hiking trails, and will seek feedback from the community.