MAUI, Hawaii - April 2, 2103 - The West Maui Ridge to Reef (R2R) Initiative announced today that the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation is working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to support restoration of coral reefs in Honokowai and Wahikuli watersheds. A new Castle grant to R2R will continue funding for the Watershed Coordinator position and will leverage additional dollars from NOAA’s Coral program to address priority actions in the watershed. The Coordinator works to implement priority actions needed to reduce existing threats to the health of coral reefs in West Maui and engage the local community in stewardship activities to meet reef health goals.
NFWF has played a coordination and facilitation role in supporting the work of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, which designated two West Maui watersheds, Wahikuli and Honokowai as Priority Partnership Watersheds for investment. This designation strengthens the management and funding support for preserving and protecting coral reef ecosystems in West Maui.
“This project proposal hit five out of seven of our funding criteria, which is rare”, said Eric Co, Program Officer for Marine Conservation at the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation. “We liked that this effort already has broad-based collaboration and the ability to leverage additional funds. The fact that it helps to catalyze something initiated by federal agencies is exciting.”
The conservation strategy focuses on addressing land-based sources of pollution that can impact coral reefs. Actions planned for the West Maui R2R initiative in 2013 include projects addressing sediment and nutrient pollution coming from agricultural access roads, landscaping chemicals in resort properties, and urban areas understood to contribute to coral reef stress. Strong partnerships and communication between the landowners, local businesses, agencies and organizations is necessary for implementing these and other priority projects identified in the Watershed Management Plan for this area.
The Castle Foundation has become the largest private source of funding for Marine Conservation in Hawai’i since making it a top priority in 2003. Funding choices reflect an understanding that while biological improvements are the ultimate measure of success, in the short term, shifts are likely to be observable in social outcomes.
Established by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) sustains, restores and enhances the nation's fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 4,000 organizations and committed more than $2.1 billion to conservation projects. Learn more at www.nfwf.org
The West Maui Ridge to Reef (R2R) Initiative is an all- encompassing approach across multiple agencies and organizations to address adverse impacts to coral reefs in West Maui. The R2R Initiative builds on already established efforts underway and leverages resources across a number of agencies and community groups to implement actions to reduce one of the key sources of reef decline – land-based sources of pollution. Find out more at www.westmauir2r.com , or contact the watershed coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.