Hawaiian petrel chick

Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program Awards More Than $450,000 in Conservation Grants in Hawai‘i

Partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Pūlama Lāna‘i funds six projects to identify immediate conservation actions on northeast Lāna‘i

Hawaiian petrel chick

LĀNA‘I CITY, Hawai‘i (March 16, 2020) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and Pūlama Lāna‘i today announced more than $450,000 in grants for six projects that will collectively protect and enhance Lāna‘i’s coral reefs, native plants and animals, habitats for endangered Hawaiian petrels, and sensitive coastal cultural sites. The grants will also help to foster connections between Lāna‘i’s community and the land.

 As the largest “ridge to reef” program in the State of Hawai‘i, unencumbered by multiple landowners or development, this program’s unique characteristics allow for evaluation, restoration and recovery of entire watershed functions on a landscape scale. 

Today’s conservation grants are the first to be awarded under the Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program (LWCP). In Hawaiian, “Kuahiwi a Kai” means “from the mountain to the ocean.” The six projects will unfold on 20,000 acres on northeast Lāna‘i. The grants will leverage more than $450,000 in matching contributions, generating a total conservation impact of more than $910,000.

“The first round of grants from the Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program will coordinate a comprehensive effort to protect native ecosystems and provide improved ecosystem services such as clean water, resource gathering and recreation to the people who call Lāna‘i home,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Working closely with our partner, Pūlama Lāna‘i, we look forward to creating a lasting impact for the future of this beautiful island.”

The LWCP provides funding to grantees taking a landscape-level approach to conservation, which involves balancing competing land use demands to serve the needs of the environment and human well-being, delivering multiple benefits for species and habitats. The selected projects address environmental stressors including erosion, flooding, sedimentation, invasive plants, uncontrolled ungulate populations and non-native mammalian predators. Additionally, grantees will restore native habitats and address reef management issues. These activities will create a positive impact for priority reefs in the Maui Nui complex and for Hawaiian petrels at Lāna‘i Hale.

“‘Pūlama Lāna‘i’ means ‘to cherish Lāna‘i.’ Our partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation allows us to live our values by supporting organizations seeking to protect and preserve our land and natural resources,” said Kurt Matsumoto, chief operating officer for Pūlama Lāna'i. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work closely with the grantees on conservation efforts that stretch from mauka to makai — from the highest point of Lāna‘i Hale to the ocean.”

Lāna‘i’s windward Keōmoku coast is home to remarkable natural and cultural resources. Seabird nesting habitats stretch along the ridgelines and support one of the largest remaining colonies of endangered Hawaiian petrels. Lāna‘i’s nearshore coral reefs have been identified as one of the seed stocks for the rest of Maui County.

“Partnerships are critical to any landscape-level initiative,” said Katie Ersbak, watershed planner for Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “The partnership between Pūlama Lāna‘i and NFWF is a great example of a private landowner working collaboratively with an agency to leverage resources and address challenges on a watershed scale.”

Work supported by the LWCP presents a significant opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of a watershed approach to sustainable land management and community stewardship in Hawai‘i. LWCP grants will help provide baseline and monitoring information, as well as implement on-the-ground restoration and conservation projects that achieve the goals of the program.

Over the course of the next several years, LWCP is expected to expand and further facilitate restoration and conservation efforts on Lāna‘i in order to: 

  • Restore native vegetative cover to increase watershed health
  • Reduce sedimentation run-off to nearshore reefs
  • Bolster populations of endangered and endemic species like the Hawaiian petrel
  • Increase quality of the landscape for local community and visitors through the preservation of nearshore resources, beaches and cultural sites

For more information about the Kuahiwi a Kai: Lānaʻi Watershed Conservation Program or to download the program’s 2020 Grant Slate, please click here

About Pūlama Lāna‘i
Pūlama Lāna‘i is committed to redefining the Hawaiian Island of Lāna‘i as a sustainable community by creating new opportunities driven by agriculture, resource management, conservation and more. Enhancing and perpetuating the island’s diverse species and fragile ecosystem through game management, natural species preservation, watershed management, erosion control, coastal resources and fisheries management, invasive species control and conservation education, Pūlama Lāna‘i brings an integrated and comprehensive approach to protect and manage Lāna‘i’s natural resources to preserve Hawaiian culture and improve the lives of Lāna‘i residents.

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) works with the public and private sectors to sustain, restore and enhance the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats for current and future generations. Chartered by Congress in 1984, NFWF has grown to become the nation’s largest private conservation grant-maker, funding more than 18,600 projects and generating a total conservation impact of $6.1 billion. Learn more at


Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166, NFWF,