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State receives $5M to restore forests

Hawaii will receive more than $5 million to help plant native trees and remove invasive species in local watersheds, Hawaii U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced Friday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing $5,298,701 to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to conduct landscape-level forested watershed restoration.

“Climate change is intensifying the battles we are fighting to protect Hawaii’s native forests from outside threats like wildfires and invasive species,” Hirono said in a news release. “Programs and funding like this from USDA provide much-needed federal assistance to help landowners combat climate change while improving forested watershed health.”

Federal funding will be leveraged with public and private resources from multiple partners to allow DLNR to provide competitive grants to private landowners to address climate change, while improving water quality and habitat for endangered species, the news release said.

Locations with the highest carbon sequestration potential will be selected to plant 210,000 native trees. Additionally, invasive plants, many of which fuel wildfires, will be removed from 1,650 acres.

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