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U.S. EPA Awards Grant Funds to Hawai'i Nature Center

Release Date: 6/20/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

$767,965 to be used for the Ala Wai Watershed Improvement Project

     HONOLULU--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has awarded a $767,965 grant to the Hawai'i Nature Center to improve the Ala Wai watershed through public education and community involvement projects.

     The Hawai'i Nature Center will provide environmental education to 4,800 elementary school children; support service learning projects for 20 after-school programs; create an adult environmental education curriculum; and restore and enhance portions of the Makiki loop trail.  

     The Nature Center will also be providing grant funds to the Ala Wai Watershed Association to support their efforts in caring for the Ala Wai watershed from the mountains to the sea between Punchbowl and Kaimuki.

     "This grant will provide the community with useful tools to protect, preserve and enhance the Ala Wai watershed," said John Kemmerer, associate director for the EPA's Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region.  "We're excited about the partnership between Hawai'i Nature Center and the Ala Wai Watershed Association."

     The grant also includes $200,000 to fund community projects.  Hawai'i Nature Center will be issuing a request for community project proposals and will consider project proposals previously selected by the Ala Wai Watershed Association.
     The Ala Wai watershed drains into the Ala Wai Canal, which was built in the 1920's to provide flood control and convert marsh land in the Waikiki area to other productive uses.  Excessive sedimentation and urban runoff from surrounding neighborhoods have combined over the years to pollute the waterway.  The recent dredging of the canal removed much of the sediments that limited the canal's ability to provide flood control.

     To learn more about the Ala Wai watershed improvement project or the community project grants, contact Greg Dunn of the Hawai'i Nature Center at 955-0100, or Karen Ah Mai of the Ala Wai Watershed Association at 955-7882.
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