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U.S. EPA Awards Watershed Initiative Funds to Hanalei

Release Date: 5/5/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

Hanalei Heritage River Program to get $700,000 for watershed protection work

SAN FRANCISCO The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has selected the Hanalei Bay watershed on the island of Kaua'i to receive $700,000, as one of 20 watersheds from throughout the country to receive funding from the new EPA Watershed Initiative.

The Hanalei Heritage River Program will use the funds to support local efforts for ecological restoration, community development and historic and cultural preservation.

Hanalei is the only watershed selected from the four states and the Pacific Islands that make up the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. The EPA received nominations of 176 watersheds from among the 50 states, territories and tribal areas.

"EPA is thrilled to be able to support a community-based effort in the Hanalei Bay watershed that will achieve direct environmental improvements," said Catherine Kuhlman, acting director for the EPA's water division for the Pacific Southwest region. "The Hanalei Heritage River Program is demonstrating that through cooperation, communities can successfully address critical water quality problems."

Among the activities to be implemented at Hanalei are the replacement of area cesspools that are contaminating the river and groundwater; implementation of agricultural best management practices to reduce sediments flowing into the river; and monitoring to document the effect of these activities on the coral reefs and fish populations.

The Hanalei River was designated an American Heritage River in July of 1998. The Hanalei Heritage River Program has since successfully implemented a number of projects, developed a 5-year action plan and has established a successful framework for community cooperation and agency collaboration.

The EPA's Watershed Initiative program is providing a total of $15 million in assistance to state and local communities to protect and restore inland and coastal watersheds. The goal is to advance the successes of watershed coalitions that are ready to carry out on-the-ground protection and restoration projects. The EPA hopes to encourage practical and efficient models that can be adopted to local circumstances across the country.
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