Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Celebrates Earth Day and Action to Improve and Protect Coastal Reefs in Hawai`i

April 22, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC -- U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after yesterday’s decision by the Department of the Interior (DOI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to recognize collaborative landscape partnerships that will protect coastal reefs in Hawai`i. 


“It is Earth Day today - a reminder for all of us to think about how we can take action to protect our aina, being inspired by our state motto - Ua Mau ke Ea o ka aina i ka Pono - the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness," said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  "Protecting our environment is not just a policy discussion; it is a way of life, embedded in the fabric of our culture and society. To preserve and protect the ʻʻina, we must continue to conserve our precious, limited natural resources and promote sustainable practices.


"I commend the President as well as the EPA, NOAA, and Department of Interior on their move to protect and restore the precious coastal reefs in West Hawaiʻi, West Maui, and Heʻeia.  These projects will build on work already being done by our community in these and other areas. I look forward to working toward expanding these initiatives to include other affected reefs across the state."


According to the DOI, in Hawai`i, projects will take place in West Hawai`i, West Maui, and He`eia, where improving coastal reef resilience is a major priority. Projects will focus on addressing shoreline erosion, removing invasive species, restoring streams, wetlands, and fishponds, and preventing wildfire impacts. Each location is already designated a priority location by the State of Hawai`i  and NOAA.  


For example, in the He'eia watershed on the island of O`ahu, organizations are using NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer to see maps of the potential impacts of sea level rise on the region. Federal agencies will focus efforts with partners to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to a changing climate. In addition to Hawai`i other project sites will be in Florida, Washington, and the Great Lakes region. 


(Map of Proposed Hawaii Priority Landscape Locations via  DOI, NOAA, and EPA)


For more information on the announcement see the full joint press release here.


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