LIHUE — Kauai watersheds are getting a boost thanks to $6.5 million in Capital Improvement Project funding from the Legislature.
Three Kauai fencing projects landed on the statewide list, which will help protect the watersheds from the damaging forces of feral pigs, goats and deer.
Of the $6.5 million, just over $1.9 million is going to Kauai with $131,000 going toward the fencing project in Hono O Na Pali, $1.2 million going toward a fencing project at Drinking Glass, $300,000 dedicated to fencing in Koa’ie and $350,000 going toward fencing in East Alaka’i.
Melissa Fisher, Nature Conservancy Kauai program director, said it was a combination of legislators and conservationists pushing for the money.
“Collaboration is at the heart of conservation and we appreciate the many voices and hands that are working together to prioritize watershed projects,” Fisher said.
The CIP funding will help complete conservation fences outlined in the Kauai Watershed Alliance management plan for the southeastern part of the Alaka’i Plateau.
The fences will be located on both state and private lands of KWA members, who are landowners that have come together for the protection of fresh water and native forests on Kauai, according to The Nature Conservancy.
Work is expected to begin next year.
“These fences will ensure the protection of our native forests, which are the source of Kauai’s supply of fresh water,” said Sheri Mann, Kauai branch manager, Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
The Alaka’i Plateau includes the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve, which receives between 200 and 240 inches of rainfall a year. It is an important watershed for the Koai’e-Waimea and Wainiha Rivers.
Keeping non-native, feral animals out of native forests like the Alaka’i Wilderness Preserve protects the natural and cultural resources and the island’s fresh water supply, according to The Nature Conservancy.
Jessica Else, environment writer can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org