$400,000 will restore habitats
An extra $150,000 will match a federal grant for Kure Atoll
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Coastal Wetlands Conservation program to restore about 300 acres of wildlife habitat at Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, the service announced.
The grant will allow DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife staff to restore one acre of emergent wetland habitat for the reintroduction of the endangered Laysan duck, restore 13 acres of seabird nesting habitat by removing invasive plant species, and remove marine debris from 36 acres of marine intertidal shore habitat and 250 acres of subtidal coral reef habitat.
The federal funding will be matched by more than $150,000 from partners.
Located at the northwest tip of the Hawaiian archipelago within the Papahanau- mokuakea Marine National Monument, Kure Atoll provides nesting habitat for 17 seabird species, including four species identified as "highly imperiled" or of "high concern" -- the black-footed albatross, Laysan albatross, Christmas shearwater and Tristram's storm petrel, the service said in a release.
The atoll also is home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, threatened green turtles, Hawaiian spinner dolphins, Galapagos and tiger sharks, spotted eagle rays and large predatory jacks.
Despite its northern location and relatively cool waters, Kure has almost 80,000 acres of coral reef habitat supporting 155 species of reef fishes.
Much of the work to restore nesting habitat will focus on the removal of the invasive plant golden crownbeard (Verbesina encelioides), which overtakes native vegetation and reduces seabird nesting habitat.
About 4,000 pounds of marine debris will be removed from Kure Atoll over the next two years with funding from this grant.
Debris removal benefits the Hawaiian monk seal, as well as sea turtles, seabirds and other marine mammals.
The award is one of 29 grants to conservation projects encompassing nearly 10,000 acres of coastal wetlands in 11 states and Puerto Rico.