Ala Wai community
projects win grant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $767,965 grant to the Hawaii Nature Center to improve the Ala Wai watershed through public education and community involvement projects.

The Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki Valley 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 also will be providing grants to the Ala Wai Watershed Association to support its efforts in caring for the 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, EPA Water Division associate director for the Pacific Southwest region.

The grant also includes $200,000 to fund community projects. The Hawaii Nature Center will be issuing a request for community project proposals and will consider proposals previously selected by the association.

The Ala Wai watershed drains into the Ala Wai Canal, which was built in the 1920s to provide flood control and convert marshland 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 sediment that limited the canal's ability to provide flood control.

For more information about the Ala Wai watershed improvement project or the community project grants, contact Greg Dunn, of the Hawaii Nature Center, at 955-0100 or Karen Ah Mai, of the Ala Wai Watershed Association, at 955-7882.


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