Friday, December 1, 2017

A Message from KIRC Chair Michele McLean

The successful projects undertaken by the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission are the result of an extraordinary formula: a state agency with a strikingly unique mission, innovative grant programs that provide funding for natural and cultural resource management and education, incredible volunteers who donate thousands of hours and immeasurable energy, exceptional financial and administrative support from the State Legislature and Administration and an outstanding staff of dedicated and hard working men and women who can put all of these pieces together.

For several years, the Hawaii Community Foundation has supported a coastal restoration project that combines the efforts of KIRC’s Ocean, Culture, Operations, Administrative and Restoration programs. This project has seen the planting of climate-adaptive plants in coastal areas to stabilize the shoreline and protect significant coastal sites, as well as the removal of invasive marine species that prey on native species in Kahoʻolawe’s near shore waters.

Other team-centered projects include the Seabird Restoration Project, aiming to restore native habitats for endangered species with funding by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in collaboration with Island Conservation, and the Alu Like-funded Hui Kāpehe project, in which interns have learned restoration techniques and worked to restore ʻuala patches at Luamakika, helped to research and implement biosecurity measures at the Kīhei boat house, and trained and served as crew on the ʻŌhua, among numerous other endeavors.

Through direct funding from the State, the KIRC is moving toward energy and financial self-sustainability with the installation of a 100-kilowatt solar array at Honokanaiʻa with 80-kilowatt hours of battery storage. Additionally, Capital Improvement Project funds were approved for the planning and design of the future Kahoʻolawe Operations and Education Center at the Kīhei boat house site.  Both of these projects have benefitted from administrative support from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Engineering Division, who assisted with procurement and contracting.

It is a complex recipe that has brought together our staff, our State representatives and officials, various local and national funding sources, and our volunteers; it has produced great results for Kahoʻolawe, and will see KIRC continue to succeed in future years.