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The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust - Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge

Project Summary

Sea level rise amplifies hazards such as coastal erosion, inundation due to storm surge, extreme tides, and tsunami, and is projected to lead to more frequent and increasingly severe flooding.  To respond to these vulnerabilities, conservation efforts on the 277-acre Waihe’e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge aim to mitigate impacts of sea level rise, promote habitat restoration, and support food security and community sustainability. Ongoing restoration efforts emphasize reestablishing native vegetation to build resilient habitats for at least 13 species of migratory sea birds, while preserving the area’s rich archaeological and cultural resources.

By reestablishing historical natural communities, this coastal landscape is more able to buffer climate change impacts. The Refuge also provides ecosystem services including educational outreach opportunities for community members, and a source of income for local CSAs who lease farming rights on the land.  Connecting people to the many values coastal systems provide helps build support of adaptation efforts.

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Spotlight - HILT

Location / size of service area

Hawaiian Islands archipelago

Acres protected

17502 acres (Approximately 24 transactions).

Total number of staff and/or board

7 staff members (fluctuates), 15 board members.

Total number of supporters

Numerous volunteers in the field with habitat restoration work and at events, but numbers fluctuate. The land trust has nearly 2,000 active supporters.

Year established

HILT established in 2011


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