Categorized | Environment

National Park Foundation grant for hawksbill turtles

MEDIA RELEASE

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is one of 23 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Impact Grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.

The $19,200 grant will assist park efforts to protect the federally endangered hawksbill turtle, known as the honuea in Hawaiian, by supporting park volunteers who monitor nesting beaches, rescue distressed females, eggs and hatchlings, improve habitat, and provide information to beachgoers along the southern coast of Hawaii Island.

Loss of nesting habitat caused by beach erosion and invasive plants threatens the future of the honu‘ea on the southern coast of Hawaii Island.

Student biologists and individuals from the community will assist as volunteers and remove invasive woody plants such as koa haole that are encroaching on to beaches, as well as relocate nests to prevent damage to fragile eggs from high surf and overcrowding.

While monitoring turtle activity, volunteers assist stranded females and hatchlings, and provide on-site information of park recovery efforts to beachgoers.

“The honuea is a much beloved turtle in Hawaii and it would be tragic to see this animal disappear from our shores. We’re very excited to work with the National Park Foundation to restore nesting habitat. In addition to helping to protect the turtle, we’ll also be providing valuable training and experience to students interested in pursuing careers in conservation biology,” said Dr. Rhonda Loh, Chief of Natural Resources Management for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Park biologists and volunteers are currently in the midst of hawksbill monitoring season, which runs from May through December.

Highlights from the 2014 season so far include:

* 10 honuea have been documented along the southern shores of Hawaii Island — 6 returnees, and 4 newly tagged

* One of the returning females had not been documented since 2005

* 21 nests are confirmed at four beaches, including two within the national park, Apua Point and Halape

Now in its seventh year, the Impact Grants program provides national parks with the critical financial support they need to transform innovative, yet underfunded, ideas into successful in- park programs and initiatives.

“Through our Impact Grants, we will help make a profound difference in our national parks by providing much-needed funding for projects that support habitat restoration, wildlife protection, and conservation research,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.

The 2014 Impact Grants were made possible, in large part, through the support of Disney and Subaru of America. A listing of these parks and their Impact Grants project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and inspire the next generation of park stewards.

— Find out more:
www.nationalparks.org
www.nps.gov

One Response to “National Park Foundation grant for hawksbill turtles”

  1. Joseph piccini says:

    The turtles will rebound if their nesting beaches are restored. See what coastal cleanup corporation has accomplished in Biscayne national park in Florida. Keep up the good work.

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