As a hub of wildfire protection efforts across the Hawaiian Islands, we are always looking for ways to bring people together to solve some of our most complex wicked problems. The Hawaiian Islands have been struggling with invasive species spread for decades, but now we are seeing what happens when invasive flammable plants take over the landscape and allow fires to spread more quickly and over larger areas. By controlling or managing flammable vegetation at the landscape-level, we can make great strides towards reducing the wildfire risk on our islands.
That’s why HWMO is coordinating a statewide vegetative fuels management mapping project — a rapid assessment to understand the vegetation management needs and priorities of landowners and land managers throughout the Hawaiian Islands. DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife and University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension are key partners in the effort.
The vision for the project is that the resulting maps will lead to 1) better prioritization and communication of vegetative fuels management on the landscape-scale and 2) enhance project coordination between organizations and funding opportunities.
On June 26 and 27, our team took a tour to Oahu and Maui to hold workshops with various partners and map current and desired vegetation management activities. Activities could include any vegetation reduction or conversion projects such as roadside mowing, fuelbreaks, grazing rotations, clearing around structures or power poles, brush abatement or thinning, tree trimming, loi restoration, agriculture, and native forest restoration.
The Oahu workshop took place at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus in a high-tech room fit for a mapping workshop. Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership and other Koolau Mountains stewards joined us for the workshop. The following day, we held two workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with land managers on Maui. We had help from our friends from Leeward Haleakala Watershed Partnership, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, Maui Conservation Alliance, and Maui Cattlemen’s Association for getting the word out about the workshops. Big mahalo to them!