Over the past year or so, HWMO has built a strong partnership with the South Kohala Coastal Partnership and UH Sea Grant in order to address mauka to makai wildfire issues through the Wai 2 Kai program. Last year, HWMO helped provide funding to the program for fuels reduction in two key areas for Waiulaula watershed restoration efforts: Ke Ala Kahawai O Waimea Streamside Trail of Waimea and behind the Waimea Center. We also held a joint-workshop for large landowners and managers interested in wildfire preparedness. Sierra Tobiason, coordinator for these efforts (and HWMO Technical Advisory member) who recently moved away from the islands, was an incredible partner through these efforts and HWMO was sad to see her go.
However, those shoes were recently filled by Lisa Ferentinos, who is a great addition to the partnership, with her years of experience coordinating similar efforts. HWMO's Pablo Beimler was able to join Lisa, Didi, and Julia of Wai 2 Kai and partners from Surfrider Foundation, Waimea Nature Park, Waikoloa Dry Forest Initiative, and The Nature Conservancy for a meet-and-greet at the Spencer House in Waimea on January 20th. The future looks very bright for the partnership and HWMO will help in whatever capacity it can to help them achieve wildfire protection goals.