IMPORTANT: It's a Serious Matter of Life

Infrastructure law includes $14 million for Hawaii's ecosystem

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $14 million for ecosystem restoration that state officials said could save four Hawaiian birds from extinction.

"Several species of native Hawaiian forest birds are on the verge of extinction, possibly within the next two years," Gov. David Ige said in a news release. "This federal funding could not come at a better time and will add significantly to projects and efforts already underway to try and save species, like 'akikiki and kiwikiu from vanishing forever."

Conservation officials are particularly concerned about four species of the Hawaiian honeycreepers. The birds are threatened by avian malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that is not native to the state, according to conservation officials.

"We have a huge group of scientists, conservationists, land managers, and others from non-profit, private, and government organizations engaged in a collaborative process to break the avian disease cycle and save these birds as quickly as we can," said Dr. Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director with the American Bird Conservancy. "We can only do that by controlling non-native mosquitoes where our honeycreepers have their last mountain refuges."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is allocating an additional $6.5 million to develop a mosquito management program, according to the news release. The National Park Service has allotted $6 million for tools to suppress mosquitoes at Haleakalā National Park.

"When faced with such bleak prospects for our beloved honeycreeper species, there are certainly no guarantees," said Suzanne Case, chairman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. "However, the federal infrastructure aid targeted at preventing the extinction of these forest birds is a clear demonstration that the federal administration and lawmakers recognize the urgency with which we must use every tool available now, and in the future, to ensure the natural and cultural resiliency of our forest birds."

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