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Case Praises New Partnerships Among Twenty Federal, State, Local and Non-Governmental Entities And Congress To Help Conserve Two Million Acres In Hawai‘i

He worked with federal agencies to support the “Sentinel Landscape” designation to safeguard and maintain open lands that support agriculture, conservation and recreation on lands near military installations

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Ed Case (HI-01) announcement today the designation of two million acres throughout the State of Hawai‘i as a Sentinel Landscape, a federal program that makes these lands eligible for millions in funding to support conservation efforts. The program creates partnerships between federal agencies, state and local governments, private landowners, land managers and non-profits to preserve sensitive lands and resources near military bases.

“This designation for Hawai‘i strengthens military and other federal efforts against threats to our recreational and agricultural lands, native forests and critical habitats, including sea level rise and extreme weather conditions such as drought that could bring on wildfires,” said Case, a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Defense with jurisdiction over the Department of Defense (DOD), as well as of the House Natural Resources Committee.

The new Hawai‘i Sentinel Landscape spans over two million acres, featuring priority conservation, agricultural and DOD lands on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Islands. The designation will apply to lands around several military installations across Hawai‘i, including the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i; Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i, Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the U.S. Army Garrison Hawai‘i on O‘ahu, and the Pōhakuloa Training Area on Hawaiʻi Island.  

The program does not bring any new lands into federal ownership, but:

1.   Provides landowners and land managers with effective management tools and protection measures to support threatened and endangered species populations.

2.   Supports a landscape that is resilient to the impacts of increased severe weather events, sea level rise and wildfire.

3.   Develops initiatives that foster the sustained well-being of Hawaii’s conservation areas, working lands and local communities.

4.   Promotes land use near military bases that is compatible with DOD mission by safeguarding and maintaining open lands that support agriculture, conservation and recreation.

Through legislation, meetings, regular oversight and other actions, Case actively worked in Congress to support the Sentinel Landscape designation.

“My amendment in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act enabled more federal agencies to participate in the Sentinel Landscape Program, expanding the resources the federal government can bring to our state to conserve lands for future generations,” said Case.

In 2021, Case joined with the other members of the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation in a letter to the federal agencies that oversee the program to support a proposal to designation. The delegation advocated for the federal government to “reduce incompatible development located near existing installations, foster collaboration won the unique habitat concerns for listed species, maintain resilience in the face of climate change, and preserve Native Hawaiian cultural activities, practices and historic sites.”

·        See details of the Hawai‘i Sentinel Landscape here.