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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 7:27 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Partnership formed to protect 1 million acres on Big Island

Advertiser Staff

VOLCANO, Hawai'i A new partnership of public and private landowners has been created to protect watersheds and natural resources across more than one million acres on Mauna Loa, Kilauea and Hualalai on the Big Island.

The Three Mountain Alliance watershed partnership will include nine partners who will cooperate under a memorandum of understanding and a recently completed management plan.

The alliance will also involve Kulani Correctional Facility and its inmates in conservation work including fencing and native reforestation.

"By participating in the partnership, our inmates receive education and work-training opportunities," said Beryl Iramina, warden at Kulani. "Inmates can also give back to the community through our community service programs helping Three Mountain Alliance partners protect and restore important watershed lands."

The Three Mountain Alliance plans for the near future include an education and restoration project in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and on Keauhou Ranch lands that would have local students and teachers planting native plants grown by Kulani inmates.

Also in the works are development with the community of a watershed management plan for the upland forests of Ka'u and Kapapala, control of wild cattle in several state-owned forest reserves, protective fencing of dry forests in upland Kona, and joint invasive weed-control projects.