The Hawaiian Islands are a haven for a variety of endangered species, including the ae'o (stilt), the alae ke'oke'o (coot), the koloa (duck) and the nene (goose). To ensure their protection, the Hawaii Islands Land Trust (HILT) has been working diligently to preserve their habitats. One of their most successful projects is the Waiheʻe coastal dune and wetland refuge in Maui, which covers an area of 277 acres (112 hectares).The Maui Coastal Land Trust (MCLT) was established in 2001 to bridge the gap between government agencies, private landowners and community groups in order to protect Maui's shorelines, coastal landscapes and cultural resources. The MCLT works with landowners who are interested in preserving open spaces and conserving land by either acquiring land or conservation easements or assisting them in the acquisition of conservation land or easements.
These easements can limit any development potential and specify what can and cannot be done on a property. Since its inception, the MCLT has been able to conserve more than 15,000 acres of land. One of their most successful projects is the Waiheʻe coastal dune and wetland refuge, which includes 24 acres (9.7 hectares) of coastal wetlands fed by springs, 103 acres (42 hectares) of sand dune ecosystem, more than 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of coastline, and more than 8 acres (3.2 hectares) of riverine habitat. The owner of this land accepted a conservation easement on it, ensuring its permanent protection. The MCLT is devoted to safeguarding and preserving the coastal lands of Maui Nui for the benefit of the natural environment and current and future generations. Through their efforts, they have been able to protect eight different endangered species that call Maui home.
They have also been able to prevent a golfing tourist destination from being built on this rich cultural site. If you're interested in learning more about the MCLT's efforts to protect endangered species on Maui, you can check out this virtual tour created by Maui Huliau students.