The Farm as Habitat: Environmental Topics
Endangered Species & Wildlife Protection
Hawaii has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of threatened and endangered species in the nation. Our islands are small and the influence of man’s land uses so great that currently 312 plants and animals are considered to be threatened or endangered. Often farmers can manage land to enhance habitat for these plants and animals.
Funding Sources for Conservation
USDA NRCS Financial Assistance Programs: General overview of conservation, farm/ranch, forestry, grassland and environmental programs offereded by the USDA NRCS. Contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office for technical assistance and cost-share funding.
- Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes.
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps fund projects that install conservation measures on agricultural lands to address animal waste, sedimentation, noxious weeds, insufficient water supply for crops or livestock, excess surface runoff, pesticide or nutrient contamination of ground or surface waters, or at-risk species habitat.
- Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a federal cost-share program (operated through the USDA NRCS) to assist landowners and leasees up to 75% of the cost of the conservation practices.
- Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) is a cost sharing program to help landowners and leasees restore, enhance or create wetlands on agricultural lands.
Invasive Species: Invasive and Noxious Weeds
With the best intentions, agriculture, forestry and most recently the horticulture and landscaping industries have introduced plants and animals to the Pacific Islands which over time proved to seriously out compete native species. Fortunately, farmers can now check to see if a plant that they grow will cause long-term damage to our island’s ecosystem.
Manure management can be a major headache for livestock producers! Water quality citations and fines from improper storage and spreading can be avoided with good management. Partner with other landowners to use manure and compost to improve soil quality Refer to the animal production webpage for more information about rotational grazing, manure management, and composting.
Erosion from farmland impairs water quality and farmers can be fined. Plan to prevent erosion you’re your property. These websites can help you manage your land resource to keep your valuable topsoil on-site. Land clearing is regulated by local grading ordinances. Before clearing land, be sure you learn about your restrictions.
Land use changes have caused extensive damage to water quality nationwide. Agriculture has been a source of sedimentation that damages our coral reefs, nutrient pollution which causes excessive algae blooms, pesticide and herbicide pollution in our groundwater. We can learn from these past mistakes. In addition, funding is often available to assist landowners and leasees to protect our water resources.
Natural Resource Inventories
Webinar Portal for Conservation of Natural Resources: Up-to-date info on the latest research and industry practices in forestry, conservation, bioenergy, and natural resources. Most user friendly webinars provide the opportunity to accrue continuing education credits, from professional accrediting organizations such as Society of American Foresters, International Society of Arboriculture, The Wildlife Society, Certified Crop Advisors, and others.