Pono Project LLC makes grants to non-profit or fiscally sponsored organizations for conservation projects that protect or restore our natural environment or that educate residents and visitors about the importance of land and water conservation. 


Currently our initial Project sites are in Hawaii. We anticipate quickly enlarging this area as soon as more funds are available.


AT LEAST 10% of any requested funds must be used for outreach and education to further public understanding of conservation, management strategy or our connection to our environment. 


We use photography, video, social media and other methods to further the goals of the Pono Project itself, but also of all of our funded projects. We encourage applicants to describe how they can contribute to these sources of media for the betterment of conservation and for the continuation of the Pono Project.



We are not funding any new projects at this time.


Hawaiian Islands Land Trust

Habitat Restoration in the Nu'u Wetlands, Kaupo, Maui

In February 2011 the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust purchased the Nu’u Refuge which included the 6-acre Nu’u Wetlands. Although it is a relatively small wetlands, its intact hydrology, large number of water birds and largely intact coastal wetlands indigenous wetland floral assemblage, makes this site an extremely rich, productive and biodiverse coastal wetlands. In spite of its relative health, numerous challenges pose threats to the hydrologic and biotic integrity.


Through this grant we are hoping to address the two main impediments to the continued health of the Nu’u Wetlands (as addressed in our approved management plan). The first impediment involves the growth of the invasive Kiawe (Prosopis pallida) into the riparian edge of the pond. We propose to remove the low canopy of horizontally growing trees which grow into the pond. The second problem involves predation, primarily by mongoose, feral cats and rats. Predation is a perpetual challenge for the protection of ground nesting birds, while the growth of invasive trees over the shallow edge of the wetlands severely reduces the foraging area available to the endangered water birds. We are proposing to address the predation problem by constructing 6 nesting platforms in the deeper area of the pond, away from locations where they are susceptible to predation.



A Research, Education and Sea Turtle Protection Project

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund’s is a small 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the conservation of Hawai‘i’s native wildlife through research, education and advocacy. HWF’s connections, dedication, experience, and expertise of Maui’s endangered species and their habitats are unmatched and a real asset to these species’ recoveries.


The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), known as “honu” in Hawaiian, is listed as a Threatened species. Due to protection under Federal and State laws and local conservation efforts, the Hawaiian green turtle is making a comeback, but multiple issues exist that still hamper recovery: fibropapillomatosis (a tumor-forming disease discovered in 1978), coral reef habitat degradation, nesting habitat alterations/loss, interactions with nearshore fishing activities, boat strikes, marine debris ingestion and entanglement, harassment, poaching, and climate change.


Hawaii Wildlife Fund will be working to protect possibly the largest congregation of basking sea turtles on Maui (nearly 150 individuals, with typically ~30 emerging each evening after sunset). They will use the funds to make educational signs (shown in the photo above) and educate beachgoers about responsible turtle viewing, help mediate/mitigate negative interactions between residents and visitors and promotes positive experiences. Through their work they will provide meaningful learning opportunities for students from Maui and around the world, determine factors that influence individual basking behavior and elucidates overall trends, reports harassment cases, collaborate with NOAA concerning turtles that need veterinary care, monitor fibropapillomatosis cases, collect human use data, and promotes community stewardship.

'Getting to Know the Ko'olaus'

Community Conservation Program

The Ko‘olau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) formed in 1999 when an alliance of public and private landowners signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate conservation of the Ko‘olaus’ watershed forests. Today, 17 landowners and eight associate partners participate. The partnership area includes most of the Ko‘olau Range at just over 100,000 acres. Field work and coordination are presently performed by a staff of five. Though small, KMWP performs a critical mission in connecting management across the large partnership area. Most of the landowning partners do not have field crews. Those that do work in the watershed forests seek to complement each other’s efforts to form a network of protection against invasive weeds and animals.


The task of protecting Hawai‘i’s critical watersheds from harmful introduced species is great, and many hands are needed. O‘ahu is blessed with a large pool of committed conservation volunteers. KMWP’s outreach specialist has selected sites appropriate for a range of skill sets and fitness levels. At two hike-in sites, volunteers will directly and positively impact the watershed by removing invasive weeds that are fragmenting the native forest. At a third, more accessible site at Pali Lookout, weeds will be replaced with native plantings as a public education tool. During our volunteer work trips, community members will learn about the flora and fauna of each area, field safety and work techniques, and the importance of maintaining healthy forests.


The work KMWP does is focused on protecting O'ahu's fresh water supply, a basic life resource upon which we all depend, and will greatly benefit all residents of and visitors to the island of O‘ahu.

© 2019 by Pono Project LLC.

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