Approximately $6.4 million has been appropriated for the Department of the Interior to acquire Kealia Pond on the Island of Maui, Hawaii. This is part of a Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recovery plan to protect the habitat of two endangered Hawaiian waterbirds, the coot and the stilt. The acquisition of 500 acres of land containing the pond does not meet FWS land acquisition policies. The pond's sanctuary status and its location within a State conservation district preclude uses that are not compatible with a wildlife refuge and represent an alternative to federal acquisition. State protection of the pond was never considered a viable alternative by FWS even though state and county officials have made every effort to stop federal condemnation proceedings. The state, county, and principal landowner have indicated a willingness to further improve the pond to enhance its potential for waterbirds. The Secretary of the Interior should discontinue acquisition of Kealia Pond and monitor state and county actions to ensure that the pond remains a waterbird habitat.
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