Natural Resources

To respect, enhance and perpetuate Hawaii's natural resources to ensure a high level of satisfaction for residents and visitors.

Natural Resources

The Hawaiian Islands are some of the most ecologically diverse in a single location. These islands hold 27 of 38 Holdridge Lifezones, making them the single most habitat rich place on Earth. Their beauty unsurpassed and their fragility equally so. HTA is committed to supporting programs that protect their verdant beauty for generations to come.

HTA’s Aloha Aina program is focused on the lasting value of stewardship by responsible community-based entities with an emphasis on aina-kanaka (land-human) relationships and knowledge. The collective objective is to manage, conserve and revitalize Hawaii’s natural resources and environment.

A key program sponsored by HTA is the funding of the Ala Wai Watershed Collaborative. This public-private partnership with a diverse set of participating entities is working toward a holistic and systems-based solution to implement a regional plan and funding mechanism to improve the health of the overall watershed flowing into Mamala Bay and Waikiki Beach. 

In addition to supporting community programs, HTA partners with the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to enhance its efforts to protect Hawaii’s environment from mauka to makai (from the tops of our sacred mountains to the waters that give us life).

Aloha Aina

Hawaii's natural resources are among the most unique in the world. Their beauty unparalleled and one of the greatest assets to our way of life and our visitor industry.  The Aloha Aina program is partnering with awardees that manage, conserve, and revitalize Hawaiiʻs natural resources and environment.

HTA selects via requests for proposals (RFP), a group of organizations that will receive funding through its Aloha Aina program. The program awards funds up to $100,000 to community-based non-profits statewide.

The programs were chosen by the HTA and its Natural Resources Advisory committee on criteria designed to address the goal and guiding principles identified in the 2020-2025 HTA Strategic Plan. The goal: Respect for Our Natural and Cultural Resources. Dedicate resources to programs that enhance and support Hawai‘i’s natural resources and cultural sites to improve the quality of life for all of Hawai‘i’s residents and to enhance the visitor experience. The guiding principles include:
      • Support, nurture, and amplify conservation and natural resource management by communities, nonprofits, and county, state, and federal agencies. 
      • Engage and encourage active education and management strategies of natural resources in areas frequented by visitors.

For 2020, HTA awarded $2,081,000 in funding through its Aloha Aina program to 34 nonprofit programs statewide in their efforts to maintain, preserve and protect Hawai‘i’s natural resources.  Due to the budget impacts caused by COVID-19, the overall value of each project’s award was reduced by 50% in May 2020. This reduced the total funding amount to $1,076,000 for the 34 active contracts for the Aloha Aina program.

See below for a complete list of Aloha Aina organizations that HTA supports through this program.

For more information about this initiative, contact Kalani Kaanaana at (808) 973-2281 or via email [email protected]

2020 Hawaii Awardees

Coral Reef Alliance
Hawaii Wai Ola

Edith K. Kanakaole Foundation
Makawalu a Kanaloa

Hawaiʻi Forest Institute
Restoration and Education at Palamanui and LaiOpua Dry Forest Preserves

Pohaha I Ka Lani
Liko No Ka Lama

The Kohala Center, Inc.
Mālama Kahaluu: Restoring Our Coral Reef Ecosystem

Volcano Art Center
Niaulani Rain Forest Preservation & Education Program

2020 Kauai Awardees

DLNR - Division of Forestry and Wildlife

Garden Island Resource Conservation & Development, Inc.
Strengthening Visitor Capacity at Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Garden Island Resource Conservation & Development, Inc.
Giving Back: Protecting Native Forest

Hui o Laka dba Kokee Natural History Museum
Kokee - Nature Interpreted 2020

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Cultural & Ecological Restoration Program

2020 Maui Nui Awardees

Coral Reef Alliance
Engaging community volunteers in watershed restoration - West Maui

Friends of Auwahi Forest Restoration Project
Planting together

Friends of the DT Fleming Arboretum at Puu Mahoe, Inc.
Pahana Hoola- Seeds of Hope 2020

Ma Ka Hana Ka Ike Building Program
Wailua Nui Restoration Project

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens Inc.
Seed Banking, Crop Storage, and Public Access to Maui Nui Plants

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, Inc. dba Maui Nui Marine Resource Council
Fire and Oysters: Improving Maalaea Bay's Ocean Water Quality

MNa Koa Manu Conservation
Pohakuokala Gulch Community Forest Restoration Project

The Nature Conservancy
Expanding Marine Conservation in Maui County to Meet 30x30 Targets‘i

University of Hawaii
Into the Darkness: Protecting Na Manu o Ke Kai and the Night Skies

2020 Oahu Awardees

Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance Inc.
Stewardship and Conservation of Hawaii's Protected Marine Animals

Hui o Koolaupoko
Malama Muliwai o Heeia: Phase 2


Malama Maunalua
Site Model of Marine Restoration at Maunalua Bay

Malama Na Honu
Malama na Honu Conservation through Education Project 2020

Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center
Establishing roots of community stewardship and native landscapes

North Shore Community Land Trust dba North Shore Community Land Trust
Sunset Beach Park Community-Based Dune Restoration

Protectors of Paradise
Mākua & Keawaʻula Revitalization and Education Awareness Program

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi
The Pilina Pledge: From Plastics to Soil

2020 Statewide Awardees

DLNR - Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Mokuhalii: Covering the Islands in the Rapid Ohia Death Outreach Network

Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps

University of Hawaii
Rapid Ohia Death Seed Banking Initiative 2020

Ala Wai Watershed

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration (AWWC) is a broad network of stakeholders that formed to address storm water flood mitigation, ecosystem restoration, and overall community resilience. Building on several decades of watershed management and community efforts, the AWWC works to develop an ambitious and collaborative bottom-up vision for resilience and quality of life throughout the watershed. The Ala Wai watershed includes the most densely populated neighborhoods of Honolulu (200,000 residents and 80,000 visitors on any given day), and also the most vulnerable areas. Built on what used to be a coastal wetland at the base of the watershed, Waikiki has become the heart of Hawaii’s tourism economy, generating 7% of Hawaii’s GDP, 7% of civilian jobs, and 9% of state and county tax revenue. It is also particularly vulnerable to storm surges from the ocean, and downstream flooding of the Ala Wai canal.  This vision is grounded in the legacy of Native Hawaiian natural resource management through the ahupuaa system, traditional divisions of land that provided a foundation for stewardship, governance, and sense of place. The AWWC coordinates action in the upper 40% of the watershed zoned as Conservation District, in the residential neighborhoods in Manoa, Palolo, and Makiki valleys, as well as in the coastal neighborhoods of Moiliili, McCully, and Waikiki bordering the Ala Wai canal. Members include state agencies, county offices, federal partners, research programs and centers at the university, community groups, environmental groups, and business partners, including hotels. An example of a comprehensive ma uka to ma kai (ridge-to-reef) approach to address all six of Hawaii’s Aloha+ Challenge statewide sustainability goals as a localized framework of the global United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. The AWWC is structured in three Working Groups that advance the Collaboration’s 2018 scope of work:

  1. The Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure Working Group works on identifying policy options to enable (green) infrastructure solutions, supported by innovative financing models, including public-private partnerships. In 2018, the group is working with a legal contractor to develop recommendations for establishing a watershed improvement entity and is helping coordinate existing and proposed infrastructure projects in the watershed to align resources and increase efficiencies.
  2. The Environmental Quality, Research, and Science Working Group works to advance existing watershed-wide ecosystem restoration efforts, with a focus on improving water quality in streams and the Ala Wai canal itself. In 2018, the group is focusing on coordinating environmental data-gathering efforts to provide scientific baselines and justification of upstream watershed management.
  3. The Culture, Education, and Community Engagement Working Group grounds the AWWC’s work in culture and place. In 2018, the group is working to leverage Hawaii’s history of systems-thinking and natural resource stewardship through storytelling to inform planning in the watershed, and connect students and community members to the aina and ahupuaa.

HTA is proud to do its part as a major sponsor of the AWWC’s work in improving the health of our natural resources. 

Malama Hawaii

In addition to supporting community based partners, the HTA provides funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to enhance their efforts in protecting Hawaii's environment from ma uka to ma kai (from the tops of our sacred mountains to the waters that give us life). Support provided included in room messaging, new outdoor interpretative signs in six languages including olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language), as well as support to broadcast three documentaries on preserving our natural resources. 

The HTA also works closely with the Department of Land and Natural Resources to guide the expenditure of $3,000,000 in accordance with the 2016 HTA Strategic Plan. Funds primarily support the Division of State Parks and Na Ala Hele (Trail) programs of the DLNR.

Natural Resources Videos
The following videos were produced to increase awareness to residents and visitors about the fragility of Hawaii's natural environment and resources.  It is essential to educate the public, both visitors and residents about protecting our natural resources so that our islands continue to be a top choice to live and visit. 

Maemae - Cultural Hawaiian Toolkit

To help market Hawaii authentically, browse through a resource of Hawaiian language tools, style and information guides, cultural activities and festivals, and other pertinent information.

See the Maemae Toolkit

Digital Asset Library

Register to access the Knowledge Bank, a public resource of images related to Hawaii and tourism-related activities.

Log In

Community Programs

Initiatives that help Hawaii provide an experience that is unique and enriching, while valuing and perpetuating Hawaii’s natural and cultural resources and honoring its people and heritage.

See Kukulu Ola Program

See Aloha Aina Program 

See the Community Enrichment Program 


Read the latest announcements that provide up-to-date information about current HTA's programs, events and activities.

Register Now: Hawaii Agri-Tourism Webinar Summer Series 2020

Free Online Training: Certificate for Customer Service in Hawaii

See All Announcements