A Cleaner Estuary For He‘eia
BY KRISTEN NALANI MAILHEAU
Hui o Ko‘olaupoko community coordinator
Hui o Ko‘olaupoko and project partner Kama‘aina Kids are proud to announce a new restoration project aimed at improving water quality and increasing habitat for native aquatic animal species by removing invasive plants and replanting native species along a portion of He‘eia Stream estuary in He‘eia State Park (currently managed by Kama‘aina Kids).
It focuses on the mouth of the stream in an area of about four acres dominated by invasive species, such as mangrove and hau bush. Both species have encroached on the stream corridor and made it nearly impassable.
We are excited to begin this new project as a complement to our past four years of work in Haiku Valley with Papahana Kuaola to restore more than 4,000 feet of stream corridor along the upper reaches of He‘eia Stream.
A project blessing March 31 drew many project partners, community supporters and HOK volunteers, and featured oli from staff and partner organizations as well as the building of a small ahu, an awa ceremony and delicious pupu from an on-site imu.
Invasive species removal work and volunteer days at the estuary should begin this month when removed material will be chipped or composted on site. This reuse of organic material will suppress weeds, limit exposure and erosion of bare soils and add nutrients to the soil to prepare for the out-planting of native species during monthly volunteer workdays.
Native plant species will aid in erosion control, filtration of storm water runoff and provide habitat for other native species.
This project will give volunteers an opportunity to experience ecosystems and restoration practices that differ from our other, existing mauka stream restoration projects while learning about the history of the area.
HOK will work alongside project supporter and neighbor Paepae o He‘eia, a nonprofit managing the 88-acre He‘eia Fishpond, and project partner Kama‘aina Kids to coordinate monthly workdays and educational visits.
Helpers of all ages can expect to get muddy and wet while helping to remove invasive plants, replant native plants and learn the area’s history.
Work dates are listed online at huihawaii.org/volunteeropportunities.html. Funders include the state Department of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Hawaii Tourism Authority and Hawaii Community Foundation.
For more information on this and other Hui o Ko‘olaupoko projects, visit huihawaii.org.