Hui’s Stream Project Earns Award

Hui o Ko'olaupoko recently received the Xeriscape Award of Honor from Scenic Hawaii Inc. for its collaborative conservation project along Kaelepulu Stream. Pictured are (from left) Marie Sode, HOK volunteer; Kristen Mailheau, HOK community coordinator; HOK executive director Todd Cullison; and Mark Hughes of Hughes & Hughes Landscape Architects, who designed the landscape. Photo from Todd Cullison.

A collaborative conservation project along Kaelepulu Stream has earned Hui o Ko’olaupoko the Xeriscape Award of Honor from Scenic Hawaii Inc. The award was presented to the Windward nonprofit this summer as part of the statewide 2013 Betty Crocker Landscape Awards program.

The xeriscape distinction recognizes gardens with drought-tolerant plants and water conservation elements.

Popoi’a Street Storm Water Retro-fit Project, as it’s officially called, was launched last fall with the support of government, businesses, schools and residents.

Beachgoers can check it out from the Buzz’s Original Steakhouse parking lot on the Lanikai side of the stream. Here one can see where 360 feet of habitat is now covered with native vegetation and interlocking pervious materials to trap stormwater and reduce pollution from runoff. Rain gardens also have been installed to filter the flow before it reaches the stream.

Highlighting the newly green expanse are three interpretive signs with original art work by Lanikai Elementary School students and three planters for cigarette butts provided by Huakailani School.

Engineers, contractors, teachers, students, neighbors, businesses, funders and volunteers all contributed to the retrofit, which still requires maintenance by executive director Todd Cullison and his hui of volunteers. Mark Hughes of Hughes & Hughes Landscape Architects designed the five-week-long erosion-control project, whose goal is to show how new building techniques and technologies can be used to protect stream and ocean health.

Hui o Koolaupoko’s mission is “protecting ocean health by restoring the ‘aina: mauka to makai.”