Kawainui Marsh Project Is Closer To Completion

The June groundbreaking on the long-delayed Kawainui Marsh Environmental Restoration Project signaled progress and support for the wetland’s endangered water- birds as well as for human fans of Kailua’s beloved and often-threatened natural resource.

Construction of earthen berms and 11 shallow, terraced ponds is expected to be completed by Army Corps of Engineers and its contractor (Helber Hastert & Fee) by next spring. The main work is on 40 acres of land between Castle hospital and the Kukanono subdivision, though the marsh itself stretches over 830 acres. The ponds will be fed via solar-powered pumps connected to shallow wells, and the entire area will be cleared of invasive plants and fenced to keep out predators of the Hawaiian duck, stilt, moorhen and coot.

Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources predict that the bird population will increase, upland runoff will decrease, and visitors will have easier access and bet- ter view planes to enjoy and appreciate the area. Of the $6.4 million pricetag, the state (now the official, single owner) will pay $1,355,000 and the federal government will pay the rest. The state Division of Forestry and Wildlife will maintain the completed ponds.