Aloha mai käkou!
It has finally come to pass! On October 24, 2008, after years of contentious disputes, the City and County of Honolulu officially transferred ownership of 693 acres in Kawainui Marsh to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).
It is now the responsibility of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to manage and maintain the natural resources of both Kawainui and Hamakua wetlands as Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. A major 40+ acres wetland bird restoration project was in jeopardy of losing its funding. Now the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and DOFAW can do it in 2009. This wildlife habitat construction project will stimulate interest from school and community groups to participate in the environmental and cultural educational activities and to engage in the malama or stewardship of Kailua¹s natural and cultural resources.
The long-term efforts and planning to protect, conserve and restore Kawainui Marsh by Kailua’s concerned citizens and organizations along with the city, state, federal agencies and legislators will become more fulfilling and productive
as we work united on the common good for the health of the ecosystem and community. The 1994 Kawainui Marsh Master Plan can now be revised and updated to incorporate the restoration projects taking place at Ulupo Heiau, Na Pohaku o Hauwahine, Kawainui Park and at other sites below Castle Hospital and below Le Jardin Academy along Kapaa Quarry Road. Hawaiian organizations, i.e. Ahahui Malama i ka Lokahi and the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club, will work in partnership as curators with DOFAW and the State Parks at these various sites.
Ho‘olaulima o Kawainui, a coalition of community groups, e.g. the Kawai Nui Heritage Foundation, Kailua Historical Society, Hawaii Thousand Friends, Hawaii Audubon Society, Ahahui Malama, Kailua HCC, DOFAW and AMERON have been meeting for the past four years to plan for a Kawainui Visitor Center and interpretive sites around the wetlands. A visitor center as well as a Hawaiian Cultural and Environmental Center with meeting rooms, cabins and camping facilities can now be seriously considered.
Ahahui Malama has completed a $54K North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant with Ducks Unlimited for out-planting native Hawaiian plants on selected areas of the 12 acres of Na Pohaku o Hauwahine. We are currently finishing up a $17K Castle Foundation grant for the dryland reforestation and wetland bird habitat at Na Pohaku, and this work is being continued with a grant of $23K from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).
We are developing a “Cultural Resource Landscape Management Plan” for Ulupo Heiau. The LEF Foundation, State Parks, the Nature Conservancy of Hawaii and the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club have contributed funds toward this project to be completed in the Fall of 2009. The completed plan could also serve as a template for Na Pohaku o Hauwahine and eventually become part of a revised Kawainui Master Plan.
On Monday February 16, 2009, we will be celebrating the Ramsar World Wetlands Day at Kawainui Marsh. We are planning to have talks on the proposed wetland bird pond construction and to establish a Kawainui Visitor Center. “Greening” displays of sustainable energy, environmental and organic food cultivation will be demonstrated. There also will be scheduled tours to Hamakua, Kaelepulu and Na Pohaku wetlands.
Ahahui Malama encourages your continued financial support for the educational and restoration work that we do in Kawainui Marsh and elsewhere. We also invite you to join us on our scheduled activities and for those who reside on the continent, be sure to contact Ahahui Malama whenever you come to Hawaii.
Chuck “Doc” Burrows
[Charles Peʻapeʻa Makawalu Burrows]