A watershed is an area of land, generally a valley or a mountain, where all surface water from rain or springs flow into a common body of water. In general, Hawai'i's watershed usually converge into one stream and then out into a the ocean, while some watersheds flow into a lake, wetland or estuary. In a natural, undeveloped watershed, the water moves from mauka (the mountains) to makai (the ocean) and all along the way the water is being absorbed by plants and soils and slowly replenishes our underground aquifers.
In Hawai'i, a watershed is similar to the Hawaiian concept of an ahupua'a, which is a mauka to makai land division determined by streams and mountains as the boundaries. Within each ahupua'a, Hawaiians practiced a sustainable and responsible stewardship for the land which resulted in a desirable balance of the environmental, social and cultural resources within the ahupua'a. This is the tradition that HOK aims to carry on today with our current watershed management practices in Ko'olaupoko.
Watershed management involves the development of plans, programs and projects that work to restore, enhance and protect ecological, social and cultural well being within a watershed boundary.
Can you identify the watersheds in this Google Earth image of Northern Kaneʻohe ?
What types of activities threaten environmental, social and cultural resources in this area?
HOK focuses on implementing on-the-ground projects that directly address watershed and water quality issues. Projects include riparian restoration, low-impact retrofits (LIR) and residential rain gardens. Every project involves a significant community component from seeking project input, design alternatives or involvement in long-term maintenance. Additionally, as a community supported non-profit, tax-deductible donations allow HOK to provide environmental education and perform necessary long-term maintenance at restoration projects, ensuring the protection of ocean health for future generations.