Have you ever had a project, life event, or other big undertaking that has had you looking for the light at the end of a very long tunnel? Iʻm sure we have all been in a similar position and eventually we have reached the end of that tunnel and basked in the bright, warm sunlight.
For Hui o Koʻolaupoko, that tunnel has been a three year and five acre journey of invasive mangrove removal at Heʻeia Estuary and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Literally, we can finally see the sunlight shining through the trees. What was once a dense, dark forest of invasive mangrove has now been restored to a visible stream channel, thousands of native plants, and an open estuary and mud flats where native shorebirds are foraging once again.
Thanks to over 1700 volunteers, project partners, and neighboring non-profit organizations who assisted with mangrove removal efforts, HOK has successfully cleared five acres of mangrove from Heʻeia State Park property. Now, when you drive on Kamehameha Highway towards Heʻeia Kea Pier, the ocean, estuary and historic fishpond wall can be seen from the road immediately after the bridge! Not only has the work included mangrove removal and native species out-plantings but HOK has established a coastal walking trail and interpretive signage will be installed in the coming months.
The past three yeas of work has been funded in part by grants from the Hawaii Department of Health: Clean Water Branch, The Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership, The Laura Jane Musser Foundation and the Hawaii Community Foundation.
As these grants come to a close at the end of 2017, we know that our work at the estuary is not yet complete. HOK is honored to announce that with a generous grant from Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation, HOK will continue to attack the invasive weeds and out-plant natives at this and all of our other project sites in 2018!
The mission of Hui o Ko`olaupoko is to protect ocean health by restoring the `aina: mauka to makai. This is done in partnership with stakeholders including interested citizens, non-governmental organizations, government, educational institutions and businesses while using and focusing on sound ecological principles, community input, and cultural heritage.