As Hui o Ko`olaupoko prepares for this month’s community events, we celebrate the many efforts of community volunteers and organizations who work to improve habitats for the migratory fish and birds of the Hawaiian Islands.
On May 14th the world recognizes World Migratory Bird Day. There are a wide variety of migratory species that visit O’ahu in the fall and winter months, then depart in the spring. These species include the Kolea (Pacific Golden Plover), the Kioea, (Bristle-thighed Curlew), the `akekeke, (Ruddy Turnstone), and several species of ducks and gulls which may be spotted at various wetland and preservation park sites.
On May 21st, the world celebrates World Fish Migration Day to create awareness about the importance of migratory fish and free-flowing rivers. On World Fish Migration Day, organizations from around the world coordinate their own event around the common theme of: Connecting Fish, Rivers and People. All of Hawaii’s native, larger stream-dwelling species are diadromous. This means that their life cycle requires downstream dispersal of larvae to the sea, and each returning individual must complete an arduous upstream migration back to suitable stream habitat. Some species of `o`opu can climb waterfalls and occupy stream channels higher than 1000 feet in elevation. Their presence in middle and upper reaches of stream systems is a good indicator of stream health.
Wetland ecosystems such as Kawainui and He`eia Estuary provide important stopover sites and resting areas for migratory species as well as important breeding, nesting and rearing sites for native endemic species. But, like many wetlands throughout the world, wetlands in Hawaii are threatened by overgrowth of invasive plants such as mangrove, bulrush, cattail, water hyacinth and water lettuce. These plants crowd out areas of open water, reducing habitat for endangered wetland birds such as `Alae `ula (Hawaiian Gallinule), `Alae ke`oke`o (Hawaiian Coot) and `Ae`o (Hawaiian Stilt) and blocking aquatic migratory pathways for endangered fish such as several species of `o`opu (Hawaiian goby).
We hope you will join us on Saturday May 21st for a public event highlighting the efforts of several He`eia ahupua`a based non-profits who are working to restore stream and estuary habitats. Join us from 9am-12pm for service events including weeding and out-planting, or visit one of the several informational booths to learn about native species and the restoration work being implemented in the He`eia ahupua`a.
The participation and support received from our community volunteers and project funders has a direct effect on improving the habitats for migratory birds and water quality for aquatic species in our streams, estuaries and near shore waterways. Your participation in our community events and support of our programs makes a difference for the long term preservation of native plant and animal species.
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities
May RSVPJune RSVPRSVPs are required so that we can maintain small group sizes & social distancing practices. Please respond with your preferred date and number of spaces. Our staff will send you a confirmation and additional details. More information about these project sites can be found on our website & event calendar.
A Hui Hou Sanna!For a second summer, HOK's Outreach Coordinator, Sanna is leaving for a research mission with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
This time, she will be spending 4 months on Hōlanikū, also known as Kure Atoll, to research the Hawaiian Monk Seal. She will be walking the shores of Green Island, which is about 180 acres and the only permanent island in the atoll. She will collect data about population trends and threats, and conduct marine debris removal to support the recovery of this critically endangered species.
Sanna is leaving O'ahu in early May and has spent the last two months training, packing and preparing for the deployment. She is really excited for the opportunity to be out there again surrounded by nature, seals, birds and amazing star gazing at night.
While we are also really excited for Sanna and this amazing opportunity, her departure also marks the end of her employment with HOK. We want to extend a sincere mahalo piha to Sanna for her nearly three years of work on our team.
You can find Sanna’s presentation about last summer's trip to Lisianski Island on our Facebook page here. If you would like to learn more about the Hawaiian Monk Seal you can click here.
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.