Stream Restoration Project Update

Posted by Matt

In 2011 we started an exciting new project at Waipa to restore an area of Waipa Stream that had become blocked with dense stands of hau bush over many years. While hau (hibiscus tiliaceus) has a history as a very useful resource plant in Hawaii, it also exhibits invasive tendencies in stream and wetland  environments when left unmanaged. An extreme example of this was found at Waipa, where hau had grown into the stream causing sediment and plant debris to fill up the stream channel. This degraded important spawning habitat and created substantial obstacles for migrating native fish and prawns that have to pass through this section of the stream at least twice during their life cycle.

The Waipa Stream Restoration Project was designed to remove barriers to fish passage and enhance habitat for native aquatic species in Waipa Stream. It is also improving wetland and riparian habitats along the stream that are important  for endangered native waterbirds (such as the Nene goose and Koloa duck) and the Hawaiian Hoary Bat.

As of March 2013, several acres of hau bush have been cleared along the choked reach of Waipa Stream. Much of the cleared hau material was chipped on-site to create mulch  used for erosion control in the clearing areas. In flood-prone areas where mulching is not suitable, hau is being burned with the resulting charcoal and ash harvested for use in Waipa's gardens and taro loi. Approximately 1,000 feet of the stream channel has been cleaned of hau debris, and fish passage conditions in the project area have improved already.

Outplanting of the clearings with native Hawaiian and canoe plants began in July 2011 and is ongoing. There has been a strong focus on cultural plants that will produce food or other resources that can be used for the Waipa Foundation's various educational and cultural activities and programs.

An important element of the Waipa Stream Restoration Project is monitoring the impacts of the restoration work on the stream's water quality and aquatic life. To accomplish this, monitoring programs have been established to regularly measure streamflow and water quality at various points along the stream. Also, net surveys are being performed in the Waipa Stream Estuary and snorkel surveys are being conducted in the stream at several sites to collect data about habitat quality and habitat use by native and non-native species. Interns funded by AmeriCorps and the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps have been important in carrying out the project's monitoring programs.

Funding for the project is being provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF), The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Matching funds are being provided by Kamehameha Schools and The Waipa Foundation.  Volunteer efforts on this project will be extremely important to its long-term success. Over 1,000 volunteers have already contibuted to the Waipa Stream Restoration Project. A series of community workday events is planned for spring/summer 2013 . If you would like to volunteer please contact the project manager, Matt Rosener,  at laminarmatt@gmail.com or call the Waipa Foundation at 826-9969.

Entry posted on 04/22/2013

 

Waipa Stream Restoration Flows Forward

Posted by Matt

In 2011 we started an exciting new project at Waipa to restore a section of Waipa Stream that had become blocked with dense stands of hau bush over many years. The hau bush had grown into the stream causing sediment and plant debris to fill up the stream channel. This created an obstacle for migrating native fish and prawns that have to pass through this section of Waipa Stream during spawning season. The Waipa Stream Restoration Project was designed to remove barriers to fish passage and enhance habitat for native aquatic species in Waipa Stream. It is also serving to enhance wetland and riparian areas along the stream that are important habitat for endangered native waterbirds (such as the Nene goose and Koloa duck) and the Hawaiian Hoary Bat.

As of March 2012, approximately 1.5 acres of hau bush have been cleared along one side of Waipa Stream and used to create mulch which was then spread across the clearing area. Outplanting of the cleared area with native Hawaiian and canoe plants began in July 2012 and is ongoing. An additional 1.75 acres near the blocked section of the stream has been cleared of hau bush, but further treatment of this area is needed before the outplanting effort can begin here. Approximately 600 feet of the stream channel has been cleaned of hau debris; this means that the primary barrier to fish passage in the stream has been removed. During the summer of 2012, an additional 2-3 acres of hau bush will be removed on the opposite side of the stream from the 2011 work area.

An important element of the Waipa Stream Restoration Project is monitoring the impacts of the restoration work on the stream's water quality and aquatic life. To this end, monitoring programs have been established to regularly measure streamflow rates and water quality parameters at various points along the stream. Also, net surveys are being performed in the Waipa Stream Estuary and snorkel surveys are being conducted in the stream at several sites to collect data about habitat quality and habitat use by native and non-native species. Two interns funded by AmeriCorps and the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps have been important in carrying out the project's monitoring programs.

Funding for the project is being provided by the Hawaii Community Foundation, The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Matching funds are being provided by Kamehameha Schools and The Waipa Foundation.  Volunteer efforts on this project are important to its long-term success. If you would like to volunteer on this project please contact the project manager, Matt Rosener  at laminarmatt@gmail.com or call Waipa at 826-9969.

Entry posted on 07/25/2012

 

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