Over the past 235 years of recorded history, Hawaii’s watersheds have been under significant threat from deforestation, ungulate introduction, changing climate conditions, human use, and other natural occurrences. The loss of forest, introduction of invasive species, the shift of land use, and an increase of external pressures have contributed to landscapes that are degraded and no longer able to support the natural and cultural integrity of our lands and oceans.
This project is a first step for the Kailapa Community Association (KCA) to address the natural and cultural needs of the ahupua’a of Kawaihae focusing on a small piece of land (14 acres) currently under the care of the community association. Focusing on watershed restoration, the Kailapa Community will address ungulate removal, reforestation, erosion prevention, and monitoring activities to train and provision the community for future, large-scale watershed restoration work extending up into the mauka lands within the
KCA will fence off approx. 12 acres currently licensed for 50 years to the community for a community resource center. The area will be used to trap and remove ungulates, mitigate erosion, establish a native dry-land seed bank, and train a future generation of local restoration professionals.
KCA will begin native plant propagation and out planting efforts with the support of partners and community members with experience in restoration work. KCA will focus on native dry forest plants that have the highest survival in neighboring watershed restoration area, Pelekane. These plants will include, but not be limited to, ‘A’ali’i, ‘Aweoweo, Ho’awa, ‘Iliahi, Koai’a, ‘Ilima, Koali ‘awa, Kulu’i, Lama, Mamane, Pili, Pohinahina, Pua Kala, and Wiliwili. Because the lower Kawaihae region is extremely dry, irrigation will be installed to ensure survival of the plants.