Since 1990, DU and its partners have completed six restoration and four planning projects, protecting and restoring 143 ha and committing $157,828. Strategic partnerships have established conservation projects on six of the main Hawaiian Islands, thus providing program anchors from which to build "Wetlands Hawaii". Principal partnerships to date have included USFWS, Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Department of Defense (DOD), Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Campbell Estate, Parker Ranch, Chalon International, Umikoa Ranch, and Cyanotech.
DU's partnerships have been with the USFWS and National Audubon Society, with principal effort in developing managed wetlands on Hanalei NWR. Completed in 1993, the initial effort restored 8.1 ha of wetlands on the refuge. In 1997, DU began working with refuge staff in designing a fish screen to exclude tilapia from refuge wetlands. This non-native fish reproduces rapidly, can quickly populate small wetlands managed for waterbirds, and directly impact vegetation and insect-life. In addition, DU is assisting the expansion of new refuge lands, restoration of existing lands, and support of taro field development on private lands where it is compatible with waterbird habitat needs.
The partnerships on Oahu have been coordinated with the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, USFWS, the DOD, NRCS, the City and County of Honolulu, and several private landowners. DU has developed two project anchors, one on windward Oahu, and the other in Pearl Harbor. The windward Oahu program is centered on the development of a wetlands information system using the restoration of Kawai nui Marsh as a model. This effort is underwritten by the Harold K. L. Castle Foundation, Kailua, Oahu. To date, DU has completed one project in the area, the protection of Hamakua Marsh. This was accomplished through a partnership involving a land donation to DU from Kaneohe Ranch. DU then took the value of this land and leveraged initial restoration funds from the USFWS. After restoration was completed, DU donated the wetland to the State of Hawaii.
The other project anchor is the Pouhala Marsh (Pearl Harbor) project that brings together a diverse partnership with DU coordinating project design and restoration planning. DU raised funds from internal programs and Mainland foundations to match USFWS and State grants to undertake the restoration design for this 28 ha tidal wetland. In addition, DU assisted Campbell Estate to continue its economic development by participating in a unique mitigation opportunity that allows the Estate to offset wetland losses at Barber's Point by partially funding DU's restoration at Pouhala Marsh. DU is also providing technical advice to Chevron Hawaii on Pouhala Marsh as a mitigation site to offset the effects of the 1985 oil spill at Pearl Harbor. Long-term goals are to restore and manage Pouhala Marsh and then address wetlands efforts in Pearl Harbor by expanding our partnership to lands owned and managed by the U.S. Navy and the USFWS.
One of the newest and most important wetland refuges in Hawaii, Kealia Pond NWR is the focus of restoration work on Maui. DU will provide wetlands planning, design for restoration and enhancement, and long-term management plans for the refuge. This site is a coastal playa with muted hydrology. Surveys are complete for the Ulupalakua Ranch, in partnership with the NRCS. Wetland restoration in concert with native forest rehabilitation are planned to benefit nene and koloa.
The program anchor on Molokai is in the south coastal wetlands, west of Kaunakaki. DU has restored the Ohiapilo Marsh, a 10 ha mitigation project. DU is also working with Molokai Ranch and private landowners in enhancing wetlands in this important seasonal wetland complex, which can hold over 90% of the island's endangered stilt population.
The program anchor on Hawaii has been to develop partnerships with private landowners to provide wetlands that support native waterbirds. Our program has focused on our partnership with the NRCS and private ranches on the Big Island. WRP and NAWCA grants will support restoration efforts on three ranches: Parker Ranch, Chalon International, Inc., and Umikoa Ranch. Wetlands restored on these areas will directly support the endangered Hawaiian duck, nene, and Hawaiian hawk. In an unrelated private lands project, DU and NRCS are working with the Bishop Estate to develop a restoration plan for Opaeula Pond. Lastly, DU has designed and assisted in development of a modified algae pond with Cyanotech that can support Hawaiian Stilt on their property. These algae processing ponds have attracted numerous stilts, but specific management plans need to be developed.