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Hawaii: Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge Habitat Restoration and Management Project

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  • Hawaiian stilts
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DU teamed with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to write, design and implement a habitat restoration and water management plan for the 692-acre Kealia Pond NWR. The project included several phases to address specific needs for an improved wetland system: a 210-acre open-water pond was constructed with one outlet to the ocean; two new pumping stations were installed; and two 4-acre ponds, which were remnants of an old aquaculture system on the refuge, were enhanced. As part of a partnership with the refuge spanning nearly a decade, DU provided engineering design and construction management, as well as part of the funding for the efforts. 

Kealia Pond NWR was established in 1992 to preserve and restore one of the largest wetlands in Hawaii for the benefit of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds (Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot and Hawaiian duck), migratory waterfowl and shorebirds from around the world. Water levels vary dramatically by season in this natural floodplain, ranging from several feet in the 210-acre pond in winter months to less than 1 inch of water in the summer. Successful water management in Kealia Pond NWR is critical to nesting of stilt and coot. During parts of the year the refuge supports at least half the world’s Hawaiian stilt population.

People from around the world visit the refuge to enjoy bird and wildlife observation, photography, strolling along its coastal boardwalk and participating in environmental education forums.

Partners: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Ducks Unlimited
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