Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hamakua Marsh gets a mini make-over

On Friday October 2nd, over 100 volunteers from Actus Lend Lease worked together with DOFAW staff to beautify and clean up the Hamakua Marsh area in Kailua, Oahu.

Actus Community Day at Hamakua Marsh.

Most of the busy bees in these photos are employees of Actus Lend Lease, a company that organizes this Community Day event every year as a way for their employees to give back to the community and work together on a service project in the field.

 Actus employees and DOFAW staff getting their hands dirty.

You couldn't turn around without seeing another group of Actus employees clad in matching blue shirts and hats, working side by side with DOFAW staff to dig holes, plant Naupaka and Naio, pull trash out of the stream, and remove invasive plants. It's amazing what a hundred people can accomplish in one day!

 Volunteers picking up litter on the side of, and in, the stream.

Hamakua Marsh is a Wildlife Sanctuary, and DLNR-DOFAW is committed to the long term management of the area. To further enhance management capabilities and to improve habitat for the four endangered native waterbirds that call this area home, DOFAW has been engaging in projects to care for the marsh.

A tip for protecting the native birds. 
Another sign reads: "These birds are on a diet, please do not tempt them!"

The Hawaiian moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), or Alae 'ula, is one of the endangered birds that can commonly be seen on the banks of the stream. Alae 'ula is a beautiful bird with a red plate above it's beak. In Hawaiian mythology, a moorhen brought fire to Humans; the red on its forehead is a symbol of the scorching it suffered from the fire. 

The Hawaiian moorhen, Alae 'ula.

Unfortunately, the moorhens that call Kawainui stream and Hamakua marsh home are becoming very comfortable with humans. During our visit, Alae 'ula were wandering the parking lots and were not afraid of people. Part of the project on Friday was planting Naupaka and Naio along the stream on the parking lot side to encourage Alae 'ula (and the Hawaiian coot, the Hawaiian stilt and the Hawaiian Duck; all endangered) to remain in the sanctuary and avoid the dangers of developed areas.

Alae 'ula getting a little too close to the parking lot.

The native Black-Crowned Night Heron also utilizes this wetland area. Although it is not endangered, it is a native bird, and will benefit from this restoration project too.

A Black-Crowned Night Heron trying to blend in along Kawainui stream.

Read the official press release about the event at the official DOFAW News Release webpage.

In 2005, Kawainui Marsh was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, read more about Ramsar as well as the social and cultural significance of this area here.

To visit a fun, interactive and educational website created by school kids, visit:

Visit the Ahahui Malama i ka Lokahi blog to learn more about Kawainui Marsh and find out how you can assist in the care of this special area. 

All photos: C. Tucker, DOFAW

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