Thanks to Diane Kanealii of Kailapa Community Association (KCA) Hawaiian Homes for submitting this article.
Kailapa Community Association (KCA) is a Hawaiian homestead organization made up of residents who have stepped up to take on the Kuleana of Malama ‘Aina. Part of this Kuleana is to prepare the land for development. Through grants from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatics, and the Hawaii Tourism Authority they are accomplishing multiple objectives. The purpose of the grant was ungulate and erosion mitigation and native plant propagation. Some of the methods used to achieve this goal include installing ungulate proof fencing, using great care to preserve and protect the historical trail that runs through the land, and building a sediment dam to prevent flood waters from carrying debris into the ocean.
To help with the high erosion runoff, rocks were used to disperse the water from the heavy seasonal rains over a larger area and over 2,000 plants were propagated and grown by KCA residents, and planted with the help of volunteers from all over the island, over a 10 week period of time in erosion prone areas. A sediment dam in the large ravine helped to capture more than a foot of sediment from reaching the ocean during the heavy rains in December alone, thus helping to maintain a healthier ocean and marine environment. Additionally, KCA has partnered with Liquid Robotics Inc. who have outfitted a Wave Glider to collect and analyze water samples to monitor the water quality. Samples were collected in four regions between Honokoa and Kaumaki gulches. Kailapa contracted the UH Analytical Lab to analyze the near shore samples at Kawaihae to gather baseline measurements. This monitoring is on-going so that we can compare data and record changes.
Part of the success of KCA is the outreach and educational programs it provides to the residents and communities. Through volunteer workdays, workshops are held to teach and learn about proven propagation, out-planting, and watering techniques specific to dryland plants. Using presentations, photos, brochures, maintaining an active website with updated information on past, present, and upcoming projects with relevant current events; utilizing grant opportunities to advance the cultural, historical, and environmental importance of our Islands to educate within our community; as well as sharing knowledge with all Hawaiian Homestead Associations and surrounding areas, we are making strides which are vital to preserving a healthier ecosystem and environment for the Native Hawaiian Ohanas.