Welcome to Mālama Hulē‘ia

coverpage Mālama Hulē‘ia is a voluntary non-profit organization dedicated to improving key parts of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed on Kaua‘i by eliminating an alien and highly invasive plant species. This invasive plant – red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) – is attacking some of our most valuable assets in the watershed. Over the last 50 years, red mangrove has been changing native wildlife habitats in and along the Hulē‘ia River and destroying the Alekoko Fish Pond. We are working for a future when all of the red mangrove will be gone and all of our ‘ainakumuwai (watershed) can be made as productive as it once was.

This web site provides information about the Mālama Hulē‘ia organization, our history, motives, knowledge base, current projects and activities, and our vision for the future. If you agree with what we are doing, we welcome you to participate in and share our journey. Please visit our How to Help page. Mahalo.

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The Brothers and Sister Were Here

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They were here!

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Cutting

As if magically responding to the song “Where are the Brothers?” the super menehune team of Charlie and Tanya Cobb-Adams, Guy Thronas, Anson Villatora, Nalu Kapua, and Renan Hernandez appeared on Wednesday morning, May 20, 2015, and went to work on the mangrove. They just dug into the remaining trees toward the Small Boat Harbor end of our Niumalu/Pū‘ali project site and flattened them all. By the time they left, there were just stumps and piles of roots and branches. They easily accomplished in one day what the regular old menehune would need three months to do. Mahalo nui, Brothers and Sister. And mahalo to Mark Hubbard, the one old menehune who kept up with all the young ones.

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Pulling mangrove out of the water and stacking

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Making Plans: NO-YES-YES!

No, we are not giving up eradicating red mangrove from our Pu‘ali/Niumalu project demonstration site just because our grant is running out at the end of this month. Yes, we will continue to make this site into a community learning center. Yes, Mālama Hulē‘ia will press on further to completely eradicate red mangrove from the entire Hulē‘ia River basin, including the Alekoko Fishpond.

The sidebar on this page is updated to show regular work weekends every third week for the rest of 2015, or until all the invasive mangrove is gone from the place and replaced by native plants. Come, join our effort, enjoy the company of other ‘aina warriors and have lunch. If you are interested in joining our menehune hui to work under the radar at other times, contact Buddy Keala or Steve Yee, as listed on the sidebar.

Mason Chock, MH Director and VP, Leadership Kauai President and County Council Member, is personally committed to seeing further development the Pu‘ali/Niumalu site. Here’s what he says:
     While our mission is focused on the removal of mangrove, we understand that it will take the whole community to recognize the importance of the Huleia river as a living resource, and invest in it to see it thrive for future generations.
     The Pu’ali pilot clearing site is a perfect location to serve as a community hub, attracting visitors as well as community groups to participate and learn of Malama Huleia’s effort. As Pu’ali stream is freed from mangrove, it will need continued attention and maintenance. Focus on the Pu’ali site will provide an avenue for continued community engagement providing access to school groups who will be able to help shape and contribute to the new park area in many ways including continued stewardship, water quality testing/studies, recreation such as fishing and crabbing, planting of native species, agricultural projects, erecting educational kiosks, and the identification and preservation of historic sites. In addition, the Pu’ali site will offer further partnership with the county and state harbors to support park beautification and revitalization of the area lending credibility to the ongoing mangrove removal effort occurring up stream in surrounding Alekoko fish pond.
     It is Malama Huleia’s intent to continue the beautification of Pu’ali and utilize it as a a hands-on experiential learning site where the community can participate and be in touch with ongoing estuary revitalization efforts.

Kawaikini Kumu and students pulling up new mangrove

Kawaikini kumu and students pulling up new mangrove

Island School Student determining what lives in the Pu'ali

Island School Student determining what lives in the Pu’ali

Island School student recording observations

Island School student recording observations

Much of what Mason descibes for the site is actually already happening. Carl Berg, MH Director and Environmental Scientist, has been working with teachers and students at 4 local schools: Kaiwaikini Charter School, Island School, Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School and Wilcox Elementary School. Part of his program is to have the students grow the native plants that we use in reclaiming the land cleared of mangrove. Another part is to lead the students on field trips into the Pu‘ali/Niumalu site to do the replanting, to maintain the area free from invasives and to learn about the ecology of the place. This great educational work will certainly continue into the future. It is a kind of learning of environmental science that also reinforces aloha ‘aina.

Mālama Hulē‘ia does not have to be directly involved in the continued development of the Pu‘ali/Niumalu site. We would welcome a partner organization willing to take primary responsibility for the site as we pursue our main mission up the river.

As for Mālama Hulē‘ia “turning the corner” and working upstream on the Hulē‘ia, watch for public announcements, emails and flyers about an upcoming community meeting, to be held on June 16, 2015.  During this meeting we will present a draft of  our strategic action plan for eradicating the mangrove that has overgrown the banks of the Hulē‘ia River and surrounded the Alekoko Fishpond. We will be asking for community input to the plan to ensure that it reflects not just our thoughts, but those of all stakeholders. Details of the meeting place and time will be forthcoming.

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Project Kuleana 2: Where are the Brothers

Go watch this Vimeo video and then come back: 

3 'elemakule + 1 wahine

3 ‘elemakule + 1 wahine

All of this was moved on Saturday.

All of this was moved on Saturday.

Part of Sunday's hard working crew

Part of the hard working crew on Sunday

 

Regular scheduled work weekend, May 2015: Saturday we had a work crew of 3 ‘elemakule, 1 wahine, and 2 keiki and we kicked butt – filled up the bin with plenty of mangrove roots and logs. Sunday, we had the same 3 ‘elemakule, even more old than the day before, joined by one younger guy, who says he only sits at at a computer all day at work, and 5 wahine. And we kicked more butt – topped out the bin with more logs and moved piles and piles of mangrove roots to chipper territory.

On the other hand, just think how much more we could do if we had some kokua from the brothers. We could be pau with this project already.  We removed a huge amount invasive red mangrove from the area next to the Puali Stream and Niumalu Beach Park since we started a little more than 2 years ago.  Now we want to start working on the Huleia River and Alekoko Fishpond, where the major damage from the mangrove is happening. But we still have to get rid of the remaining mangrove at the Puali/Niumalu site.

Brothers, where are you? Where is the kuleana? Where is the aloha ‘aina?

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TGI Article

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Milky Way Over Alekoko

Thanks to Emily Miller for the photo.

Milky Way over Alekoko Fishpond

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Retreating Mangrove

Direct from crane to chipper

Direct from crane to chipper

Someday soon there will be lots of niu malu.

Coconut trees discovered in the mangrove

We are attacking the invasive mangrove on all sides and the results are pretty visible. The mangrove is retreating. Last Saturday, April 18, Larry Conklin and his crane, together with Jim Campbell’s professional tree trimming crew, attacked the mangrove from the harbor side of the Puali Stream for the second time.  They created some big gaps along the stream, exposing many young coconut trees (niu). These are the types of trees that want to keep, as they have given Niumalu its name.

Kauai High School sudents removing mangrove debris

Kauai High School sudents removing mangrove debris

Some of the logs filling the bin.

Some of the logs filling the bin.

At the same time, hoards of Kauai High School students descended onto the field to clear it of the mangrove debris. By forming long lines, the 85-strong students managed to fill a bin to the brim with cut-up logs, and they kept the chipper fed with branches and roots until it could handle no more.

Mahalo to the many KHS students and teachers who worked so well together to help take back Niumalu from the invasive mangrove. It was a productive Earth Day.

Roots! Part of the mess we are dealing with

Roots! Part of what the menehune are attacking

Puka in the mangrove

Puka in the mangrove

Boardwalk now closer to  the retreating mangrove

Boardwalk now closer to the retreating mangrove

Perhaps the most effective attack during the past week has come from our hui of mad menehune. Armed with blazing chainsaws, they infiltrated the mangrove along the stream, pushed back the mangrove front where the biggest trees grew, punched a couple of holes in the center of the mangrove to expose the harbor on the other side of the Puali, and cleared a path at the back going out toward the small boat harbor. With so much cut and cleared, the menehune then took advantage of the high tide on Tuesday evening to move the boardwalk, which was mostly floating at the time.  It is now much closer to the retreating mangrove. Mahalo to those who worked in the mangrove mostly unseen: Buddy, Mark, Colin, Frank, Pepe, Mike, Scotty, Jan and Steve

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Earth Day with Mālama Hulē‘ia

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You cannot get closer to the earth than by spending an early Earth Day with Mālama Hulē‘ia on either April 18 or 19. Come down to Niumalu and get real earthy by helping to remove invasive mangrove from the muddy banks of the Pū‘ali Stream. Mālama Hulē‘ia provides gloves, water and lunch. You need to come in earthy clothes (not beach wear or street clothes), wearing boots or tabis, shades and sunscreen. There are showers at Niumalu Beach Park and at the Kaiola Canoe Club, in case you want to remove some of the abundant earth when pau hana.

Mother Earth’s Pū‘ali Stream and Hulē‘ia River will surely thank you for ridding them of this cancerous mangrove.
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