3/7/13 Project Update for Kaiola Members

Aloha Kaiola Paddlers,

As you all may know, Kaiola Canoe Club received a one year starter grant last November to take on the mangrove that is overgrowing everything around us and choking the Hulē‘ia River. We are finally getting through the preparatory phase of our mangrove eradication project, and I would like to give you an update on what has been done so far and what is about to happen.

First, our one year project is limited to clearing red mangrove from the area next to the Kaiola Hale and makai of the Niumalu Beach Park back to the Pū‘ali Stream. Our ultimate goals are to eradicate red mangrove from the whole Hulē‘ia River, including the Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond, and to restore the wetlands to native vegetation. But a project to accomplish those ultimate goals will take many years, tons of resources and an organization much bigger than the Kaiola Canoe Club. So in our current project, equally important to clearing mangrove from the area next to our hale, is our objective of building community support and partnerships for the long term.

We formed a Project Steering Committee and have several canoe steersmen on the committee. I am one; Jan Tenbruggencate is the second; Pomai Kane is the third and also serving as Project Treasurer; Pepe Trask, expert seat 3 steersman, has been pulling hard on this project from its inception; Fahy Bailey is also onboard serving as Project Secretary; and Dr. Carl Berg recently joined Kaiola from the Surfrider Foundation to contribute his expertise in biology and the environment to the project. One of the first unanimous decisions of the Project Steering Committee was to name the project Mālama Hulē‘ia.

With our grant budget for only one, we were lucky to be able to hire two special project managers. This would not have been possible without their generosity, love for Kaua‘i and belief in our cause. Mason Chock has a lot of experience in leadership and community development and is serving as our Community Outreach Manager. His main jobs are to educate the public about our project, recruit volunteers for our mangrove eradication workforce, and to build partnerships with government agencies, businesses and other nonprofit organizations. We hope that some of these partnerships will enable us to turn the corner and move up river with a bigger project in the future. Graydon “Buddy” Keala has many years of experience clearing mangrove and restoring Hawaiian fishponds, as well as in dealing with government permitting requirements. He is serving as our Field Operations Manager and has the tasks of planning and directing the actual mangrove eradication work. Getting the job done safely, effectively and efficiently are his main concerns.

We are planning to clear mangrove in our demonstration project site over a minimum of 5 public work weekends. We will ramp up to the work weekends by first conducting a practice/training work day for the Project Steering Committee and other Core Team Leaders, and then another single work day for some pre-selected volunteers. The Core Team Leaders will consist of those who operate power chainsaws and brush cutters, plus others in lead support roles. This group will participate in all scheduled work sessions. All members of the Project Steering Committee will work the mangrove as Core Team Leaders. We invite any adult Kaiola Canoe Club member who also wants to lead in the Mālama Hulē‘ia effort to join us as a Core Team Leader. Just show up for the March work sessions.

After consulting both tide charts and the racing calendar, we have come up with the following mangrove clearing work schedule (8:30 AM start on all sessions):

March 17 – practice/training session for Core Team Leaders

March 30 – work day for Kamehameha School Association Kauai volunteers

April 20 & 21 – public work weekend

July 27 & 28 – public work weekend

August 24 & 25 – public work weekend

September 21 & 22 – public work weekend

October 19 & 20 – public work weekend

In addition to these scheduled work sessions, there may be others held for special groups of volunteers. Keiki supervised by parents can help out during public work sessions. All participants will have to sign or have a parent sign a liability waiver. We will ensure that volunteers are fed and kept hydrated during every work session.

We are acquiring (with grant funds and donations) power equipment, hand tools and other necessities for the project. These will be kept in a locked tool shed (to be made by Andy Reich) next to the clubhouse. All of this will belong to the club, but for obvious reasons they must be kept secure and will not be available for use outside of the project. We plan to use the NiumaluBeachPark as much as possible for public access and removal of waste. However, there will inevitably be increased traffic in the park-side area next to the clubhouse. That area needs to be cleared of the junk that has been dumped there. We asked Pomai to call for a Kaiola work day soon to help cleanup the area.

Finally, we have checked with appropriate government agencies to make sure that we do not violate any environmental regulations. We will be working in an area that is not in any StateConservationDistrictSubzone. To keep things environmentally safe in any case, we will not stockpile rubbish on the project site, use herbicides, or use hydraulic equipment over water.

Mahalo for your support,

Steve Yee
First Steersman
Mālama Hulē‘ia Project Steering Committee 

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