Friday, July 21, 2017

Starting a New Year with State Support


While the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission has endured significant downsizing in recent years, the organization looks forward to launching the new fiscal year with support through the 2017 legislative session as well as the Water Security Advisory Group, (Department of Land and Natural Resources, Commission on Water Resource Management). 

With the help of a dedicated circle of Hawaiʻi Representatives and Senators, the KIRC has been included as a line item in the state budget. 15 temporary positions and $1,065,147 for FY18 and $1,097,047 for FY19 in general funds were added for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve. An additional $1.5 million for FY18 and FY19 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds were allocated for Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Native Dryland Forest plantings.

“After years of working with the legislature, including site visits to Kahoʻolawe, operational briefings at our Kīhei Boathouse and a thorough fiscal audit, we were able to gain their confidence that the KIRC could effectively and efficiently manage Kahoʻolawe’s restoration. Through this confidence, the KIRC will be able to continue its mission. We would like to thank our success to the continuing support of our Maui Legislators and especially Representative Ryan Yamane, Representative Sylvia Luke and Senator Jill Tokuda,” acknowledges KIRC Executive Director Mike Nāhoʻopiʻi

Supported by a $100,000 grant made through the Water Security Advisory Group (WSAG), a groundwater recharge project will additionally engage community volunteers in the planting of 10,000 native plants and construction of 500 additional feet of soil erosion control devices geared to restore 100 acres of the Kahoʻolawe’s Hakioawa Watershed. The goal is to capture 67,885,000 gallons of water (thereby preserved by potable means) and reduce soil runoff by 20% (from 1,880 tons per year of sediment runoff to 1,500 tons).

Accelerated land erosion is a major stressor that leads to increased turbidity and sedimentation, severely threatening the sustainability of marine resources and reducing their resilience to climate change impacts. Further, it prevents native flora and fauna from establishing in their home environments, thereby endangering our Island ecosystems.

Since the end of the Navy’s unexploded ordnance cleanup in 2004, the KIRC has begun a race against time to stem erosion and any further degradation,” remarks Nāhoʻopiʻi, “Strategies addressing erosion control, botanical and faunal restoration and the control of invasive alien species are underway, but are restricted by the technical limitations of past unexploded ordnance clearances that create an island-wide patchwork of land use restrictions that hamper restoration activities. This specific funding will position our team to work directly with volunteers so that they become more educated about the impact that Kahoʻolawe has on their home communities.”

“Approximately 100,000 native plants have been established in this watershed since 2003, with ʻaʻaliʻi shrubs observed naturally reproducing from seed,” remarks KIRC Restoration team member Lyman Abbott, “In time, the headwaters of Hakioawa watershed will once again become a secondary successional dry land native forest, allowing native organisms to flourish on habitat-specific plant species that are contributing to groundwater recharge.”

You can learn more about Kahoʻolawe at http://www.kahoolawe.hawaii.gov/home.php

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Worldwide Voyage: Kahoʻolawe

On Saturday June 10, navigators, captains and crew of Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage sailing canoes Hōkūleʻa (Hawaiʻi), Hikianalia (Aotearoa) and Faʻafaite (Tahiti) arrived on Kahoʻolawe as part of the final leg of a three year voyage around Island Earth.

Welcomed with oli and hula by Ka Pā Hula O Ka Lei Lehua, led by Kumu Snowbird Puananiopaoakalani Bento, the entire group of more than 40 voyagers waited in the tide until everyone was shuttled from the canoes to take their first step onto the Island in unison. Chants were exchanged in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and Tahitian before the group of 30-plus halau members, restoration volunteers, Protect Kahoʻolawe 'Ohana (PKO) representatives and Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) staff lined up to honi each voyager.




“In 2004, Master Navigator Mau Piailug stated at an awa ceremony at Kealaikahiki (on Kahoʻolawe) that this was an important place for the canoes to return to in the continuing tradition of celestial navigation,” remarks KIRC Executive Director Mike Nāhoʻopiʻi, “welcoming the canoes today signifies the future opportunities for Kahoʻolawe to help perpetuate not only traditional navigation but to promote the use of traditional canoes as a means of connection, as embodied by our new kanu waʻa program.”









In October of 2004, the KIRC, together with the PKO, Grand Master Navigator Mau Piailug of Satawal, and the captains and crew members of the eight voyaging canoes of Hawai'i, dedicated an observation platform at Lae'o Kealaikahiki for use as a centerpiece for the education and training of novice and future way finders from the voyaging 'ohana (family) of Hawaiʻi. Led by Lopaka White, the KIRC’s kanu waʻa program (kanu: to plant; wa‘a: canoe) offers an access guide to provide supervision, safety and guidance in Reserve projects while canoe clubs contribute transportation, 500 native plants and a minimal access fee for each seasoned paddler.

“Anytime you can travel to Kahoʻolawe by canoe, regardless of what canoe it is, it moves you,” remarks Lopaka White, who was part of the Hikianalia crew arriving on Kahoʻolawe from the 10-hour voyage from Hawaiʻi Island, “you get a different sense of connection that builds an intimate experience with the place, the canoe, the people you are with and the place you came from because you are never cut off from those spiritual things that happen when you are immersed in the ocean, rain, wind and natural surroundings. You experience what ancient seafarers did.” He continues, “the role reversal of being on the volunteer side exposed me to other styles of leadership. You think more about the skills displayed that make a great leader. Amongst the many lessons learned and experiences throughout the voyage from Big Island to Kahoʻolawe to Molokaʻi to Oʻahu, I can think about new ways to teach.”

The mission of the KIRC is to implement the vision for Kaho‘olawe in which the kino (body) of Kaho‘olawe is restored and nā poe o Hawai‘i (the people of Hawai‘i) care for the land. The organization is managed by a seven-member Commission and a committed staff specializing in ocean, restoration, operations, administration and operations. The mission of the Worldwide Voyage is to chart a new course toward sustainable practices for food, energy and our global environment.