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The Kawainui-Hāmākua Marsh Complex on Windward O’ahu is thelargest wetland left in Hawai’i, supporting four endangered, endemicwaterbirds: Hawaiian Stilt, Hawaiian Gallinule, Hawaiian Coot, andHawaiian Duck.
The Hawaii Audubon Society has been working for decades to restorethis ahupua’a from damage caused by pollution, water diversion,ranching, agriculture, and introduced alien species. In 2015, HASsupported the creation of ponds and nesting sites for the native birds.HAS members helped weed ponds and worked with other groups topublicize the wildlife, history, and beauty of the Marsh Complex. HASparticipates in annual World Wetlands Day celebrations on O’ahu andhas worked with other groups and government agencies to create aresource plan that includes suggestions for area signage and field tripfacilities for visitors.
Kawainui-Hāmākua wetlands are Wetlands of InternationalImportance by intergovernmental treaty and are biosphere reservesites under UNESCO.
Historically, a large part of what is now Hawaii Kai Marina werewetlands including a Hawaiian fishpond and a small island. From1959-1961, a developer dredged and filled the wetlands to create amarina and waterfront housing. Developers used an island called RimIsland 2 to dump dredge spoils, destroying Hawaiian Black-neckedStilt (ae’o) nesting sites. When fill site depressions gradually refilledwith water, ae’o came back to nest there.Hawaii Audubon Society and concerned Citizens for Hawai’i havebeen watching and recording a’eo foraging and nesting activity in themarina for decades. We are working to ensure that dredging materialwill no longer be deposited at Rim Island 2.
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