Tomorrow: Restoration
"Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua."
Unfolded by water are the faces of flowers.
Flowers thrive where there is water,
as thriving people are found where living conditions are good.
Noeau # 2178
Restoration is the return of a degraded ecosystem to a close approximation of it's remaining natural potential. Can the stream ecosystems of Nawiliwili Bay be restored? The answer is yes. But what is the remaining natural potential? This is what our assessment should tell us.
We know some of the problems that restoration has to deal with already. We review the physical, chemical, and biological conditions separately, although they work together as one system. Then we speak about the most important element of all - the modern day maka'ainana. A major source for Restoration is Aquatic Species Survey and Biological Assessment of Lihu'e, Kaua'i Streams Intersected by Kamuali'i Highway, Lihu'e to west of Maluhia Road (Koloa) by Michael H. Kido.

Physically, the streams of Nawiliwili are interrupted and diverted by reservoirs and ditches in their upper reaches.(Kido)
Photo by Adam Asquith
Although the sugar industry is pau (ended), this diversion of 100% of Hule'ia Stream's base flow continues to send water out of the watershed to Waita Reservoir. The stream bed continues dry for a hundred yards, and then the ground water begins to recharge the stream flow. Don Heacock, aquatic specialist, says that if we could only choose one thing to do towards restoration, returning to the Ahupua'a policy of diverting no more than 50% of the stream flow would provide the most benefit to the stream ecosystems. Photo by Adam Asquith
Now that sugar is gone, what happens to the plantation's huge system of ditches, reservoirs, and diversions? What happens to the water that flows through them? The Hawai'i Supreme Court has said that all public natural resources are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people. (Wilcox) The exact meaning of this with respect to water in the ahupua'a of Nawiliwili Bay is still a question.
In some streams chronic sedimentation over a long period of time has produced clay bottoms from solidified mud.(Kido) This is not unlike the plaque that builds up in our own arteries from a diet too rich in saturated fats. What? Go on a diet?

The construction of the harbor at Nawiliwili has interrupted the flow of sediment out to sea, thus sediment is deposited in the harbor and on the reefs. (Asquith, personal communication) When large surf arrives, this sediment is reintroduced into the water.

Notice the difference in the color of the ocean and harbor water. Without the breakwater, the sediment would move out into the long shore flow.
Photo by David Boynton, Casey Riemer pilot - Jack Harter Helicopters.
Biologically, alien introduced species dominate to the near exclusion of native species. The upper reaches of Nawiliwili's five streams are primarily poeciliid fish (small mouth bass, guppies, sword tail, medaka). Hinana (young 'o'opu) are like candy to these introduced fish. Many areas of Nawiliwili's streams are a poor habitat for native species because of severe sedimentation, dewatering, bank erosion and human impacts to riparian areas. (Kido) The riparian zone and forests are mostly alien species.
Adam Asquith says that a major biological problem in the streams of Nawiliwili Bay is Leptospirosis. This microorganism is introduced into the streams by the urine of animals. Any person exposed to stream water with an open cut is susceptible to infection.
Chemically, the urbanization and development of Lihu'e around the five streams of Nawiliwili creates the potential for harmful chemical point and non-point source pollution. Nawiliwili Bay had the distinction of being closed more times last year because of pollution than any other bay in the islands. (Heacock)

Wal-Mart is a model of best management practices for dealing with non-point source pollution. Their parking lot is surrounded by a grassy moat

When it rains, the run-off is directed into these moats

Rubbish is periodically removed, and non-point source pollution is kept out of the streams and oceans.

Restoration involves more than the physical, biological, and chemical problems. The most important element of all is cultural. How do today's maka'ainana of Nawiliwili feel about their home? What are they willing to do in support of restoration? How do today's large land owners feel about their home? What are they willing to do in support of restoration?
Two citizens' groups involved in support of restoration are PISCES (Pacific Island's Sustainable Community Ecosystems) and the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed Council. These two groups are working together to identify and establish a community-based partnership with various government agencies in order to develop resource protection for the 'ainakumuwai of Nawiliwili. Here is the mauka to makai view.




September of 2000 was the first Nawiliwili Bay Watershed Festival.

Education is a major priority of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed Council.
Apoha the o'opu
Photo courtesy of John Schlegel

Here are some comments from members of the community -
Carlos Andrade: "Our biggest issue is, how do you keep a community focused on a goal that is such a long-term goal, and keep them working together in relative states of harmony, and not be discouraged?" (from Pacific World's Ha'ena by RDK Herman)

Chipper Wichman :"The key here is to malama. If you can get into being inside of that ecosystem, from the Hawaiian perspective, be a part of it, you become part of that balance." (from Pacific World's Ha'ena by RDK Herman)

Samson Mahuiki: "Gotta be in you. If it's in you, it'll work. If you can change the mind, then it'll work. Otherwise it's only talk." (from Pacific World's Ha'ena by RDK Herman)

Adam Asquith: "What's wrong with this picture? There are no people in this picture - working and caring for the land."

Niumalu Dunes. Photographer: Theodore P. Severin
Photo courtesy of the Bishop Museum

Cheryl Lovell-Obatake: "At Niumalu before - I could see the kuhonu crab walking into the nets. What compels me are the things that I've seen and done in nature. These compel me to go to public hearings. At least try to make the effort for the water quality, and it feels good when I do. At least I make the effort, rather than being frustrated and mad."

When humans arrived at Nawiliwili Bay over a thousand years ago, they began changing their new island home to suit their needs. In 'Ainakumuwai: Ahupua'a of Nawiliwili Bay, we have examined the attitudes and effects of the ahupua'a and plantation management systems on land, water, and sustainability at Nawiliwili Bay. As we continue to change our island home, the effects of our decisions will be visible in the streams and water of Nawiliwili Bay. We have looked at what was and what is. What will be is our kuleana (responsibility).
Wiliwili at Nawiliwili
Mahalo. A hui hou.
Created June 2001