Today: 'Ainakumuwai

'Ainakumuwai is the land that is the source of the water. It is another name for the watershed. The quality of a stream's water depends on its source. Rain runs off of the land into streams, or percolates into the groundwater. What ever the rain carries into a stream affects the qualities of that stream.
'Ainakumuwai draws on the Division of Aquatic Resources Web site: Hawaiian Stream Animals - the Mauka to Makai Connection. In addition, Don Heacock's Hawaiian Stream Ecosystems: 140 years of change, present conditions, and the future of stream conservation and restoration is a major source.
High quality Hawaiian streams are clear, cold, and have a strong flow all year long. There is little sediment, leaf litter, and other loose debris because of uninterrupted stream flow and flash floods caused by heavy rains in the mountains. Flow rates can rise and fall rapidly in response to rainfall. Hawaiian streams have a relatively short and steep descent from the mountains, and their bottoms are typically basalt (bedrock, boulders, cobbles, gravel, and sand). Any withdrawal of water by well, tunnel or diversion affects the streamflow .(Mauka to Makai Connection)
Above, Hali'i waterfall.. Notice the tent in the hau bush. Photo by David Boynton, pilot - Casey Riemer of Jack Harter Helicopters.
When you go to the doctor, he may order a blood test to check for the proper balance of materials that indicates good health. In the same way, a healthy stream has a correct balance of physical, chemical, and biological parts. The water quality in our streams reflects the health of aquatic resources and the human communities that depend on streams for food and recreation. The degradation (loss of quality) of streams at Nawiliwili Bay indicates that our land and water use are not sustainable. Streams are a good indicator of the health of our land. (Heacock)
The designation of Nawiliwili Bay as a Water Quality Limited Segment is a result of the degradation of the streams that drain into Nawiliwili Bay. One major reason for this degradation is the high pollution run-off from non- point sources. This is called Non Point Source Pollution (NPSP). Pollutants include: sediment from agriculture and development - oil, grease and toxic chemicals from vehicles - fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides from agriculture - and viruses and bacteria from failing septic systems. When rain falls, the run-off carries all this NPSP into our streams.
Headlines from John Schlegel

To the left is a high quality stream in upper Wainiha. Notice the:
  • clarity of the water,
  • strong stream flow,
  • basalt substrate (bottom)
  • natural riparian (along the stream bank) vegetation
  • native stream animals still thrive (grow vigorously) in this pristine (untouched) environment.
Photo by Mike Kido

To the right, another example from Wainiha of a high quality Hawaiian stream, courtesy of Mike Kido.
That's his sampling gear on the rock.
Photo by Mike Kido

Nawiliwili Stream:
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Students call the fish that swim here "ghetto tilapia".

Papalinahoa Stream:
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Pu'ali Stream:
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Hule'ia and Alekoko Fish Pond:
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Cheryl Lovell-Obatake says that construction of the breakwater and small boat harbor have affected the circulation of water through the pond.
Photo by David Boynton, pilot - Casey Riemer of Jack Harter Helicopters.

Students at Kaua'i High School have adopted the ahupua'a of Nawiliwili Bay. Since1999, they have been assessing and sampling the Hule'ia, Nawiliwili, and Pu'ali streams. They are concerned because Nawiliwili Bay is a vital part of Hawaiian cultural practices, resident leisure and recreation, and food gathering.
Students test for turbidity (suspended solids in the water), dissolved oxygen, phosphates, nitrates, pH, temperature, salinity, and coliform bacteria. In addition, they measure stream flow, assess the presence of native and alien species, and land use around the streams. They are currently designing a questionnaire to analyze area residents' use, knowledge, beliefs, and opinions about the issues at Nawiliwili Bay.

Aquatic specialists like Don Heacock, Adam Asquith, and Carl Berg are willing mentors for these students. To the left, Don Heacock - a continuous stream of knowledge.
Photo by David Boynton
'Ainakumuwai is the land that is the source of water. The designation of Nawiliwili Bay as a Water Quality Limited Segment tells us that our land and water use are not sustainable today. What will happen tomorrow?
Created June 2001