A clean stream through Waimea and less pollution entering the ocean are the goals of the Wai 2 Kai Project.

Sierra Tobiason, University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program extension agent and South Kohala Coastal Partnership coordinator, is leading an effort to help improve water quality at five specific sites that were identified as hotspots of pollution, erosion and storm water runoff.

The two-year Wai 2 Kai project will take place at five sites along the Waikoloa stream and within the Waiʻulaʻula Watershed. At these sites volunteers will be recruited to install and maintain rain gardens, participate in stream and beach clean-ups, remove invasive plant species and help the project reach its goal of planting 20,000 native plants.

These native plant restoration and Wai 2 Kai volunteer activities were designed to not only restore and improve water quality, but to encourage long-lasting stewardship and understanding of the importance of healthy watersheds.

“The organizations, agencies and community groups of the South Kohala Coastal Partnership have been instrumental in helping to develop collaborative stewardship opportunities to improve the water quality from wai to kai—the stream to the ocean,” said Tobiason. “It is very exciting to have so much community involvement and partnership support in this project as we work together to improve water quality and reduce impacts to coral reef ecosystems.”

Community work days will be held on the fourth Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon, and the location of the work days will rotate among the five sites. On June 30 at the Waimea Nature Park the public is invited to help spread mulch, remove invasive plants, and plant native shrubs and ground cover.

To volunteer please email Wai2KaiCoordinator@gmail.com by June 25, 2015. For additional information on the project, or to volunteer for any of the upcoming community work days, contact Sierra Tobiason via email, or visit the Wai 2 Kai website.