KAILUA — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers broke ground for the construction of the Kawainui Marsh Environmental Restoration Project in Kailua, O'ahu, June 28, 2012.
DLNR has been working with the Corps and the Kailua community for more than 15 years to develop a habitat restoration project for the 830-acre Kawainui Marsh. The project implements the wildlife habitat restoration components of the 1994 Kawainui Marsh Master Plan and Hawai'i Endangered Waterbird Recovery Plans.
The project will also serve as the foundation for educational, environmental, cultural, recreational, community and volunteer efforts to restore the wildlife habitat in the marsh. Without restoration, the marsh will remain in a state of degradation with little wildlife and community use values.
The project will help to restore habitat for four endangered native waterbirds on O'ahu -- the endangered koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), ae'o (Hawaiian stilt), 'alae 'ula (Hawaiian moorhen) and 'alae ke'oke'o (Hawaiian coot).
"We are looking forward to finally implementing this project with our partners, the Army Corps of Engineers and the community," said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. "Habitat restoration is expected to increase populations of endangered waterfowl, create scenic open space, reduce upland runoff to coastal reefs and remove invasive weeds from the marsh."
The total project area of nearly 40 acres will include: 11 terraced shallow ponds, an earthen berm system accessible by light-duty maintenance vehicles and a water supply system to the ponds using solar-powered well pumps and water level control structures.
The total project cost is projected to $6,426,000, with the federal government providing 75 percent of the funding. DLNR's cost share is projected to be $1,355,000, representing approximately 25 percent of the total project cost.
The Corps is responsible for the design and construction of the project. Once completed, the State will assume the responsibility to operate, maintain and repair the project.
"Restoring the wetland in Kawainui Marsh is of vital importance. Kawainui is one of the last large remaining wetland complexes in the state. Restoring its ecological functions to provide productive habitat for our endangered waterbirds will help to ensure we have these populations of endangered native birds in the future," said Paul Conry, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator.
The project is expected to be completed by next spring 2013.