Hamakua Wetlands

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The Hamakua Wetlands provide a habitat thats rich and abundant with life. The sunsets cascade colors of magnificence across the shimmering still waters that once provide sustenance for many Hawaiian families. Now protected its a sanctuary for many species above and below the water. Below is the historical timeline.


  • Ongoing – Community sponsored activities and service projects supported by a number of Hawaii Civic organizations have implemented at Ulupo Heiau, Na Pohaku O Hauwahine, Kaha Park and other locations to protect and enhance the native cultural and natural heritage of Kawainui and Hamakua Wetlands.

 

  • July 2011 – A signing ceremony for a partnership agreement between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the US Army Corps of Engineers was held for the Kawainui Marsh State Wildlife Sanctuary project that will create eleven terraced pond cells separated by low earthen berms. The pond design includes a single feed water and drainage channel with hydraulic controls to allow independent filling and draining of each pond from onsite shallow wells.

 

  • March 2011 –  The Wetland Restoration and Habitat Enhancement Plan was finalized to restore habitat for native Hawaiian water birds, migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, and native fish species on 60 acres of land near the intersection of Kailua Road (Pali Highway) and Kapaa Quarry Road. Erosion control improvements will be implemented on an additional 20 acres of upland Forest area to medicate stormwater drainage into the restored wetland.

 

  • October 2008 – Ownership of the wetland is transferred from city and County to the state and placed under jurisdiction of the department of land and natural resources

 

  • February 2005 – The Kawainui-Hamakua Marsh Complex is designated as a Ramsar Convention Wetland of International Importance. This information she was compiled by David Smith, wildlife manager of the Hawaii Department of land and natural resources; Eric Gilman of the national Audubon society and chair of the international chapter of the society of wetland scientists; and Murial B Seto, culture chair of Hawaii’s thousand friends.

 

  • October 2002 – The Kawainui Gateway park in viral mental assessment was based on a plan to develop a community Park and nature Trail on vacant land in the northeast corner of the Marsh across from Kalaheo high school

 

  • May 2001 – the wetlands pathway plan was prepared through funding from the city and County of Honolulu visioning process to identify detailed recommendations for a pathway around the Marsh in alignment with the 1994 the DLNR master plan

 

  • 1997 – Construction of the levee is completed

 

  • July 1994 – the department of land and natural resources prepared the master plan to identify improvements in the area that would help the public learn about, appreciate, and enjoy the wetlands. Key elements of the plan include a visitor center, cultural park, ethno-botanical gardens, community parks and a pedestrian trail.

 

  • 1992 – in open water is channeled through the west central portion of the marsh is dredged by the city to improve the distribution of storm water flows.

 

  • New Years 1988 – the New Year’s blood results and severe damage to the Coconut Grove subdivision prompting a reassessment of the flood control capacities of the wetlands by USACE and city and County of Honolulu department of public works.

 

  • February 1988 – Pahukini Heiau is redirected

 

  • 1988 – hey sewer line and pumping stations are routed along Kailua Road connecting the neighborhoods of Mainawili, Olomana, Pohakapu and Kukanono to the Kailua waste water treatment plant. This allows the city and county to close for secondary treatment plans that were discharging partially treated effluent into the marsh.

 

  • 1986 – The Kailua auto wreckers auto dump along north end of the marsh is removed.

 

  • 1985 – The hamakua Drive extension is completed linking Kailua town with enchanted Lakes

 

  • 1983 – The resource management plan for the wetlands is prepared by the state department of planning and economic development.

 

  • 1982 – The Hawaii state board of geographic names boats to officially change the spelling from “Kawai Nui” to “Kawainui” and designate the resource as a “Marsh” rather than a “swamp”. The Kawainui Heritage plan is prepared an updated by Robert Herlinger.

 

  • 1981 – Ulupo Heiau is listed on the Hawaii register of historic places.

 

  • 1979 – Kawainui Marsh is determined to be eligible for listing on the national register of historic places. The US national registrar for his stork places issues a “determination of eligibility Notification”, which states that the wetlands are important and major component of a larger cultural district which would include the ponding wet agricultural area, remains of extensive terracing systems, ceremonial sites, burial sites and habitation areas associated with thiagricultural complex.

 

  • March 1978 – The State LUC Borders 244 acres in the northern portion of the wetlands to be classified as urban following a petition by the state department of planning and economic development to reclassify the acreage as conservation.

 

  • December 1974 – Land Use Commission reclassified as 50 acres from urban to conservation  (TMK 4-2-14:02)

 

  • September 1974 – The private developer which had proposed a shopping center on 88 acres of land at Kawainui Marsh cancels development plans.

 

  • 1974 – The model airplane park is developed on the landfill.

 

  • Mid 1972 – Ulupo Heiau and Pahukini Heiau are both listed on the national register of historic places.

 

  • Early 1972 – A private developer proposes a shopping complex and 88 acres of the north east corner of the wetlands. In response community groups actively voice their objections against the development as well as using the Marsh for sanitary landfill as previously proposed by the city and county in the late 1960s.

 

  • Late 1960’s – The City and county department of parks and recreation initiates planning for Kawainui regional park including a water oriented recreation Park and passive and active parks on the periphery. The department of public works propose that the feeling of portions of the wetlands for recreational purposes should be accomplished with sanitary landfill. Kaneohe Ranch sells 250 Acres of Kawainui Marsh to the City and County of Honolulu.
  • 1966 – Kalaheo High School opens as an intermediate school. The school is later repurposed as a high school in 1973. Kailua Drive-In theater opens on the site which is now Le Jardin Academy.

 

  • 1964 – sitting County of Honolulu purchases, with federal aid, 749 acres for $1.2 million from a private developer who had proposed development on 200 acres of Marshland in 1961. The development, which proposed 4000 homes on 200 acres, 850 acre park, and a 40 acre pond was previously granted subdivision approval in 1962.

 

  • 1963 – Castle hospital opens on land donated by Harold K.L. Castle

 

  • 1962 – Ulupo Heiau is designated as a state monument.

 

  • 1959 – Pali Highway is realigned with tunnels anticipating windward development.

 

  • 1956 – Kaneohe Ranch drains the wetlands to create pasturelands. Water levels are reduced by 4 feet.

 

  • 1952 – The Canal along the entire length of the Kawainui Marsh to the Waimanalo end of Hamakua Marsh is constructed to help control flooding. The canal replaced Kawainui stream and was 30 yards wide and 3 yards deep.

 

  • 1949 – Honolulu construction and drayage (todays Ameron HC&D) leases 100 acres from the Kaneohe Ranch on Ulumawao ridge for quarrying operations.

 

  • 1940’s-1960’s – the United States Army Corps of Engineers conduct studies and implements flood control projects, including widening of Oneawa Canal in constructing a levy on the makai side of the Kawainui Marsh.

 

  • 1930’s – urban development begins along the coastline in Kailua. The Kukanono area is developed in the late 1930’s.

 

  • 1924 – the first real estate subdivisions were built at Ka’ohao. The subdivision is dubbed “Lanikai Crescent” with Kaneohe Ranch land accounting for approximately 1/2 of the total acreage. Mid Pacific country club opens.

 

  • 1923 – planning begins on the Coconut Grove subdivision. Elsie’s store, the site of the existing Kalapawai Market, opens for business. Watermelon, pineapple and coconut fields can be found in Kailua.

 

  • 1920’s – Rice growing and aquaculture are abandoned due to the lack of water in the marsh begins to form.

 

  • 1912 – Kenzo Matsuda takes out a lease from Kaneohe Ranch in 1912 for 7.99 acres at the rate of $80 annually, setting up the Matsuda store on the Marsh side of old Auloa Road, below the current site of Castle Medical Center. The building was last occupied by Martin Knott and his wife Mary McCormack Knott. They lived in the building for 27 years until it was demolished due the termite damage.

 

  • 1900 – Rice replaces lo’i kalo and ranching. Ulupo Heiau is used as a cattle pen. The integrity of Kolomakani Heiau is severely impacted. Kailua is bustling community is concentrated between the base of all of Olomana and the mauna end of Kawainui along old Auloa Road.

 

  • 1880’s – Chinese farmers begin to grow rice. In 1880, George Bowser describe the fertility of the wetlands when he visited Kailua, noting the abundance of rice: “to my left is I look eastward was the valley of Kawainui, about 1/4 of which is already laid out in rice plantations” (and excerpt from “Kailua”, published by the Kailua historical Society)

 

  • 1878 – The Waimanalo Sugar Company is established and construction irrigation ditch, it’s second to divert waters from the Marsh to the Waimanalo reservoir. The company closed it sugar operations in 1947.

 

  • 1780’s – Chief Kahekili of Maui resides in Kailua after defeating Oahu chief Kahahana for controls of Oahu.

 

  • 1750 – Kailua is the political seat of power for the districy of Ko’olaupoko and a favored place of the Oahu chiefs for its abundance in fish and good canoe landings.

 

  • 1650 – 1795 – Settlement expands to Maunawili Valley. This move gives rise to the local ahupua’a and the land tenure system. The wetlands are used as a fish pond and taro (kalo) is grown along streams in the periphery of the fishpond. Crops of dryland kalo, banana (mai’a), sweet potato (‘uala) and sugarcane (ko) are grown along the French is at the Marsh.

 

  • 1640 – Chief Kuali’i is born at Kalapawai, Kailua

 

  • 1400’s – Chief Kakuhihewa probably participates in the ceremony is at Ulupo Heiau. The date of construction of Ulupo various from 900-1400 A.D.

 

  • 1300’s – Chief ‘Olopana builds Pahukini Heiau. The site sits above the present city and County of Honolulu Kapa’a Transfer station.

 

  • 1100-1650 – A trail system is developed and used to deliver fish from the wetlands two chiefs in Waikiki and Ewa.

 

  • 1100 – Fishponds and Taro cultivation occur in Kawainui, Kapa’a and Mokulua quarries are in use.

 

  • 500 – The Ocean returns to very near its present level. The Marine retreat would have largely expose the wide reef fronting the bay of Kawainui. Fresh water from Maunawili mixes with them much less vigorous incursion of seawater lowering the bass salinity and Kawainui becomes a brackish Lagoon. Through these times the waters of Kawainui and Ka’elepulu were in direct contact with one another.

 

  • 300-500  A.D. – The first Polynesians arrive in Kailua.

 

  • 500 B.C. – hey sandbar begins forming across the bay creating Kawainui lagoon which was filled with coral, fish and shellfish. The sandbar is present day Kailua.

 

  • 1500 B.C. – the ocean reaches a height of 6 to 7 feet above its current level during the Ice Age. The ocean held that level for a few centuries before slowly subsiding. Coastal geologist believe that at this time a white barrier of reef partially separated Kawainui from the open Pacific ocean. The reef did not entirely prevent surf from sometimes reaching the Interbay. Today you can see evidence of the impact of waves on the edge of the Marsh near Na Pohaku O Hauwahine overlook. The vertical bases of the little Bluffs and hills here show undercut notches 2 to 3 feet high, indicating shoreline waves were breaking at the slightly higher sea level of the time.

 

  • 4000 B.C. – Before the arrival of the Polynesians, Kawainui & Ka’elepulu more babies connected to the ocean which extended a mile inland of the present coastline.