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Stream management and development workshop set for Friday

A free, one-day workshop will be offered on Kaua‘i this Friday by the Army Corps of Engineers on the ecology, restoration and management of Hawaiian streams and riparian systems.

The workshop will be a condensed version of a three-day workshop on the same subject being held on O‘ahu Tuesday through Thursday.

Dr. Carl Berg, who helped organize the workshop on Kaua‘i, said one of the reasons he wanted to bring the workshop to Kaua‘i was for economical reasons.

“It’s expensive to go to O‘ahu,” Berg said. “And the workshop is in the middle of the week.”

A handful of presenters from the workshop will be present on Kaua‘i to provide an overview of presentations made on O‘ahu. The intent will be to provide ideas, tools and techniques that could be useful to individuals or organizations interested in improving the management of streams and riparian systems on Kaua‘i.

The workshop will consist of Powerpoint presentations, open discussions and question and answer sessions.

According to Berg, the presentations will be summarized and made pertinent to Kaua‘i.

“The stream issues on Kaua‘i are all over the island,” Berg said. “The developers and engineers are using archaic methods for modifying streams for houses and developments.”

Dr. Richard Fischer, a certified wildlife biologist with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, helped organize the workshop on O‘ahu and will be present on Kaua‘i for the one-day workshop.

“Many of the streams and their associated vegetation communities have been completely lost or degraded on most of O‘ahu,” Fischer said. “Development on Kaua‘i appears to be rather rapid and there is a good chance the same will happen to Kaua‘i without learning about the past mistakes made on other islands.”

Fischer came to Kaua‘i last summer to check on stream issues here.

“My personal observations on Kaua‘i from a visit last August suggest that these same mistakes are already being made by developers and others,” Fischer said. “Without some significant changes in education, oversight and enforcement, many of Kaua‘i’s stream systems will be relegated to nothing more than conduits for flow of stormwater with loss of most if not all ecological and physical functions.”

Berg said that after the Ka Loko Reservoir Dam breach in 2006, crews repaired the washed-out stream and lined it with large rocks and cement.

“That’s not stream restoration,” Berg said. “That’s stream annihilation.”

Presentation topics include the historical, current and future perspectives on stream and riparian management in Hawai‘i; hydrology; riparian vegetation and soils; water quality issues; streambank restoration challenges; stream assessment tools; riparian and in-stream fauna; watershed approaches and Kaua‘i examples.

The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Kaua‘i Community College cafeteria. To register in advance, e-mail Berg at cberg@pixi.com

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