Wetlands created

  • Photo courtesy Lida Pigott Burney

    From left, Bernard Kogyeg, Henry Nakaahiki Sr., Joe Kanahele, Julian Kanahele and Keaka Kanahele are recipients of internships provided for unemployed Native Hawaiians through the EPA Supplemental Environmental Project at Makauwahi Cave Reserve. They are replanting eroded areas of the adjacent abandoned limestone quarry with native plants.

MAHAULEPU — More than 100 new trees and shrubs are now at home at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve on Kauai’s South Shore, many of them planted in five new wetlands that have recently been completed.

The work at the cave reserve is being done under an Environmental Protection Agency Supplemental Environmental Project grant, with $125,000 coming from Hawaii Dairy Farm due to a November court decision.

As part of the decision in a Clean Water Act violation case between Hawaii Dairy Farm and community group Friends of Mahaulepu, HDF was ordered to fund the supplemental environmental project.

“We have supplied all the funds for the work,” said HDF spokeswoman Amy Hennessey, who said nothing has changed when it comes to progression on the creation of the 557-acre dairy, which is currently the subject of a second Environmental Impact Statement after a first one was rejected by the state.

“We have no new announcements at this time,” Hennessey said. “It’s very encouraging the project continues to generate public awareness and discussion about the importance of locally produced food as part of Hawaii’s overall self-sufficiency and resiliency.”

David Burney with the Makauwahi Cave Reserve says the work is completed on the project “with the planting of more than 100 native plants in the lower watershed and efforts to correct soil erosion through blockage of erosion channels and re-vegetation of the stream bank.”

The project includes water quality remediation in the Waiopili Stream by reducing tree cover and increasing stream bank vegetation to stop erosion and the creation of more wetlands for endangered waterbirds and taro loi for further filtration.

Originally the vision was creating three new wetlands for the birds, but Burney says they went above and beyond with the wetlands.

“We exceeded these goals by creating not three, but five new wetlands and by planting additional trees and shrubs in the area above the cave as proposed,” he said.

Community outreach has increased at the cave reserve as well, with an uptick in opportunities for “volun-tourists” and school groups, as well as opportunities for Native Hawaiians, particularly those of Niihau ancestry.

Water quality remediation is ongoing, Burney said, but when the project started experts cautioned there’s a chance changes might not be documented for several years.

“Measurements (in the Waiopili Stream) by Surfrider have not shown a significant decrease yet,” Burney said. “Also, we do not know where these bacteria are coming from.”

He said those involved in the project are “in regular contact with the State Department of Health, Clean Water Division” because the entity is overseeing a study using DNA markers to trace the source of the contamination in the watershed.”

Staff members with DOH CWB told those involved in the project the results of the study should be released shortly.

Meanwhile, visitors continue to tour the cave, which boasts more than 100 species of native plants, the richest fossil site in the islands, and a host of endangered species including water birds and blind cave invertebrates.

Rescued tortoises are also at home in the cave, and are used to keep non-native plants in check.

Free guided tours are led every Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Lucky we live Kaua’i July 30, 2018 9:42 am Reply

    Mahalo to Friends of Maha’ulepu and Surfrider for finding and reporting the contamination of the Waiopili stream that cuts through the middle of the diary’s site on its way down half a mile to the ocean. Mahalo to Friends of Maha’ulepu for taking Hawai’i Dairy Farms to Federal Court and exposing their lack of respect for the clean water laws when they dug their effluent pond without getting the required NPDES permit from the Department of Health. Also they exposed multiple violations of doing construction without the required NPDES. The outcome of which was this Environmental Project by the Cave Reserve which served as HDF fine along with a long list of other environmental requirements to be completed on their site. Now HDF thinks they come back and pollute a stream with nitrogen and phosphorus and bacteria that is on the 303d list of Impaired Water Bodies of the State. If Derek Kawakami gets into the Mayor’s Office we might as well put the red carpet out for the dairy and kiss all the jobs on the South Shore good-bye. Property taxes on the NorthShore and the Westside will need to be raised to cover the loss of income to the County from the devaluation of the Southshore properties.

  2. Charlie Chimknee July 30, 2018 10:03 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    Hooray for the wetlands and the wonderful Makauwahi Cave Reserve, you gotta go there on a guided tour open several days a week, see the article above.

    But if the dreaded Dairy is mentioned it’s opponency needs mentioning.

    Safety…Food Safety…would you knowingly eat something if you knew it caused Cancer in your body? For most people the answer is NO; but when it come to cigarettes…well, it is amazing what addiction does for unbearable cravings; and nicotine micro-gram per micro-gram is hugely more addictive than all the opiates. One is reasonable to wonder why tobacco, the source of the drug nicotine, is not against the law, especially considering the cost to our nation’s Disease Care costs when it comes to lung cancer and emphysema.

    Well some of the same understanding applies to dairy products like
    Milk and cheese and yoghurt, etc., as delicious as they may seem, as much as their use is a habit for many, Dairy Products harbor a protein, in fact 80% of the protein in all dairy products is called Casein.

    Casein protein in our bodies places what is called a “foci” on the DNA of our cells and triggers our body’s cells into Cancer cells.

    Nutritional scientists have even microscope photos of this casein protein reaction on our human cell DNA causing a cancer tragedy.

    When we know the cause of a serious disease, removing the Cause, as in this case dairy products from our diet, (many people have already experiencing a healthier overall body by eliminating dairy, especially with mucus, colds, and constipation for some), removing the Cause removes the effect, the disease; or with the cause removed it allows the body to do what is natural and that is to reverse the disease process and eliminate the disease from the body naturally if it has not gone on too long or too far.

    It is not about an early Check-up, but an early non-use of dangerous foods, like dairy. Fake nutritional advertising for 70 years and its presence in every grocery store deos not make it safe or healthy.

    If there was significant arsenic or strychnine in your food would you eat it even if it was sugar coated?

    People should prioritize their food, eat disease causing food for a short sick life, or read the food labels and don’t eat chemicals and known poisons in your food, which Casein in dairy is one of.

    Health Care is Personal you need to do it to yourself by yourself for yourself. Health is like a bank account, invest in it early in life and frequently.

    You can Swear to God, or Swear on a Stack of Bibles, or Swear in at the Court Room, but also remember to quality SWARE…

    Sun, Water, Air, Rest, Exercise…Kaua’i has the best of these.

    And to keep it that way, Kaua’i does not need another dairy. Especially now since there are so many alternatives to dairy from other safe food sources.

    Read your food labels, if it contains chemical words, best is to avoid them and avoid disease and be Healthy.



  3. gordon oswald July 30, 2018 10:23 am Reply

    Many of us are getting sick and tired of the so called “Dairy” friends for their stupid insistence that their Dairy be placed in such a unique, beautiful, and strategic point on our Island! GIVE UP! You will be hated forever if this ridiculous business decision by you proceeds! There are many thousands of acres on Kauai away from the ocean and other vital water shed areas for you to put your “milk for Oahu” business. As for Mahaulapu, GIVE UP AND JUST GO AWAY!!!

  4. Nahoa July 30, 2018 2:12 pm Reply

    Hard to believe in the same article Amy Hennessey acknowledges that Hawaii Dairy Farms has paid the Court ordered fine for restoration work on the Waiopili stream and the wetland while at the same time confirming Hawaii Dairy Farm’s persistent intent to re-pollute the area with millions of pounds of wet manure. So Hawaii Dairy Farm’s restores a beautiful and natural wetland which exists because of a naturally high water table and then wants to operate an industrial dairy with a plan that 90% of the waste from the cows will lay on the surface, mix into the water table risking contamination of the only source of drinking water for all of Poipu, not to mention what it will do to the ocean and the beautiful living reefs still there. Hard to believe anyone could think such a plan is a good idea or one anyone on Kauai would welcome.

  5. Chet Hunt August 1, 2018 12:31 pm Reply

    It will be impossible to keep the trade winds from spreading the smell of cow manure.
    It is just a bad idea to have a dairy at that location, in fact i cannot think of any place
    on Kauai where a dairy would be a good idea.
    Aspect that the owners want to have the dairy refused so they can then request rezoning for
    possibly a hotel.

    Chet Hunt

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