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U.S. Forest Workers Help to Restore Ancient Hawaiian Fishpond in Kīholo

It’s National Preservation Month, and people all over the country are participating in events to enrich and preserve the treasures within their communities that make them special.

(L-R) Flint Hughes, research ecologist at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, and Rebecca Most from The Nature Conservancy transport debris across the anchialine pool to a staging area where it will be chipped into mulch. (U.S. Forest Service)

(L-R) Flint Hughes, research ecologist at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, and Rebecca Most from The Nature Conservancy transport debris across the anchialine pool to a staging area where it will be chipped into mulch. (U.S. Forest Service)

Staff from the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station recently helped to restore an ancient Hawaiian fishpond in Kīholo, Hawaii, that has a rich history and tradition of providing a sustainable food source for the surrounding communities on the Big Island. Working in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy and Hui Aloha Kīholo, Station staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry cleared and hauled debris from the fishpond perimeter in order to reduce the accumulation of sediments caused by overhanging non-native plants, which improved foraging habitat for native fish and turtles. The group also replanted culturally and ecologically appropriate native species, restored habitat for rare invertebrate species, removed invasive weeds, and participated in native plant care within an area surrounding a nearby anchialine pool, which will be used as a nursery for future restoration activities.

Staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, The Nature Conservancy and Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife haul a tarp loaded with debris onto the raft as part of the restoration efforts at the Kiholo ponds. (U.S. Forest Service)

Staff from the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, The Nature Conservancy and Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife haul a tarp loaded with debris onto the raft as part of the restoration efforts at the Kiholo ponds. (U.S. Forest Service)

Their work was part of an on-going effort to return the fishpond to its previously recorded ecological health, to evaluate the fishpond’s potential for revival as a reliable and sustainable food source within the community, and to improve the surrounding habitat to its former healthy state so that native plants and unique animal populations could successfully return to the area. In addition to saving and rehabilitating a valuable resource, project organizers used the effort to engage the community in fishpond ecology, scientific monitoring and on-the-ground conservation efforts while also connecting people to place.

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

The preservation project will be used as a platform that combines science and culture to teach and connect the community to each other and to Kīholo. In addition, the project attracts numerous local school groups to the fishpond, and engages volunteers and students in stewardship and research activities, including thinning invasive vegetation that is preventing access, damaging historic structures, and contributing harmful leaf litter to fishpond waters. The Nature Conservancy hosts volunteer restoration days at Kīholo fishpond the third Saturday of each month.

Test Post and Kiholo Bay Photo

Just a picture of a Kiholo Bay posted to Twitter.  Kiholo State Park planned in the near future!  I know this picture has been seen around the world… I’m checking to see if my website is working accurately!

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

Feel free to share!

Shark Attack Off The Big Island – Warning Signs Posted at Kiholo Bay State Park

About 5 p.m. this evening, a 43-year old local male was surfing about 200 yards offshore at the north side of Kiholo Bay when he was bit on the right forearm by a 15 foot tiger shark. He also suffered injuries to his knee. A worker at a private home on the north side of bay called in to 911.

Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay

Hawaii County Fire Department responded and a helicopter was sent up to scan the waters, but nothing was seen. DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement contacted the Kiholo Community Association which posted shark warning signs at the entrance gate to Kiholo Bay State Park. The park will remain closed until noon tomorrow. In the morning, HFD and DLNR will assess the area for any sharks sightings. If nothing is seen, the park and beach will reopen.