Koheo Wetland Student Dune Restoration Damaged

Elementary school students were saddened when they saw that ATV use at the Koheo wetland had wiped out two years of their hard work planting native akulikuli (Sesuvium portulacastrum). The plants were grown in the classrooms as part of a second through fourth grade project focusing on the protection of wetlands. Over the weekend of March 8, someone entered Koheo wetland via the Kapaakea beach on an ATV and “made donuts” on the sand dune that the students were working on restoring: dozens of native plants were either damaged or totally destroyed. A pair of nesting endangered Hawaiian Stilts banded for research were also disturbed.

The Koheo wetland has been utilized extensively over the past four years for a wide range of educational projects: Kindergarten children have enjoyed playing in the sand and mud, elementary school students attended sessions on invasive limu and learned about native plants and birds, and University of Hawaii students working under a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency have conducted studies on water quality testing and soils analysis. On March 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will continue an invasive fish study and students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa will revisit previously established vegetation transects and collect water samples. On March 25, students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo will collect debris washed into the wetland by high tides. For information on how you can participate in these events or for scheduling an educational project, contact Arleone at 553-5992.


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