Taking better care of the ‘aina: Pelekane Watershed improvements to mitigate ecological degradation

  • Debris from flood waters float in Pelekane Bay in the wake of severe rainfall and flash flooding after a wildfire charred 4,500 acres mauka of Kawaihae. Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

  • Debris from flood waters is caught in a bridge fronting Puukohola Heiau in the wake of severe rainfall and flash flooding after a wildfire charred 4,500 acres mauka of Kawaihae. Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

  • Flames burned the land around Pu‘ukohola Heiau in Kawaihae in 2015. Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

  • This map shows the boundaries of the restoration area, including new fencelines and data monitoring points. (Courtesy map/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • The shore at Pelekane Bay is seen in August 2015 in the wake of severe rainfall and flash flooding after a wildfire charred 4,500 acres mauka of Kawaihae. (The Kohala Center/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • A watershed stewardship technician from The Kohala Center measures the height and percent cover of vegetation within the management zone. Modified Whittaker plots were established throughout both paddocks and data are collected quarterly. (The Kohala Center/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Sediment runoff enters Pelekane Bay following a wildfire and flash flooding in 2015. Overgrazing by feral ungulates and cattle are the most significant contributors to erosion, which can be exacerbated by heavy rainfall and wildfires. (Andrew Richard Hara/Special to West Hawaii Today)

A two-year effort to protect and improve water quality and ecosystem health in the Pelekane Watershed was recently completed by The Kohala Center.