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Kohala Residents need to Help Halt Degradation of Kawaihae's Pelekane Bay & Protect the Recreational Uses the Harbor Area

The Ancient Hawaiians had a strong sense of the relationship between the mountains, the uplands, and the coastal waters. That relationship is in part expressed in the concept word “ahupua’a” which designates the a Hawaiian land division from mountain to sea as a holistic entity.

If we are going to halt the on-going pollution and degradation of our precious coastal waters we must think in these terms about the relationship between what happens up-county including in Waimea, as it affects our coastal waters in the Pelekane Bay and the greater Kawaihae Bay. (Pelekane Bay is the immediate area of coastal waters located between Puukohola Heiau and Kawaihae Harbor.)

At the June 7th meeting of the Kawaihae Local Resource Council area residents listened to John Pipan Conservation Specialist with the Mauna Kea Soil and Water Conservation District, and Melora Purcell with the Kohala Watershed Partnership, who discussed the on-going destruction of Pelekane Bay’s fish-spawning estuary and underwater cultural sites-including the fish heiau. SEEWest Hawaii Today “Public, private partnership seeks to clean bay” http://www.westhawaiitoday.com/articles/2009/06/09/local/local02.txt . They explained ways individuals can volunteer to assist in this important effort… such as participating in a day reforesting of an upland area. For more information SEE maunakeawcd.org and hawp.org

These conservation efforts are especially important now in light of the rapid development of Kawaihae Harbor as a commercial and military harbor. Residents expressed concern about the environmental impact of this growth and were also concerned that the entities involved including the State DOT and State DLNR and the US military seemed focused on the commercial aspects of the harbor and not on the important recreational uses of this same harbor area. For this reason the next meeting of the Kawaihae Local Resource Council will address what each of the governing authorities is doing to provide or accommodate for recreational interests. This meeting is scheduled for Sunday August 2nd from 2-4p.m. at the Macadamia Nut Factory located just north of Kawaihae (yellow signs show the way). For more information call Sara Peck with the UH Sea Grant Program: 329-2861