Restoration of Waianae

Christopher Nova Smith Letter

Restoration of Wai’anae

Christopher Smith

April 28, 2014

 

Congress Women Tulsi Gabbard

502 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Congresswomen Tulsi Gabbard

        As a constituent, I am writing you for support on restoring the Wai’anae Costal region of Oahu. In the past couple of decades, the Islands has seen drastic climate changes due to over development and the Military Industrial Complex. Wai’anae is of these areas that have been impacted.

 

        Wai’anae is home to the highest population of Hawaiian Natives. The arrival of the sugar plantations and the army’s Makua military reservation as you know has diverted most of the natural waterways through the area away from Waianae (KITV, 2014). The action taken by the Army has caused Wai’anae to become a desert in what was know as a tropical rain-forest. The drought like occurrence has also impacted native Hawaiian practices. Taro is the state staple, and historically known as the Hawaiian’s contribution to sustainable living. Without this traditional food and farming structure, 90% of the wetlands in Hawaii have disappeared, which was supplied by fresh water springs and rivers. In most cases, these areas have been made use for developing. Wai’anae is an area, which has seen population growth from the poor and native Hawaiians. The growth has been minimal and has allowed many of the historic grounds of taro fields left untouched. I believe this can give an opportunity to both bring back the native ecosystem and native cultural rights to many of our communities throughout Hawai’i.

 

        To bring back a sustainable living environment to the Wai’anae coastline, I believe understanding is needed. The soil function of the area brought nutrients to many of the native plants surrounding the areas. As the water dried up in Wai’anae much of the soil became filled with air pockets. The lack of water and the arrival of air have made it impossible for the native plants to flourish, Bird and animal life to be sustained, while impacting food sustainability and cultural practices. The state is spending millions to help maintain the bird species alone each year. A program of this nature could not only sustain but also rehabilitate much of what is missing from Hawai’i.

 

        One of the programs looked at is for the O’ahu ‘Elepaio. a native bird only found on Oahu is endangered from many of the activities that have taken place in the past 50 years. The bird, as like many found in Hawai’i lives on insects found in the wood of trees (United Sates Fish & Wildlife Service, 2014). The introduction of foreign insects and the lack of fertile land have contributed to the over 70 species of birds that have been lost in recent years.

 

        Re-establishing the area’s waterways could save the state millions each year from treating the symptoms by allowing the area to go back to its natural state. Bringing back the taro fields would add water to the ground, remove air pockets, and add to the nutrients of the ground through biomass abortion. Trees would take root and the native flowers would bloom. I am calling to action the restoration of the Waianae coastline for protection of cultural practices, food sustainability, and to bring back the natural ecosystem of Hawai’i to preserve the native bird habitat.

Mahalo, for your time and consideration,

Christopher Nova Smith

Makiki/ Tantalus Neighborhood Board 10

References

KITV. (2014). Where you live: wai’anae. Retrieved from http://www.kitv.com/news/hawaii/where-you-live/where-you-live-waianae/25660114
United Sates Fish & Wildlife Service. (2014). Proposed critical habitat for the O`ahu`Elepaio. Retrieved from http://www.fws.gov/pacific/news/pdf/ElepaioCH.pdf

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