Townscape, Inc

Heʻeia Wetlands Restoration

Completed 2012

Townscape worked with Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, a community-based non-profit organization, to develop a Strategic Plan and a Conceptual Plan graphic and narrative to illustrate and share the community’s vision for the wetlands of Heʻeia, called Hoi, where wetland kalo (taro) was traditionally grown.

Over the past decades, the landscape has gone through various cycles of kalo, sugarcane, pineapple, rice, and cattle. Issues such as erosion, flooding, and increased runoff during heavy rains have degraded the health and productivity of Heʻeia fishpond and Kāneʻohe Bay. Additionally, mangrove and hau trees choke the stream and reduce wetland habitat for native species. To address these issues, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi has entered into a 38-year lease agreement with the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority to implement Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi, a project to restore the currently fallow land into a working agricultural landscape. By doing so, Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi will provide food security, biological resiliency, programs for research and education, and cultural and community use.

As part of the planning process, Townscape secured the approvals needed from the State Commission on Water Resource Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that allowed for loʻi kalo (irrigated terraces) restoration. Townscape also worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop a Conservation Plan that was approved by the Windward Soil and Water Conservation District, thus allowing for agricultural operations.

Loʻi kalo restored by Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi.
Historic photo of the Hoi in cultivation (c. 1928)