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EPA funded Ala Wai Watershed Improvement Project concludes Groups will continue work started with federal funding

Release Date: 5/23/2005
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711

HONOLULU – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today the successful conclusion of the Ala Wai Watershed project that brought many public education and community involvement projects to the Oahu watershed area.

“The project provided the community with useful tools to protect, preserve and enhance the Ala Wai watershed,” said Alexis Strauss, director for the EPA’s Water Division for the Pacific Southwest region. “We’re pleased to see the successful conclusion of the project and hope both the Hawai’i Nature Center and the Ala Wai Watershed Association have continued success in furthering their efforts in the watershed.”

The project began in 1996 with federal funding supported by Senator Daniel K. Inouye to empower the community to improve the conditions of the Ala Wai Canal and the many watershed areas that drain into the canal. A total of $2.1 million was used for many community-led environmental improvement projects in the Ala Wai watershed.

As part of the project, the Hawai’i Nature Center provided:

* environmental education to more than 6000 elementary school children;
* funded eight large community based projects, 20 small community projects and dozens of school
based projects;
* prepared a watershed education curriculum for adults;
* restored and renovated the Makiki Watershed Trail; and
* conducted other outreach activities.

The Nature Center also provided grant funds to the Ala Wai Watershed Association to support their efforts in caring for the Ala Wai watershed from the mountains to the sea between Punchbowl and Kaimuki.

As part of this project, AWWA accomplished its goals of increasing community awareness and participation by conducting nine seminars, three field trips, eight field events and prepared newsletter and fact sheets distributed to the community.

The Ala Wai watershed drains into the Ala Wai Canal, which was built in the 1920’s to provide flood control and convert marsh land in the Waikiki area to other productive uses. Excessive sedimentation and urban runoff from surrounding neighborhoods have combined over the years to pollute the waterway. The recent dredging of the canal removed much of the sediments that limited the canal’s ability to provide flood control.

To learn more about the continuing efforts of Ala Wai watershed improvement project, contact Gregory Dunn of the Hawai’i Nature Center at (808) 955-0100, or Karen Ah Mai of the Ala Wai Watershed Association at (808) 955-7882.

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