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AWWA Receives Grant from Board of Water Supply

AWWA has been awarded a grant from the Board of Water Supply to do a series of bus tours and community presentations on Ahupua`a Foundations for Watershed Stewardship. These tours build on the successful Foundations of the Ahupuaa , Ka Wai Nui Marsh, and Bioremediation site visits we did several years ago but with the opportunity to expand to an island-wide audience.


We are planning site visits to West Oahu, Central Oahu, and Windward Oahu in addition to our homebase in East Oahu. The tours will be longer because of the travel time but refreshments will be provided. From October to March, there will be at least one per month. The tours will feature cultural guides and experts in their fields as on-board narrators. For topics that require more technology than can be accommodated on a bus, there will be seminars. Content and schedules are being worked out and will be available soon.

For more information, visit the Ahupua`a Foundations for Watershed Stewardship page.



AWWA Moves Forward on Erosion Control , Vegetated Buffers, Ala Wai to Manoa Trail , Kaimuki Streambank

Under our DLNR grant, AWWA moved forward on several
ambitious projects, raising our expertise level way beyond stream cleanups.

One of the contract items was to extend the Ala Wai to Manoa trail, a concept born in the 1970 s but never fully brought to fruition. The trail begins as a jogging path at the Ala Wai Boathouse at Kapiolani and McCully. It follows the Manoa-Palolo Drainage Canal up Laau Street and stops at Date Street.

Artistic exuberance overwhelmed practicality, however, as landscaped berms and a community garden developed alongside it. Forgotten was the drainage system of Ala Wai Elementary School. Despite its low lying location, slightly higher than canal itself, the school never flooded during heavy rains. Its old-fashioned system of rounded culverts carried the water off the grounds to the canal. The berms and the gardens blocked the natural grade and Ala Wai Elementary became a swamp during the rainy season. AWWA contracted for raised walkways on 3 sides of the school to counteract the impact of the trail s berms.


A large tree shaded out the playfield for lower grades, resulting in a highly eroded area, compacted by many little feet. During heavy rains, a mudpond developed, draining the sediment almost directly into the Ala Wai Canal. As an erosion control project, AWWA arranged for tree trimming, remediating the soil, re-sodding the surface, and landscaping to improve the conditions.

The Kaimuki High School streambank has been neglected for years but is a hidden treasure of the community. Overgrowth of invasive plants hid a beautiful stream view, valued highly by residents across the stream. Unfortunately, it also provided a hiding place for drug and alcohol activities in the evening, posing a threat to students who walked through the field after activities at the school.


AWWA contracted out the clearance of the dense streambank vegetation, leaving enough to maintain the habitat for the ducks, the herons, the white terns, the turtles, and the omnipresent mongoose. The cleared area exposed the old riprap, the stone facing for the channel. Some of it needs to be repaired to withstand storm flows. Community people passing through during the clearing activity volunteered to help in future work projects. We hope, with future grants, to turn the area into a mini wildlife sanctuary.


Two diseased opiuma trees were removed on the advice of the Outdoor Circle and were replaced with monkeypods. The existing gravel path will be paved as a meandering extension to the Ala Wai to Manoa trail for walkers, joggers, and bikers. AWWA will be planning work days to landscape the area with appropriate local and native species.


St. Louis Trail and Garden: the intent was to link Manoa Stream to the Waahila Ridge trail system and create a garden on the ridge. A trail already existed by Manoa Stream next to Dole Street with access through the lo'i next to Hawaiian Studies. The UH Botany Department, in conjunction with DLNR's Safe Harbor Program, had started a native plant garden across the street at the bottom of Waahila Ridge but had difficulty with maintenance.


AWWA teamed up with Downhill Hawaii, a mountain biking group, the UH Botany Department, and DLNR to cut a continuous trail from the bottom of Waahila Ridge to the first lookout. The trails now connect all the way to Waahila State Park. 


The area where the trail was cut had several sections of difficult passage. With o`o and muscle power, the bikers moved and chipped rocks to create a trail standard 5-foot wide path. A hiker can now easily stroll through the garden, onto the path, and up Waahila's lookout points without the need for 4-limb acrobatics.  This was especially important because the hill has many homeless encampments.


If a fire starts during the dry season, the exit route is now safe for
quick retreats. AWWA assists with the maintenance of the garden.



Kaaawa Valley was one of the stops on the first series of bus tours.


Ala Wai Elementary's Erosion Trap - arrow shows storm drain, one t-joint away from the canal.

Flooding at Ala Wai Elementary School. Arrow shows the trail berm blocking the rainwater.



WOW! We are happy with how the moss rock wall and the landscaping are turning out.

Very attractive.
Charlotte Unni, Principal



Kaimuki High School streambank, overgrown with invasives and encroaching mangroves. Thorny plants prevented volunteers from clearing more than 5 feet of the 25-foot wide bank. The mangroves provide a habitat for stream wildlife.


Kaimuki High Streambank, cleared, with riprap visible, and now maintainable by volunteers.


Kaimuki Streambank ducks, residents of a future mini-wildlife sanctuary.


Condition of the Waahila Trail before.


Condition of the Waahila Trail after. Note the 5-foot width and path around a large rock that previously required jumping down.


Wayne Gau and Barbara Miller at the site of the Native Hawaiian Garden at
the bottom of the ridge.



2006 Ala Wai Watershed Association