|He'eia Fishpond and He'eia State Park fill the foreground in this photo.|
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Funding For He’eia Research Reserve Is Urged At Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Meeting
The health of Kaneohe Bay was on our minds during our December meeting. Details are below. Click on the highlighted links for more information.
Research Funding Encouraged: During the meeting, our Board Chairman, Mo Radke, urged the Governor’s Office to seek state funding for the proposed He‘eia National Estuarine Research Reserve. The reserve would encompass approximately 1,385 acres of Kaneohe Bay around He’eia State Park, as well as Moku o Lo’e (Coconut Island). It would join 28 other estuarine research reserves nationwide and would be the only one in Hawaii.
The federal government has proposed funding the majority of the project, but the state must match at least 30 percent of the federal dollars. Funds would pay to assess environmental conditions and possible conservation steps in the research area.
Rod Becker, director of the state Department of Accounting and General Services under Governor David Ige, said he would relay the request to the governor.
A Diverse Environment: The management plan for the reserve describes a diverse environment. In addition to the state park and Coconut Island, it includes He‘eia Fishpond, He‘eia wetlands and “a large expanse of marine waters with patch and fringing reefs.” Also included are taro patches and gardens, and He‘eia Stream.
The area is actively used for traditional agriculture, fishing, tourism, recreational boating and education.
A Top Priority – Gathering Information: The management plan says the project will focus on gathering information about past sustainable practices in the area, as well as current conditions such as water quality, coral habitats, and plants and animals living in the bay.
The plan envisions using the information to assess human impacts on the area and improve management strategies there.
Learn More: Besides the management plan, the final environmental impact statement for the project is available online.