Pouhala Marsh gets cleared of invasive species - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Pouhala Marsh gets cleared of invasive species

J.R. Agcanas J.R. Agcanas
Aprille Manzano Aprille Manzano

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's the largest intact coastal wetland left in the Pearl Harbor basin of Oahu. Efforts are being made to restore Pouhala Marsh in Waipahu.

The area covers about 70 acres. It's a wildlife sanctuary home to native Hawaiian plants and migratory birds. Over the past few decades, the marsh has been reduced to a few remaining basins and mud flats. About 60 high school volunteers along with community groups came out to clean up the area.

"We still have native eco-systems around the area that needs to be protected and taken care of and not neglected," says Syd Kawahakui Jr. of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Part of the problem is invasive plants, like the pickle weed along the banks of the marsh and the California grass. With rakes, pick axes and their hands, volunteers pull them out and pile them up.

"What they do is compete and take over where potential native plants could be growing or start to grow. They'll creep and create a ground cover thick enough to choke out these plants," says Syd Kawahakui Jr.

In another area, the native Kou and Milo are planted recreating a native habitat for the birds, and giving the Pouhala Marsh a better look.

"We can help the community out and make this place better by planting new plants," says Student Volunteer J.R. Agcanas.

"Hopefully, ten years from now we like make, we grow these big awesome trees to make Hawaii green and stuff," says Student Volunteer Aprille Manzano.

Pouhala Marsh also serves as an outdoor classroom, allowing people to get a hands-on educational experience.

"It's just a good tool for as workers employees of the state to help educate these students of Hawaii, to learn about these kinds of things that are out there," says Syd Kawahakui Jr.

It's a unique project bringing together the community and improving this fragile environment for future generations.

The Hawaii Nature Center received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to fund the restoration project. They will be back for a second clean-up in the spring.

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