Extreme flooding has created a complicated new problem in an East Oahu valley

One nursery in particular is trying to figure out solutions.
An East Oahu nursery that was swamped by flooding last April is now dealing with a new problem.
An East Oahu nursery that was swamped by flooding last April is now dealing with a new problem.(Hawaii News Now)
Updated: Jan. 2, 2019 at 5:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An East Oahu nursery that mainly grows native plants for conservation projects is hoping for a fresh start in 2019.

Extreme flooding last April swamped Aloha Aina O Kamilo Nui and also created a complicated new problem.

The nonprofit that runs the nursery spent about seven months cleaning up and removing debris with the help of businesses, community members, and inmates from the Women’s Community Correctional Center.

Raging floodwaters damaged two bridges, ruined crops, and tore up the irrigation system.

Bids to fix the extensive damage ranged from $150,000 to $250,000.

The wild weather also uprooted pipes and altered the flow of stormwater through the valley.

“When it rains and the stormwater comes down off the mountain, it literally proceeds onto the property and down the farm lots and into the marina in a very different way,” said Elizabeth Reilly, president of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.

The nonprofit is concerned about the stormwater runoff from mauka to makai. The group hopes to turn this new problem into an opportunity to better care for the valley.

“We need to look at that and say, ‘What do we do this water? How do we channelize it in a natural way? How do we harvest it?’ There are answers out there,” said Reilly.

Reilly said finding a solution requires going beyond the boundaries of the nearly 3-acre site. The organization is reaching out to the landowner, Kamehameha Schools, as well as other neighbors.

“Now, of course, we have a new task at hand which would be to do a conservation plan for the entire valley so that the valley and other farmers can thrive and the marina isn’t so negatively impacted and subsequently Maunalua Bay isn’t so negatively impacted with brown water,” said Reilly.

Volunteers are still needed to help with the rebuilding effort. For details, click here.

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