MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The trees along the Manoa Stream by Woodlawn Drive have been a part of the Manoa neighborhood for decades — so residents were shocked when the state began cutting them down on Friday.
"I'm dismayed and angry that we didn't get any information about it until it was already underway," said Kieko Matteson, who lives in the nearby University of Hawaii faculty housing complex. "We heard about it the day it was happening."
"It's going to be … barren," said Manoa Neighborhood Board Chair Dale Kobayashi.
The state is cutting down dozens of trees to make way for a long-awaited dredging project. The Department of Land and Natural Resources said its contractor needs the extra room for its heavy dredging equipment.
DLNR officials said the stream needs to be deeper to prevent floods like the deluge that inundated UH Manoa back in 2004.
"It was a terribly destructive flood ... it just jammed up right here and sent water down to the University of Hawaii," said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.
Case, who toured the area with UH officials and area representatives on Monday, said the trees that are being cut back are mostly albizia and other invasive species.
"We're hoping to move the tree line back and replant, preferably with native trees or noninvasive trees," she said.
The dredging company will also use the yard area of the UH faculty housing complex to store dredged soil and rock from the stream.
Some worry that the material contains dangerous pollutants.
"We have lots of children living just feet from where these sediment basins are going to be," said Jessica Kyle, another resident of the faculty housing complex. "It makes me really nervous about what kind of pesticides and runoff there's going to be."
Case will meet Tuesday morning with Manoa residents and neighborhood officials to talk more about the project.
This story may be updated.