HONOLULU (KHON2) — Preserving our natural environment is one of the only ways for us to combat global warming. Making a move to ensure that Hawai’i’s natural resources and environments are secure, the O’ahu Recourse Conservation and Development Council has decided to partner with the Hawai’i State Department of Health.

Farm resilience is the subject of this new project. As such, O’ahu RC&D and the DOH are working to minimize non-point source pollution from entering streams in the Kaukonahua drainage. They are doing this by working with local farmers and ranchers.

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Kaukonahua drainage is a part of the Ki’iki’i watershed. It is 25,159 acres which includes the 33 miles long Kaukonahua Stream. With 7,390 acres of the total 11,752 agricultural acres, the Kaukonahua drainage is the largest acreage of prime farmland in the Ki’iki’i watershed.

The area is most susceptible to runoff, ponding, and flooding due to its low permeability in soils. This has led O’ahu RC&D and the DOH to seek opportunities to collaborate with local farmers.

“With current high amounts of sediment and nutrients [nitrogen and phosphorus] entering
waterways, the water quality is reduced and the natural functions of the aquatic ecosystem are impaired, which has adverse effects on native plants and wildlife. The need for flood impact mitigation and substantial reduction of sediment and nutrient loads in this watershed is a prevalent nonpoint source pollution issue for Kaiaka Bay,” said O’ahu RC&D.

The DOH is investing $144,488 as a means of entering into a cost-share programs for local farmers. This allows them to begin implementing management practices on their farms. Farmers must invest 33 percent of the total cost by offing financial and in-kind contributions toward the conservation installations.

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The partnership is expected to reduce contaminations by 300 tons of sediment, 600 pounds of nitrogen and 200 pounds of phosphorous in Kaiaka Bay.