Slopes above Kunia provide water, wildlife haven
By Eloise Aguiar Advertiser Staff Writer
KUNIA — More than 3,500 acres of lowland
forest in the Wai’anae Range that are a prime
source of O’ahu’s drinking water and home to d
ozens of endangered species are now protected
thanks to a purchase involving a federal, state
and private partnership.
“The most important reason why it’s worth
preserving is because it feeds O’ahu’s largest
drinking water aquifer ,” said Lea Hong,
Hawaiian Islands program director for the Trust
For Public Land. “The water we drink and use to
water our plants and grow our crops comes from
the Pearl Harbor aquifer, which is fed by this
watershed at the Hono- uliuli Forest Reserve.”
The reserve is also home to 35 threatened and
endangered species, including 16 found nowhere
else in the world, Hong said. The O’ahu ‘elepaio,
a bird that is a symbol of Hawaiian canoe
making, lives there, along with the endangered
“singing” kahuli tree snail, she said.
The goal of the Trust For Public Land is to
conserve land for people to enjoy as parks,
gardens and other natural places.
The Honouliuli Forest Reserve was purchased by
the Trust For Public Land from the James
Campbell Co. LLC and added to the state
Department of Land and Natural Resources’
forest reserve for watershed and habitat
The reserve served as a backdrop to a gathering
in the Kunia foothills of the mountain range
yesterday as about 200 people celebrated the
completion of the five-year effort.
Dignitaries, staff of state and federal agencies,
private organizations and volunteers attended,
including U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, state Sen.
Colleen Hanabusa, state Rep. Marcus Oshiro and
Tad Davis, the Army deputy assistant secretary
for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health.