When it rains, tons of harmful sediment pour into the nearby ocean destroying the reef and damaging the entire marine environment. This is not surprising to those familiar with watershed management, but during a recent very localized rain storm upslope of Pelekane Bay near Kawaihae, “an amazing amount of silt was retained by the newly created dams,” says Pelekane Bay Watershed Restoration Project coordinator Melora Purell.
Needless to say, Purell and her team of 15 with the 18-month Recovery funded project, have their work cut out for them and she will share the scope of their efforts and how the community can support, assist and benefit from the project at the 5:15 p.m., Thurs., April 1, 2010 Waimea Community Association monthly Town Meeting in Waimea School Cafeteria.
Army Corps data gathered before the start of this watershed restoration project says, “The average annual sediment load is estimated at 4,222 tons, with the majority 3,502 tons (83%) delivered from storms larger than a one-year event. The total quantity of material eroded into the bay in the past half century is approximately 211,100 tons (or 50 times the average annual load).”
Purell, who leads this project on behalf of the Kohala Watershed Partnership and in collaboration with The Kohala Center, will show before and after pictures of the recent localized rain storm, which was the first test of newly created check dams. The photos show how much silt was produced by a relatively small, brief rainstorm – and how much was captured.
She will review all of the project’s component activities, including watershed management strategies, installation of the sediment check dams, revegetation and other forms of erosion control. Purell also will invite community members to assist with Saturday work days, which are being expanded from once to twice a month with one group going up to the wet corridor to plant trees and on another Saturday, a group going to the Koai’a Sanctuary to do trail building and invasive species control.
Also on the WCA agenda will be another very different kind of environmental cleanup project – removal of unexploded ordnance in the Waimea-Waikoloa region by the US Army Corps of Engineers working with Wil Chee Planning and a team of ordnance removal experts. As most residents know, the ordnance is the very dangerous remnant of military training that occurred in the area during World War II. Officials will review cleanup progress and review hazards that still endanger life and limb in undeveloped areas within close proximity to residential and commercial developments in Waimea and Waikoloa.
A third agenda item will be review by Councilman Pete Hoffmann of major issues related to the draft County budget currently under review by the County Council.
Waimea food pantries are overwhelmed – their shelves are bare (or very low) and the requests for help continue to grow. To contribute to the needs of hungry children and families, Waimea Community Association is supporting a monthly food collection and food gift card purchase program at its monthly Town Meetings. Attendees at the association’s monthly first-Thursday meetings are asked to bring non-perishable food items—or better still, to make a cash donation to purchase gift certificates that can be distributed by Annunciation Food Pantry and/or New Hope Fellowship Food Pantry to their clients. Cash or checks will be accepted in addition to food donations. (Checks payable to Annunciation Church are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.)
The entire community is invited to WCA Town Meetings which are usually held on the first Thursday of the month in the school cafeteria. There is no charge to participate though $12 membership is suggested to support association activities including what will be the 50th Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade and all day Lohaki Giving Celebration on Dec. 4, 2010.