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Friends of Oahu NWR teams up with Kapolei Rotary to support the Kalaeloa Workday

As our group prepares to accept membership and to grow our support for the O`ahu National Wildlife Refuges, our directors have been most associated with the wetland units, through refuge projects and as birding tour leaders. When an opportunity arose to support a workday on the Kalaeloa Unit of the Pearl Harbor NWR, this was a close to home project for me, as a Kapolei resident. Members of our Kapolei Rotary Club are active participants in a variety of outdoor projects in the community and have participated in past projects at James Campbell NWR. They are prospective members of our Friends group, so I offered them the chance to join me for the Kalaeloa workday. On Saturday morning, July 15, six Rotarians joined other conservation groups and USFWS personnel in invasive plant removal in this unit. The Ewa Plain is usually hot and dry, so we were soon warm as we cleared non-native grasses, Kiawe, Koa Haole and other plants, ensuring growth space and good conditions for the native and endemic plants in this units. After we completed our work shift, we had a guided tour through the unit, and a chance to see the cenotes in the uplifted limestone substrate. These cenotes are anchialine pools, home to opae-ula and other endemic organisms. These cenotes have provided a fascinating source of discovery about Hawaii’s extinct birds, as researchers have found and catalogued bones of many previously unknown species. Extinct ducks, geese, raptors and ibises attest to the rich fauna we have lost.

The bottom line for me is that while our O`ahu refuges are physically small, they are large in positive impact upon our knowledge about our natural world and are of great importance for an array of endemic and migratory birds, as well as invertebrates and plants. We hope you will join us in helping to protect and to learn from these wonderful places.


Dick May

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1 Comment

Dustin Hattenburg
Dustin Hattenburg
Jul 21, 2023

Awesome work! 🤙🏼

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