Hamakua Makai Wetland | Climate Change

Current TMK residents’ opinions regarding human proposals for their ancestral roost:

The advisability of siting a dog park / park at the Hamakua Makai Wetland location, TMK 420030290000:

This parcel of land was previously part of the Kawainui-Hamakua-Kaelepulu Wetlands. In 2002 it was partially filled in by a local contractor in violation of the Clean Water Act. That resulted in the impervious surface visible through the chain-link gate.

These four images were prepared by the Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System (PacIOOS) for the UofH Sea Grant College and the Hawaii DLNR. The State of Hawaii is using this information as a basis for its planned response to climate change. It’s evident this parcel is going to be markedly affected.

This is fortunate as expanding wetlands will better serve our prevention of and resilience to climate change and disruption. Both of which appear to be advancing more quickly than predicted. The forest and greenery on this land is an urban treasure of carbon sequestration. Such wetland services are referred to as Natural Solutions as they’re already built into the ecological web of interaction. We don’t have to design them, build or buy them. All we need do is not destroy or degrade them, especially in this period of climate stress. So here’s thanks to the State and the landowner for maintaining the property in its current undeveloped condition.

Converting this parcel instead into a park would mean taking down these same trees and filling in the property now, or in the future as water levels rise. It’s an all too common example of how wetlands have disappeared, a few acres at a time. No evident change in policy or intent from those which prevailed over the years to result in a 35% world natural wetland loss since 1970. Ignoring today’s science is conspicuously bewildering as an alternative is obvious. Letting Nature mind this TMK doesn’t at all mean the community is denied a park, it only means the park’s location needs to be an accountable one. Everyone wins with a proper site; the environment, those vulnerable to climate change, park-users/dogs, and the budget as 3.8 million tax dollars won’t be spent on a parcel subject to more and more sea level rise.

For these reasons, among others, such development seems the opposite of how we should manage the land along Kawainui Stream. Let’s use this as an opportunity to be on the right side of history and maintain this advancing urban forested wetland in defense against more climate disarray. And as an immediate step in making Kawainui Stream makai cleaner, not more polluted from contaminated runoff.

One of the initiatives of The Hamakua Group, a new Hawaii nonprofit, is to create a public Nature Preserve at the Hamakua Makai Wetland. The Group is available to arrange the financing to first remove the 2002 impervious land fill and thus help restore the entire TMK to its previous condition.

Robert Gratz

Rev 11.30.23

Hamakua Makai Wetland TMKs
Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System‘s SLRs: 2030 > 2050 > 2074 > 2100