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2021 Fall & Winter


Wow, what a year we have had! First and foremost we did it! On November 17, 2021 Mālama Hulēʻia took ownership of the 102-acre parcel containing Alakoko fishpond. With this acquisition,  the fishpond is now held for conservation, restoration, preservation and community benefit in perpetuity. Thatʻs right...Forever! We couldnʻt have done it without your support and the help of The Trust for Public Land, who guided us through the complex acquisition and deed restriction process. We are looking forward to embarking on the next steps of planning for the future with deep community involvement. Please stay tuned for how to participate as we develop our planning process. 


Beyond that huge accomplishment, I am happy to report that by the end of the month we will have completed our 26-acre coastal wetlands restoration/mangrove removal project grant with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Some of the details of this project are highlighted below. We are already laying the groundwork for the next projects with planning, permitting and grant applications. I canʻt wait to share more about these projects with you in the coming newsletters and community meetings. 

In closing and reflecting on this amazing year of hard work, I am really proud of our growing team. After multiple rounds of participation in the COVID relief programs, Aloha ʻĀina Workforce Training and Rise to Work, we have hired three of the restoration crew members as temporary Mālama Hulēʻia staff under the leadership and expertise of Peleke Flores. We hope to continue to extend these positions for another full year as funding allows.  One of the biggest impacts we've had this year is the hiring of Tiele Doudt, full time Education Coordinator, enabling us to expand our on-site educational program as well as complete our online learning units, now being piloted with educators across the island. If you are interested in participating in this pilot program please fill out the Educator Interest Form. 


We are about halfway through our very first fundraiser, scheduled to continue into February 2022. If you have not already done so, please check it out:

All of us here at Mālama Hulēʻia have so much gratitude for the support we have received to do all of this great work. We are really so excited to get started on the next projects and see just how much we can accomplish next year. 

Wishing you the happiest holiday season and best wishes for the new year!


~Sara Bowen
Executive Director,  Mālama Hulēʻia

Watch Our Video

Alakoko Fishpond

Nā Kama a Hāʻupu 

The Children of Hāʻupu
By Tiele-Lauren Doudt,

E nā hoa heluhelu mai ka lā e puka i Haʻehaʻe a i nā one aʻo Kahelelani, mai Wainiha i ka makani Lūpua a i ke one kani o Nohili - aloha nui aku nō.


Greetings to our readers both near and afar.  With the 2021-2022 school year in session, we are excited about our partnership with the 6th and 7th grade classes of Kanuikapono Public Charter School! Kanuikapono is a Hawaiian-focused charter school that serves more than 200 students in grades K-12. The 6th grade loko iʻa (fishpond) class visits us down at the fishpond once a week, and the 7th grade loʻi kalo (taro cultivation) class comes down to the fishpond twice a month.

Kanuikapono students connecting to place through art.

Mo'olelo mapping of Alakoko Fishpond and Niumalu.

Our journey with the students so far has been spent Moʻolelo Mapping - getting introduced to Niumalu through place-based examinations of history, art, and music. These students then continued to develop their relationship to the storied Menehune Fishpond through invasive species management, learning about the aquatic species, lashing techniques for mākāhā (sluice gates), and also through uhau humu pōhaku (dry-stack stone setting). Although there are many challenges in our community that have arisen due to the current state of affairs, it has been an absolute pleasure to have our doors open to the next generation of ʻāina stewards. Mahalo nui to the many educators and community hands who have allowed for this place to become accessible again.

Coastal Wetlands Restoration 3-Year Grant Project Completion

We would like to mahalo all of the hands that have contributed to Mālama Hulēʻia’s vision in removing 26-acres of adult mangrove growth from within and around the vicinity of ʻAlekoko Fishpond. The labor intensive process of cutting, hauling, piling, and mulching or stacking for  burning all of the green debris could not have been done without the commitments of the thousands of volunteer hands over the three year period, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, BCI Construction, our volunteer-based Machine Operations Crew (from Washington State) and Menehune Crew, Kauaʻi County’s Aloha ʻĀina Workforce and Rise to Work programs, as well as Kupu’s Hawaiʻi Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC) summer programming. These all played an important role in the mangrove removal project but there are so many more not listed here that contributed in significant ways.

Reaching 30-acres of mangrove removed from our Pūʻali (Niumalu Beach Park) and ʻAlekoko Fishpond sites, marks 40% completion of Mālama Hulēʻia’s total watershed goal. As invasive mangrove is removed, native wetland vegetation was then planted to enhance wildlife habitat.

The mangrove removal project consisted of multiple removal methodologies: 

1)  Hand-cutting and clearing; necessary in archaeologically sensitive areas

2)  Machine cut/felling of mangrove and hauling to upland areas to be mulched on-site

3)  Machine cut/felling of mangrove then sorting and crushing to <4-inch diameter size and piling for burn piles and use of  sustainable fire management techniques, burn all of the green waste and leave the charcoal to naturally decompose and provide nutrients for the soil.

Something learned along the way that will be tested in our next mangrove removal effort is to plan for utilizing the amphibious excavator with mulching head to mow/mulch down 2 generations of mangrove propagule growth prior to planting native vegetation.


With the restoration at the ʻAlakoko fishpond site, we are seeing an abundance of endangered waterbirds returning to utilize the wetland habitat and are now able to expand our Hawaiian culture-based educational programming and are one step closer to creating a free-flowing, healthy and productive Hulēʻia ecosystem.

Making our fishponds thriving and abundant once again . . .

Six years ago, Paepae O He'eia on Oahu had a momentous 2000+ volunteers show up to close a section of their kuapa (fishpond rock wall) that had broken in a storm decades before. In approaching this anniversary, a call was made to Peleke and the Mālama Hulēʻia team to join in closing a last section along the backside of the wall. This was a great opportunity for our team to learn and grow as aloha ʻāina, ecosystem stewards.

Twenty years ago, a group of young and eager Hawaiians established Paepae o Heʻeia with the mission to build and maintain a thriving and abundant Heʻeia Fishpond.

Our vision is to create a free-flowing, healthy and productive Huleia ecosystem perpetuating community pride. We do this by advocating, educating and leading community efforts to restore native wetland ecosystems, that result is an environmental stewardship program honoring Hawaiian values. To find out more about ways to support or partner in our work please contact us.


Mālama ia Hulē‘ia, Hulē‘ia ia Mālama

Take care of the Hulē‘ia, and the Hulē‘ia will take care of you

Copyright © 2021 Mālama Hulē‘ia, All rights reserved.

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