(BIVN) – Officials recently held an invitational symposium in Kona, in order to better understand and preserve Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems – and the traditional and customary practices that depend upon them – in the area of Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources just posted video of a panel discussion in which local families with deep roots in the ahupuaʻa shared their knowledge about the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems, which include the anchialine pools, ponds, and the near shore waters.
The video above features some of the manaʻo of cultural practitioner Māhealani Pai, who serves as the Hawaiian Cultural Resource Specialist in West Hawaiʻi for Kamehameha Schools. According to event organizers, who posted informational materials on the Accord Network 3.0 website, Pai led the restoration efforts of 5 ancient Hawaiian temples in the Kahaluʻu ma kai ahupuaʻa. He holds his BA in Anthropology from University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts in Heritage Management from UH Hilo.
The two-day Adaptive Management Symposium was held November 8 and 9 in Kona, and was sponsored by the State of Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) in Partnership with University of Hawai‘i ‘Ike Wai and ‘Ohana Members from the ahupua‘a on which the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is situated. The Park also cooperated.
According to the event planners, the symposium follows up on a directive from CWRM to its staff to “further investigate the science of coastal freshwater discharge impacts for consideration in setting or adjusting sustainable yields.” The issue arose when a petition for a Groundwater Management Area Designation for the Keauhou Aquifer was filed by the National Park Service. “The ultimate goal is to gather state-of-the-moment knowledge” on protecting, conserving, and managing Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems in order to move towards informed long-term action.
Organizers said the symposium will try to help address the following questions:
1. What rates of groundwater discharge are sufficient to sustain the public trust resources that enable traditional and customary practices and the essential habitat of endangered species?
2. In addition to fresh groundwater, what are the other critical determinants of healthy and enduring GDEs in the Park?
3. What are the most relevant parameters and indicators that can be tracked and monitored to evaluate the effectiveness of CWRM’s water management policies at Keauhou?
The panel discussion filmed by Hawaiʻi DLNR was one of many meetings and site visits on the agenda during the two day symposium.