The State of Hawai‘i has approximately 580 watersheds as listed in the Hawai‘i Watershed Guidance (2010). The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) defines Watershed Partnerships statewide, which include both public and private land. There are currently ten* watershed partnerships as shown in the figure at right.
The Ocean Resources Management Plan (ORMP) addresses watersheds from two different viewpoints, the mauka watersheds that provide the water quantity and the watersheds moving makai that affect the ocean water quality. Ensuring the health of the water supply, allowing for water recharge, and preserving good water quantity entails taking care of the watersheds. Water flows from mauka to makai and ends in the ocean, filling the streams, providing species habitat, and improving coastal and nearshore water quality. Good quality and sufficient quantity of water is needed to feed the island’s reef systems.
Benchmark - Where we are now
- DLNR-DOFAW works with the ten* established Watershed Partnerships made up of large public and private land owners. These partnerships work closely with managers and the five island-based Invasive Species Committees, which are made up of private, public, and nonprofit partners.
- The Polluted Runoff Control Program (PRCP), also known as the Section 319 Program and administered by the Department of Health (DOH), provides funding to reduce non-point source pollution in priority watersheds. The purpose of the DOH-PRCP is to address water quality problems (impairments) through the development and implementation of watershed plans.
- Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) Section 6217 requires Hawai‘i to develop a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Plan (CNPCP). The CNPCP is the responsibility of the State DOH and the Office of Planning (OP) Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program, and it is jointly administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Hawai‘i Watershed Guidance (2010) is a streamlined version of EPA’s Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect our Waters (2008). Hawai‘i is working towards submittal of final draft management measures to EPA and NOAA.
- There are 843,000 acres* of the Priority I and II Watersheds statewide, which contain native forests. Currently 16%* of the priority watershed areas are protected and this level of management has taken 40 years to achieve.
- DLNR’s The Rain Follows the Forest** plan outlines seven watershed protection and restoration actions, which are listed as targets for the Management Priority.
Target - Where we would like to be
- Remove all invasive hooved animals from Priority I and II areas.
- Remove or contain damaging invasive weeds that threaten Priority I and II areas. Monitor and control other forest threats including fires, predators, and plant diseases. Restore and plant native species in priority areas and buffer areas.
- Establish benchmarks and monitor success of the on-the-ground actions.
- Educate Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors about the cultural, economic, and environmental importance of conserving native forests.
- Promote consistent and informed land use decision-making that protects watersheds.
- EPA and NOAA approval of CNPCP.
Increase in acreage of land protected from invasive plant and animal species as well as wildfires through invasive species removal, fencing, integrated pest management, or other strategies
The Value of Hawaiʻi's Native Forests
Sustaining Healthy Forested Watersheds
Increase in acreage of native watershed forest protected
Increase in acreage of hooved animal-free fence enclosures
Like other exotic ungulates, feral hogs destroy planted crops and uproot native plants as they forage. The installation of fencing prevents hooved animals from infiltrating priority conservation areas. For more information on the introduction of feral hogs to Hawai‘i, see Texas A&M's lineage study.
O'ahu Watershed Restoration Project
Increase in miles of fence line checked
Protective fencing requires long-term management for effective species control. Remoteness and elevated topography make fence line inspections challenging work.