Community Stewardship Begins for Alakoko Fishpond
Mālama Hulēʻia and Trust for Public Land held a ceremony to mark the transfer of Alakoko Fishpond to community. To celebrate, Mālama Hulē‘ia will host a community workday on Saturday, March 19, welcoming the community to learn and help conserve the special place. This is the first community work day since the pandemic limited gatherings, and since Mālama Hulē‘ia became permanent stewards of the fishpond.
Following the recent purchase, which protected the land from sale and development, the nonprofit organizations raised $196,000 from the local community to support the continued stewardship of Alakoko as an outdoor classroom where students can learn the science, history, and culture of traditional Hawaiian aquaculture.
“The ability to steward Alakoko for generations to come is a testament to the community’s aloha and generosity,” said Reyna Ramolete Hayashi, Aloha ʻĀina Project Manager at Trust for Public Land. “The Kaua‘i community was steadfast in their commitment to protect Alakoko, and their vision and leadership is the reason we’re able to celebrate Alakoko’s return to community hands.”
To honor the transition of the property’s ownership, Trust for Public Land and Mālama Hulē‘ia earlier held an ‘aha (cordage) ceremony led by Peleke Flores, cultural practitioner and Director of Operations at Mālama Hulē‘ia. During the event, the community partners harvested the traditional plant ahu‘awa from the loko i‘a (fishpond), processed it, and made cordage as an offering while sharing their vision for Alakoko’s future. Ahu‘awa is among the native species that thrive along the fishpond shores following the removal of invasive red mangrove.
“We received a tremendous outpouring of support for Alakoko Fishpond,” said Sara Bowen, Executive Director of Mālama Hulēʻia. “We are thrilled to be able to continue our restoration work and look forward to collaborating with the community in this multi-generational effort to ensure Alakoko can once again feed the community physically, mentally and spiritually.”
The community work day will take place from 8:00am – 12:00pm, and is limited to the first 100 registrants. Community members can sign up or learn more by visiting www.malamahuleia.org. Deadline to register is Wednesday, March 16th.
Alakoko Fishpond, on a 102-acre property along the Hulē‘ia River, is the largest remaining fishpond on the island of Kauaʻi. The property is located in Niumalu, near Līhu‘e and adjacent to the Hulē‘ia National Wildlife Refuge. The fishpond’s wall is 2,700 feet long, and its ecosystem supports native fish, limu, endangered Hawaiian waterbirds and coastal vegetation.
About Trust for Public Land
Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are neededmost. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 3 million acres of public land, created more than 5,000 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $84 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected more than 9 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit tpl.org.
About Mālama Hulē‘ia
Mālama Hulē‘ia advocates, educates, and guides community efforts to remove red mangrove along the Hulē‘ia river, re‐establishes native wetland ecosystems and creates an environmental stewardship program honoring Hawaiian values. The organization’s vision is a free-flowing, healthy and productive Hulē‘ia ecosystem perpetuating community pride. To learn more, visit www.malamahuleia.org.