Lynker’s Coastal Resilience Specialist, Bridget Lussier, along with staff from NMFS Restoration Center and the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, performed site visits for the Hawai’i Coastal Resilience Assessment at the He’eia NERR with a team from The Nature Conservancy. The site, Kako’o ‘Oiwi on O’ahu, includes taro farms, with other traditional crops such as papaya and breadfruit. The taro fields retain and filter rainwater as it runs from the mountain, before it flows into a fish pond where native fish thrive. The rock walls of the fish pond protect the shoreline from surge, allow sediments to settle in the basin to protect the coral reefs outside, and provide breaks in the wall for fish passage and water flow. The fish pond dates back 600-800 years and protects an estuarine environment teeming with biological productivity.
The team saw invasive species removal at work (primarily red mangroves, but also invasive fish, frogs, and mongoose), and native plant revegetation efforts. The project exemplifies integrating habitat restoration with food security, native and endangered species conservation, coastal storm protection, and managing land-based sources of sediment to protect coral reefs.