A Windward Oahu hillside property once proposed for a senior retirement home will now be preserved as open space forever under a land deal officially announced by the state Wednesday.
The birds were the stars of the show at the event held on the shoreline of the Hamakua Marsh.
Native Hawaiian waterbirds, endangered, but growing in numbers thanks to the joint efforts of federal, state and local community members.
“So really, what this project is, is a good demonstration area for what we can do in other areas,” said David Smith, Department of Land and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Oahu Branch Manager.
The state is the proud new owner of 67 acres of the Hamakua hillside, and promises the land will never get built on or paved over.
It's a deal fulfilling a promise by Kaneohe Ranch to protect Hamakua Marsh.
“Occasionally, you get the opportunity to do exactly the right thing,” said Mitch D’Olier, Kaneohe Ranch Management Ltd. president and CEO.
Together with a project underway to restore the ponds at adjacent Kawainui Marsh, the state is looking at improving and protecting the state's largest remaining natural wetland.
“Not just the bird resources, the wholistic resources of Hawaii, the watershed protecting the coral reefs. That’s the message we want to get across,” said William Aila, DLNR Chairman.