World Wetlands Month
Get to know Paiko:
(Scroll Down for the Monthly Action Asks)
Located in East Oahu next to Kuli’ou’ou Valley, the Paiko Wildlife
Sanctuary remains a protected wetland since its establishment in 1981.
The Sanctuary includes all of the state-owned lands adjacent to Paiko
Lagoon and the Lagoon itself, which provides habitat to the endangered
Ae’o (Hawaiian Stilt) as well as other migratory and resident water birds
including the 'alae 'ula (Hawaiian Moorhen), Kolea (Pacific Plover),
and ruddy turnstones.
Paiko Lagoon was formerly a coastal fishpond and is still fed by freshwater springs and Kulio’ou’ou stream to this day. The lagoon’s water level rises and falls with the tides and the exposed mudflats at low tide provide important foraging space for numerous waterbirds. Sightings of shoaling fish and birds foraging on the mudflats are good signs that the Lagoon is recovering from the dredging of Hawaii Kai which took a massive toll on the small estuary in the 1960s.
Like other wetlands, Paiko plays an important role in the health of the coastline and the neighboring urban areas. Some of the ecological and societal benefits of wetlands like Paiko include:
Wetlands act like sponges, soaking up water that comes in with tides or heavy storms. They have been proven to be more effective at flood control than floodwalls.
Wetlands have been compared to nature’s kidneys, filtering and absorbing nitrates, phosphorus, and heavy metals to name just a few of the nasties they take in.
Buffer for Sea Level Rise:
Wetlands and their natural flood control tendencies will provide a critical buffer against sea level rise all throughout the world. In places like New York City, programs like MARSHES are building a 68 acre wetland mitigation bank on Staten Island to prepare for sea level rise.
Despite the numerous benefits wetlands provide for us and for our native species, Paiko is still filled with invasive vegetation, feral cats, polluted water, and discarded trash. Restoration efforts headed by the state’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife recruit local students and community members to assist in wetland cleanup days including removing invasive plant species like mangrove, planting native species, and gathering up trash and recyclables.
While these restoration days have been put on hold due to COVID-19, there are still several ways we can give back to our invaluable little wetland. In honor of World Wetlands Day, the CPR monthly action asks for February are:
February Monthly Action Asks:
1. Use It Up or Give it Away:
The best and easiest option for dealing with unused cleaning products is using them up or giving them away. Things like dishwasher detergent, surface cleaners, and bleach can all be donated to people in need rather than tossed out into the trash or down the drain where they will ultimately make their way into our wastewater.
2. Swap out some of your household chemicals with environmentally friendly alternatives:
Did you know that you can make your own household cleaning supplies? These environmentally friendly alternatives are easy to make and safe to go down the drain so wetlands like Paiko can breathe easy. You can find some recipes here
3. Pick Up Beach Litter:
Kuli'ou'ou, Paiko, and the neighboring beaches are all interconnected. The next time you visit Maunalua Bay, please consider safely collecting and disposing of the various pieces of beach litter you find along the shoreline or along Paiko Beach. Our beaches and wetlands will thank you!
Get your keiki gardening!
Consider donating your unused or unneeded cleaning products to friends, neighbors, or local charities!
Here's an Example:
Scented All-Purpose Cleaner
What you'll need:
Combine the above ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake, and then let infuse for a week before using. Once done, you can use the natural solution to remove hard water stains, clean trash cans, wipe away wall smudges, and much more. Besides a fresh scent, the lemon rind may help boost cleaning power. Caution: Do not use acidic cleaners on granite, as they will etch the stone.