Editors Note: This article was written by Tim Tybuszewski, Director of Conservation at the North Shore Community Land Trust
For the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by Shiseido, WSL is teaming up with two incredible organizations and Shisiedo's Blue Project, which is dedicated to improving the health and beauty of our ocean.
One organization, North Shore Community Land Trust strives to protect, steward, and enhance the natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and rural character of ahupua‘a from Kahuku Point to Ka‘ena on the North Shore of Oʻahu. Additionally, Nā Kama Kai which means "children of the sea", teaches kids ocean safety, conservation, and stewardship.
With over 60,000 acres of undeveloped land, the North Shore is incredibly important to the ongoing well-being of all residents, visitors, and natural ecosystems of the increasingly urban island of Oʻahu. Acknowledging this significance, the North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT) was founded by community members in 1997 as a non-profit organization with the mission to protect, steward, and enhance the natural landscapes, cultural heritage, and rural character of ahupuaʻa from Kahuku to Ka‘ena, Oʻahu.
NSCLT achieves this mission by collaborating with landowners, government agencies, private funders, community, and other stakeholders to protect land for public benefits such as recreation, farming, habitat protection, and scenic preservation. In conjunction with legal protection of land, NSCLT strives to steward many of these sites and in doing so create opportunities for people to connect with these special places. One of these sites is known as Kalaeokaunaʻoa or Kauku Point.
Following the momentous conservation agreement in 2015 which perpetually conserved 634 acres in the region, NSCLT was fortunate to help steward the 39-acre Kahuku Point site. The shoreline surrounding Kahuku Point represents one of the few remaining coastal sand dune ecosystems on Oʻahu.
Whereas most of the island's shoreline has been severely altered by urban development and the encroachment of invasive species, Kahuku Point remains relatively intact, supporting dozens of native Hawaiian coastal plants such as endangered ʻōhai (Sesbania tomentosa). The area also hosts birthing grounds for endangered Hawaiian monk seals, ʻīlio-holo-i-ka-uaua (Neomonachus schauinslandi), nesting area for endangered green sea turtles, honu (Chelonia mydas) and near threatened Laysan albatross, mōlī (Phoebastria immutabilis), and habitat for endangered yellow-faced bees (Hylaeus anthracinus).
In October of 2018, East Island, the second largest islet in the French Frigate Shoals region of the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands was devastated due to a hurricane event. 95% of the 11 acre low lying atoll no longer exists due to the storm surge of the hurricane event.
Hurricanes traditionally do not impact the area but the increase in water temperatures due to global warming has allowed hurricanes to travel farther north than their traditional paths. The devastation of the atoll was a major loss of important nesting grounds for sea turtles, Hawaiian monk seals, and numerous seabird species.
The relatively high-elevation coastal habitat found throughout the Kahuku region is becoming increasingly important for seabirds and all other ground nesting species as sea level rises and major storm events throughout the north Pacific become more frequent. The protection and preservation of this area will help ensure that future generations of coastal species will have a safe place to nest and raise their young.
The fundamental objectives of our restoration effort are to 1) maximize cover of native coastal plants; 2) maximize population size of native sea birds and other species that used the area for nesting/birthing grounds; 3) maximize sand retention and aggregation; 4) minimize damage to cultural resources; 5) maintain low-impact cultural and recreational use of the area.
We are fortunate to be working with community volunteers to help restore this amazing coastline and provide an ecological and cultural resource for residents and visitors. To date we have hosted over 4,000 community volunteers, local school groups, and organizations out-planting over 24,000 native plants and completing the restoration of 8 of the 39 acres. We continue to strive to our goal of restoring all 39 acres and we look forward to the challenges ahead. The accomplishments to date would not be possible without the support of the community and organizations such as WSL.
To learn more about the partners, the work they're doing, and to get involved, visit: