Rockfall project takes priority after cleanup
Why doesn't the city remove the huge amount of dead plants on Diamond Head, along Diamond Head Road? It looks awful -- especially for what is an internationally recognized symbol of Hawaii.
Answer: The "last segment" of dead naupaka was removed in mid-October, a few weeks after we asked the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for an update on cleanup and replanting efforts.
The area is under state, not city, jurisdiction.
Eventually, the entire area that had been covered in naupaka will be replanted with the Hawaiian shrub. The state's more immediate concern is getting a "rockfall mitigation project" started.
Gov. Linda Lingle has released $700,000 for the project, while $2 million appropriated by the Legislature this year is pending her release, said department spokeswoman Deborah Ward.
The March 31, 2006, rockfall along Diamond Head Road "highlighted the importance of the work" that the state Parks Division had already begun in identifying areas of rockfall risk, including the mauka side of Diamond Head Road, Kahala Tunnel area and areas along the summit trail, she said.
Early this year ("Kokua Line," Jan. 17), Ward told us many naupaka shrubs and irrigation lines were damaged during the rockfall.
Naupaka had covered the mauka side of Diamond Head Road, from the Kapiolani Park end, near Makalei Place, to the Muriel Flanders Memorial rest area at the Kahala end.
Caretakers from the state Parks Division and inmates from Oahu Community Correctional Center's prison work-line program spent several months cutting down and removing the large amounts of dead naupaka, Ward said.
New drip irrigation lines at the Kahala end were replaced in January, while sprinklers between Beach Road and the lighthouse were repaired recently.
A volunteer project to replant some of the naupaka is expected to take place this month. Parks caretakers already have grown about 1,100 naupaka plants for the replanting.
Drip irrigation lines lying along the ground in another area have yet to be repaired, except for the small spot below the original rockfall, Ward said. DLNR will work with the East Diamond Head Association on deciding what will replace those lines.
Meanwhile, the design of the Diamond Head Rockfall Mitigation Project is being worked on now. "Most of the road cuts along the mauka side of Diamond Head Road will likely be affected" by the project, Ward said.
"State Parks expects that a new irrigation system and replanting in the rest of the area will occur after the completion of the rockfall mitigation project," she said.
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