Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Saturday, September 11, 1999

Seeking home for
unwanted flower pots

Question: I have dozens of clay and concrete pots that I want to donate to someone. Do you know of anyone who might have a use for them? What about using the concrete pots for artificial reefs? I don't want them to go to waste.

Answer: If there's any group or organization that would like concrete pots, give Kokua Line a call and we'll let our readers know.

The city's Foster Botanical Garden would welcome clay pots for its orchid collection, but doesn't want any more concrete ones, said orchid specialist Scot Mitamura.

Because people have been donating clay pots, "we haven't had to buy any pots for awhile," he said.

But regarding concrete pots, Mitamura said not only does he have too many in stock, they're hardly used because they're heavy and don't stack well, taking up limited space.

He also said most nurseries these days favor inexpensive plastic pots over concrete or even clay pots.

Drop off clay pots at the orchid greenhouse at Foster Garden. Enter through the service entrance at Maunakea Street and Vineyard Boulevard, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

What about concrete reefs?

Meanwhile, there was a time when the state Division of Aquatics would have gladly accepted cleaned concrete pots, but no more, said aquatics biologist Brian Kanenaka.

"The problem is that we don't have a way any more to take them out," he said.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, former state Sen. Michael Crozier helped to get funding for an artificial reef built out of damaged or used concrete construction material off the Ewa coast.

Materials as small as concrete pots, but usually larger, such as concrete slabs, could be dropped off at Barbers Point, courtesy of the state Department of Transportation, Kanenaka said. "It was a good idea," he said of the reef-building project. But then Barbers Point began to develop into a commercial harbor and the free drop-off site had to be relocated much further away.

It would have been costly to transfer the materials onto the barges, Kanenaka said. Then Crozier left office and the funding dried up. "Things fell out of place," Kanenaka said. However, because of federal funding, the Aquatics Division is continuing to build up shallow water reefs -- as fish habitats -- out of surplus or waste concrete off Waianae and Kahala. As part of a federal aid project, the state can get 75 cents in matching funds for every $1 it spends on building artificial reefs. Donations of concrete and the time and labor spent to transport it out to sea can be considered part of the state's costs.

In that way, most of the cost of building the reefs is picked up through donations and federal funds, Kanenaka said.

The federal funds come from a surcharge assessed on fishing equipment assessed at the manufacturers' level. Ten percent of that goes into a pot managed by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, which the states then can apply for. "We've been doing a lot of that," Kanenaka said.


Regarding the item about trees blocking the lights on Lanikuhana Avenue in Mililani: Lanikuhana is the prettiest street in Mililani. I'd much rather have a tree-lined street with jacarandas and beautiful purple blossoms than have someone whack the trees down. There are plenty of places to walk that have no trees at all. Cutting the trees just so the light can get through is a shame. -- M.M.

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fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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