Waipio Stream Restoration Study

Welcome to the Waipi'o Valley Stream Restoration Study!

Since 2003 scientists and students have been collaborating on a project to study the ongoing restoration of one of Hawaii's most threatened native ecosystems, freshwater and wetland stream habitats. This website follows the progress of the study and includes resources for students and teachers to apply in their own classrooms. Lesson1 plans are designed to guide the "student scientists" through a sequence of common steps of a scientific study. The students should work in teams and use this website to monitor research progress, view data, download lesson plans and field reports, and participate in "virtual" stream activities.


Background: What - Who - When - Where

WHAT is the Waipi'o Valley Stream Restoration study?

The Waipi'o Valley Stream Restoration Study is the first-ever study of completely restoring a Hawaiian stream to natural flow conditions. Stream restoration effects studied include: water quality, stream flow, habitats and biota. This study is being conducted by scientists from Bishop Museum and other institutions, with student scientists from the Island of Hawai'i collaborating and contributing to data collection and analysis.

Lālākea Stream is a natural stream that starts high in the mountains above Waipi'o Valley. It flows for several miles and then splits into two waterfalls, Hakalaoa and Hi'ilawe Falls, that flow over into Waip'io Valley. In the valley, the stream continues to flow to the ocean, but here it has a different name -- Hi'ilawe Stream. Over 80 years ago, Hi'ilawe Stream, like many other streams in Hawai'i, was diverted to be used for irrigation, or watering, of sugar cane plantations. A concrete barrier, or "diversion", had been built at 2000 ft. elevation, high above the valley. With the reduction of water, there were no longer two waterfalls at Hi'ilawe, but only one. Not only was there less water flowing, but it flowed slower and was warmer which affected the plants and animals that live in the stream. Now that sugar cane is no longer commercially grown in that area, it was decided to remove the "diversion" and restore the stream to a natural and free-flowing river. The stream restoration, an event of historic importance, took place in June 29, 2004.

monstera leaves

WHO is participating in the student stream study?

Student groups from two schools on the Big Island of Hawai'i:

> Kanu o ka 'Aina School in Waimea, Hawai'i (5th - 12th grades)
> Kamehameha Schools in Kea'au, Hawai'i (7th grade)

Scientists from Bishop Museum and other organizations:

> Keith Arakaki, Heather Eijzenga, Ron Englund, Barbara Kennedy, Clyde Imada, Heather Laederich, Myra McShane, David Preston (Bishop Museum)
> Lorena Wada (USFWS)
> Dr. Robert T. Nishimoto, Skippy Hau, Glenn R. Higashi, John Kahiapo, Darrell Kuamoo (DAR)
> Dr. Bill Font (Southeastern Louisiana State University)
> Dr. Alison Sherwood (University of Hawai'i)
> Dr. J. Michael Fitzsimons, Mark McRae (Louisiana State University)
> Dr. Lori Benson (University of Tampa at Florida)
> Dr. Jim Parham (Unversity of Nebraska)


WHEN is the stream study being conducted?

The stream study is a five-year research project running from July 2003 to July 2008. The study is separated into two parts:

July 2003 - May 2004 Baseline Study
(study of stream before stream restoration)

June 2004 - September 2009 Monitoring Study
(study of stream after stream restoration)

feral horse

WHERE is the stream study taking place?

Stream mapThe Waipi'o Valley Stream Restoration Study is being conducted in three areas of the stream flowing into Waipi'o Valley on Hawai'i island and also includes an alien fish study at the , including the:

> Upper Lalakea stream (above t he diversion)
> Lower Lalakea stream (below the diversion and above Waipi'o Valley)
> Hi'ilawe stream (in Waipi'o Valley)
> Wailoa Stream Estuary (Muliwai)


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