Waipio Valley Stream Restoration Study
Virtual Stream Introduction Native Streams Disturbed Streams


1. Stream Locations

a) Where does the water come from that makes Hawaiian streams?

orographic rainfall

b) Describe the factors that contribute to rainfall going to Hawaiian streams.

c) Which islands are high enough to capture the rain clouds that create streams?

d) On what side of the islands are most of the streams located and why?

Note: The Windward sides of the islands are generally the eastern and northern portions of each island, which bear the full brunt of the northeasterly trade winds. The Leeward sides of the islands are generally the western and southern portions of the islands, which are sheltered from the northeasterly trade winds.

To answer these questions, go to the Hawaii Stream Research Center web site, click on each of the islands, and make your observations.

2. Stream Flow

a) Does the water run relatively fast or slow in Hawaiian streams (left photo) compared with streams in other places (right photo)?  

    stream flow

b) Relative to streams elsewhere (left photo), how steep are Hawaiian streams (right photo)?

stream steepness

c) What kinds of floods are typical in Hawaiian streams (how fast do they arise? How fast do they flow?) compared with floods elsewhere?

Compare these two pictures: On the top is Hiilawe Stream, March 12, 2004; on the bottom is the same stream after flooding, March 13, 2004


3. Stream Habitats

Look at these three types of stream habitats below. A cascade or riffle has fast flowing water, a run has medium flowing water, and a pool has slow flowing water. The photos below are taken of Hawaiian streams. Which type of stream habitat is most prevalent?   

stream habitats

4. Stream Biota - Plants and Animals

Take a look at the native animals on the Meet the Critters page on this site and the Hawaiian Native Stream Animals web site to answer the following questions.

a) What kind of plants form the basis of the food web in Hawaiian streams?

b) Draw a picture of the stream labeling an upper stream, middle stream, and lower stream/ estuary. Write the Hawaiian name, scientific name, and sketch a picture of the stream animal next to its corresponding stream location. Don't forget to draw the stream animal's food source.

Take a look at the Mauka Makai Connection website to answer the following question.

c) What is the importance of the "mauka-makai connection" in Hawaiian stream life? How are the native stream animals adapted to a stream that flows to the sea?

d) How are the native stream fishes, o‘opu, adapted to the rocky, steep, fast-flowing nature of Hawaiian streams?

e) How are native prawns, ‘opae, equipped to crawl upstream as young adults?

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