Data collection and mapping

Community Input: The best source of wetland data comes from the community. Many kūpuna (elders) and kama’aina (people of the land) have lived in the Kula Kai area for lifetimes and some families for multiple generations. This creates an important source of first-hand knowledge, Kilo (observation) and Ike (knowledge) of this area that has been passed along through stories and photographs. Many of our local kūpunas (elders) can remember swimming and fishing in many of the wetlands, streams, waterholes and ponds that are now hidden or have disappeared. Manaʻo (knowledge/thoughts) shared by our community gives us the basis for much of our research and investigations, and has allowed us to rediscover many hidden treasures and deep cultural connections.

Research was conducted of available data including historical maps, drainage and watershed studies, scientific data, and historical imagery, photographic image analysis, and evaluation.

Ongoing ground studies include regular site visits by various experts, stakeholders, as well as community groups, and volunteers.

Citizen investigators in our community are encouraged to share their experiences and photos through our social media pages, and by submitting Photographs and Video’s to

Aerial survey by helicopter, with Nick Moran, David Dorn, and Suzie Dorn.

Site studies included numerous site inspections for observation and data collection. Community members assisted scientists and experts with data collection and observations. Areas of interest included hydrologic soil monitoring, and recording various wildlife, plant life, and various human impacts.

Soil-pit and water table data collection.

Kīhei Flood Plain: The area of interest for the current study is in the Kīhei/Kula Kai Flood Plain. The Kihei flood plain extends from the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge in the north along the coastal plain down to the rocky headland at Charley Young beach. The coastal plain is characterized by sandy soils and a relatively flat alluvial fan. This area has many sandy beaches, sand dunes, and is punctuated by streams, gulches, estuaries, and wetlands. This area is generally known as North Kīhei but more traditionally as Kula Kai. This area is within the Moku of Kula and includes portions of at least six different ahupua’a. Pūlehunui, Waiakoa, Kaʻonoʻulu, Waiohuli, Kēōkea, and Kamaʻole.

Kīhei/Kula Kai Floodplain
Kīhei/Kula Kai Floodplain