The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in coordination with Hawaiian Telcom, Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative, and the County of Kaua‘i are planning to remove several Albizia trees along ‘Ohiki Road during the week of October 19th, 2015. The removal will be conducted to reduce risks to human health and safety well as potential negative resource impacts.

The trees that will be removed are overhanging ‘Ohiki Road and directly next to electrical and telephone lines which pose potential threats to residents of ‘Ohiki Road in the event of a hurricane or storm event. The removal will also increase water flow to a significant portion of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and remove hazards to ditch maintenance for Hanalei Valley.

“The Service is working with our partners to ensure that the tree removal is done as quickly and safely as possible,” said Mike Mitchell, Acting Project Leader Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The County of Kaua‘i will be providing sawyer assistance, heavy equipment assistance, flagger and traffic control assistance, as well as signage for the project. Hawaiian Telcom and Kaua‘i Island Utility Company will be covering or lowering the power and telephone lines where and when needed for the portion of the project requiring that assistance.

Removal activities will occur during regular business hours October 19th-23rd. If it is necessary to extinguish power the outage will occur for up to but not more than six hours from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on those days.

Verbal and written notice of the project was provided in person by Service representatives to the residents of ‘Ohiki Road on September 8th, 2015. The project has received positive feedback both because of the benefit of removing the invasive species for health and human safety reasons as well as the resource benefits that will occur.

Established in 1972, the refuge is the oldest of Kaua‘i’s three national wildlife refuges. The 917-acre Refuge was established under the Endangered Species Act to conserve five endangered water birds that rely on the Hanalei Valley for nesting and feeding habitat: the koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), the ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), the ‘alae‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen), the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt), and the nēnē (Hawaiian goose). Forty-five other species of birds (18 of which are introduced species) also utilize refuge habitat at some point throughout the year.

For more on Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge: