Kalaeokaunaʻoa, or Kahuku Point, is an area of undeveloped coastline on Oʻahu’s North Shore. It is one the few remaining places on Oʻahu with intact coastal strand habitat that includes ʻohai (Sesbania tomentosa), yellow-faced bees (Hylaeus anthracinus), monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi, including multiple generations of females who pup here annually), Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) and nesting sea turtles (both Hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricata and Green, Chelonia mydas). North Shore Community Land Trust’s project is a volunteer-based community stewardship and coastline restoration effort stemming from a partnership between North Shore Community Land Trust, Turtle Bay Resort, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Pacific Islands Coastal Program.
Restoring this coastal strand is a vital program because of its high biodiversity value as well as its close proximity to Turtle Bay Resort, an internationally renowned hotel which attracts visitors from around the world. Kahuku Point is an ideal place for visitors and local community members to responsibly enjoy recreational activities and to learn about the value of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources.
Since 2015 North Shore Community Land Trust and our partners have been restoring approximately 39 acres of coastal dune ecosystem in order to provide safe birthing habitat for Hawaiian monk seals, ground nesting seabirds, and sea turtles. As climate change accelerates sea level rise, many low lying atolls and islands throughout the Pacific are losing ground. This decreases available nesting real estate for numerous species. By restoring Kalaeokaunaʻoa we are able to provide new nesting habitat at a higher elevation which is less likely to be impacted by sea level rise.
Thanks to the restoration efforts of thousands of volunteers over the past several years, approximately five acres of coastal sand dune ecosystem has been restored. Volunteer efforts have been vital to the removal of over 84,000 pounds of invasive plants, over 9,400 pounds of marine debris, and the out-planting of over 14,000 native coastal plants. In December of 2018 Laysan albatross successfully nested in the region for the first time in decades. The hard work put in by so many volunteers and project partners has resulted in the first steps toward restoring a vibrant native coastal ecosystem that once thrived in this area.