Hanalei Floodplain, Kauai

ID 112

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai’s north shore was established in 1972 to provide habitat for endangered Hawaiian waterbirds and preserve native agricultural practices. The refuge is located on the floodplain of the Hanalei River, which receives discharge from the Mt. Wai'ale'ale plateau. This plateau receives an average annual rainfall of 451 inches per year and is the wettest area on earth. Through a system of ditches and channels, water irrigates the taro patches and interspersed ponds to provide habitat diversity for ducks, coots, moorhens, and stilts. Local farmers grow taro on the refuge continuing a tradition that stretches back over 1,200 years in the valley, The taro roots are pounded into "poi," which was a main staple for Hawaiians. Since 1900 the acreage planted in taro has declined by 95 percent in Hawaii.

This photograph was published in Environmental Protection (June 1999) and was selected for the International Library of Photography book entitled "Tapestry of Dreams."

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