Please join us for a tour with the Hawaiian Land Trust at the Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes and Wetland Refuge to connect ideas about community health to ecological health. This Perspective on Community Health trip will focus on the importance of preserving our natural wetlands and the bounty they provide to surrounding communities. See and learn about the connections between ecological restoration work, historic and cultural land practices, and public health. We encourage you to bring lunch to eat and network after the tour.
The Waihe‘e Refuge hosts the largest undeveloped coastal dune system on the island of Maui, the most significant remaining wetland complex on the North Shore of Maui and over 8,000 feet of shoreline fronting the Waihe‘e Reef, one of the longest and widest reefs on Maui. The wetland at Waihe‘e is fed by freshwater springs, which filter through the sand dunes from an expansive watershed in the West Maui mountains. The 277-acre complex at Waihe‘e includes 25 acres of freshwater wetland habitats and 8 acres of riparian habitats along four streams.
The Waihe‘e Refuge was once populated with two thriving ancient Hawaiian villages and was used for both fish and taro cultivation. With a 7-acre ancient fishpond and several heiau, the Waihe‘e Refuge is among the most significant cultural sites in the state.
The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust took fee ownership of this very sensitive site in 2004. Active restoration programs have enhanced critical native wildlife habitat, while preserving the area’s rich archaeological and cultural resources.