Back in the early 1900s, the destruction of the mountain areas by cattle and other feral animals was quite evident (see photos below of denuded Nu’uanu Valley). The large private landowners knew that something was needed to be done to protect the source of their water. They, along with the territorial government of Hawai’i, decided that the best way to protect the mauka lands from further destruction was to fence the area, control feral animals, plant trees, and check development of these areas. The Watershed Partnership continues this work today.

Officially formed in 1999, the major milestones of the Ko’olau Mountains Watershed Partnership (KMWP) are as follows:

1997 – The first KMWP meeting is held at the Department of Land and Natural Resources Kalanimoku building.

1999 – The KMWP formalizes as eleven partners sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at a ceremony at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Park in Kaneohe.  These partners include: Dept. of Land and Natural Resources, Agribusiness Development Corp., Dept. of Hawaiian Home Lands, U.S. Army, Honolulu Board of Water Supply, Queen Emma Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, Manana Valley Farm LLC, Tiana Partners, et. al, Dole Food Company Inc., and Bishop Museum.  (signing ceremony photo)

2000 – The KMWP preliminary assessment plan is developed.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joins the partnership as a landowner with the acquisition of the O’ahu Forest Wildlife Refuge.

2001 – The Opaeula fencing project, a joint project between Kamehameha Schools, the U.S. Army, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, is completed.

2002 – The first KMWP coordinator is hired and a KMWP management plan is completed (see below for plan link).

2003 – KMWP begins weed survey and management efforts.  Kualoa Ranch, Hawai’i Reserves Inc., and O’ahu Country Club join the Partnership.

2004 – KMWP begins ungulate management efforts.  The University of Hawai’i Lyon Arboretum join the Partnership.

2005 –  KMWP completes its first mauka restoration project.

2007 – KMWP has funding for a staff of seven.  The Partnership now includes a total of 15 landowning   partners working on projects across the Ko’olaus.

2009 – The KMWP celebrates its 10th anniversary.