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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       July 13, 2006

Release M-81-06





            The City has turned over to the state a piece of heavy equipment that played a vital role in clearing Salvinia molesta from Lake Wilson three years ago.

            The pontoon-mounted, 31-ton Caterpillar backhoe was originally acquired by the City in 2001 for $496,121 for use in a joint federal project.

            In 2003, the state asked the City to help rid Lake Wilson of the fast-spreading Salvinia molesta.  Over two months in the spring of 2003, the excavator did the job, raking tons of the aquatic plant from the lake.

            “We actually do very little work on the water, so the equipment has been mostly idle,” said Laverne Higa, director of the City Department of Facility Maintenance.

            City officials considered converting the excavator for land operation by removing the pontoons, but costs of the conversion were prohibitive. Meanwhile, the state asked for the excavator, saying it had some ideas for putting it to use.

            The City transferred the excavator to the state last month. Physically moving the excavator from the City’s Halawa Corporation Yard to a state location in Waipahu next to Pouhala Marsh cost the City $5,000.

             Governor Linda Lingle wrote a thank-you letter, saying, “Because this equipment is specifically for vegetation control in wetland areas, it will be put to good use by state and federal agencies tasked with wildlife habitat enhancement work. Allowing the State to own the excavator will streamline the process of sharing it between cooperating agencies and will have a positive impact on the management of endangered water bird species, flood control and law enforcement.”

            Mayor  Mufi Hannemann said, “We  hope this helps the state also fulfill its obligations concerning the maintenance of the wildlife habitat of Kawai Nui Marsh in Kailua.”


            The mayor in his 2006 state-of-the-City address indicated a willingness to provide the excavator and help the state maintain Kawai Nui’s Oneawa Canal, when the state assumes ownership and responsibility for this pristine natural resource.

            City Managing Director Wayne Hashiro wrote this week to Peter Young, chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, to remind him of the state’s obligations under Act 47 (1998), and to reiterate the City’s position that “ownership of and responsibility for Kawai Nui Marsh properly rests with your jurisdiction.”

            Discussion of Kawai Nui is on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting (July 14) of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.




Laverne Higa, Director of Facility Maintenance, 692-5054

Bill Brennan, 527-6928

Mark Matsunaga, 537-5767

Friday, July 14, 2006

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