U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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National Wildlife Refuge

State Hwy 56 and Lighthouse Rd
Kilauea, HI   96754 - 1128
E-mail: Shannon_Smith@fws.gov
Phone Number: 808-828-1413
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is located in the beautiful Hanalei River Valley on Kaua'i's north shore. Encircled by waterfall-draped mountains, the 917-acre refuge was established in 1972 to provide nesting and feeding habitat for endangered Hawaiian water birds, including the Hawaiian duck (koloa maoli), coot ('alae ke'oke'o), moorhen ('alae 'ula), and stilt (ae'o).

In order to protect the endangered species, most of the Hanalei Refuge is closed to the public, but wildlife can be viewed from the Hanalei Valley Overlook across from the Princeville Shopping Center.

Getting There . . .
To find the refuge office, turn left just after crossing the Hanalei River Bridge onto Ohiki Road and continuing past the Haraguchi Rice Mill to the last buildings on the right.

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Past over-hunting, introduced predators, and loss of wetlands, have caused them to be endangered. The refuge is also home to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. The surrounding hillsides are wooded primarily in exotic species. An extensive water delivery system provides water for wildlife impoundments and wetland agriculture.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Hanalei NWR consists of approximately 75 acres of wildlife impoundments, 180 acres of taro patches, and 90 acres of riparian pasture managed for the recovery of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds and wintering habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Within the past 200 years, Hawai‘i has lost more than 31% of its coastal wetlands. Of the wetlands that remain, the majority is degraded by altered hydrology, contaminants, and invasive species.

With the year-round growing season, refuge impoundments require intensive management efforts including mowing, disking, and water manipulation to provide the needed habitat for water birds. The refuge employs a technique known as moist-soil management which involves the manipulation of soils, hydrology, and vegetation to simulate the dynamics of seasonally-flooded wetlands to meet the life history requirements of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds.

Taro is a member of the Philodendron family (Araceae) farmed for its corm and leaves. Wetland taro is cultivated in flooded patches similar to rice paddy culture. Taro is farmed by local farmers with historical ties to the land by permits with special terms for endangered Hawaiian waterbirds. The taro patches provide additional freshwater and grassland habitat for endangered Hawaiian waterbirds as well as a traditional Hawaiian food source.

Introduced animals such as dogs, cats, rats, barn owls, cattle egrets, and bullfrogs are predators of endangered Hawaiian waterbird adults and young and are controlled on the refuge to reduce their impact on the endangered birds.