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Kanaele Bog

Island of Kaua‘i

Kanaele is an ecologist's gem and the only remaining low-elevation bog in the Hawaiian Islands.


Located above the town of Kalaheo in the mountains of South Kaua'i, the Kanaele Bog is an ecologist’s gem – a mosaic of low-growing sedges, stunted trees, and unique plants. In 2003, the Nature Conservancy signed a 10-year management agreement with the landowner Alexander & Baldwin that would allow the Conservancy to care for this distinctive wetland ecosystem and ensure its continued survival.

 

Part of an important watershed, the Wahiawa Drainage Basin of the Līhu`e-Kōloa Forest Reserve, Kanaele is the only remaining low-elevation bog in the Hawaiian Islands.

 

The Conservancy preserve nurtures many rare and endangered plant species, including the showy Lobelia kauaensis, with its tall spire of white-petaled flowers streaked with purple. Tiny endangered bog violets can be found in the bog along with carnivorous sundews (mikinalo) that trap insects on their sticky leaves.

 

Due to the delicate nature of this ecosystem, public access is restricted. In the future, the Conservancy hopes to provide volunteer opportunities for weed control work in the preserve.

Location

South Kaua`i, located in the mountains at an elevation of 2,100 feet 

Size

80 acres

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

Hawaiian bogs are relatively few in number – and among these, Kanaele is the only one of its kind. Kanaele Bog is the state’s only lowland bog community, and has long been the object of admiration and concern among conservation scientists. Among the rare and endangered plant species found at Kanaele are a species of `ōhā wai, na`ena`e, kāmakahala, a native bog violet, and a native thistle.

Rooting by feral pigs poses the most urgent threat to the bog.  Other serious threats include invasive weeds, disease, and predation by insects and rats. Though the bog is remarkably well-preserved and has withstood invasion by pigs and alien plants that severely degraded most of the area south of it, active stewardship is needed to prevent similar deterioration.

What the Conservancy is Doing

The agreement with the landowner allows the Conservancy to conduct conservation activities to protect the bog and native plant community it supports. The Conservancy recently built a 6,552-foot-long protective fence around the bog to prevent feral pigs from entering. Other plans include construction of a boardwalk and the removal of invasive weeds to allow the natural regeneration of  native plants and invertebrates to occur.

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