When people hear the word wetland, many immediately think of a swamp swarming with mosquitoes. Granted, some wetlands do harbor mosquitoes, but a healthy wetland can be a productive natural ecosystem for other aquatic insects like dragonflies and damselflies, and for fish and wildlife.
The wetlands of MCB Hawaii for example, provide a variety of habitat for water birds to breed, feed and loaf. Wetlands or wetland like areas include mudflats, shallow ponds, coastal areas, aquatic habitats and vegetated shallows.
Besides habitat for birds, wetlands provide habitat for plants and fish, help treat sewage, capture storm run-off, and act as a filter of water contaminants. MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay Nu’upia Ponds had been originally been used as a Hawaiian fishpond to feed the Hawaiian Ali’i for commercial aquaculture.
Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s wetlands are governed by the Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404, and fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). The 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual established guidance on how regulatory wetlands are defined and the process used in making that determination. In 2002, MCB Hawaii in concert with the ACOE completed the formal delineation and mapping of its wetlands. In 2008, MCB Hawaii conducted a comprehensive review of wetlands to determine if any had notable changes. The ACOE evaluated those wetlands identified by the Natural Resources staff. In 2009, the review, updated delineations, mapping and report were completed.