Current paradigms of conservation are shifting to incorporate more holistic forms of understanding biocultural landscapes and to engage region-specific knowledge about waterbird communities. Yet, Indigenous Resource Management, while maintaining fundamental principles of ecosystem-based management, is still not prioritized in wetland conservation efforts for waterbirds. Key habitat characteristics are understood to have an effect on waterbird abundances although the extent to which they are facilitated by different management approaches, namely kalo cultivation, is still not clear. In order to better understand ecosystem services that are optimized by indigenous resource management approaches in the He’eia National Estuarine Research Reserve, I will conduct a study to clarify the differences of habitat structure and functioning as it relates to waterbird utilization in the He’eia wetlands. I will analyze the traditional practices of kalo cultivation as an established praxis for maintaining ecosystem services associated with waterbird habitat. This co-developed research design will examine indigenous resource management approaches to the extent of maintaining vegetative structure, water quality as well as waterbird presence. This project integrates current monitoring work done by local researchers with the National Estuarine Research Reserve.