Within the completed Watershed Management Strategies Plans for all five R2R watersheds, clear priorities and strategies are identified to guide on-the-ground projects. Project updates will be shared on this page, so please check back periodically.
Ongoing Pollution Reduction Projects- 2017/2018
Facilities Storm Water Management
Project S.E.A.-Link is working with three properties to improve storm water treatment in their baseyards. This project funded through DAR/NOAA includes the Kaanapali Golf Course, Kaanapali Beach Hotel and the Kaanapali Operators Association. These properties have taken steps, such as moving wash-down areas, installing drain protecting barriers and creating bio-retention areas to reduce the amount of potential pollutants moving from their work areas to the storm drain system, and therefore ocean. A workshop planned for August 2018, will allow other properties managers to learn about these cost effective measures to reduce pollution and hopefully inspire broader actions.
Honokōwai Watershed Erosion Reduction
Ridge to Reefs is leading an effort funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to stabilize bare soil areas and runoff conveyance areas from dirt roads using vetiver grass and native species to trap soils before they enter the gulch and are transported out to the coral reefs in West Maui. Activities are being planned in the spring, for a summer 2018 execution.
Community-Based Social Marketing Strategies to Address Polluted Storm-water Runoff
By engaging the community in storm drain stenciling, Project S.E.A.-Link is not only activating volunteers in creating durable reminders to keep pollution out of our waters, but also creates an mechanism to solicit broader behavioral changes, such as adopting Ocean Friendly Landscaping and Property pledges developed through West Maui Kumuwai. Roughly 90 drains have been stenciled so far, with two more events planned in 2018. This project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Ungulate Fencing in the Upper Watershed
Keeping the upper watershed clear of wild boar and deer is critical to maintaining a vegetative cover. If animals can gain access, their digging speeds up erosion, which washes silt and nutrients downstream, choking our nearshore reefs, allow with other concerns. The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife is working with the West Maui Mountain Watershed Partnership and the Pu`u Kukui Watershed Preserve to extend the fencing to exclude deer, and increase the distance of continuous fencing. This is funded by the State Department of Health.
Sediment Mitigating Lo`i Kalo (taro patches)
Through a pilot lo’i in Honokōwai Watershed, CORAL seeks to systematically quantify their effectiveness at removing sediment and other land based pollutants as a means to understanding the place of lo`i in the toolkit of restoration techniques appropriate for West Maui. CORAL believes that broad scale use of loʻi kalo can potentially provide a superior stream restoration solution because of the potential to trap entrained sediment, uptake nutrients and function as micro basins that assist in distributing water flow.
Planning is still in progress with Maui Cultural Lands and the Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission of Water Resources, who lead stream flow restoration efforts critical to the viability of this project.
Gulch Restoration to Increase Reef Resilience
With funding from the NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program, the Coral Reef Alliance and partners will be installing ~25 Best Management Practices (BMPs) within the Wahikuli watershed targeting sources of sediment pollution to Wahikuli Stream, which flows into the ocean at 'Canoe Beach' in West Maui. BMPs will include vetiver grass and native plant sediment traps to capture entrained sediment in stormwater runoff, plantings to stabilize erosive hotspots primarily along old agricultural roads and stream banks; and a lo'i kalo (traditional Hawaiian wetland taro patch) designed to capture sediments within Wahikuli Stream, and uptake nutrients through the growth of taro. The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce stormwater pollution entering the ocean at Canoe Beach and thereby reduce the negative impacts associated with poor water quality to human health and the health of coral reefs in the vicinity.
Planting Road Kick-outs to Retain Sediment
This project lead by CORAL and funded by NOAA CRCP represents a chance to mitigate a source of sediment delivery to the ocean within an area identified as highly prone to sediment transport, and collect valuable data on the efficacy of vetiver sediment traps used in this context. By planting vetiver eyebrows in the extensions off of steep agricultural road designed to remove water and sediment in rain events, called kick-outs, the planted rows intercept and slow the water, leading to large quantities of fine dirt being stopped and stored higher up in the watershed.
Vetiver as a Soil Stabilization Tool
Ridge to Reefs with a grant from NFWF is developing practices that include the establishment of vetiver grass plantings and native plants to intercept the flow of sediments in the water running through gulches and bordering terraces in the reaches above designated priority coral reef ecosystems. The first pilot plantings were installed in Wahikuli watershed in November 2016 and the second in Feb. 2017.
Pollution Reduction Projects 2015/16
Agricultural District Erosion Control: Assessment and Installation
Sustainable Resources Group Intn’l, Inc. (SRGII) worked with the State of Hawai‘i and private landowners, primarily the Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (MLP), to install BMPs on severely eroding roads in the agricultural region. Effectiveness monitoring was conducted to quantify the reduction in NPSP-loading.
The monitoring results show 57 tons (142,500 cubic yards) of sediment was trapped and erosion was curtailed on 480 acres. Land owners were provided an Operation and Maintenance Plan to guide future maintenance of the installed BMPs. This project was funded by State Department of Health 319 funds from the EPA.
Ocean Friendly Properties and Landscapes
Project S.E.A. Link, with funding from DAR/NOAA has been conducting walking assessments of the properties in the Honokowai area to gain an understanding of which appear to have more pollution potential with landscaping and housekeeping practices. Thirteen properties received information on best management practices for ocean preferred properties/landscapers. Eight condo properties signed on to the newly developed Ocean-Friendly Property Pledge commitment and have received positive PR and inclusion in a building movement for ocean health through West Maui Kumuwai. Six new landscaping companies have joined the Ocean-Friendly Landscaper program.
Post-Fire Supply Procurement
Through the West Maui Soil and Water Conservation District in partnership with Pu`u Kukui Watershed Preserve, DAR/NOAA funding enabled the collection and storage of native seeds, along with the purchase and testing of a hydro-mulch machine that will allow broadcast seeding of native plants following fire. These supplies are the first step to a rapid response to highly erosive, post-wildfire conditions. An estimated 500,000 a`alii seeds were collected, sorted and stored, along with smaller quantities of ohia and koa seeds.
Projects Completed 2013-14
Pollution Reduction Projects- 2014
Urban Area Analysis and Low Impact Design (LID) Recommendations for Honokōwai: contractor Horsley Witten Group with funding from the NOAA Coral Program has developed a min-watershed plan and LID recommendations for Honokōwai in the area surrounding the Beach Park. These practices once installed, will help to reduce the volume of polluted run-off currently exported from this heavily urbanized area. Download the full plan below.
Rain Gardens at Pohaku (S-turns) Beach Park: Surfrider Foundation, Maui Chapter designed and installed two small rain gardens to treat parking lot and shower run off. Installation was held Sept.6th, 2014 and included ~40 volunteers. Interpretive signage has been installed to explain the purpose of the practice to park visitors.
Pilot Agricultural Road Erosion Reduction Improvements: under the leadership of the West Maui Soil and Water Conservation District, ~3.5 miles of two rapidly eroding stretches of mauka-makai roads were improved with best management practices (BMPs) in this pilot project to reduce the volume of sediment migrating down the watershed following rain events. Using heavy equipment, water bars where added and terraces were opened to dissipate energy and allow water and sediment to dissipate into the field away from the gulch. DHHL and General Finance Group were partners in this project along with local contractors.
Reef Friendly Landscape Management plans: in southern Kā‘anapali, Landscape designers Ki Concepts worked with 7 resort properties to tighten chemical applications in landscaping to reduce runoff to coastal ecosystems through site specific management plans. Participating properties included the Hyatt, Westin Maui Spa & Resort, KOA, the Marriot Maui Ocean Club, Whalers Village, SGS Landscaping (who works with Westin KOR and Honua Kai) and Aston Maui Kā‘anapali Villas. In addition to analysis for each property, another outcome is a checklist to guide other properties towards ocean friendly practices (below). Three new properties took the pledge to be Ocean-Friendly Landscapes through our sister West Maui Kumuwai Campaign.
Post-fire rehabilitation planning: Hawaii Wildfire Management organization has created a plan in cooperation with landowners and fire management professionals to address preparation for a rapid response following a fire to reduce mass erosion on newly burned land. In addition, they authored a Western Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan which assesses fire risk by neighborhood, proposed measures for prevention, and makes the West Maui community eligible for federal grants if a fire does occur.
Curb Inlet Basket Pilot in Kā‘anapali
SRGII, an environmental consulting firm led this project where seven debris and pollutant screening baskets were installed in the storm drain system by Kā‘anapali Operators Assoc. Ongoing monitoring is taking place to test maintenance time and volume of debris removal to inform expanding installations to other coastal areas.
Design analysis for Dam Retrofit:
A detailed analysis of the physical systems related to Honokōwai Dam is needed as a first step to understanding if retrofit measures that would reduce the movement of fine particles into the ocean following rainfall are viable. A team of professors and graduate students from the University of Hawaii headed up this study, which included watershed and sediment modeling. Additional modeling is needed to determine if a retrofit is possible, and a refinement of retrofit ideas is needed that address maintenance considerations.
Featured Completed Community Projects Needing Ongoing Volunteer Care!
Native Planting to Stabilize Slope
A bare roadside hill in Hanakaʻōʻō Cemetery that once sent red dust into the air and red water into the ocean is now home to more than 1000 native plants, thanks to scores of volunteers that came out to make a difference for West Maui on Sunday, June 9th. The plantings are intended to both beautify the historic site and to stabilize the hillside in order to reduce the amount of runoff reaching the ocean via Wahikuli Gulch.
The planting event also launched the West Maui Kumuwai campaign, which is a movement to protect our ocean through personal action and community collaboration. The campaign is built on the belief that “If we each do a little, we can all do a lot,” and asks residents to make simple choices at home or in their yard that will benefit the health of the ocean. For more information and photos, check out West Maui Kumuwai on Facebook.
Mahalo to our partners and sponsors who made this project possible: Parsons, KOA, Convergent Conservation, Tri-Isle RC&D, DLNR Dept. of Aquatic Resources, CJ's Deli and Diner, ISI, Native Nursery, Maui Nui Botanical Garden, Service Rentals Plus, County of Maui, Community Work Day
Demonstration Rain Garden and Community Training, March 2013
Over 70 community members participated in the installation and associated training for a demonstration rain garden in Wahikuli Wayside Park March 15th and 16th, 2013.
A rain garden is an intentionally created flat bottom depression planted with natives positioned to receive, treat and infiltrate runoff from impervious surfaces, in this case, shower and parking lot runoff. This garden provides a visible example of a low impact design practice that homeowners or business can implement with minimal expense and time.
Rain Garden Training March 15-16, 2013
Special thanks to our rain garden partners
Mahalo to County of Maui Parks, Public Works and Planning Departments, Parsons, SCS Consulting, CJ’s Deli and Maui Nui Marine Resource Council for the generous contributions.
The design, technical expertise and materials were provided through a NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program grant. NOAA is a key partner in the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative and funded and managed the Wahikuli-Honokowai Watershed Management Plan which identifies rain gardens as a priority practice for meeting the Initiative goal of addressing land based pollution to reduce stress on coral reefs.
Planting plan including native plant names for download below