Maui News

$31,000 Hawaiian Electric Grant Helps Restoration of West Maui Forest

October 22, 2021, 12:23 PM HST
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Mālama Kahālāwai has received a $31,000 grant from Hawaiian Electric to restore an Olowalu stream corridor with native Hawaiian plants and trees. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiian Electric

Hawaiian Electric donated $31,000 to non-profit organization Mālama Kahālāwai for restoration of an Olowalu stream corridor with native Hawaiian plants and trees.

Funded through the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation (HEICF), the project involves seeding, propagating, planting and monitoring of hardy and resilient species native to 14-acres of the mauna Kahālāwai area or the West Maui mountains.

During the project, expected to last more than a year, about 1,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted, creating a propagation system, and setting the stage for future volunteer and educational opportunities for continued restoration efforts on mauna Kahālāwai.

“Mahalo to Hawaiian Electric for helping us to establish an Olowalu ‘green belt’ of native species one acre at a time in this new and exciting restoration location,” said Chris Brosius, program manager for Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership. “Our native forests are under great stress from the impacts of invasive species, climate change, drought and fire. Improvements to this Olowalu stream corridor creates a healthier watershed, a more fire resilient community, and a thriving native ecosystem from mauka to makai.”

Mālama Kahālāwai supports the Mauna Kahālāwai Watershed Partnership, a voluntary alliance of landowners, land managers and agencies who work collaboratively to protect a watershed area spanning 47,319 acres in the West Maui mountains.

The Olowalu stream corridor. Photo Courtesy: Hawaiian Electric
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Since the partnership was established in 1998:

  • More than 33,000 acres have been fenced
  • 2,500 impacting feral hoofed animals have been removed
  • The worst invasive weeds have been battled
  • Miles of fire breaks have been maintained and improved miles
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“We appreciate Mālama Kahālāwai and their significant work of reviving the ecological function of our valuable watersheds,” said Mahina Martin, director of government and community affairs for Hawaiian Electric. “Their contributions toward restoration of the ‘āina strongly resonates with our continued efforts to build resilient and sustainable island communities.”

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