The East Maui watershed is home to at least 63 rare plant species and a greater concentration of rare and endangered forest birds than any other place in the United States. It is also the largest source of harvested surface water in Hawai'i, providing more than 60 billion gallons of fresh water to East and Central Maui.
The East Maui Watershed Partnership (EMWP) was formed in 1991 as a model for large-scale forest protection in Hawai`i. That year, the Conservancy helped bring together the area's public and private landowners and the county government to launch a cooperative effort to protect the 100,000-acre forest ecosystem.
Recognizing that they shared preservation of the island's primary source of water as a common interest, the partners agreed to pool resources and implement an active watershed management program across the entire East Maui landscape.
Today, the East Maui partnership is the prototype for large-scale forest protection efforts in Hawai'i. Its success has spurred the formation of similar watershed partnerships across the state.
Among its many accomplishments, the EMWP has increased access for public hunting in the lower reaches of the watershed and worked to control feral pigs and the invasive weed miconia.
Crews have treated thousands of acres of miconia and built miles of upper-elevation fences through rugged, remote terrain. These and other existing fences protect some of the best remaining native forest and watershed in East Maui.
The partnership also conducts public education and outreach activities, including hikes, to raise awareness of the importance and value of a healthy watershed.
March 07, 2011