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East Moloka‘i Watershed Partnership

Island of Moloka‘i

The East Moloka'i Watershed Partnership was formed in November 1999 to protect the best remaining native forest watershed areas of the East Moloka'i Mountains.

The 33,000-acre East Moloka'i watershed encompasses the rain forested mountains of East Moloka'i and the remote valleys and sea cliffs along its spectacular northern coast.  On the southern slopes, feral goats are denuding the landscape, resulting in massive erosion and sedimentation that is damaging the longest continuous fringing reef in Hawai'i.

Since its grassroots formation in 1999, the East Moloka'i partnership has completed eight miles of fencing to protect the remaining upper forest and has begun programs to reduce goat populations below the fence. By protecting the forest above the fence and restoring the land beneath it, farming and fishing activities along the coast will benefit.

The Nature Conservancy’s Moloka`i Program is the partnership coordinator.

Our Approach

The partnership uses the traditional Hawaiian land division, or ahupua'a, approach to protecting the East Moloka'i watershed, with the upper native forests systems as the highest priority. Such an approach tries to protect watershed areas from the mountain top to the sea. 

Controlling threats such as hoofed animals and invasive weeds are key strategies to protecting the best remaining native forest areas and to increase vegetation to the  highly denuded, eroding mid-elevation, thus reducing the sedimentation rate that is severely impacting the adjoining  fringing reef.

Key Strategies
  • Reduction of feral animal and invasive weed populations
  • Fences to protect upper forests from feral animal intrusion
  • Monitoring systems that help guide and document management actions
  • Community outreach that engages, educates and gain supports of the local communities
  • Continual development of the partnership through fundraising, capacity building and landowner expansion
  • Involvement with fire (Moloka`i Fire Task Force) and island invasive species efforts (Moloka`i subcommittee of the Maui Invasive Species Committee) 
Land-Based Partners 
  • Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate, Kamalo Ahupua`a (3,566 acres)
  • Kapualei Ranch, Kapualei Ahupua`a (1,680 acres)
  • Kawela Plantation Homeowners Association, Kawela Ahupua`a (5,500 acres)
  • State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Pu`u Ali`i (1,330 acres) and Olokui (1,620 acres) Natural Area Reserves
  • National Park Service, Kalaupapa National Historical Park (10,800 acres)
  • The Nature Conservancy, Kamakou (2,774 acres) and Pelekunu Preserves (5,714 acres)   
 Agency Partners
  • Ke Aupuni Lokahi, Enterprise Community Governance Board – community, funder
  • Maui County – funder
  • Moloka`i/Lāna`i Soil and Water Conservation District – erosion experts
  • USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services – erosion experts, funder
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service – funder, rare species
  • US Geological Services – hydrological, erosion and sedimentation experts
  • EPA – non-point source pollution expert, funder
  • Hawai`i Department of Health – non-point source pollution expert, funder
  • MoPEP--Moloka'i Plant Extinction Prevention Program, rare plant/extinction prevention experts

Contact:  The Nature Conservancy Moloka`i Program, (808) 553-5236, emisaki@tnc.org

Key Plans:  EMoWP 2015 South Slope Management Plan; EMoWP 2015 Weed Control Plan; Pelekunu and Kamakou Preserves Long-Range Management Plans.

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