Tomorrow, the workers of Pono Pacific will complete their final day of work on the Maunalua Bay Reef Restoration Project. Although the project’s original restoration milestones were completed on March 1, workers continued algae removal through the end of April, expanding the restoration footprint of the project.
Rapid and efficient performance by Pono Pacific employees, and a devotion to the project by the community, have made this project an even greater success than was originally envisioned. Final results are clearing of 26 acres of the bay and removal of 2.9 million pounds of invasive algae. Importantly, the site will be carefully monitored so that the restoration benefits are documented through the rest of 2011.
“This was an ecological restoration project, but it was also a community restoration project,” said John Leong, President and CEO of Pono Pacific. “The Great Huki not only cleaned up the bay, it pulled an entire community together.”
“With our collective partnership we’ve put people to work to restore a vital marine resource for the people of Hawai‘i,” said Suzanne Case, Director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i. “There’s no better investment in our state than to improve the health of our ocean, which is a source of food, recreation, sustenance, and income for many.”
Accomplishments of the project include:
“Those numbers tell a compelling story,” said Jennifer Taylor, president of Mālama Maunalua. “The community support for removing the invasive alien algae was huge. And we hope that it continues. There is much more to be done to heal this bay.”
Project partners include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, local natural resources management company Pono Pacific Land Management LLC, and community non-profit Mālama Maunalua. Pono Pacific hired 50 workers for the project, which supports an additional 25 jobs in Hawai'i.
Mālama Maunalua volunteers will continue working in the bay to clear additional areas and to maintain the cleared areas. Mālama Maunalua will also focus on reducing run-off and improving the marine resources in the bay. Monitoring and research will continue through December 2011.
Upcoming event: The Great Huki project will be showcased in an exhibit at the Maunalua Bay Heritage Festival, Saturday, May 14th, 2011, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm, on the field at Kalani High School (4680 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96821). The event will also include many other educational offerings as well as food, storytelling, and live music and is free and open to the public.
On June 30, 2009, NOAA announced the award of $3.4 million in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to scale up community work in Maunalua Bay to remove the invasive alga Avrainvillea amadelpha (leather mudweed) and create new jobs. The project is managed by The Nature Conservancy in collaboration with community non-profit Mālama Maunalua. Funding for the project came from federal stimulus funds through the Recovery Act, awarded by NOAA to TNC, and passed directly to the community. NOAA’s award of this funding demonstrates that the federal government recognizes the importance of restoring the reefs and seagrass beds in Maunalua Bay.
Pono Pacific Land Management, LLC, a local resources management company, was awarded the contract to remove invasive algae from Paiko region of Maunalua Bay over a 12-month period.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.