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Two Million Pounds of Invasive Algae Removed From Maunalua Bay

Progress represents 16 acres cleared


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Maunalua Bay after 2 million pounds of invasive algae have been removed.

Honolulu, Hawai'i | November 16, 2010

Workers for the Maunalua Bay Reef Restoration Project, also known as “The Great Huki,” will complete another major milestone tomorrow, November 17, 2010: removing 2 million pounds of invasive algae from 16 acres in Maunalua Bay.

Media are welcome to visit the project site – we expect the 2 millionth pound to be pulled some time during the afternoon. For on-site assistance, please call Lei Leong at 341-5024.

“Together we’ve created jobs, helped educate people, generated enthusiasm and conducted real, science-based conservation in a place everyone cares about,” said Suzanne Case, Director of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i. “I am so proud of our collective partnership and that the Conservancy has been able to help facilitate this project.”

The invasive algae is being used by a Maunalua farmer (Ed Otsuji), a Kamilo Nui plant nursery (Glenn Nii), a community based non-profit organization (Kokua Kalihi Valley), and a local compost manufacturing firm (Hawaiian Earth Products) to compost and grow produce, crops and other plants.

In addition, a joint research project on converting the algae into a compost product is being conducted at Aloha ‘Āina ‘o Kamilo Nui (at Chrysanthemums of Hawaii), a non-profit organization that has provided space on its farm in Kamilo Nui Valley. Mālama Maunalua is partnering with Aloha ‘Āina ‘o Kamilo Nui, The Nature Conservancy, Pono Pacific and the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH CTAHR) to test the best ways to convert the invasive algae into compost. ‘Uala (sweet potatoes) have been planted using the compost, and compost piles are being tested to determine the most efficient and quickest way to break down the invasive algae to make a viable soil amendment or compost for farmers, landscapers and the community at large to use.

"By healing the ocean we can also heal ourselves and our island. We are putting nutrients back into the soil and creating new possibilities for sustainability in the island by growing food right here in Maunalua with something that was damaging our ocean," said Kimo Franklin, Malama Maunalua's Community Huki Site Coordinator.

The work, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), should be completed by February 2011. In years to come, scientists will monitor and support the return of native seagrass and marine life. Volunteers will continue working to remove invasive algae. And Malama Maunalua will continue working with community members, fishermen, residents and other organizations to tackle the remaining challenges: land-based sediment and pollutants, and unsustainable harvesting of marine resources.

Background
On June 30, 2009, the NOAA announced the award of federal funds from the 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. NOAA’s award of this funding demonstrates that the federal government recognizes the importance of restoring coral reefs and seagrass beds in Maunalua Bay.

Pono Pacific Land Management, LLC, a local natural resources management company, was awarded the contract to remove invasive algae from the Paiko region of Maunalua Bay over a twelve month period. Pono Pacific hired 50 workers; the project supports an additional 25 jobs in Hawaii.


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 http://www.nature.org.

Mālama Maunalua (to care for Maunalua) is a community-based stewardship organization created to conserve and restore Maunalua Bay and care for the larger Maunalua region of southeast O`ahu, by informing, engaging and empowering the community, and by forming strong partnerships with government and non-government organizations. To learn more visit http://www.malamamaunalua.org.

Pono Pacific provides cost-effective ecosystem restoration services to aid conservation agencies and landowners in their efforts to preserve and protect the environment throughout Hawaii and the Pacific. Pono Pacific hopes to make natural resource management and conservation become more efficient, effective, and simpler for both landowners and managers. To learn more visit http://www.ponopacific.com.


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.

Contact information

Evelyn Wight
Senior Communications Manager
(808)587-6277
ewight@tnc.org

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