In 2007, marine biologist Robin Newbold and community visionary Uncle Ed Lindsey were alarmed at the depleted fish stocks, damaged reefs, pollution around Maui that were from the effects of climate change.
This sparked the idea for a group that would collectively address these issues.
They convened an all-volunteer “council” that included representatives from a wide sector of the community including fishers, scientists, educators, cultural practitioners, ocean tourism business representatives and representatives of federal, state and local management agencies.
The Maui Nui Marine Resource Council has been meeting regularly for 15 years to address issues threatening reefs; and it convened the Maui Coral Reef Recovery Team to create the Maui Coral Reef Recovery Plan, the first of its kind in the state.
Now closing out its 15th year of working to protect the reefs of Maui Nui, the council invites the public to learn more about its work, achievements over the past few years, and hopes for 2023 in a webinar on Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m.
This presentation is part of the councilʻs monthly “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series,” sponsored by the County of Maui. Admission is free but advanced registration is required. Register here.
Council staff and board members will discuss recent grants, accomplished projects, achievements in 2022 and upcoming new projects.
“MNMRC has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2007,” said Executive Director Mike Fogarty. “Our presence on the island is expanding exponentially, leading to visible solutions to the threats the reefs face.”
Federal and County of Maui grants significantly increased the organization’s capacity to target land-based threats to Maui’s reefs in 2022.
Working in Pohakea, staff and volunteers created fire break roads and planted drought-resistant vetiver grass to mitigate runoff and sedimentation that threatens Ma‘alaea Bay.
Makai of the highway, the oyster bioremediation project in Ma‘alaea Harbor has steadily grown, adding more oysters and seeing rapid growth in existing individuals, showing promising progress in efforts to clean the harbor’s water.
The councilʻs Reef Friendly Landscaping Program began encouraging commercial properties to transition to environmentally-friendly lawn care solutions.
The next year brings exciting growth for that program. Two recently awarded grants will expand the program’s presence in South Maui, encouraging properties such as golf courses and resorts to use Maui-created soil amendments to aid in the transition to organic land care.
A new federal grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be used to focus on gulches and wetlands in North Kīhei to address flooding and sources of runoff and sedimentation that blankets the Kīhei reef tract during heavy rain events.
Funding from this grant will provide the means necessary to remove hundreds of tons of fine sediment from the gulch and restore the natural environment.
These future projects and more will be discussed during the webinar, giving attendees a chance to dive deeper into the work MNMRC undertakes to protect the island’s natural resources.
“We’re thrilled to present our accomplishments over the past few years,” said Amy Hodges, the council’s programs and operations manager. “And the new year brings more exciting opportunities – both for MNMRC and the ecosystems we’re working to protect.”