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Group led by Mālama Maunalua receives $7.8M for habitat restoration in East Oʻahu

Volunteers for Mālama Maunalua remove invasive algae within the Paikō Restoration Area.
Courtesy Mālama Maunalua
Volunteers for Mālama Maunalua remove invasive algae within the Paikō Restoration Area.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently awarded a $7.8 million grant to a partnership of local organizations working to restore and preserve East Honolulu's Maunalua Bay.

Leading the group is the nonprofit Mālama Maunalua. Formed in 2006, it is committed to restoring and conserving the bay through science and planning, and education and outreach.

The grant from the Biden administration specifically focuses on restoration from mauka to makai in the Kuliʻouʻou, Niu and Wailupe valleys.

"Those are ones that have unique challenges. Kuliʻouʻou Stream, for instance, tends to have a lot of pollution coming off of it. So there was a number of reasons that focusing on those made sense," Mālama Maunalua Executive Director Doug Harper said.

"The terrestrial aspect of it, it's really going to help us enhance the capture and retainment of stormwater runoff, which is a major problem for water pollution in the bay," he said. "The grant will also help us build up our efforts on coral restoration by planting climate resilient coral."

Collaborators include the Koʻolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Protect and Preserve Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Aloha Tree Alliance, 3Rwater, the City and County of Honolulu Department of Facility Maintenance, Roth Ecological, Inter-fluve, Kuleana Coral Restoration, the Hawaiʻi Division of Aquatic Resources, and the Coral Resilience Lab at the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 8, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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