‘Āinakūkoʻa O Waiohuli Kai
‘Āinakūkoʻa O Waiohuli Kai is a wetland restoration project with a focus on traditional Hawaiian cultural practices, ecosystem function, and community stewardship. Through a community of committed volunteers, the project is removing invasive plants, establishing native and canoe plants, creating educational signage, and initiating environmentally protective practices. Project leaders and volunteers from the community are providing the labor, removing invasive species, propagating and replanting the micro-zones, providing Hawaiian cultural education, and conducting beach and underwater clean-up.
Reef Guardians is providing administrative and program management and fiscal sponsorship of the ‘Āinakūkoʻa O Waiohuli Kai project, which is funded by the County of Maui and located in a County park in south Kihei. Starr Environmental LLC conducted a flora and fauna survey, providing recommendations for plant removal and planting. Water quality specialists Aquanimity Now! is providing project management. Other partners include Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute.
Then to Now
Google satellite images show the degradation of the project site's wetlands over time.
Built in Resilience
‘Āinakūkoʻa O Waiohuli Kai, one of the last remaining wetlands on Maui, was surveyed in April
2020, where surveyors took note of the current flora and fauna before recommending the best
management practices to maintain the area. The land is mostly flat with low growing, windswept
vegetation and a few trees. Due to the ecosystem services delivered by this wetland, the coastline in the project area is one of the few where the shoreline is accreting rather than eroding.
The goal of this rehabilitation project is to reintroduce native and Polynesian-introduced
species to this property in order to increase ecosystem services, particularly regulating and
reducing the impact of coastal erosion.