Be Green 2: Malama Maunalua

A partnership in Hawaii Kai has made all the difference when it comes to protecting the ocean.
A partnership in Hawaii Kai has made all the difference when it comes to protecting the ocean.

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We like to bring you good news when we get the chance – and this is a perfect opportunity. A partnership in Hawaii Kai has made all the difference when it comes to protecting the ocean.

This is the before picture of a canal near the Koko Head district park. It was choked with dirt and weeds and when the rain came down, all that silt moved toward Maunalua bay. This is the way the canal and surrounding area looks now.

“This whole area was just bare soil and a lot of cats. In partnership with Malama Maunalua, we wanted to do a demonstration garden here to show the neighborhood what a rain garden is and what they can do, what it would look like,” says Terri Koike, Parks Urban Forestry.

A rain garden is designed to divert and capture run-off – - in this case from the valley leading up to the park.

“In this situation, we’re trying to keep it out of that canal back there, and with a homeowner, you want to keep it on their property instead of going right out into the straight and down into the storm drains which drain right out into the ocean,” says Koike.

The rain garden is still a work in progress. it’s hard work, as you can tell by the size of the stones.

“Our landscape architect did the design and our employees along with volunteers from Malama Maunalua did all this installation work,” says Koike.

Diversion of rain runoff is just part of the importance of the rain garden.

“The key element of this project is that it is demonstrating to folks what they can do in their home and the importance of collecting water on the land before it washes in the ocean and takes with it all the pollution and all the land based things that we have that don’t belong in our waters,” says Tegan Hammond, Malama Maunalua.

Hammond acknowledges the importance of a partnership with the City and County and with surrounding neighborhoods.

“Malama Maunalua is calling this program Pulama Wai – it’s cherishing our waters and trying to keep as much as we can on land before it’s washing off,” says Hammond.

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