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Maui Nui Marine Resource Council Receives $300,000 in Grant Funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

KIHEI – Maui Nui Marine Resource Council will receive $300,000 in grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). This funding is part of $1.5 million in grants to support efforts to improve the health and resilience of coral reefs in Florida, Hawai‘i, Guam and Puerto Rico. MNMRC is one of eight organizations to receive funding.

The grants were awarded through the Coral Reef Conservation Fund (CRCF), a 20-year conservation partnership between NFWF and NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), with major funding for a third year from Aramco Americas.
The funding awarded to MNMRC will support NFWF’s three primary focus areas to help protect functioning and resilient coral reef system in an increasingly urbanized and changing coastal environment: 

  • Increasing the resiliency of ecologically important reefs by reducing human-based threats like land-based sources of pollution and overfishing 
  • Promoting active restoration efforts to restore degraded reefs 
  • Investing in innovation and tools for managers to increase their capacity and decision-making power

Specifically, MNMRC will implement recommendations in the Southwest Maui Watershed Plan to reduce nonpoint source pollutants including chemicals, sediment and excess nutrients that affect coral health in Ma’alaea Bay.

“The projects supported by this grant will help the Kihei reef tract from both on land and in the water. It’s a combination of preventative actions, mitigation, and long-term monitoring,” said Amy Hodges, Programs Manager for MNMRC.

Additionally, MNMRC has been working with Kaonoulu Ranch on the slopes of Haleakala to reduce erosion and sedimentation caused by feral axis deer. The ranch has installed over eight miles of fencing to control movement of the deer for harvest, and this project will add an additional 1,800 feet, 1/3rd of a mile, of fencing to the project. With the NFWF grant, MNMRC will also explore new bio-friendly fertilizers in the Hapapa Watershed to enhance the resiliency of the Kihei reef tract by reducing pollutants from land-based run-off.

Downslope of the ranch, MNMRC will work with stakeholders to plan the removal of sediment from Kulanihakoi Gulch, a major source of run-off and sedimentation that poses threats to the Kihei reef tract. The project aims to remove about 650 cubic yards of sediment. This will help reduce Kīhei’s coastal stormwater flooding, benefitting wetland bird habitat, and protecting coral reefs and marine wildlife by reducing sediment runoff into Kīhei’s coastal waters.

In a similar vein, MNMRC’s Reef Friendly Landscaping program will also benefit from this grant. This program encourages commercial property owners to switch from traditional landscaping practices to organic solutions, reducing the use of harmful chemicals that can make their way into nearshore waters.

“Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is honored to receive this grant,” said Michael Fogarty, executive director of MNMRC. “We’ve been working around Ma’alaea for a while now, and this funding will greatly enhance our ability to protect the bay while exploring new projects in South Maui.”

The press release issued by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announcing the grants can be found here

About Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC) is a Maui-based non-profit organization working for clean ocean water, healthy coral reefs and a restoration of abundant native fish for the islands of Maui County. MNMRC is recognized for its ability to work with the community to plan, fund, enact and manage culturally appropriate, science-based solutions to serious problems undermining nearshore ocean water quality and threatening local coral reefs. To learn more, visit www.mauireefs.org.

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