Maui Nui Marine Resource Council Wins $3,000 Award in Hogan/American Savings Bank Nonprofit Business Plan Competition
MĀ‘ALAEA, HI – The nonprofit Maui Nui Marine Resource Council (MNMRC) was awarded a $3,000 prize in the 2020 Hogan/American Savings Bank Nonprofit Business Plan Competition for a business plan titled, “Vision for Pohakea.”
“The goal of our Vision for Pohakea plan is to reduce sediment and pollutants in Māʻalaea Bay and Māʻalaea Harbor,” explains Amy Hodges, Programs and Operations Manager at Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “Pohakea is the name of the 4,000+ acre watershed upslope from Māʻalaea Bay. Pohakea watershed has several gulches that all discharge into Māʻalaea Bay and the harbor. “
MNMRC’s business plan was one of only 8 plans selected as finalists from more than 40 other Hawai‘i nonprofit business plans submitted. Finalists were invited to present their plans to a panel of judges via Zoom, at a Chamindade University event held on October 14. MNMRC’s plan was presented by Amy Hodges, MNMRC’s Programs and Operations Manager, and Ekolu Lindsey, MNMRC Board Member.
MNMRC was awarded 4th place overall and a $3,000 prize, which it will use to help fund the “Vision for Pohakea” plan.
The plan explains that Māʻalaea Bay is a community resource — a place where people surf, fish, swim, paddle, whalewatch and embark on ocean adventures. “Unfortunately, the water quality in Mā‘alaea Bay is compromised by storm water and sediment run-off, as well as other pollution originating from land,” notes the plan. “This nearshore ocean pollution adversely impacts areas in Māʻalaea Bay that are important for recreation, and also undermines the health of coral reefs and sea turtle feeding areas just outside the harbor.”
To improve Māʻalaea Bay’s deteriorating ocean water quality, MNMRC is installing caged oysters in the bay. Oysters are natural filter feeders, with a single oyster capable of filtering 40 to 60 gallons of water per day, removing sediment and other pollutants. The first oysters were installed in early 2020, with new oysters added throughout the year. They are monitored every two weeks and are found to be thriving.
The second part of the project takes place in the Pohakea Watershed, implementing projects outlined in the Pohakea Stormwater Management Plan, which MNMRC commissioned Maui Environmental Consulting to produce in 2018.
MNMRC has been writing grants and raising funds to enact this plan over a multi-year period. Maui Nui Marine Resource Council applied for and received a $300,000 Resilient Communities Grant in 2019, made possible by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Wells Fargo Foundation, to enhance forest reserve resiliency through fuels management in the Pohakea watershed.
With funds from this grant, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council will establish and improve fuel breaks in strategically placed corridors to mitigate the pervasive cycle of wildfire and protect 3,414 acres of Forest Reserve in Māʻalaea , part of the Pohakea watershed. That work is slated to begin later this year.
Ocean water quality is measured at several shoreline sites along Mā‘alaea Bay through the Hui O Ka Wai Ola citizen-based water quality monitoring program, co-founded and co-managed by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy and West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, working closely with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Clean Water Branch.
To gather baseline data about current ocean water quality throughout Māʻalaea Bay, MNMRC is also conducting regular kayak-based ocean water monitoring throughout the bay, using an electronic monitoring probe that provides a stream of data in real-time. The probe was purchased thanks to a generous grant from Lush Cosmetics Charity Pot.
Other support for implementing the “Vision for Pohakea” plan comes from a grant from the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
To learn more about the Vision for Pohakea plan and how you can support it, please visit www.mauireefs.org.
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s team takes a break from their work with the oysters at Māʻalaea Bay to display their award from the 2020 Hogan/American Savings Bank Nonprofit Business Plan Competition. From left to right: Grace Silver, Amy Hodges and Meredith Beeson.