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      Save Olowalu:1,500 Home Development proposed for Olowalu

      The Olowalu Town environmental impact statement is up for public review and comment as part of their planning process for a proposed 1,500-home development. The project includes impacting 636 agricultural land.

      In the early 2000’s, Dr. Eric Brown conducted a baseline study on marine life in the area adjacent to the proposed development. Dr. Brown characterized the Olowalu reef as “the best leeward reef in Maui and probably the whole state.” Numerous marine biologists and researches agreed with Dr Brown and submitted testimony in 2008 and 2009 that the development would put reefs and water quality at risk in the area. 

      Olowalu mother reef Mfield

      Olowalu coral polyps seed the reefs of West Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’i. Research and image: Mike Field, USGS

      Further research by Mike Field and the USGS show that Olowalu reef is a “mother reef”.  Its spawning coral polyps have been shown to travel of the coast and seed the reefs of West Maui, and even crossing the channels to seed Lana’i and Moloka’i reefs. 

      MNMRC urges you to consider an alternative location for the Olowalu development so that we may protect Maui’s last remaining healthy reef. After testimony at the Maui County Council by MNMRC reps and the public, it was voted to leave the land makai of the highway as a public greenspace, creating a buffer between the development and shoreline.  However, this plan is still under review and the vote can be overturned in the future.  Hawaii’s coral reefs are the cornerstone of Hawaii’s culture and economy, attracting millions of tourists to our islands each year and providing millions of dollars in revenue for our communities. We have options to build a small town elsewhere but there is no option to move the reef. Once the reef is gone, we cannot bring it back.

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