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Hawaiian Electric grant helps restoration of West Maui forest

Donation of $31,000 to non-profit Malama Kahalawai

Release Date: 10/21/2021

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Native Plantings Mount Kahalawai

KAHULUI, Oct. 21, 2021 – Hawaiian Electric has recently donated $31,000 to non-profit organization Malama Kahalawai in support of restoring an Olowalu stream corridor with native Hawaiian plants and trees. Funded through the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation (HEICF), the project involves the seeding, propagating, planting, and monitoring of hardy and resilient species native to 14-acres of the mauna Kahalawai area or the West Maui mountains.

“Mahalo to Hawaiian Electric for helping us to establish an Olowalu ‘green belt’ of native species one acre at a time in this new and exciting restoration location,” said Chris Brosius, program manager for Mauna Kahalawai Watershed Partnership. “Our native forests are under great stress from the impacts of invasive species, climate change, drought and fire. Improvements to this Olowalu stream corridor creates a healthier watershed, a more fire resilient community, and a thriving native ecosystem from mauka to makai.”

Malama Kahalawai supports the Mauna Kahalawai Watershed Partnership, a voluntary alliance of landowners, land managers and agencies who work collaboratively to protect a watershed area spanning 47,319 acres in the West Maui mountains. Together, the groups fenced over 33,000 acres, removed 2,500 impacting feral ungulates, battled the worst invasive weeds, maintained and improved miles of fire breaks, and begun to actively plant and restore portions of the watershed since being established in 1998.

“We appreciate Malama Kahalawai and their significant work of reviving the ecological function of our valuable watersheds,” said Mahina Martin, director of government and community affairs for Hawaiian Electric. “Their contributions toward restoration of the aina strongly resonates with our continued efforts to build resilient and sustainable island communities. We’re very pleased to support their efforts and look forward to Malama Kahalawai’s continued success.”

Anticipated to take course over one year, the restoration project aims to plant 1,000 native trees and shrubs, create a propagation system, and set the stage for future volunteer and educational opportunities for continued restoration efforts on mauna Kahalawai.