LAHAINA - "The rain clouds are returning to Moku'ula," Karee Carlucci, vice president of Friends of Moku'ula (FOM), told the Lahaina News.
The vision of the local nonprofit is moving forward with the restoration of Moku'ula one phase at a time, she added.
In a series, the Lahaina News will detail the next seven stages leading to the restoration, preservation and revitalization of the sacred Moku'ula Island and Mokuhinia Ponds over a ten- to 12-year time frame at a cost of $53 to $73 million.
This Moku‘ula site map shows the project’s scope.
As part of the process, the County of Maui and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are conducting a feasibility study for the proposed Mokuhinia Ecosystem Restoration Project.
The purpose is to restore Loko o Mokuhinia, the large, spring-fed wetland that surrounded the ancient island of Moku'ula, including the aquatic ecosystem functions and processes to the extent feasible.
On Wednesday, May 30, the USACE will hold a scoping meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Lahaina Civic Center and seeks public input.
"As part of the feasibility study, USACE will evaluate the opportunities to conduct aquatic ecosystem restoration, consistent with the project goal and objectives and within the authority of the USACE Civil Works Program and conduct an environmental assessment," the USACE public notice read.
Althine Clark is the project lead for USACE.
She said the results will be published in a Feasibility Report and integrated into the Environmental Assessment in about one year.
"Then we will come back to the public and get their reaction on that," she added.
Clark explained the value of community participation.
"Overall," Clark continued, "Moku'ula is one of the most important sites culturally and historically in all of Hawaii. It was the residence of the ali'i nui from the time of Pi'ilani in the 1500s through the time of Kamehameha the III."
The public is encouraged to attend the meeting next week Wednesday.
"It's going to take an entire community to resurrect the royal complex of Moku'ula and Mokuhinia Ponds," Carlucci commented.
"Anyone who has any interest, connection or kuleana in the restoration should attend the public meeting and offer input to help bring this paramount cultural site back to life. If we work together, we can move forward," Carlucci said.