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Donations sought for project to protect Napili Bay

By Staff | Jun 2, 2011

Plans are under way to install a functional outlet drain in Napili Basin, plant grass along the waterway and post educational stream and reef care signs to help protect scenic Napili Bay. Photo by Kristen N. Staples.

NAPILI — Over the past 50-plus years, Napili Bay has lost 30 percent of its sand.

The erosion is photo-documented from 1948 on the web at napilibayfoundation.org.

In 2006, the Napili Bay and Beach Foundation was formed “to oversee the scientific and educational efforts aimed at improving the health of this bay and its equally beautiful neighboring bay, Kapalua,” said Napili Bay homeowner Pat Lindquist, the non-profit’s founder and president.

Joining Lindquist on the board as officers are bay stake holders Vice President Gregg Nelson, general manager of Napili Kai Beach Resort; Secretary Nane Aluli, general manager of The Mauian; and Treasurer Bob Graybosch, general manager of Napili Shores Resort.

“I feel the foundation is vital to the West Maui community, because it is solely dedicated to protecting and preserving some of the finest beaches and bays on Maui. Because of their natural beauty, safety and ease of access, the Napili and Kapalua beaches have always been very popular with local residents as well as visitors to our island,” Nelson observed.

With powerhouse leadership at the helm, the nonprofit is progressing on course.

“Recognizing the significance of these beaches to everyone, the foundation has focused its efforts on determining methods and best practices that can be applied to the preservation and enhancement of these valuable resources that we all enjoy,” Nelson added.

Beach replenishment was the first strategy explored, with scientific studies conducted, including a jet probe analysis of offshore sand deposits, qualitative studies of offshore sand and a benthic habitat study.

Based on the study findings and follow-up discussions with a state Department of Land and Natural Resources coastal geologist, Lindquist said tactics changed from replenishment to remediation, and Phase 1a of Project Storm Runoff Remediation in Napili Bay commenced.

This three-step undertaking includes the installation of a functional outlet drain in Napili Basin (identified at 4-5 and situated mauka of Lower Honoapiilani Road across the street from One Napili Way), planting grass along the waterway and posting educational stream and reef care signage.

“In a tiny nutshell, for the past two years we’ve focused our first ‘change agent’ efforts at remediating the storm runoff events that have eroded a makai seasonal streambed and the beach and dumped garbage/silty water into the beautiful bay all over our reef and its inhabitants,” she remarked.

“Once we changed focus to Phase Ia (remediation of storm runoff from desilting basin Napili 4-5),” the nonprofit president continued, “we have had/do have ongoing participation from West Maui Soil and Water Conservation District (WMSWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), Maui County Department of Public Works (MCDPW), U.H. Sea Grant College Program and Maui Land and Pineapple Makai Outreach.”

Lindquist cited an example of the positive results achieved due to the cooperative efforts.

“NRCS experts evaluated the basin for the potential of installing plantings to slow/filter runoff. They recommended this solution, and Maui County Department of Public Works put it in place in December just in time to provide protection from the storm of Jan. 13.”

Education efforts have been exemplary.

A “Respect Coral Reefs” awareness sign was purchased and installed at the south end of the bay. Posters with the same information were distributed to all Napili Bay beach properties.

“Currently, we are working with Geoff Moore, the graphic designer who created the ‘Respect Coral Reefs’ sign, to create and install a ‘Malama Kahawai’ sign…. to educate community members as to importance of healthy streams/streambeds in terms of effects on health of our coral reefs/nearshore environments,” Lindquist added.

Grants were written and awarded from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coral Program, Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development and Alexander & Baldwin Foundation. The total amount was $27,000.

Linda M. Howe, vice president of Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, acknowledged one of the major reasons for their support: “It was a community-initiated and led effort — the community took ownership of identifying both the problem and a solution and garnered broad financial support and active participation.”

The only roadblock on this otherwise smooth pathway to remediation is money.

“Long story short — we have raised grant money, assembled a team with members from NRCS, WMSWCD, MCDPW, U.H. Coastal Sea Grant, gotten donations and now are finally poised to ‘get the job done’ with an experienced Maui contractor,” she explained.

“The problem is that the cost estimates we were given by Mainland engineers, who provided drawings and specifications, are $20,000 less than the cost estimates for doing this work in Maui.

“So, with time as a crucial element, we are launching a wide fund-raising campaign to close this gap.” Lindquist commented.

“Successful completion of this project will give us more credibility as we apply for grants to fund the future phases of our project, which includes beach restoration at Napili and Kapalua. Successfully mitigating the storm runoff into Napili Bay will also improve the health of the reefs at Napili and its neighboring bays,” she added.

Tax-deductible donations may be made out to Napili Bay and Beach Foundation and sent to P.O. Box 10823, Lahaina, HI 96761.