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Maui Kai signs on to Ocean-Friendly Property Pledge 

By Staff | Jun 30, 2016

HONOKOWAI – There are many ways to be “ocean-friendly,” and when it comes to managing pollution from land – primarily nutrients, sediments and chemicals – it really does matter how we as West Maui residents, business owners and employees manage our lawns, landscapes and the built environment around us, especially since so many storm drains in the area lead directly to the ocean.

The West Maui Kumuwai campaign is currently enlisting condominium properties in the Honokowai region to take a voluntary Ocean-Friendly Property Pledge, part of a new recognition program that highlights best practices and showcases those who have already implemented them or can commit to do so with support from the campaign and its partners within the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative.

In early June, the Maui Kai condominium became the first property to sign on, with General Manager Michael Burr completing the simple checklist and hosting West Maui Ridge to Reef Watershed and Coastal Management Coordinator Tova Callender and West Maui Kumuwai Campaign Manager Liz Foote for an informal property assessment.

They observed a number of features that are considered ocean-friendly practices, such as the use of rocks within the landscaping to reduce the need for water and prevent erosion; there was virtually no bare soil visible on the property. Also, the property’s downspouts all direct into vegetated areas, which further reduces runoff.

Instead of wash-down areas within the parking lot, Maui Kai uses sinks connected to the sanitary sewer system, and ensures pool water is disposed of into the sanitary sewer as well.

Maui Kai is fortunate in that it doesn’t have significant issues with its drainage, nor does it have a storm drain on the property; the design of the property and the best practices it follows help ensure drainage is manageable. Furthermore, to assist with infiltration of runoff water, the property has plans to install curb cuts within its parking lot, and semipermeable pavers will ultimately be used when a sidewalk is replaced in the near future.

“It’s just smart,” noted Callender, after the meeting and viewing the property. She continued, “Maui Kai is managing their current situation well and minimizing runoff, but they are also thinking ahead to plan new modifications to the property that will make more of a difference. It’s great to see the level of awareness and motivation, and how the property is taking steps to consider their location and context so close to the ocean.”

Properties interested in the program can contact West Maui Kumuwai and will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one guidance on July 1, when Callender and Foote plan to be in the Honokowai area.

They will be available to assist properties in going through the checklist to identify at least ten (of 20 total) best practices to which they can commit in order to join the program (other dates are also available for consultation by appointment).

Foote noted, “We’re excited about piloting this new checklist and would love to provide personal assistance to the properties in the area to help them sign on. It’s designed to be very attainable, and our goal is to document and highlight many of the practices already in place, in hopes of sharing the methods and propagating them throughout the region and beyond. We’re also able to provide support and guidance for properties looking to implement new strategies for managing their stormwater runoff, and we can share tools, resources and other forms of assistance to help them take meaningful steps toward innovative sustainability initiatives.”

Properties that take the pledge before July 4 will be included in a special Ocean-Friendly Business recognition ceremony and media event as part of the Ridge to Reef Rendezvous, the annual community stewardship event held at Kahekili Beach Park on Saturday, July 23.

To view and download the Ocean-Friendly Property Pledge, visit West Maui Kumuwai’s website at www.WestMauiKumuwai.org. For more information on the West Maui Kumuwai campaign and the program, e-mail WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or call Campaign Manager Liz Foote at (808) 283-1631. There is also a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestMauiKumuwai.