The Draft Southwest Maui watershed Plan was submitted to the Department of Health Clean Water Branch (DOH CWB) in early October of 2017. The newly written document addresses the deficiencies of the original plan. The Central Maui Soil and Water Conservation District is currently awaiting comments from the DOH CWB.
In addition, two supplementary reports were created during the original effort to provide general information on the three watersheds in the Plan, the purpose of this effort, and future projects that aim to improve water quality and overall hydrologic function of the Southwest Maui Watershed.
The first document is entitled "Volume I: Watershed Characterization". This document defines the watershed boundary, discusses the public outreach that has occurred, describes the physical and natural features, land use, current water quality conditions, pollutant sources, water quality and hydology modelling, and recommendations for the watershed.
The second document is entitled "Volume II: Implementation and Management Strategies". This document discusses management strategies, sediment reduction projects, water reuse, best management practices, reef rejuvination, education and outreach, water quality monitoring and general recommendations for the watershed.
ABOUT THE WATERSHED
On Maui, the leeward, southwest slopes of Haleakala have gone through many changes over millennia. From volcanic origins, the soils eventually weathered to support a diverse and unique native forest. Very little of that ecosystem remains today.
The combination of steep slopes and big-event rainstorms present challenges to water quality. The wetlands near the shoreline filter some of the sediment from the stormwater, but because of reduced storage capacity due to encroachment by development, flooding occurs during heavy rain events. The County can open the sand plugs and release the muddy floodwaters out to the ocean, but not without impacting the reef.
The purpose of the Southwest Maui Watershed Plan (SMWP) is to identify ways to improve the quality of water in the 49,688 acre watershed. Project goals include improving the water quality to meet State standards of “fishable and swimmable”. This will involve more aggressive stormwater management in the entire project area, from the summit of Haleakalā to the coastal areas of Kihei, Wailea and Makena.