Southwest Maui Watershed Plan
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.