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The Pohakea Watershed Management Plan

The Pohakea Watershed Plan was recently approved by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, Clean Water Branch! The goal of the plan is to empower watershed coordinators, stakeholders, resource managers, policy makers, and community members to combat water pollution entering into Maʻalaea Bay. Projects within the watershed are now eligible for Section 319 grant funding from the EPA.

These efforts were coordinated by the Polluted Runoff Control Program and made possible with support from the State of Hawaiʻi, Office of Planning and Sustainable Development, Coastal Zone Management Program.

Three watersheds including Pohakea, Waikapu, and Waiakoa all flow into Maʻalaea Bay. In partnership with the Hawaii Department of Health Clean Water Branch, Maui County, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, the Maui Ocean Center, biologists from Kealia Pond, and stakeholders in the community, the Central Maui Soil and Water Conservation District is working to establish comprehensive watershed managemet plans to reduce land based pollution entering Maʻalaea Bay.

In 2018, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council began working on a project, called “Vision for Pohakea,” to reduce sediment and pollutants in Maʻalaea Bay and Maʻalaea Harbor. MNMRC hired Maui Environmental Consulting, LLC to prepare the Pohakea Stormwater Management Plan. This document served as a  precursor to the full blown watershed management plan. Projects in the Pohakea Stormwater Management Plan are already being implemented.

Part 1 of MNMRCʻs "Vision for Pohakea" is to utilize oysters to help improve ocean water quality at the harbor. As filter feeders, oysters can remove sediment, bacteria, heavy metals, PCBs, oil, micro-plastics and nutrients from the water column. Oysters also digest the type of bacteria that cause skin-borne illnesses such as Staph and MRSA. The proposed project is modeled after several successful projects on the East Coast involving the use of oysters to improve water quality, including the highly effective NY/NJ Baykeeper project at Naval Weapons Station Earle in New Jersey.

Check out the
Pohakea Watershed Management Plan 

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