Street Tree Committee Asks; County Administration Answers

Just one week after the KCA Street Tree Committee requested the board transmit a stong request to Mayor Arakawa for a needed action to restore the ground cover and irrigate the area around those notorius Monkey Pod Trees, now refered to as the Money Pod Quartet or MPQ, along S Kihei Rd, a large crew from the County’s Department of Public Works took action first thing on Wednesday, 7/20/11.

 IMG_0143.JPGIMG_0144.JPGIMG_0145.JPGIMG_0146.JPGIMG_0147.JPGIMG_0148.JPGThe Street Tree Committee and the KCA are most appreciative of Mayor Arakawa’s as well as DPW Director David Goode’s quick, positive reaction to insure the health of the MPQ along South Kihei Road.

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11 Responses to “Street Tree Committee Asks; County Administration Answers”

  1. Marilyn Colvin July 26, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Thanks, KCS, for bringing this good news to the Kihei community and to Mayor Arakawa and David Goode for the quick response.

    Mahalo to all.

  2. It was a committee, community effort which KCA fostered. Kihei, take a bow. Aloha, MM

  3. What about the health of the pedestrians who now have to walk in the road as the sidewalk is blocked off in this area? Or how about the health of us residents who live on this block and have to put up with the flooding and shut down of our streets and road whenever theres a heavy rain because of inadequate drainage systems. Lets cut down these trees (Manoa Valley on Oahu has experienced similar problems with monkeypod trees on their streets), partner with the Federal Government to continue the upgrading of the drainage system on this part of Kihei Road and then plant more manageable and appropriate trees. Its a real shame that we have to live with the continual flooding,destruction of property and shut down of out streets because of lack of adequate drainage. Please dont think you are doing the residents any favors by saving these trees.

  4. In response to “Carol’s” comments about flooding in the area of the Monkey Pod Quartet on S. Kihei Road, and their 9 neighbor Monkey Pod trees, I want to say that I feel sorry that she has faced flooding issues in that area and feels negative about these exceptional trees. However, these trees do not cause the flooding. It is amazing to me that individuals come to such a wrong clusion. First of all, the flooding is caused because about 40 years ago the County of Maui decided to build highrise condos in this wet, lowland area of Kihei. My local friends who grew up here say that the land in that area of Kihei was a boggy lowland and always has been. Most importantly, trees do not cause flooding. In fact, there is evidence that trees help ameliorate buildup of water. As for “just cut them down and plant some more”, have we any realistic idea of how long it takes a tree to grow large enough to provide shade and wind break, habitat for birds, and coolness from the burning Kihei sun? Have we any idea how much continuous care, water, and time it takes to grow a tree? No way is chopping mature trees a good solution. Finally, as for flooding in Kihei, I checked rainfall data for Kihei. Flooding is rare in Kihei, we hardly have had enough rain to flood any street in Kihei. In fact, one of the biggest floods I have seen was way back on New Year’s Eve of 2000 (remember W2K?). A driver hit a fire hydrant at the Island Surf Building and flooded the S. Kihei intersection and some of Kalama park by the volly ball court, although I don’t remember volly ball played there that long ago. Floods, although a pain, are rare in this town so please don’t blame the trees and please know that the two-lane S.Kihei Road to some is a plus, not a minus. The Kihei Tree Committee is a chance for us to work together to better our community and to protect our habitat, so please stop the chop and lets find better solutions for all. Oh, about the sidewalk, there are good solutions for replacing the sidewalk that County government has knowledge of so I say keep the trees and replace the sidewalk.

    With aloha,
    Marilyn Colvin

  5. Please read the Maui News recent article regarding recontruction of South Kihei Road
    that would improve “drainage systems that would at least mitigate, if not end, chronic flooding”.—.html
    The floods are not rare in this part of Kihei…this past December and March our homes experienced serious damage and we were unable to leave our streets for days. Same for two years ago in December. Check out Youtube videos regarding this flood damage. Residents in this part of Kihei more than cringe when there are heavy rains either here or upcountry above us…hoping we will be able to get out of or return to our homes if there is flooding. Of course trees will grow again!!

  6. Mahalo Carol for participating in this forum. KCA seeks input from the community, and we hope you are interested in participating in the process, as well as a discussion, in making Kihei a better place to live. It seems that you may live in N Kihei, somewhere along or near SKR. If that is so, many of our committee members are your neighbors, but do not share your conclusions. The county plan from about 10 years ago is being reexamined by DPW, but will not be avaiablle to the public for several months. Both original & revised plans will be looking at SKR from McDonalds area north to Kulanihakoi St, thus ignoring key flooding areas at Kaonoulu and just north of old Suda store, which we believe should be included. Further, what can be accomplished at SKR to mitigate explotions of raging water pouring unobstructed down the gullys? We are left with this result because of decades of poor planning, such as clear cutting forests upcountry, which naturally retained water. Next, we build numerous buildings in wetlands along the shore line, which had naturally retained the flow, and allowed the sediment to be held in check, as clear water seeped into the ocean. Now the sediment goes into the ocean helping to destroy the coral reef system. We see no relief from this by removing these 40 to 50 year old tress- that’s how long it takes for them to grow.Mahalo.
    We too want safe places for pedestrians to navigate along SKR, and a e wating for DPW to open the area they closed around the four trees.

  7. I agree. I love those trees too…one of the nice things about living on the block, but am frustrated with the serious flooding. Quess its due in large part to living at sea level and with the continued development, seems the large Betsil project next to us hasnt helped. I love the trees, hate the flooding.

  8. Yep, us too. We are trying to find solutions. If you want to help, you are welcome to join the committee. In addition this month’s community meeting, 8/16/11, will address Kihei beautification; more trees, fewer power polls, while we try to make Kihei a better place for all of us. Aloha

  9. Thanks Carol and Mike for your helpful comments. This is definitely a positive effect of our Kihei Tree Committee, which provides a forum to gain input from everyone in the community. This gives us a way for our collective voices to be heard. To be educationed before we “cut” is a very good thing.

  10. Unmani Cynthia Groves April 18, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I LOVE Trees, study them, and maintain 75 on my own property –And recommend keeping them when it makes sense! Always recommend calling in at least one certified arborist/ tree risk assessor (Ernest Rezents I think is the only one other than David Seykota of the County that I know of on this island) when there is a question or controversy over trees. As we discover, there is often more than one position regarding them and finer nuances on their health–as well as overall impacts on the environment to consider. While its valuable to see more “exceptional trees,” exceptional trees do have a correct place, but in the end don’t always work where they are in the big picture. Perhaps not a popular view among those adamant about trees. I notice that trees represent both our strengths and our vulnerabilities and we do have among us some big mama bear energy out there that speak particularly loudly about it. It’s good to hear those voices. Perhaps the key here is to try find a balanced view in ourselves when we come together on the tree issue. There are times that are just a fact of life, disappointing, to have to remove trees due to the whole picture that involves property damage and even potential loss of life due to wrong place, wrong time, may involve lack of proper maintenance, continuing erosion damage, or simply not listening to the other elements related to strong winds and flooding that must be considered. The Maui Hazard Mitigation Plan and Federal Insurance Study (FIS Study) provide hard data on Kihei flood issues that impact tree positioning, FEMA guidelines including allowable tree areas or not, and United States Parks Dept provides Guidelines on-line to look at related to “Trees in Recreational areas, including other public places. Let’s use those tools in our assessment of our trees in Kihei, as well as our feelings for the trees. Kihei does get flashflooding, even if sporadically, which we must accommodate for in assessing trees. Regarding trees in our major drainage easements: Maui County Flood hazard Control Division should weigh in on our tree situations in Kihei. Unmaintained for a long time, trees get top heavy, root erosion occurs and they can block our major drainage easements. Remember one tree can block a culvert. Millions of dollars of damage occured flooding the whole Niu Valley on Oahu New Years 1988 due to just one tree culvert blockage alone difficult to remove. While it is rarer in all the major drainage easements, flash flooding impacts happen in Kihei yearly. I’ve tracked photographically trees which have become hazardous and not maintained either by lack of knowledge when to trim, when to remove, when to allow, or simply ignored due to cost of caring for them properly. Unfortunately many people don’t know how to recognize when a tree is hazardous and take precautions. Even with the best of intentions by getting on an adamant position about trees, people can lose sight of being sensible, or trimming them preventively, planting and maintaining when appropriate, and removing to prevent natural disasters, loss of life and property. When all is said and done, let’s allow the tree issue to be used as a source of coming together, malama, rather than separating us as a community.

  11. Oh, about the sidewalk, there are good solutions for replacing the sidewalk that County government has knowledge of so I say keep the trees and replace the sidewalk. Please read the Maui News recent article regarding recontruction of South Kihei Road that would improve drainage systems that would at least mitigate, if not end, chronic flooding .