PU’UNENE, MAUI, December 30th, 2010 – Community Work Day Program (CWD) received a $5,000 grant from Boeing Charitable Foundation to assist with restoration of the L?‘ie Wetland in Kihei.  The Boeing Corporation has been an ongoing sponsor of CWD’s efforts through additional grant funding and regularly scheduled work days in the wetland.  Scott Ibara, Community Investor with Boeing has been mobilizing volunteer groups from the Maui Research and Technology Center since the beginning of the restoration.  “We decided to support this project specifically in this area because Boeing has a presence here,” said Ibara, adding “this area is someplace I want to enjoy for years to come.”

L?‘ie is one of the last remaining undeveloped wetlands on the island of Maui.  The 1.5 acre parcel is owned by the State and managed by the County for use as a flood control area.  CWD’s cleanup and restoration is a two-year project that includes litter and invasive plant removal, native planting, and water quality testing.  Native plants are the best filters for toxins and sediment from the upper parts of the watershed.  A functioning wetland cleans waters entering the near-shore marine environment, protecting coral reefs and ecosystems.  Regular water quality testing will show improvement in the health of the water as native plants replace invasive species.

The L?‘ie Wetland Restoration Project was initially made possible through a grant with the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Natural Resources Program.  Additional funding has been provided through Young Brothers, Limited with a grant to purchase native plants for the area.  Partners in the project include the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Southwest Maui Watershed Advisory Group, and the County of Maui Department of Public Works.  A botanical inventory of plants on site was completed by USGS botanists Forest and Kim Starr, and the restoration plan was drafted by NRCS Certified Conservation Planner Penny Levin.

Community support has been an essential factor in the success of the project.  Volunteer groups including Kihei Community Association, Hoaloha ‘?ina South Maui Volunteers, Kihei Montessori School, The Paxen Group led by Kimokeo Kapahulehua, and Kihei Charter School have all had a positive impact on the restoration of the wetland.

Groups and individuals interested in taking part in CWD’s efforts are encouraged to contact them at

877-2524 or email info@cwdhawaii.org.  As a part of the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, CWD will be offering incentives including fresh fruit and vegetable snacks and edible plant starters to volunteers at the wetland and other community beautification projects.

“The most valuable thing that we need for this project is a reliable workforce of volunteers,” said CWD Project Manager Kevin Jones, “if you come and work for a little bit, you’re going to feel some attachment to this place.”  Boeing’s Scott Ibara added, “Get involved.  The community really needs you.”

 

Aloha,
Tina Lia
Development Coordinator
communityworkday@gmail.com